Hideyuki Kikuchi has certainly made a name for himself, carving out a place in horror fiction as one of Japan’s most renowned and creative. His latest novel has high expectations placed upon it thanks to the ever present success of his other mega popular series, Vampire Hunter D. It also doesn’t help things that the quote on the front states that the vampires in his novel will appeal to everyone all over the world and that this is his best work.
Kikuchi is certainly confident and that confidence translates well into his writing. One of the biggest criticisms against him is his lack of descriptive narrative. Even still, when reading Yashakiden: the Demon Princess, one gets a true sense of a creator pouring his all into his work. His enthusiasm is clearly on display here and if nothing else, makes his efforts that much more appreciated.
The novel takes place in Shinjuku, after having been struck by “the devil quake”. The city is now mostly ruins with its citizens being a mix of average humans and various mystical beings. Aki and Mephisto are the city’s protectors, taking it upon themselves to guard over it as their own territory. When the arrival of four powerful immortals threatens to throw the balance into chaos, the two decide to confront them before they bring about the city’s downfall.
The main characters of Aki and Mephisto follow Kikuchi’s pattern of powerful but beautiful character types. As for the villains, well they’re over the top to say the least. Their overt pleasure of blood and gore mixed with their sexual escapades is disturbing at times to read through. The plot is also pretty straightforward at this point with the two sides mainly clashing over territory.
While I’m hesitant to say this is a must read for horror buffs, fans of Kikuchi will definitely want to pick this up. Comparisons to Vampire Hunter D are inevitable, in most cases that series is bound to win out, but if given the chance, fans are likely to find Yashakiden: the Demon Princess just as enjoyable and well worth the read.