I’m making my way through the Vampire Hunter D series of novels by Hideyuki Kikuchi. This series is as pulpy as it comes, replete with an invulnerable hero, who is by the way devastatingly handsome and experiences the misfortune of having a different busty seventeen year old girl fall in love with him in each novel. Perhaps the English translation is the cause of the Stilton-like essence emanating from the prose, but I kind of doubt it. That hasn’t stopped my enjoyment of the series either, which I find to be imaginative and action-packed. One of the key elements that I love about it as an inspired piece of vampire literature is something it shares with the most awesome vampire story of all time, Hellsing, and that something is my favorite vampire attack: the psychological attack! The exclamation point is needed because often the psychological attack is the last thing you’d expect, though what you should have expected all along. What I love most about this attack is that ultimately, its kind of real.
Vampires come in many forms. Some of them super lame and insulting to the idea of vampires like Twilight, others totally awesome like Hellsing. Vampire Hunter D is closer to the awesome side because it has a well-crafted backstory for explaining its vampires and other monsters. Also, it is loyal to vampire lore, unlike the diamond-skinned emo kids who shatter baseball bats with Edward and gang. Consequently, it makes great use of the psychological attack and the aura.
D is a dhampir, half human, half vampire, and he lives thousands of years into the future after humanity has almost destroyed itself in nuclear winter, setting up millennia of rule by vampires, like Planet of the Apes only with vampires. The vampire civilization is vastly superior to the human one in terms of technology. They develop technological solutions that control the weather, use genetic knowledge to create monsters of lore through gene splicing, invent a means space travel along with developing a method for fabricating blood so they have no need of humans. As with all civilizations the vampire world is destroyed by its own demons, and their technology lies about unworkable due to disuse. We enter the world where humanity is making a come back, but the Nobility (vampires) still rule certain areas and are a perpetual danger. D is a vampire hunter. For cash and the challenge, he slays Nobility.
What makes a vampire the most deadly is not superhuman physical strength, invulnerability to most weapons and attacks, or even his ability to transform into a fog, bat, dog, etc. What makes him truly dangerous is that he can manipulate your mind through telepathy. He has the ability to project an aura that can captivate, make you fall in love with him and walk right into his arms, or that can terrify you with images of devils, disembodied eyes and (insert worst fear) until you are a blubbering mess that he can walk right up and polish you off with a creative Mortal Kombat Finish Him! move.
What’s so terrifying is that you can only survive by resisting with every fiber of your consciousness the pull to believe that your base senses and your base apprehension is real. You must ignore the illusion, keep your eye on truth and the power of the psychological attack evaporates. But to do this, you must have wisdom, and an understanding of yourself and your vulnerabilities so that when the vampire preys upon them, you know what he is doing and you can resist.
Now consider modern politicians. Do they use the psychological attack? I tend to think so. Often they are projecting what might be called an aura, their personal charisma, and it infects you, makes you think they truly care about you, makes you believe them in. Is this sentiment true though? Or is it the design of a vicious vampire who will manipulate you in whatever way he chooses so that he can own you, either through a Finish Him! or through creating a diligent, obedient familiar to pay taxes, keep your head down and obey?
What politician or famous government leader do you think has the strongest aura and ability to launch the psychological attack?