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Kikuchi Hideyuki

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1949-    ) Japanese author of immense domestic popularity, known initially abroad for the Anime adaptations of several of his novels, which formed a substantial component of the 1990s English-language image of Japanese animation as sexualized and violent pulp fiction. He shares a niche within Japanese sf with similarly prolific authors such as Yoshiki Tanaka, Masaki Yamada and Baku Yumemakura, although, unlike their work, his sagas of demonic conflict have largely eluded critical praise or attention – he remains unacknowledged, for example, at the Seiun Awards. It was only in the twenty-first century, amid demographic and technological shifts in American publishing, that his prose novels began appearing under the aegis of what were supposedly Manga publishers such as Digital Manga and Dark Horse, tardily affording overseas readers access to the source material of many of these video and film works.

After graduating from the Faculty of Law at Aoyama Gakuin, Kikuchi was first employed as a journalist. He worked as a translator in the late 1970s and early 1980s, under the names Tokihiko Mizuta and Fujio Saegusa, in a busy four-year period that saw him produce Japanese versions of Medusa's Children (1977) by Bob Shaw, Ice! (1978) by Arnold Federbush, and the last three volumes of the Grainger/Hooded Swan (1972-1975) sequence by Brian Stableford, alongside erotica by Marco Vassi and Albert Lehigh, and The Book of Lists (1977) by David Wallechinsky (vt The Wallechin Book in Japan). He also wrote criticism of horror films and novels, under the pen-names X-kun ["Mr X"] and Genichirō Mabuse in the magazine Uchūsen, forming the bulk of the columns reprinted under his own name in Makai Cinema-kan ["The Devil Cinema"] (coll 1987). In retrospect, the collection is a document that marks out much of Kikuchi's later inspiration, including chapters on the works of Bram Stoker and H P Lovecraft, American splatter movies and appreciations of Robert Bloch and Richard Matheson (see also Horror in SF).

Beginning with Makai Toshi Shinjuku (1982; trans Eugene Woodbury as Demon City Shinjuku 2012), Kikuchi's Demon City Shinjuku series envisaged a district in central Tokyo subjected to an extremely localized and magical earthquake, the "Devil Quake" – a jackpot of Disaster that not only affords a gateway to creatures from another universe, but also permits genetic experiments to escape from an illegal laboratory. Subsequent stories are set in the new world order engendered by this pocket apocalypse, with Tokyo's police force attempting to cope with a new demonic ghetto, generating new patterns of crime and vice, as well as threats to the mundane world in the manner of a fantastical spy thriller. Such a background, which sociologists might parse as an allegory for the immense social and economic changes in Japan during its meteoric rise in the 1980s, allows Kikuchi to retell espionage plots and police procedurals, in which the roles that might normally be taken by criminals or enemy agents are co-opted by demons, Shapeshifters and witches. The environment thus delineated is an ultra-modern Tokyo suffused with elements not only of urban gothic but of a post-apocalyptic setting. In one memorable touch, the "Devil Quake" has crippled the city's rail system, turning it into a radially distributed Keep along forgotten leylines, shutting down safe transport for humans, while offering multiple points for demons to enter the world.

With a jumbled aesthetic foreshadowing the mixed genres of certain Japanese computer games – urban gothic and post-apocalypse and contemporary noir and magical fantasy – several spin-off serials for other publishers reposition recurring characters in different genre settings with an identical or at least similar background, including Man Searcher, which features a private investigator working in both antagonistic worlds. It was published as "non-novel" novellas, a discarded term for what are now better known as Light Novels. Man Searcher has since been incorporated within another serial of substantially longer works, and both are sometimes described as the Demon City Blues series. Many of Kikuchi's works have also been adapted into Manga, largely not listed here, although in a rare exception, his Darkside Blues (graph 1987-1988 Candle; trans 2004) was originated in comic form in a magazine for girls, and might similarly be filed with his works of metropolitan fantasy.

Amid an international upwelling of pastiches in the wake of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) (see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), which would ultimately include The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai across the 8th Dimension (1984), the Jackie Chan vehicle Lung-Hing Fu-Dai ["Dragon Brother Tiger Brother"] (1986 vt The Armour of God) and the manga Spriggan (1989 Shūkan Shōnen Sunday;) (see Spriggan), Kikuchi conceived Alien Hihō-gai ["Alien: The Path of Secret Treasure"] (1983), the first of his Treasure Hunter series for young adults, in which a teenage boy becomes the world's greatest archaeologist and secret agent, ducking out of school to take on missions for grateful world leaders, accompanied by an attractive lady assistant. Although played straight, it achieved a subversive following among older readers, who regarded it as a Satire of what is now known as chūni-byō, a term in Japanese pop-psychology for the delusions of grandeur common among middle teens (see also Doc Savage). It surely did the franchise no harm that its unifying surtitle, written in a syllabary unintelligible to American lawyers as the word eirian, leapt out from bookshelves at passers-by who might have assumed it was a Tie to the film Alien (1979). Yoshitaka Amano's cover artwork might also be complicit in this subtle fakery, depicting the schooboy hero as an occasional lookalike of the actress Sigourney Weaver until retiring this gimmick with Alien: Keiraku Yōhen ["Alien: Weird Tales of the Capital"] (1987).

Perhaps the most widely known of Kikuchi's genre mash-ups is the Black Guard series, beginning with Yōjū Toshi ["Supernatural Beast City"] (1985; trans Christine Norris as Wicked City: Black Guard, 2009), the opening trilogy of which spins a commuter-belt fantasy about Renzaburō Taki, an everyday office worker who is really an undercover agent in an inter-dimensional Cold War. Repeatedly, he finds himself among the mundane environments of a travelling salesman, only for these unremarkable situations to erupt into violent battles as demonic enemies reveal themselves. Taki is manipulated into an inter-species romance with a colleague from the Black World (see Exogamy), when they are assigned as bodyguards to an ambassador brokering a peace deal. Their relationship is parsed in similar terms to that seen in the previous year's "V" (1983, 1984), as a dynastic marriage between the two worlds, the child of which is fated to unite them. Mixing the tropes of espionage with visceral body-horror and eroticized violence, it found a substantially wider international audience in Anime form as Yōjū Toshi (1987; vt Wicked City), directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri. It soon became one of the centrepieces of the sex-and-violence trend in early anime releases on video abroad, particularly in the English-speaking world, leading to several further animated adaptations of Kikuchi novels in the years that followed. The story was also adapted as a live-action film, Yiusau Dousi [1992; vt The Wicked City] directed by Peter Mak, which recontextualizes the original within the politics of China by moving the action to pre-Handover Hong Kong – compare to a similar relocation in the live-action Ghost in the Shell (2017).

The period also saw Kikuchi attempting several other genre experiments, not all of which were successful enough with readers to warrant dozen-volume sequels. One such series, Western Bugeichō ["Western Chronicle of Martial Achievement"], begins with I-seibu no Kenshi ["Swordsman of the Other West"] (1986), an Alternate History redolent of similar works by Haruya Yamazaki, Tetsu Yano and Hitoshi Yoshioka, imagining that French military intervention thwarts the 1868 Meiji Restoration that would have otherwise led to the end of Japan's samurai era. The reformer hero Ryōma Sakamoto (1836-1867) is not assassinated as he was in the real world, but survives to undertake a samurai quest in a variant United States of America, the alternate nature of which is distinguished not the least the presence of Vampires and Steampunk technology. Other minor Kikuchi works include the Bionic Soldier series, in which a Cyborg member of a Pariah Elite exacts revenge on the corporation that created him, and Masenki, beginning with Barbaroi no Ha-Ō ["Overlord of the Barbaroi"] (1985), in which Alexander the Great is reincarnated in Japan, and recommences his delayed scheme for world conquest.

Even more obscure in Kikuchi's oeuvre are those stand-alone titles crowded out by his longer-running serials. Afforded a long tail largely through an anime adaptation, his Kaze no Na wa Amnesia ["A Wind Named Amnesia"] (1983; trans Joe Swift and Yuko Swift 2010) describes an apocalypse in which Amnesia is imposed worldwide as an Alien Godgame to test humanity. The immediate results mix elements of Post-Holocaust sf and an infestation of Zombies, since the brainwashed survivors are often reduced to animal logic (see also Thomas Calvert McClary); the anime version is A Wind Named Amnesia (1990; vt The Wind of Amnesia). Other singletons include the Cyberpunk gangland intrigues of Genocide Boys (2000), and the inventive Bakumatsu Shikabane Gundan ["Bakumatsu Corpse Corps"] (2010), which reimagines the nineteenth-century fall of the Shōgunate as a civil war involving divisions of zombie samurai. Also, absent from the Checklist below, Kikuchi published several romantic thrillers and detective stories in both long and short forms.

As if the genre mix were not already substantial, Kikuchi added elements of the Western and a Ruined Earth for Vampire Hunter D (1983; trans Kevin Leahy 2005), a Far Future account of an Earth that has emerged from the ashes of a nuclear war to find pure-blood humans in contention with Mutants and the Kizoku ["Nobles" or "Nobility"], a Vampire aristocracy. Early novels in the Vampire Hunter D series were a picaresque in which the hero wandered a quasi-medieval, occasionally Steampunk milieu on a mechanical horse, righting wrongs and slaying the undead. Subsequent volumes reveal the series as the culmination of a sprawling Future History, possibly incorporating many of Kikuchi's other tales, spanning more than ten thousand years, in which the human and vampire races initially settled their differences, before the vampires re-asserted their dominance in defiance of a prophecy that their time was past and their powers were thinning.

Returning to translation as a celebrity author, Kikuchi attached his name to a new edition of Dracula (1897; trans Hideyuki Kikuchi as Kyūketsuki Dracula 1999) by Bram Stoker, aimed at younger readers. It was subsequently republished as Kikuchi Hideyuki no Kyūketsuki Dracula ["Hideyuki Kikuchi's Vampire Dracula"] (2004), implying a level of adaptation beyond translation, and followed by an original prequel, Meiji Dracula Den (2004; trans Mini Eda as Dark Wars: The Tale of Meiji Dracula 2008), in which Dracula takes up residence in 1880s Japan, a decade after the modernization heralded by the restoration of the Meiji Emperor. A "1" on the cover implies it was intended as the first in a series, but there was no second volume, although much of Kikuchi's ensuing work might be regarded as a further, long-term effort in Recursive SF, integrating the touchstones of his literary inspiration with his own novels. This was reflected, in particular, in the ongoing Vampire Hunter D series, in which early hints that the half-human hero is the son of a "Sacred Ancestor" set up the increasingly manifest concept that the whole story is a Sequel by Other Hands to Stoker's Dracula, in which the peculiar conditions of D's world are set in motion after a nuclear war in 1999. Later volumes, particularly after Jashin Toride ["Fortress of the Elder God"] (2001; trans Kevin Leahy 2012) strongly imply that its genre bricolage also subsumes the Cthulhu Mythos. The series recurringly asserts a sense of noblesse oblige – that, while predatory and murderous, the vampires still regard Earth as their home and humanity as their ward.

If Kikuchi's 1980s work was born of Japan's slick, wealthy economic boom, his Cthulhu Mythos Files might be parsed as a similar evocation of the country's 21st-century economic slump and natural disasters, deriving its inspiration from a recurrent sense of the impending End of the World. Beginning with Jashin Kinyūdō ["Elder God Finance"] (2012), Kikuchi embarked on an enterprise that continued his evocation of the world and worldview of H P Lovecraft, but with a constant background hum of Satire, imagining how a corrupt and incompetent establishment in a world beset by economic crisis and climate change might respond to the imminent rise of the destroyer-god Cthulhu. Later volumes reposition Lovecraftian horrors at other points in history, including World War Two and in Jashin Kettōden ["Tale of the Elder Gods Decisive Battle"] (2015; trans Jim Rion as West of Innsmouth: A Cthulhu Western 2020), inserted into the historic 1881 gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Similarly his YIG series, beginning with Bikyō-Shin 1 ["Divine Femme Fatale"] (1996), describes a demonic apocalypse in Lovecraftian terms, rephrasing the chronic misogyny of earlier Kikuchi works as an account of the early acts of a cataclysm rooted in sex magic.

Much of Kikuchi's work from the 1980s was repackaged in the early twenty-first century, often as the opening stages of resurrected serials. There is hence, for example, a twenty-year gap between the second and third volumes of the Demon City Shinjuku series, the third being published somewhat cheekily only a year after the reissue of an omnibus of the first two books that claimed to be "complete". Kikuchi's late-period necromancy with dormant narratives is liable to reflect a desire to return older works into print for a new generation of readers, but may also mark a valedictory attempt to piece together his various serials into an all-encompassing Multiverse, as suggested by Alien: Jashin Hōkyū ["Alien: Treasure Palace of the Elder Gods"] (2019), which links his Treasure Hunter stories to the Cthulhu Mythos Files. In this regard, his Another Vampire Hunter series, beginning with Kizoku Greylancer (2012; trans Takami Nieda as Noble V: Greylancer 2013) forms a vital bridge. Set five thousand years in our future, and five thousand years before the events of Vampire Hunter D, it recounts the efforts of Earth's vampire aristocracy to repel an alien Invasion, revealing at least some of the back-story to what appears to be Kikuchi's magnum opus, a millennia-spanning conflict between Dracula and Cthulhu, glimpsed in mere fragments across a Time Abyss that only appears vast to mere mortals. [JonC]

Hideyuki Kikuchi

born Chōshi, Chiba, Japan: 25 September 1949

works (selected)


Demon City Shinjuku

Man Searcher/Demon City Blues

  • Yōka no Shō ["Enchanting Beauty"] (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 1986) [Man Searcher: pb/Jun Suemi]
  • Maōden ["Legend of the Demon King"] (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 1986-1987) [in three volumes: Demon City Blues: pb/]
  • Sōhōki ["Twin-Faced Demon"] (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 1988) [Demon City Blues: pb/]
  • Aika no Shō ["Elegy"] (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 1989) [Man Searcher: pb/Jun Suemi]
  • Yashakiden 1 ["Demon Princess 1"] (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 1989) [Demon City Blues: pb/Jun Suemi]
  • Yashakiden 2 ["Demon Princess 2"] (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 1989) [Demon City Blues: pb/Jun Suemi]
  • Yashakiden 3 ["Demon Princess 3"] (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 1990) [Demon City Blues: pb/Jun Suemi]
  • Yashakiden 4 ["Demon Princess 4"] (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 1990) [Demon City Blues: pb/Jun Suemi]
  • Yashakiden 5 ["Demon Princess 5"] (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 1990) [Demon City Blues: pb/Jun Suemi]
  • Yashakiden 6 ["Demon Princess 6"] (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 1991) [Demon City Blues: pb/Jun Suemi]
  • Yashakiden 7 ["Demon Princess 7"] (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 1991) [Demon City Blues: pb/Jun Suemi]
  • Inka no Shō ["Shadow Blossom"] (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 1992) [Man Searcher: pb/Jun Suemi]
  • Keika no Shō ["Firefly Glow"] (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 1993) [Man Searcher: pb/Jun Suemi]
  • Bukaki no Shō ["Hidden Princess"] (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 1996) [Man Searcher: pb/Jun Suemi]
  • Dōmu no Shō ["A Child's Dream"] (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 1998) [Man Searcher: pb/Jun Suemi]
  • Yōgetsu no Shō ["Bewitching Moon"] (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 1999) [Man Searcher: pb/Jun Suemi]
  • Koei no Shō ["Lone Figure"] (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 2001) [Man Searcher: pb/Jun Suemi]
  • Shūki no Shō ["Lamenting Demon"] (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 2004) [Man Searcher: pb/Jun Suemi]
  • Genbu no Shō ["Illusory Dance"] (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 2007) [Man Searcher: pb/Jun Suemi]
  • Rengoku no Shō ["Beloved Prison"] (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 2010) [Man Searcher: pb/Jun Suemi]
  • Shūkoku no Shō ["Grieving Wall"] (Tokyo: Shōdensha, 2012) [Man Searcher: pb/Jun Suemi]

Vampire Hunter D

Treasure Hunter

  • Alien: Hihō-gai ["Alien: Hidden Treasure Town"] (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1983) [Treasure Hunter: pb/Yoshitaka Amano]
  • Alien: Majū-kyō 1 ["Alien: Demon Frontier 1"] (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1983) [Treasure Hunter: pb/Yoshitaka Amano]
  • Alien: Majū-kyō 2 ["Alien: Demon Frontier 2"] (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1983) [Treasure Hunter: pb/Yoshitaka Amano]
  • Alien: Mokushiroku ["Alien: Apocalypse"] (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1984) [Treasure Hunter: pb/Yoshitaka Amano]
  • Alien: Kaibyō-den ["Alien: Legend of the Supernatural Cat"] (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1984) [Treasure Hunter: pb/Yoshitaka Amano]
  • Alien: Makai Kōro ["Alien: Demonic Voyage"] (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1984) [Treasure Hunter: pb/Yoshitaka Amano]
  • Alien: Yōzan-ki ["Alien: Tale of the Haunted Mountain"] (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1985) [Treasure Hunter: pb/Yoshitaka Amano]
  • Alien: Jakai-den ["Alien: Legend of the Haunted Sea"] (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1986) [Treasure Hunter: pb/Yoshitaka Amano]
  • Alien: Keiraku Yōhen ["Alien: Weird Tales of the Capital"] (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1987) [Treasure Hunter: pb/Yoshitaka Amano]
  • Alien: Majin Koku ["Alien: Land of Devils"] (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1989) [in three volumes: Treasure Hunter: pb/Yoshitaka Amano]
  • Alien: Majin Koku Kanketsu-hen ["Alien: Land of Devils, the Conclusion"] (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1991) [in three volumes: Treasure Hunter: pb/Yoshitaka Amano]
  • Alien: Aochima-jo ["Alien: Castle of the Blue-Blooded Demon"] (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 2000) [Treasure Hunter: pb/Yoshitaka Amano]
  • Alien: Kuroshi Teikoku ["Alien: Empire of the Black Death"] (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 2002) [in two volumes: Treasure Hunter: pb/Masahiro Shibata]
  • Alien: Gensōkyō ["Alien: The Haunted Village"] (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 2013) [Treasure Hunter: pb/Tatsunori Nakamura]
  • Alien: Waruzō-tan ["Alien: The Tale of the Evil Idol"] (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 2015) [Treasure Hunter: pb/Tatsunori Nakamura]
  • Alien: Kotō Kidan ["Alien: Ghost Stories of Lonely Island"] (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 2016) [Treasure Hunter: pb/Tatsunori Nakamura]
  • Alien: Jashin Hōkyū ["Alien: Treasure Palace of the Elder Gods"] (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 2019) [Treasure Hunter: pb/Tatsunori Nakamura]

Black Guard

Western Bugeichō

  • I-seibu no Kenshi ["Swordsman of the Other West"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1986) [Western Bugeicho: pb/Akinori Yamada]
  • Arizona Kenjūfū ["Arizona Sword-Gun Style"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1987) [Western Bugeicho: pb/Akinori Yamada]
  • Muhō-gai Kettō-den ["Lawless Street Duel"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1988) [Western Bugeicho: pb/Akinori Yamada]

Bionic Soldier




  • Bikyō-Shin 1 ["Divine Femme Fatale 1"] (Tokyo: Kōbunsha, 1996) [YIG: pb/]
  • Bikyō-Shin 2 ["Divine Femme Fatale 1"] (Tokyo: Kōbunsha, 1996) [YIG: pb/]


Cthulhu Mythos Files

  • Jashin Kinyūdō ["Elder God Finance"] (Tokyo: Sōdosha, 2012) [Cthulhu Mythos Files: pb/Shinsuke Yoshitake]
  • Yōjin Gourmet ["The Phantom Gourmet"] (Tokyo: Sōdosha, 2012) [Cthulhu Mythos Files: pb/Shinsuke Yoshitake]
  • Jashin Kantai ["Elder God Navy"] (Tokyo: Sōdosha, 2013) [Cthulhu Mythos Files: pb/Shinsuke Yoshitake]
  • Makū Reisentai ["Demon-Air Zero Fighter Squadron"] (Tokyo: Sōdosha, 2014) [Cthulhu Mythos Files: pb/Shinsuke Yoshitake]
  • Yog Sothoth Sensha-tai ["The Yog-Sothoth Tank Division"] (Tokyo: Sōdosha, 2014) [Cthulhu Mythos Files: pb/Shinsuke Yoshitake]
  • Senkan Yamato: Kaima Hōgeki ["Battleship Yamato: Shelling the Demon Sea"] (Tokyo: Sōdosha, 2014) [Cthulhu Mythos Files: pb/Shinsuke Yoshitake]
  • Jashin Kettōden ["Tale of the Elder Gods Decisive Battle"] (Tokyo: Sōdosha, 2015) [Cthulhu Mythos Files: pb/Shinsuke Yoshitake]

Another Vampire Hunter

individual titles (selected)


  • Makai Cinema-kan ["The Devil Cinema"] (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1987) [nonfiction: coll: hb/]


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