Examining Old School Anime: D’s Silence

Most of you have likely not seen the original Vampire Hunter D, but I cannot recommend it enough to the fan of action, adventure, or gothic style horror.  (The following article is clear of spoilers by the way.)  Though, take warning: this film has plenty of blood and brief scenes of nudity–and try to find the sub or original dub!  At any rate, one cannot help but admire the hero, D.  He is the perfect sort of hero: brave, strong, and intelligent.  His heroic personality would be hackneyed were it not for his extreme loneliness and adherence to silence.  D only speaks when necessary and every syllable is loaded with meaning.  No one can convict him of having spoken an idle word! (Matt. 12:36)

Yet, I suppose that there are many people who would not value silence as a virtue, and we are more often told about the harm of not speaking out against evil.  Still, silence is a virtue as long as one does not neglect necessary speech, which counts for the occasions D does speak.  The reason a famous adage calls silence golden lies in its close association to obedience, a fundamental virtue of Christianity.  As Padre Pio said: “Where there is no obedience, there is no virtue; where there is no virtue, there is no good. Where good is wanting, there is no love; where there is no love, God is absent; where God is absent, there is no heaven.”  I might even quote Robert E. Lee: “Obedience to lawful authority is the foundation of manly character.”

Quite naturally, both of these men looked to Our Lord as the highest exemplar, who was obedient to His parents (Luke 2:51), obeyed His Father in heaven (Phil. 2:8), and even won salvation for all mankind through His obedience (Romans 5:19).  If we are not silent, we are not listening, and listening (audire in Latin) is at the very heart of obedience (from the a Latin compound, ob/audire).  In regards to our salvation, obedience holds far greater value than arranging matters according to our own will and voicing our own opinions.  Our ultimate goal is the same as Our Lord’s: obedience to the Father’s will, which determines whether we are brothers and sisters of the Lord (Matt. 12:50).

St. Mary stands as the person who imitated Christ most perfectly, especially in never wasting a word.  Nevertheless, virtuous silence manifests itself more forcefully in St. Joseph by the very fact that Scripture records not one word of his.  When God sends St. Joseph a message, he obeys with alacrity and without question.  For this reason, the quality of soldierly obedience is ascribed to him, which fits his role as Guardian of the Infant Church at the time of Christ’s birth and his patronage now as Protector of the Universal Church.

Curiously, the other two strong and silent anime heroes which instantly pop to my mind besides D are Jo of Innocent Venus and Joseph of Blassreiter.  Both imitate St. Joseph in placing themselves at the service of others, whose well-being they hold higher than their own.  Their very silence signifies self-effacement in the face of duty.  And, we could all benefit from imitating their example so that we might achieve humanity’s great end for ourselves and for others: to know, love, and serve God in this life and the next.

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3 thoughts on “Examining Old School Anime: D’s Silence

  1. Great post. I ACTUALLY watched Vampire Hunter D, this one and the other movie that came out later on. I don’t remember if I saw it in dubs….but I know I had one of them on VHS many moons ago. Either way, I enjoyed both as I liked D’s character. I forgot that he didn’t talk, I will have to watch this one again somehow….*cough* youtube or Kiss anime “cough*.

    Good points made about not staying silent. or doing so in certain situations. There are many times where silence is wisdom, while other times staying silent is being foolish. Everything depends on the situation, and I think we all need to think before we speak to see what action is appropriate at that moment.

    1. Thank you! I’m glad that at least one other blogger here at BtT has watched it. I didn’t really care for the second Vampire Hunter D film. It dropped the whole Gothic horror aspect of the prior one in favor more action. Anime does the “vampire action genre” quite well (Hellsing, Black Blood Brothers, Trinity Blood, etc.), but few create the atmosphere one sees in classic vampire films as well as the first Vampire Hunter D and Shiki.

      I like dividing speech into unnecessary and necessary speech. Sometimes telling the two apart is difficult. We might label small talk as unnecessary, but how can we talk about more important things with unfamiliar people unless we first get to know them in this way? Also, St. Thomas More felt that it was necessary to talk to all his family members and servants every day, and one doubts each conversation was filled with scintillating wisdom–even if More was a brilliant lawyer and well-versed theologian. At other times, we might say things that we think are important, but it turns out that silence would have been more edifying. But, thinking before we speak or, as Saito Hajime puts it in Trust and Betrayal, “tasting our words to see whether they are palatable” are good habits to have.

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