What’s scarier than vampires? Plankton.

Hideyuki Kikuchi is a Japanese novelist best known for his character D, who wanders a desolate far-future landscape, hunting vampires. The cultural threads from which D’s world is woven include Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name and H.P. Lovecraft’s nameless horrors. No wonder D himself only goes by a single initial.

VAPWhen I read the first novel in the D series, one small detail that stuck with me was a peculiar form of entertainment that Kikuchi’s high-tech vampires had devised. They genetically engineered plankton into “huge ravenous monsters that could take a school of seven-foot tuna right down to the bone.”

Countless movies have tapped into the horror of giant insects, but giant plankton is a grotesque variation that I have never seen anywhere else.

Kikuchi’s vampires, as bloodthirsty as ancient Roman Coloseum-goers, enjoyed ocean excursions in sturdy but transparent bubble-like craft from which they could observe the gruesome struggles of these giant creatures up close.

As it happens, Kikuchi was born in 1949 in Choshi, a Chiba Prefecture town where fishing is a major pillar of the local economy. Perhaps he glimpsed something ominous in the sea…

You can read a little more about Choshi in tomorrow’s post on this blog.

Meanwhile, you can read a 2008 interview article I wrote about Kikuchi HERE.

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2 Responses to “What’s scarier than vampires? Plankton.”

  1. Kelsi Says:

    Hi Tom,
    Great info! Thanks for the tips about the swimming pools in Tokyo from your 2008 entries. I will be staying in the Roppongi Minuato area all of July. Are there local pools nearby for lap swimming? Thanks.

    • tokyotombaker Says:

      Dear Kelsi:
      I can recommend at least two pools that are fairly convenient to Roppongi. One is Aqua Field; I think you’ve seen my blog post about that. The other is the 50-meter indoor pool at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gym. It is located at Kokuritsu Kyogijo Station on the Oedo subway line, just two stops from Roppongi Station. I’ve swum there many times in the past, but not since it closed for several months of renovation this past winter. It reopened on April 1, and I assume it’s now at least as nice as it was before. Here’s their website: http://www.tef.or.jp/tmg/en_pool_top.jsp

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