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Vampire Hunter D
Vampire Hunter D
Actors: Kaneto Shiozawa, Michael McConnohie, Steve Bulen, Lara Cody, Barbara Goodson
Directors: Carl Macek, Toyoo Ashida
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Anime & Manga, Animation
UR     2000     1hr 20min

In the year 12090 ad the earth has fallen into the clutches of ruthless vampires and humans are enslaved by a corrupted feudal system prey to a mockery of freedom and justice. Only one being has dared to challenge the crue...  more »

     

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Movie Details

Actors: Kaneto Shiozawa, Michael McConnohie, Steve Bulen, Lara Cody, Barbara Goodson
Directors: Carl Macek, Toyoo Ashida
Creators: Carl Macek, Hiroshi Katô, Mitsuhisa Koeda, Hideyuki Kikuchi, Tom Wyner, Yasushi Hirano
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Anime & Manga, Animation
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Animation, Anime & Manga, Animation
Studio: Urban Vision
Format: DVD - Color - Animated
DVD Release Date: 10/17/2000
Original Release Date: 03/26/1993
Theatrical Release Date: 03/26/1993
Release Year: 2000
Run Time: 1hr 20min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 20
Edition: Special Edition
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Sara H. from PARAGOULD, AR
Reviewed on 1/23/2010...
I was so happy to finally have this on DVD, rather than just VHS. Being able to hear the story in Japanese with subtitles made the story much better, if that was even possible. :)
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Brad S. (Snibot) from DALLAS, TX
Reviewed on 12/3/2009...
One of the top 3 Anime of all time. Up in the air as to Ninja Scroll and Final Fantasy Advent Children, so I just group them all together. Superior Artwork, interesting and inventive storyline, overall well acted and executed.

This story has a "horror" feel to it, but it is pretty tough to be scared by cartoons, re: Scooby Doo. This one does have the added bonus of some gore, lots of blood, and some nudity.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Anime Classic finally on DVD. What a great transfer!
shivatrance | rehoboth, DE USA | 10/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Vampire Hunter D. . . this is a film in which I tend to judge other anime films against. Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Ninja Scroll, and Vampire Hunter D are the Fab Four of the Anime Universe. You simply cannot go wrong by buying this film. Lots of futuristic action with a major Goth theme to it. You would swear that this was taking place in the dark ages during some parts of this film, but then you see the technology that they have in the future. . . WOW. That's all I can say. WOW. Do yourself a huge favor: See this movie! And with it coming out on DVD, how could it possibly get any better? By the way, even if you don't fully apreciate Japanese animation, this is still one of the greatest vampire action movies of all time. If you want to see an example of what great japanese anime is all about, then there are just a few films that you truly must see: AKIRA, Princess Mononoke, Ghost in the Shell, and Vampire Hunter D. This is truly a classic film. Enjoy.fin"
Understanding this film's superiority to 2001s "Bloodlust" (
Chris | Brooklyn, NY | 08/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A good portion of the not so positive reviews for this film are due to the authors' preference of the 16 year in coming Vampire Hunter D film, entitled "Bloodlust". I understand that the aforementioned film is quite beautiful, with some of the most stunning visuals I've ever seen in anime. Therein lies the problem, however, because viewing "Bloodlust" first usually leads to a bias; people then usually see the first one and claim that "Bloodlust" has so much going for it besides just a gorgeous presentation (it's almost formulaic how it happens).

Many people fail to see the potential of this 1985 classic (based on Hideyuki Kikuchi's first in a series of japanese novels), and instead they complain that the animation is "dated". What people fail to see is the very compelling (albeit familiar) story and unique characters. Most of all, the few underlying themes within the film. The film (set in the year 12,090) is about a victimized yet strong female character named Doris who lives in a rural area and looks after her younger brother Dan without the help of any family (the only one that can care for both of them is the local doctor, Ferring). Humanity lives in a time where after a nuclear holocaust, they coexist with mutants, monstrosities, and vampires (the latter of which is seen by themselves and others as "nobility"). During a routine hunt, Doris's horse is viciously (and graphically) killed by the werewolf of the local 10,000 year old vampire count, Magnus Lee. Lee then bites Doris, and intends to take her as his wife. Doris encounters the very stoic, very strong and dark vampire hunter, named D. The movie follows D's efforts to storm Lee's castle, deal with his many monstrous henchmen, and kill the count, in order to save Doris from becoming a vampire.

2001's film, "Bloodlust" (based on Kikuchi's third novel in the series) is about the kidnapping of a young woman named Charlotte Melbourne by a young looking vampire named Meier Link. Charlotte's father hires D to bring her back, or kill her if she is to become a vampire herself. Not only does Charlotte's father hire D, but also the cocksure team of bounty hunters called the Markus Brothers (and sister, Leila). Meier Link becomes wise to the various hunters, and hires members of the Barbaroy, a clan of viscious monsters. Throughout the film the viewer learns that Charlotte may not have been kidnapped, and she and Meier Link may actually love each other (despite Meier's realization of the inescapable lust he will have to have for Charlotte).

Though both films may seem to have similar stories (A cool calm and collected hunter needs to save a girl, etc), it is the 1985 film that clearly shines. The way the story is told in the original one is very straighforward, whereas "Bloodlust" is a very cheesy romantic story full of plot holes and an overabundance of characters. There are very smart themes throughout the film, such as identity (D's dealing with the imbalance of his vampire and his human side, Lamica and the harsh realization of her true nature, and mutant Rei's yearning for nobility), and the ignorance of true nobility (the Lee family mistakenly goes against their famous ancestor's true beliefs). The themes of "Bloodlust" are a bit more cliche, such as the dealing with characters' pasts which they can't escape, and love vs. lust.

Another quality the 1985 film has going for it are the powerful characters. D is a man frustrated with his identity (a half human and half vampire who has to deal with his possesed left hand constantly and wryly reminding him of his true nature) and struggling with the possible love of the female protagonist. Doris is a damsel in distress (albeit a strong one) with the responsibility of caring for her brother and the humiliation of being shunned by her hometown for being bitten by the Count. Doris also has to understand that she cannot ever have feelings for D, because D cannot repress his vampiric lust. The Lee family looks at themselves as noble yet they are gravely ignorant of their ancestors true beliefs. Count Lee is a near 10,000 year old vampire overridden by boredom, resulting in his turning to "having fun" with human women every hunderd or so years. Lee's daughter heavily follows her father's mistaken belief of humans being nothing more than livestock (leading to a pounding realization later in the film). Lee's henchman Rei Ginsei is a mutant with strange talents, who wants to be accepted into the house of Lee so that he isn't looked at as scum. Supporting the main characters are Dr. Ferring the town's humble doctor who tries his best to stand up for Doris; and Doris's brave younger brother Dan who looks up to D as a role model and tries to shape himself into the same kind of person. The problem with the characters in "Bloodlust" is that amongst the main characters of D (suffering from similar issues in the original film), Leila Markus (haunted by the past of her dead mother during her childhood), and Charlotte & Meier (their yearning to share their misunderstood love for each other), there are various supporting characters such as the Markus Brothers (hunters with no real past besides a reputation), the monstrous Barbaroy (ditto), and the bloody Countess Carmilla (the evil spirit of a vampire who aids the couple, with an agenda of her own). This "supporting cast" doesn't really seem to have a point, other than to be killed in some way by D or someone else. The story of Carmilla in relation to D seems to be a plot hole that isn't exactly explained.

Before comparing animation, I will first say that "Bloodlust" has some of the most vivid and gorgeous visuals I've ever seen in any anime and it would be no comparison as to which one is of finer quality. However, the art style and tone of the 1985 film is much more representative of the type of story being told. The original film is very dark, eerie, mysterious, a bit more of the macabre. "Bloodlust" however has many bright scenes, and seems much less dark and much less serious (a small tidbit that will soon be covered), this takes away very much from the dark nature and intention of the title character and the genre. The music shows this too: In "Bloodlust" it is very theatric, and over the top, whereas in the original it is subtle and foreboding.

Although this quality of the 2001 piece is less outward than the rest of what I have mentioned, it is nonetheless remarkable. There is a very evident Americanization of a story of Japanese origin within "Bloodlust" and the genre its story represents. As mentioned before the tone of "Bloodlust" is often times comedic and more action oriented than horror, which takes away heavily from the dark nature of the Vampire Hunter D mythos. What is characteristic of American horror is that even in the darkest tales, there is usually someone or something there for comic relief (go figure, evidentially "Bloodlust" was originally recorded in the English language). D's left hand is reduced from a dark entity sardonically reminding D of his true self to a sort of wise cracking sidekick.

The whole point of this was not only to review a great film I am a huge fan of, but to point out why I view this film as wholly superior to a 2001 film that gets more praise. In regards to "Bloodlust", I think it's a great film with a lot of potential that simply went to waste. Many people hide behind the fact that it's so stunningly animated, but "What's a good looking plate with nothing on it?""
VERY COOL MOVIE...
Knyte | New York, NY | 09/25/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I first saw Vampire Hunter D one random Saturday evening on TV in 1995 and loved it. I couldn't believe that I was actually getting to see an anime flick on `mainstream' television; it was the coolest feeling, and the best feature-length anime film that I had ever been exposed to at the time. In addition to the action, adventure, mystery and suspense in the film, I especially enjoyed the themes of mixed-race heritage that this film explored. I had never witnessed a work of animation that so intriguingly dealt with the societal complexities of being biracial. D (the main character) was `vampeel', meaning he was half-human, and half-vampire. D's dual racial heritage allowed him to function in daylight, while retaining the supernatural powers that full-blooded vampires enjoy; in other words, 'vampeels' like D enjoy the best of both worlds. However, it is D's constant inner-battle between his vampire and human sides that force him to stay away from humans (to avoid temptation) and to battle evil by slaying vampires. D is a lonely figure.The vampires in the film are cast as an evil, yet noble race in a twisted sense. Count Magnus Lee (the supreme villain) is a gray-haired, `Blake-Carrington-from-Dynasty-type' vampire who is supremely powerful. His daughter Ramika is a spoiled, pretty being who thinks she's a full-blooded vampire, and is proud of it. Lee's deadly foot soldier Reiginsei (and I mean deadly) longs to become a vampire in order to attain a status of nobility in his own right. Doris is a human who has become Count Magnus Lee's object of affection to the endless disgust of Ramika who feels humans as mere mortals are beneath vampire nobility. Doris hires D to help her defeat Magnus. The battle that ensues between D, Magnus, Reiginsei, and others is utterly engaging. Vampire Hunter D makes for a great story indeed. Now it is 2001, and a sequel to the original Vampire Hunter D entitled Bloodlust has been finally scheduled for release this fall. I highly suggest you see this film for the first time, or reacquaint yourself with it now. As far as `Bloodlust' is concerned, well...see you at the theatres!Thanks for reading!C.H.R."