10,000 years in the future, the world has become a very different place; monsters roam the land freely, and people, although equipped with high tech weapons and cybernetic horses, live a humble life more suited to centuries past. The story focuses on a small hamlet plagued by monster attacks and living under the shadow of rule by Count Magnus Lee, a powerful vampire lord who has ruled the land for thousands of years. When a young girl is bitten by the Count and chosen as his current plaything, she seeks out help of a quiet wandering stranger, D. It so happens that D is one of the world's best vampire hunters, and he takes it upon himself to cut through Magnus Lee's many minions, and put an end to the Count's rule.
Novels, Manga, Anime: Vampire Hunter D was originally a series of seventeen novels written by Hideyuki Kikuchi and illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano (famous for his work on character designs and the logos for the Final Fantasy series) starting in 1983.
Vampire Hunter D was adapted into two separate media; manga and comics. The manga was an adaptation in which Kikuchi hand-picked the artist, Saiko Takaki, began running in 2007, was licensed Stateside by Digital Media Publishing, and is currently ongoing. The comic, whose rights were acquired Devil's Due Publishing (the parent company of Digital Media Publishing) in July 2008, is known as Vampire Hunter D: American Wasteland, and will be written by Jimmy Palimotti (known for writing the Sci-Fi series Painkiller Jane and work on Monolith).
Vampire Hunter D, an 80 minute movie, was produced by Ashi Productions (known for their work on the Sailor Moon S and SuperS movies) and directed by Toyoo Ashida (famous for his work on... well, there's nothing really to speak of here). It was released in 1985 in Japan and licensed Stateside by, in order, CBS Theatrical Films, MGM, Streamline Pictures, and, the current holder of the license, Urban Vision Entertainment.
Story: Doris Lang, the daughter of a werewolf hunter, is out hunting werewolves one night when she is bitten by Count Magnus Lee, who then decides to make her his bride, marking her with his bite marks. She hires a vampire hunter known only as D, who she meets out in the middle of nowhere one day, offering him food and herself to take out the Count and save her from becoming his bride.
...Where to begin with this?
This story is all over the place. I mean, there's a general narrative here, and it's something resembling coherent when it's looked at overarchingly. In execution, however, it is made of WTF. There are sudden jumps from scene to scene, subplots are bought in out of nowhere, and twists are thrown around like they're candy, with all of this having little to no explanation whatsoever. Moreover, the thing just drags, with scenes seemingly added simply for the point of drawing out the movie, which really shouldn't have happened.
I honestly can't tell you what the hell happened here. I was watching this with my anime club tonight, and we just gave up on even trying to understand what happened about a half hour in and just started mocking it mercilessly.
Art: For the 80s, this is halfway decent. The character designs are extremely pointy and detailed, but they're based off of Amano designs, which explains a lot.
However, it has not aged well. Action scenes are done mainly with pulsating lines in the background, not to mention flashing lights that could probably induce epileptic seizures in those susceptible to them. The movie's extremely heavy on the gore, but the way that blood works in this is incredibly stylized and not even close to reality in the slightest. Characters' color palettes will change from scene to scene, far more than lighting should account for. Most notably, the hat that D wears creates a black void in the upper part of his face with only his eyes showing, and it's incredibly painful to watch, especially when it doesn't move even when the lighting does.
There is some nudity in here, however, it's not really all that well done, and it's paired with images of death and gore and such that I'm sure that, by the process of association, if you showed this to kids, they could very easily never ever ever want to have sex ever.
Music: Meh. I didn't notice this much, but it didn't make that much of an impression on me, either. So, we'll say passable.
Seiyuu: As with the music, I didn't notice them that much, but neither did they make that much of an impression on me, so, again, we'll say passable.
Length: This movie just dragged on and on and on; it should've ended at the hour mark, and a good deal of the "twists" could've been cut out, and it would've been semi-decent.
Overall: Don't watch this. It's not worth it, except for mocking purposes.
Exciting, thrilling, mysterious.
This rather old movie, is definitely a masterpiece for it's era. Taking into consideration it's age, you simply can't attempt to compare it to mordern animes, by those standards it falls rather short. But, if you judge it according to the standards of the time it was made, you find a fast-paced filled with action and horror that can easily outmatch many horror movies, be it animated or acted.
You also find in it many aspects of horror, that are fairly common in movies and series following the same genere.
Although to tell the truth, the story had such a fast pace that all the critical scenes didn't have much impact; but at this point one can't do much about so it's best to enjoy it.
Visually, it obviously had a very old style of animation, but neverless it was quite appealing according to it's horror genere. Scenes were constanly repeated, but as a necessity rather as of laziness. So mamy chatacters, scenarios, and places were shown in this movie that is one can infer that they would have had a very hard time keeping up with it.
The music score, was just as old as the movie itself, but it sucessfully gave it the ambience needed for a a horror movie. Maybe not memorable, but rather enjoyable.
And as personal comment, I'm surprised that fanservice and panty shots were already present since then XD
Time to look at a 1985 classic that made a huge impact on the popularity of anime in the US. It is the height of the Cold War and Reagan is in the White house. This was before Akira and Ghost in the Shell and besides Speed Racer and Astro Boy, Americans had no idea what anime was. All of a sudden we Americans see a cartoon with ultra violence, tits, and crazy steampunk nonsense that is never explained. We take one look at this incoherent acid trip and go...FUCK THIS IS AWESOME! This was the birth of the teen and older anime community in the United States. This is Vampire FUCKING D!
Plot and characters: 5/10
The plot is that 10,000 years the future, vampires have taken over the world and human civilization is a mixed up mess of modern technology and 1800s Romanian peasantry. Why? Who the fuck cares!? This is Vampire Hunter D, we don't need no stinkin logic! A powerful vampire lord called Count Lee in reference to Christopher Lee is terrorizing the countryside. A half human half vampire of nobel vampiric birth has decided to side with the humans and take down the vampires. The plot and cheesy voice acting will immediately remind the viewer of the Castlevania games and especially Symphony of the Night. However, this was actually made before the original Castlevania on NES and actually helped inspire the Castlevania series! One bizarre but funny thing in this film is that D also has a hand with a mouth that eats things (now we know where Deidara gets it), but unlike Deidara's, this hand never shuts the fuck up. D at one point even has to threaten to cut it off if it won't stop talking! In the end, D rescues the damsel of course, kills Dracula/Lee and the castle crumbles exactly like in the end of every Castlevania game. Actually the design of the castle as seen from the outside in Symphony of the Night is based on the castle in this movie!
Art and sound: 5/10
The art was decent for the mid 1980s and there wasn't really a high standard for anime at the time. It looked better than any anime Americans had ever seen to that point, so keep that in mind when watching this from a modern perspective. Saying the animation sucks is like watching Fritz Lang's Metropolis or Sergei Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky and saying the special effects suck. It simply isn't helpful to compare to modern standards and you have to appreciate how great it looked relative to its own time.
Don't expect amazing story telling or character depth, but this is a must see for people that want to learn more about anime history and for fans of Castlevania! It is nostalgic, cheesy, and a fun way to spend a boring, rainy afternoon.
I own every Vampire Hunter D light novel. I've read all of them at least three times (it's really easy they're only about 200 pages) So when I saw this movie I spent a good portion of my time going ".......what?"
Story: The story is ok. I felt they spent too much time focusing on the story when it would have been much better for them to use the story to transition the action scenes. They make it a little less complicated than the book, but not to the point where it really detracted from it.
Art: The art is VERY old-school. You have to get over that very quickly or else you're not going to enjoy this anime at all. That old-style seemed so uninspired to me, it wasn't trying to be incredibly original and it wasn't.
Sound: With the old-school art comes the old-school sound effects..again get used to them. I can't say that I enjoyed the music, but that would mostly be because...it's old, it didn't stick into my mind at all as to what it could have been.
Characters: This is where this anime falls incredibly short. Every single character is a stereotype. You have D, the most incredibly powerful vampire-hunter on the face of the planet...and you really know it. He never seems to struggle and in every battle you know he's going to win. Magnus Lee...what can I say about him? I watched the dub...because it was the only one available to me and they just tried to make him the image of Dracula. But my biggest concern was Doris Lee. In the novel she's a powerful woman, she kills monsters too and she does a great job of looking out for herself and her brother. In the movie they make her dependant and very weak, no character for her at all.
Overall: Watch this for the experience. If you've been watching only recent anime, stuff from the last 2-3 years...watch Vampire Hunter D and appreciate how far along this art work has come. After you've watched this, watch Bloodlust.read more
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