Vampire Hunter D

Vampire Hunter D is an old-school classic when it comes to Anime. The story is of a villiager girl (Doris) who takes the fancy of the vampire count Lee. She asks for the help of D, a mysterious vampire hunter who apparently has ties with the vampire lord and vampires in general. With character designs by Yoshitaka Amano (of Final Fantasy fame), this film has a wonderful dark style to it. In fact, there are a number of scenes that are reminiscent of the artists style.

The story itself is fairly simple. Girl gets hasseled by Vampire Lord. Girl finds loner to help her. Fights ensue. Girl gets kidnapped. Hero saves her... You know the rest. While there are a few twists here and there, the story is you basic action flair, except that it's steeped in dark horror influence. In fact, the mythological and horror influence really give a depth to the ambiance of the tale. Without them, Vampire Hunter D would be your classic samurai warrior anime cloaked with vampires.

The action is swift and bloody, showing signs of the classic anime style. Animation is old school at it's best. There are certain scenes in which the lighting is well done to give a dark, cold feeling to the events. In fact, the opening of the tale is a great first act in this dark horror-filed tale. The style of the scenery and characters are done well. Everything about this movie is dark and potentially violent. To be honest, Vampire Hunter D is not for the young. It's violent to the nth degree and there are occasional scenes of nudity and sexual references.

One of my biggest problems with Vampire Hunter D is that the movie easily shows it's age, especially on the DVD release. To be honest, the DVD is horrible. The sound is lackluster and there are more scenes where the animation is way too dark. I can't count how many times I sat there watching, wondering what in the heck was going on because all I could see was the outline of a face. And, in the scenes where there is decent lighting, a lot of the color looks faded or aged. Vampire Hunter D really could have used a serious cleaning up for the DVD release.

If you are a fan of classic Anime, Vampire Hunter D is for you. While it doesn't push the barriers of ingenuity in the story department and some of the scenes (with Doris) feel corny, the action and ambiance more than make up the difference. I just wish the quality of the film was better. Lots better.

- - Vane

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