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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animé Feature Film > Vampire Hunter D

Vampire Hunter D


Picture:  C     Sound:  B-     Extras:  A-     Film:  A



Vampire Hunter D at one time was a very much sought out video.  I saw original VHS copies of this movie on eBay go for $50+ before the DVD reissue of this classic anime.  There is a reason why it would go for this kind of money.  It is because it is one of the greatest anime films ever made.  Originally released in 1985, Vampire Hunter D is considered a classic animé film.  It was one of the earliest animé feature films imported to the United States.


The story takes place in the distant future.  It is the year 12,090 AD.  Aristocrats (vampires) rule the earth and monsters lurk in every corner.   A family that lives in a secluded village is out protecting their livestock one night.  A young girl named Doris finds a monster eating an animal of theirs.  She attacks the monster and is defeated easily.  She is taken to Count Magnus by this monster.  Count Magnus falls in love with her at first sight.  There is only one way that she could be with him forever.  That is to make her immortal. 


She has been marked by the Count.  Doris has been selected to become the next bride of Count Magnus.  When the villagers find out that she has been bitten, she is exiled from the village.  There is only one way to break the curse.  Doris needs a man that can hunt down and kill Count Magnus.  And that man is D.  D is a “dunpeal” (half vampire half human).  He scours the land hunting down the evil beings of the earth.  D has met his match with the powerful Count Magnus.  The count sends every monster and creature out to kill D.  It leads to an exciting adventure on the hunt for Count Magnus.


The animation is a little primitive in this movie.  In 1985, when it was released, it was an amazing achievement for the animators.  The picture quality is average and a bit soft with its 1.33:1 full frame presentation.  It is better than any other format that it has ever been released on, but if you are going to reissue a classic like this you should try to get the best possible quality.  I am not disappointed, because it does looks so much better than my old VHS copy.  I just think they could have done a better transfer to get the best picture possible.  


The sound of this animé is also very average.  It is offered in Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 English.  The Japanese soundtrack is very loud and mixed very poorly for surround sound theatre.  It is real in your face.  The English has better sound quality and is mixed better for surround capabilities.  All in all the sound is very average for a multi-channel mix.  It is a basic Dolby Digital 5.1 AC-3 mix with the usual sonic limits, the show the pre-digital sound age of the film.


There are some decent extras included on the disc.  There is an 80's promotional spot that is a behind the scenes featurette on the making of Vampire Hunter D.  There are also the original trailers, a trailer for the new Vampire Hunter D movie called Bloodlust and character sketches from the artists of the movie.  There is even a preview for a Vampire Hunter D Playstation game.    


Vampire Hunter D is a classic in every way possible.  Good animation, cool characters, dark settings, blood, and fierce battles.  I highly recommend that people see this movie.  Even if you are not a big fan of animé, I think it is very worth your while to see this movie.  I would not let the kids watch this one though.  It is very scary, violent, has brief nudity, and harsh language.  If you ever want to get into the animé genre, this movie is a good place to start.



-   Ryan Higgins


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