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

Vampire Hunter D:  Bloodlust


Picture:  B     Sound: B+     Extras: B     Film: B



The original Vampire Hunter D is a classic animé film.  So it is always hard to surpass a classic.  Bloodlust is a pretty good second effort for the Vampire Hunter D franchise, directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Wicked City), and produced by the prestigious Madhouse Studios.  Madhouse Studios is one of the leading animé studios in Japan.  The style of this movie is very weird.  You can see glimpses of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Mad Max, and The Good The Bad and The Ugly.  If you mix all three of those together in a bowl you will get Vampire Hunter D:  Bloodlust.  It sounds like a weird combination, but they pull it off pretty well.


The story takes place in the distant future.  The Elbourne family hires bounty hunters to rescue their kidnapped daughter Charlotte.  Charlotte was kidnapped by a powerful aristocratic vampire named Meier Link.  This leaves the Elbourne family hiring professional vampire killers named the Markus Brothers, an eclectic group of bounty hunters all possessing some sort of super power.  They are hot on Meier's tail.  Encountering Meier and his henchmen on many occasions, The Elbourne Family also hires D, The constant traveling vampire hunting dunpeal (half vampire half human).  D is there to make sure that the girl is saved, in case the Markus brothers fail.  The chase for Charlotte becomes a race between the Markus brothers and D.  The person that can bring her back to her family first receives 20 million dollars.  Little do they know that Charlotte has run away on her own power to be with Meier.  The Barbarois are the people who protect Meier and Charlotte from the bounty hunters and her family.  It is an exciting adventure filled with action, strange characters, and lots of blood. 


The picture is fantastic.  Compared to the re-release of the original this is a perfect cut diamond.   This time, the film is transferred in an 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen form that looks terrific.  There are no image defects or blemishes of any kind.  This is a very dark film, but though the Video Blacks are black, they are never muddy.  When there is color, it is also amazing.  I wish all anime films were transferred over at this high level of quality all the time.  The animation was beyond my expectations.  It is amazing to see how far anime has come in just the past 18 years.


The sound is very clear and mixed very well.  It is only offered in a Dolby Digital 5.1 AC-3 surround mix, developed at Skywalker Sound.  Skywalker Sound always does quality work, so you know that it is good.  I don't think I have ever heard a bat flap its wings and sound so vivid.  There is no Japanese language soundtrack on this disc.  The only version here is in English.


There are a few extra features on the disc.  All in all the extra features are pretty average.  You get an interesting 23 minute making of featurette, which gives you a behind the scenes look at the movie, plus interviews with cast, animators, crew members, producer, and director.  I always enjoy seeing a behind the scenes of an animé film.  You also get to see some of the early animation and artwork. Storyboard-to-film comparisons, though I always find story board to film comparisons to be very boring.  Well nothing has changed here it is very boring.  Last but not least are multi language (English, Korean, and Japanese) trailers of the film.  The extras are alright but they are nothing to write home about. 


Vampire Hunter D is a big name in the animé genre.  The first feature film is a classic animé.  It is hard to surpass the original Vampire Hunter D film, but Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust is a good film.  Do I think it is a great film?  No, but it has a good story.  Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust is just not as good as the original Vampire Hunter D for its story, but visually, it crushes the original.  The sound and the picture quality are so good in this one.  The opening scene is my favorite scene in the entire movie.  I wish that every animé could be made with such a high quality standard as Vampire Hunter D:  Bloodlust.



-   Ryan Higgins


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