Vampire Hunter D
All Vampire Hunter D released episodes
Originally a series of novels about a vampire hunter who is half vampire himself, Vampire Hunter D's first transition to the anime world takes the form of this self-titled OVA from 1985. At the time of writing, the ever reliable Wikipedia describes this OVA as "a cult classic among English-speaking audiences". Amidst the lavishing praise - the effect of which is spoiled somewhat by the clumsy prose - there's a bit which notes that the OVA featured "memorable voice acting performances in both English and Japanese". Now, aside from struggling to recall anyone lauding the original "Vampire Hunter D", I've also watched "Vampire Hunter D" in dub myself, and the only way I would describe that dub as being "memorable" would be to couple it with an adjective synonymous with "shit".Despite being made decades ago, "Vampire Hunter D" looks and feels even more ancient than its considerable age. The action sequences feel stiff and lacking in fluidity; the colours used are so dark that I could barely tell what was going on sometimes. In addition to the low production quality, "Vampire Hunter D" shows its class with opening scenes featuring a girl running around with a skirt so short that it resembles a handkerchief tied around her waist. This enabled panty shots to be taken with ease from any angle, and, needless to say, we're treated to exactly that. Thankfully, the forthcoming tidal wave of fanservice turned out to be smaller than what the opening scenes appeared to promise, although what the anime did contain felt unceremoniously shoved in with little regards to its impact on the mood and atmosphere. But apart from those occasionally blips, the atmosphere of the "Vampire Hunter D" is actually strong for the most part, and is probably the most competent aspect of the anime. The well selected BGM tracks helped; the atrocious English dub didn't.As an anime adapted from an established franchise, "Vampire Hunter D" feels like it's more aimed towards an existing audience. To someone like me who knew (and who still knows) next to nothing about the franchise, the anime feels incomplete. "Vampire Hunter D" clearly has a wealth of backstory regarding the main character D, but not only does this instalment reveal very little of his backstory, it almost seems reluctant to do so. Pity, because what it chose not to tell are what interested me the most. On the other hand, the story it does tell is pretty stale and cliched - especially the romance elements - but still manages to be confusing due to the narrative failing to explain things properly or just deliberately withholding information to keep up the sense of mystery. One of the effects of this is that the motivations of the characters are often unfathomable - I've no idea what they're fighting for half the time. To be honest, I found it hard to care too much since all the characters except D himself are rather bland anyway. As for D... it'd be nice if the anime told us ANYTHING about his past instead of just being a gigantic cocktease.Since "Vampire Hunter D" is so tight-assed when it comes to backstory, it's only a prequel in name to the "Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust" movie which came out in 2000. The reason I bring this up is because that movie is superior to this OVA in just about every way. So if you're interested in the franchise, you could just skip this OVA and go straight onto the movie because, honestly, you're not missing much here.
Vampire Hunter D, is about D a vampire hunter coming to a small town to safe it from an evil vampire and his many minions. The animation and sound is typical for its time, was made in 85. D reminded me a lot of blade, with your typical damsel in distress. Some of the minions are pretty unique, while the main vampire is kinda just bleh. Overall this movie is just a fun dumb action anime feature, nothing special and not bad, just average.
\[Old review is old.\] Many will link the Vampire Hunter D franchise to the 2000 film adaptation by Madhouse, but we’re not talking about that today. Instead we’re going back to 1985 to look at the first attempt at an anime film adaptation. Vampire Hunter D is hired by a girl after she is bitten by a vampire, she wants D to get revenge, he fights the bad guys, and that’s it. No really, that’s all. The extremely straightforward presentation of the events they plan out couldn’t be any more boring. There’s nothing creative, abstract, or intriguing about it, and the result is just a boring old movie. Scriptural attempts to make a creative story are scrapped seconds after they are introduced. Can we explore D’s desire to be human? Can we develop side characters in surprising ways? Can intrigue from the first five minutes carry on into fruition? Of course we can’t. D himself has a couple of cool moments, but unfortunately he’s bland as a rock and isn’t developed whatsoever. Protagonist girl has to be saved all the time even though it was clear that she could hold her own in combat. All of the side characters where developed way too fast to register, having most of their major changes take place within a few awkward seconds. They were done so sporadically and unnaturally that I honestly couldn’t help laugh out loud at how bad the script beat them up. I don’t remember jack in the soundtrack, but the ending had a cool synth pop song, so at least you get a cheap 80’s tune as a bonus. Usually I’m very lenient on dubs, but this may have been the worst one I’ve listened to yet, with noticeable messy sound edits and a ton of annoying voices. If you can find a subbed version you will be much better off. The one thing I can give props to in the film is the animation, but even that doesn’t go too far. Most of the visuals are too jerky and sloppy to be mentioned, which means the only merit we could possibly get attached to were the cool designs on some fantasy creatures. When you can’t really get attached to the story or characters, weird monster things are probably the next best thing. Granted this thing was made in ’85, but Nausicaä came out a year earlier, so step up your game, anime studios! The film also indulges in quite a bit of pointless fanservice. Every shot of the girl in the intro sequence is a cheap pantyshot, and the film displays its fair share of nips in certain places to keep the viewer from falling asleep. Even though I can argue that the viewer is welcome to snooze at anytime without missing anything worthwhile, a couple of nude shots in severe desperation are always a foul mark in my book. Overall, Vampire Hunter D is boring. Even bad films come with the joy of being perplexing to behold, but this movie couldn’t provide even that. It might interest those looking for a little vampire journey, and they might even find a few surprises, but I definitely don’t see myself watching this again in the future. Even if vampires are totally your thing, Madhouse has a much better film waiting for you fifteen years after this one. <u>Vampire Hunter D (1985)</u>\: 2.8/10
Vampire Hunter D has become a cracked stepping stone. Time has taken its toll; it is predictable, clichè, and *uninteresting*. D is bland, underdeveloped, and overpowered. The villian amounts to little more than a finale for the plot, while the female protagonist is next to useless in the plot, despite being written as a strong character. I'd recommend this as a history lesson: something to educate yourself with, but will ultimately put you to sleep.
Critic’s Log - Earthdate: October 23, 2013. Review #62: Vampire Hunter D Vampires are very popular in horror stories. Some stories are effective, some aren’t. Either it’s irresistable, or it’s a total shlockfest. Either way, it will drain your blood and energy and time depending on what you see. Here is **Vampire Hunter D** In the year 12,090 A.D, technology and the supernatural have overtaken the world. But thanks to the overzealous ambitions of man, the world remains desolate and oppressive. What's left of the human race is divided into various towns and cities living in utter fear of vampires who compose and exist as the Nobility, fending off the monsters and mutants as a result of their existence. On a night five days after the Count Magnus Lee had harmlessly tasted the blood of Doris Lang and chosen her to be his next wife, she hires a vampire hunter by the name of 'D' to rid her of ever meeting a terrible fate.. As a dhampir (half human, half vampire), there exists a distinct resentment between the hunter and his prey. But as the Count finds out, there is also a peculiar secret behind the past of the Vampire Hunter D. To be technical, this is an Ashi Productions… production and I want to point out that Ashi Productions is now called Production Reed as of current. With that said, I can point out that the animation is pretty old in this one and it’s pretty damn obvious. It also could have been a little better. It’s not all that good, but you know what. I almost don’t care because this was one of the first anime films that was brought into America. This might not be a big deal for those that live in a different country than the United States. Since I reside in the U.S. I will say that this was quite a big deal for my fellow American citizens. The animation can be considered old-school, so this may not be such a problem. I actually kind of like the animation in this movie. Oh wait, it’s an OVA, what?. I still consider it to be a movie. Anyway, It hasn’t aged well, but it may hold some appeal for those that want to see something that’s old-school. The music by the late Noriyoshi Matsuura should have some recognition. It may not be too memorable but it’s does help with the dark atmospheric tone of the movie. It may not sound like it fits in a horror movie, but the fact that it takes place in 12,090 A.D. It actually may have a fitting sound when it comes to the soundtrack. As far as outside the movie, it’s a take it or leave it type of soundtrack. There really isn’t much I can say about the soundtrack except for it’s effect on the atmospheric tone in the movie. There is a specific tune in the ending where I swear it totally sounds like the ending theme to a Final Fantasy game. Which brings me to note something special about this movie. The character designs in this movie are done by Yoshitaka Amano. You are probably wondering why I am making this sound like it’s a big deal, that’s because it is. You see… Yoshitaka Amano has done some designs for some anime series. He also illustrated some light novels as well as the Vampire Hunter D light novels, but he is also very recognized for his character designs in the very popular RPG series Final Fantasy. I actually really like his artwork and style. He is simply a very interesting artist in the art medium. His art designs are worthy to look at. When it comes to the voices, the following is going to sound pretty obvious. The Japanese cast is casted pretty good in this one. D is played by the late Kaneto Shiozawa and I am really liking his voice which is kind of sad considering he passed away back in 2000. But anyway, the voice is terrific for D. Michie Tomizawa is pretty good as Doris Lang, Ichiro Nagai is ok as D’s Left Hand, Satoko Kito is okay, and Seizo Katou is alright as Count Magnus Lee. There aren’t any noteworthy seiyus for the supporting characters so...Moving on. With the English Dub, there are some recognized voice actors in this one, but this was their early days so don’t expect a fantastic dub because of this. Michael McConnohie is great as D surprisingly, and Barbara Goodson is decent as Doris Lang, but that’s pretty much it. Edie Mirman is a little off as Lamica, and the late Jeff Winkless does fit the corny role as Count Magnus Lee, it really is a corny performance. I don’t know what else to say about that. Steve Kramer is pretty decent as Dr. Fehring, and even Kirk Thornton is in this movie...voicing D’s Left Hand, and the performance isn’t all that great though, I will say that the name’s I just mentioned have had better roles later on after Vampire Hunter D. However, there is one thing that bothered me about the dub. The first thing is that there is some music in the Dubbed version where the original did not have any music. This gives me the impression that what I was hearing was a simplified tune that added for American audiences, This serves no purpose whatsoever. Secondly, The ADR direction is a mixed bag and this has nothing to do with the voices, but the changes made to the original script. Ray is a fine example. In the original Japanese, he was a bad guy but honorable. In the Dub, he is immature, obviously evil, and very bloodthirsty, which was not staying faithful to the original script to this one character. But regardless of that, The Japanese cast is a solid listen, and I also recommend the dub as well for a completely different reason. Because the movie feels like a Horror B-movie. The reason I just said that is because the characters don’t really develop too much in this movie. D is kind of one-dimensional and not fully fleshed out, Doris Lang has some development and not a bad character, Lamica is pretty decent, D’s Left Hand I hear is not that faithful to the book. , Greco is kind of a stock character with his intentions in the movie, but if there is a character that is such a cliche is Count Magnus Lee, if you have seen plenty of vampire movies or have seen enough to grasp the norm of Vampire stories, Count Magnus Lee is your typical vampire villian. Ray at least is interesting in the movie. Here’s what does not bite. The story, I really don’t know how to explain it except that it leads up to the third act. This movie is surprisingly not directionless, and this is coming from the guy that directed the Fist of the North Star anime who happens to be the late Toyoo Ashida. However, the writing is disappointing. The story is not that interesting to begin with, but is it still worth looking into? That depends. I say No because there’s nothing new when it comes to Vampire fiction and it also feels like a commercial for the manga. I say Yes because it was one of the first anime films to be brought in the United States, I’ll say it again, if you live in a different country, this may not be a big deal for you. It has garnered a cult following because of it’s history in the U.S. Another reason I say yes if you are used to B Horror movies. If there is one thing I will admit is that the movie had some cool moments. If it’s simple entertainment you want, Go right ahead and bite into this one, If it’s Grade A material you are looking for, don’t get your hopes up. Vampire Hunter D has been available by CBS Theatrical Films and Streamline Pictures, but it is available by Urban Vision Entertainment. The light novels by Hideyuki Kikuchi and illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano is available by Dark Horse Press. With all that said, Vampire Hunter D is recognizable for it’s history in the United States, it has a fitting soundtrack albeit not memorable, but it manages to have ok animation and ok characters, but it does suffer with a story that doesn’t really offer much and it’s just an average movie that is both simple entertainment as well as a special one for Americans. I give Vampire Hunter D a 5.5 out of 10. it is SO and SO! Feel free to leave a comment.
Theme Song Performance
Original Character Design