Saturday, October 25, 2014

ANI-MOVIES, *Vampire Hunter D

"The first animated movie for adults" was the American tagline for this 80s classic. Based on the lengthy series of Japanese novels by Hideyuki Kikuchi(who also created Wicked City) this film borrowed the original book illustrations by Yoshitaka Amano(designer for Final Fantasy), but went its own direction as far as the look was concerned and made it more into a post-apocalyptic dark western.

Set about 10,000 years after humanity nuked themselves, what's left of civilization is now into strange mix of the old west and the Victorian era, but with laser guns and robot horses. During these dark times, vampires and other creatures of the night have come out of the woodwork to feed off the humans. Some of these monsters have mutated into having strange new powers, so the practice of vampire hunters is kind of a common practice. A pretty young werewolf hunter named Doris is stalked by the vampire lord, Count Lee(who bears a strong resemblance to Christopher Lee). Doris seeks help from a wandering vampire hunter named "D" who is also a dhampir. After several clashes with Lee's hot daughter Lamika and the space-warping mutant Rei, D confronts Lee in a terrifically climatic battle, but not before Lee figures out that D is in fact an offspring, and in typical final boss tradition, Lee's entire castle collapses when he gets axed.

Vampire Hunter D was directed by Toyoo Ashida, whose work on Fist Of The North Star shows up here in some of the gritty fight sequences. This has been recognized as both a movie and an OVA, but most American fans view it as an animated movie. It was first released in America on dubbed VHS through the Streamline Pictures, and years later re-released on DVD by Urban Vision. Although it's been on the out of print listing for a while now, so it's in serious need of a license rescue! Most otaku consider the sequal, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, to be the more superior anime, but you owe it to yourself as any kind of fan of animation to check out this 80s gem.

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