Set in the future, humans are living in fear of vampires and monsters. Doris Ran makes the mistake of entering forbidden territory. While battling with a creature, she loses her crucifix and is visited by a powerful vampire, Count Magnus Lee. After receiving his "kiss", she hires a vampire hunter named D. D sets out to kill Lee and save Doris in the process.-summary
Along with Akira, Vampire Hunter D is one of those old anime titles, where its popularity is based pretty much on one thing and that's nostalgia. When nostalgia runs wild, it can definitely cloud ones honest judgment. However, Vampire Hunter D does a decent enough job backing up why it's an entertaining film. But to claim it as one of, or the greatest of all time in terms of sheer quality are heavy exaggerations and borderlines one to complete madness. The works of Miyazaki, Kon, and Shinkai are tough as hell to compete against, and this is more of a fact than opinion.
The movie does have one big thing going for it which is style. I like the mix of sci-fi with the classical Transylvania setting, to include, the monsters and flesh eating beast that roam the country sides devouring live stock adds to the horror like feel. The plot is well paced and the movie accomplishes what it sets out to deliver, which is a solid action romp well utilizing its horror setting.
Vampire Hunter D does have its problems though, in which, the fans of it love to ignore with a smile; such as undeveloped characters and plot holes big enough to fit the moon through. D is a cool character that screams for more background, but this really isn't a gripe for me any longer, because the mystery actually works here for him, but the characters fill typical vampire roles even for that time. However, for me, Count Magnus Lee overshadows D because I like his drive. His craving just seems too realistic. I will go ahead and refrain from detailed plot issues as not to ruin the movie for those who haven't seen it. Do not take this as me being afraid to back up my argument on the plot holes though.
Although kind of effective for that time, the animation is dated and I can think of several old titles that still hold up well until now, with Neo Tokyo being one of them. As well as one that pre-dates it by six years, which happens to be Miyazaki's Castle of Cagliostro. To my experience, those who favor superior visuals first will more than likely walk away hating this movie. The action scenes can range from just barely ok to brutal, with characters sliced in half to fingers being crushed off. I really don't have a problem with the artwork, but I think the BGM is more hit than miss, and wasn't always used properly, because at one point I can think of, the music was used at the wrong time. One scene that stands out to me happens to be the first appearance of D. While watching him slowly approach on his horse, and completely shrouded with mystery; I think the scene would have been more effective with the complete removal of music, yet, more focus on the sound effects: such as the whistling of the wind, coupled with the slow, eerie, plodding of the horses steps. I believe this method would have only enhanced the style of the movie, instead, it just had a rather bland feel to it, and D really didn't give off an aura as an intimidating figure. But then again that's just me.
Vampire Hunter D is a title that will always be a part of my collection. Even though I respect its cult classic status (somewhat), and find some enjoyment in it. I can't shower it with praise, because it's a very flawed film that I doubt could make a top 50 anime list of mine or even probably 100. I mainly recommend this to die hard anime fans. However, those who need top notch visuals first are better off skipping it.
-Very good setting, action, lead villain
-Plot holes, story issue, most characters have very little depth, dated animation
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The DVD features both English and Japanese language soundtracks with optional English subtitles. It also has a documentary featurette, deleted footage, and an artwork gallery by Amano among its supplements. --Sean Axmaker
Based on the novel D-YOUSATSUKOU by Hideyuki Kikuchi, VAMPIRE HUNTER D follows the exploits of the mysterious vampire hunter known only as D. Half vampire himself (Count...