The isolation and loneliness as being the result of a union between a vampire king and a human woman--a being called a Dunpeal, someone who can never belong to either side. Strong, powerful and able to resist sunlight for a period of time. The sequel to the 1985 anime hit, "Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust" once again takes us to the adventures of a lone hunter named D. Once again, this lone warrior rides for the cause of the righteous, wielding his sword along with his parasitic hand to hunt and destroy those who prey on the weak. Directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, this sequel showcases better graphics, more fluid animation and occurs in a more advanced timeline. This sequel may not have a more intricate storyline than the original, but no one can deny that "Vampire Hunter D" is insanely cool and entertaining. (the only complaint I have about this dvd by Urban vision is the lack of the original Japanese language track)
In a post apocalyptic future, vampires rule the night but their number is slowly dwindling. D (voiced by Andrew Philpot) is a Dunpeal, a half human-half vampire who hunts vampires and protects the weak. When D is hired to rescue a young woman, Charlotte (Wendee Lee) from the clutches of a vampire named Meier Link (voiced by John Rafter Lee)--his instructions are very straight-forward, find her at any cost. However, D is faced with some competition with the Markus brothers, a family of vampire hunters who has been hired for the same purpose. D must intercept Meier before he can reach the castle of Carmila (Julia Fletcher). He must go through the forces of the Barbaroy in a race against time. D is alone and has not allegiance, save for the parasite who lives in his hand (voiced by Mike McShane); for he is despised by the very vampires he has sworn to hunt and hated by humans for his bloodline.
"Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust‘s" main strength will have to be its gorgeous graphics and the enthralling world director Kawajiri had created. This post apocalyptic world is very enchanting in a very ominous and creepy manner. The architecture is an odd blend of creepy gothic style and almost high-tech designs. The costumes are given the same treatment, the band of hunters led by Borgoff (Matt Mckenzie) uses almost advanced weaponry with their tanks, knives and crossbows; but also has an ancient touch with a VERY big hammer that doubles as a wooden stake. The characters and villains are also very intriguing. Grove (Jack Fletcher) is one hunter who looks very sickly but can utilize his life-force to kill his opponents. Meier's band is also as intriguing as the rest, there's a lycan who has two faces, a woman who can change and control her limbs and one who can move around the shadows. Meier looks like a reject from one of those European vampire flicks--handsome, seductive and scary. Charlotte gives his character some balance, looking the way she does.
Certain elements also give us a hint of this world's way of life. The "Barbaroy" is a band of misfits and ghouls who also have their way of living--acting as a sort of mercenaries. There's a cemetery with vampire undead who look more like zombies than seductive blood suckers. The small town with a small human population has the rules of an olden western town, a sheriff is the main enforcer and there's a blacksmith who can still do this trade for a living. The set designs and characters all have that very ancient gothic feel that blends mysticism and technology.
The animation is quite impressive although I did notice a very minimal use of CGI, much of it are traditional cell animation. The action sequences are full of cool posturing, gore and a lot of blood--limbs are hacked off, heads are sliced in half and there is even a touch of magic in the fights as D confronted Carmila. The music and sound effects are also superb that gives the film a lot of atmosphere and style. The action is reminiscent of the original, and gives us a sense of nostalgia.
The film's story is rather simple and quite frankly, offers very little in the way of twists and turns. The romance between Meier and Charlotte may offer some surprises midway in the film, but this was somewhat overshadowed with the presence of the Markus band. Aside from Leila, (voiced by Pamela Segall) none of them proved essential elements to its story and felt more like minor plot devices to make the movie longer by inducing more action and thrills. It does succeed, but I rather hoped for a more fleshed out D, and his alienation and isolation more delved into. The fact that he is an individual rejected by both sides, but he chooses to protect humans needed to be further developed. His interactions with his parasite (funny that this parasite is abundant with knowledge and only helps him because if D dies, he dies too), allowed for some minor emotion and subtle humor. The film's final scene may be a little too short, and should have shown more emotion than the fact that D is immortal.
Despite some faults, "Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust" is a significant addition in the long list of anime legends. The film is a great movie with all the action with graphics such a leap forward from its predecessor, the problem is that the film has many perfunctory elements in the slow moments. The original film is superior is many ways but at least this sequel proved a great addition to the franchise. I wish there were more character development with D's left hand and its powers. Still, this anime film is highly recommended--it is solid and entertaining enough to ignore its faults. For a half-human, half-vampire Dunpeal, this film isn't bad at all.
Highly Recommended! [4 Stars]
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Based on a series of fantasy novels by Hideyuki Kikuchi,Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlustis a bloody anime adventure. Set in the distant future, the story focuses on D (voice by Andrew Philpot), the son of a vampire and a mortal who has dedicated his life to exterminating vampires. D is pursuing Charlotte (Wendee Lee), who has been carried off by vampire Meier Link (John Rafter Lee). The bounty-hunting Markus brothers and tough-talking Leila (Pamela Segall) are also on the trail. A long, violent chase brings them to the Castle of Carmila the Bloody Countess (Julia Fletcher), where the narrative founders in a series of confusing illusions that lead to an inconclusive ending.Bloodlustlooks better in still images that evoke Yoshitaka Amano's intricate illustrations than it does in motion. The very limited drawn animation clashes visually with the more fluid computer-generated imagery--D's cape billows dramatically, but his expression rarely changes. Fans of such violent anime features asSword for TruthandNinja Resurrectionwill enjoy the no-holds-barred action sequences, but more squeamish viewers will be put off by the beheadings, impalements, disembowelments, etc.Vampire Hunter D, an earlier, more modest feature based on the same material, is a better adaptation.--Charles SolomonCombining romance, gothic horror, science fiction, and bloody action into a dazzling anime production, VAMPIRE HUNTER D (2000) takes the vampire mythos to a new level. This movie is not a remake or a...