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Vampire Hunter D
Reviewer: Apatt Seriniyom 12/31/1999

It was the worst of time... set way in the future -- the year 12090 AD to be exact. Earth is infested with bizarre mutants and ruled by snobbish vampire aristocrats. It's clearly not a fun time to be alive. Huntress Doris Ran foolishly attempts to take on Count Magnus Lee and ends up with her neck bitten for her efforts. Enter a brooding, enigmatic vampire hunter, who is for some reason simply known as "D". D is a "dampiel", a kind of semi-vampire, or perhaps semi-human... depending on how you want to look at it. Judging from his demeanor he is clearly a bad-ass, but does he have what it takes to save Doris?

I approached this review with some trepidation, since Vampire Hunter D is a "classic" anime. After showing a marked lack of enthusiasm for two other acknowledged classics "Metropolis" and "Urotsukidoji", another drubbing of a classic anime will probably result in my universal condemnation by the online anime community. Well, I am pleased to announce that I like Vampire Hunter D better than "Metropolis" and "Urotsukidoji" put together. Alas, I still do not think Vampire Hunter D is anything to write home about, so there goes my chance of redeeming myself with the otaku crowd.

On the positive side, the setting of this anime is intriguing -- a cool blend of horror and science fiction concepts, none of that Transylvanian ship full of rats and Victorian ladies in pajamas wandering around graveyards in a trance business. I'm also thankful that there are no melancholic Lestat-type vamps on a guilt trip, which seems to be in vogue at the moment. Best of all, I was quite pleased with some of the ultra-violent fighting sequences, they are so over the top that you either enjoy them or throw up all over the carpet. I chose the less messy option.

Unfortunately the anime is hampered by rather primitive art and animation, which is not so poor as to be unacceptable, but more of lacking finesse... so the OVA fails to score as a visual feast. Both the dubbed and subtitled dialogues are also quite horrendous. For example, Dan (Doris' annoying little brother) says to D after meeting him for about five minutes: "You don't talk much do you?". Hello? the fellow just arrived and got off his horse, is he supposed to immediately banter away like Robin Williams on speed? Dan has more instant observations to make: "Dr. Felingo (a minor character) told me there are two types of quiet men, one is always too busy planning something wrong, and the other believes action speaks louder than words and only speak when necessary. I think you are the second one,". All this after a five minutes acquaintance? So perceptive for one so young! If I was D I would have run my sword through him there and then and ride out of town in a jiffy. Then there's D's talking hand. It's not as cool as it sounds because it talks incessantly like a total dork.

I have some problems with the characterization as well. D is stiff as a board when he is not fighting, and he overdoes that pseudo-Eastwood "strong and silent" type posturing. Why can't these hero types be a little more articulate? The girl Doris and her silly bro also come across like they are somewhat below par in the intellectual department and I found myself rooting for the Count and his team instead. The romance aspect does not work either. Suddenly Doris declares that she loves D, but nothing prior to this declaration gives us a clue why she should feel this way. She appears to love him for no other reason than that it serves the plot (and poorly at that).

Overall though, the above gripes aside, sitting though Vampire Hunter D was a moderately amusing experience. It's one I do not feel is worth repeating but at least it's not a total snore-fest like some "classics" I could mention. Take that as a recommendation if you will.

The Vampire Hunter D DVD has some interesting special features, one is a preview of the Vampire Hunter D Play Station game. Far better though is the "making of" feature which includes interviews with the creative team and vocal actors involved. Also check out Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.

Vampire Hunter D
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Review Title:
Vampire Hunter D
80 Minutes
General Rating:
3 out of 5 stars
Suitable For:
Young Adults
Action, Horror, Sci-Fi,
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