By Brett Mullins
Directed by Toyoo Ashida and Carl Macek
Note: This review is specifically regarding the English Dub, not the original 1985 version. With that being said, I do not think that the original voice work will improve the film tremendously.
In a future world that contains Vampires, demons, and all forms of monsters, a young girl is bitten by the 10,000 year old Count Magnus Lee, a Vampire that rules over the local lands. The girl enlists the help of a Vampire Hunter named D to kill Magnus before the transformation is complete, and she has become one of Lee’s ilk.
Many critics focus on the film’s style of animation calling it ‘dated but groundbreaking for its time.’ As a result of its age, the film has a vintage look that is quite refreshing when compared to the dozens of live action Vampire tales. This, however, should not be the centerpiece for a discussion of this film. This review will moreso concern the poor storytelling techniques, cliches, and non-traditional Vampires.
Vampire Hunter D will likely confuse the audience within minutes through choppiness and not taking time to even hint at what is going on. It’s almost as if the film was constructed in disjointed segments, and the production budget ran short. For example, one scene will end with a trap being discussed; the next scene will show the individual captured. This leaves the audience to pull the story together more or less by themselves.
Throughout much of the film, D is a seemingly one dimensional character; with the exception of his talking face-palm, he doesn’t have much going for him. This is especially true when there is this kind of dialogue: “I love you.” “I know.” I must assume that this is a blatant Empire Strikes Back ripoff!
This film features vampires with some rather strange characteristics. They appear to be more like super-human aristocrats than the blood sucking fiends we all know and love.
Vampire Hunter D was disappointing both from a Vampire and an anime perspective.