Inquiring Minds Want to Know #14

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Yay, for an anime focused question that I can sink my teeth into. That said, I’m happy for you to throw any question my way. As always if you have a question feel free to fill in the survey below and I’ll add it to the list.

I’d like your thoughts on Vampire Hunter D and its sequel.

vampire hunter d
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To be honest, I’ve only seen the original Vampire Hunter D once, a fair while ago, and my memory of it is pretty hazy. I do remember it being interesting but fairly dated looking and I really didn’t like the sound design. Also, I saw Vampire Hunter D after I’d already seen Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust and I really loved that movie.

vampire hunter d bloodlust

That said, a lot of what I liked about Bloodlust was actually present in the original so it is kind of weird that I loved Bloodlust and have watched it quite a number of times but never gone back for a rewatch of the original. On that note at some point I should actually write a proper review of it.

hunter d2

One thing I found interesting about the franchise is that it is technically set in a post apocalyptic future rather than in the past, which allows for artistic licence when it comes to the weapons, vehicles and all manner of items because they aren’t having to stay true to a particular period. A movie like Van Helsing with Hugh Jackman tried to push things with a Q like developer who came up with various weapons but they still had to operate within a known time period. Vampire Hunter D is not so encumbered by reality and allowed to really spread its wings.

hunter d

D is an interesting enough protagonist though his stoic nature makes it a bit hard to get to know him. Speaking most about Bloodlust, I loved Left Hand, the parasite that just babbles more or less incessantly, until D clutches the reign of his mechanical horse more or less gagging him. That this character plays a fairly vital role detecting and eating magic at various points and offering, mostly unsolicited, advice, he helps to humanise D and more importantly keeps things flowing along.

hunter d3

There’s no denying though that even Bloodlust has not aged well looking like something from the 90’s despite its 2000 release date. That doesn’t take away from some great atmosphere, some cool action sequences, and a fairly sweeping narrative that is well worth the ride, but it does make it difficult to justify over more recent films given as cool as Vampire Hunter D is, there’s nothing that makes this a must watch, unless like me you will watch pretty much anything with vampires in it, in which case, definitely check it out.

hunter d4

The other issue I have, as I have with so many anime films, is it all just feels rushed. There are a lot of characters who get practically no development because they show up to serve their plot point and then we are swept on to the next set-piece. When we get to the tragic finale and characters are dropping like flies it is very difficult to care about the fates of so many of them because they just never got enough screen time to make you care. Also, a story this epic really did deserve a significantly longer run time to flesh it out but instead just kept packing things in to its less than two hours and hoped the audience would just go along for the ride despite all of the glorious sequences being built on a very fragile foundation with a lot of gaps.

So, that’s my thoughts on Vampire Hunter D and its sequel but I’d love to know what my readers think of these films so leave a comment, and remember if you have a question be sure to fill in the survey below.

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Karandi James

10 thoughts on “Inquiring Minds Want to Know #14

  1. Bloodlust as one of the first anime I ever saw (yeah, late starter) and I was a bt miffed that it didn’t have a subbed Japanese soundtrack only learning later it was made for the US market, but it did its job in getting me hooked and appreciative of the artistic merits of Japanese animation.

    I saw the original many years after and the difference couldn’t be more obvious in terms of art quality though I recall enjoying the story. I might be so bold to suggest a modern reboot could work for this character…. 🙂

    1. A modern reboot could be very cool. Though I’d probably ask for a Soul Eater reboot first. I got Fruits Basket this year so I’ve decided I might as well wish for all the reboots I want because there’s apparently a likely chance of them appearing one day.

  2. I read 15 or so of the novels (because that’s all my library service had) back around 2013-ish and managed to dig up Bloodlust on a local streaming service in 2017 (since there was a cube-like structure in it and I remember making a joke comparing it to Kado). That said, the movie was dubbed and D’s voice was so low I couldn’t really understand it and had to read a Wikipedia synopsis to understand what happened, while a lot of the novels are “D saves a woman and/or a town and gets no closer to figuring out what’s up with his Father”. Left Hand is great whenever he makes an appearance though.

    I had to Google whether any future stuff was coming because I’d heard there was a new series coming out a while ago. What I was thinking of was the CGI series (apparently called Resurrection) and an associated comic called Message from Mars that has yet to leave Japan.

    1. Are the novels worth checking out? While volumes 1 – 4 seem to be unavailable 5 onward seem to be on easily attainable so I’m wondering if it is worth it.

      1. I guess it doesn’t really matter where you start in the series, but since you’re a fan of supernatural and horror stuff I think you’d like it. In my opinion (since I’m biased towards detailed illustrations), the Amano illustrations make it more than worth the price of entry…the story though, as I’ve noted, is a bit repetitive on the whole.

  3. Vampire Hunter D was one of my first anime, back when it first came out… as much as D is quiet and stoic, I kind of related to that as he kind of personified the introverted. I loved it back then and in a more recent watch, it doesn’t quite hold up but is still enjoyable. Bloodlust stands up better but then it came out later so no real surprise. It certainly a franchise that could command a longer series especially with the mix of fantasy creatures and future tech.

  4. I enjoy both films. I’d agree that the original is dated now, but it still has a charm for me. The music playing during the end credits is actually one of my favourite anime pieces from that era. Bloodlust though I’ve watched multiple times over. It’s a wonderfully executed tale IMO.

    1. At some point I should probably watch the original again but I think I’d really love Vampire Hunter D to get a series today and just see what they could do with it. It is a great concept, great setting, and there are great characters, so really it could be kind of awesome.

      1. There’s been rumblings of another film for a while now, and maybe a second video game too. There are certainly enough light novels for them to adapt for a series if they wanted to too.

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