Reviewby Christopher Macdonald
Vampire Hunter D 2000
Ten thousand years in the future Vampires rule the night, once they ruled outright but their numbers are in decline. Vampire Hunters now threaten the Vampires with extinction. The hero of this anime, "D", a Vampire Hunter, is half Vampire himself.
When a young woman is kidnapped from her home by a Vampire, her rich Family hires D to track her down and bring her back. The family has also hired another group of Vampire hunters who have a head start on D.
What follows is a furious competition between hunters to see who will bring the woman back first and collect the rather enormous reward. D and the other hunters are at odds with each other almost as much as with the Vampire and his minions.
Through all this an interesting relationship develops between D and one of the hunters; a young woman who has no goal in life but to hunt vampires and thinks little of half Vampires either.
The plot of Vampire Hunter D is well enough written, however the events which take place in the movie are rather unimportant. A movie of this type would have been far better if the plot was more "epic"; if the events had a major impact on the main character or the world he inhabits. However all this story is about is merely another Vampiric kidnapping and just another job as far as D is concerned. In this sense, this would have made an excellent episode in a series, unfortunately Vampire Hunter D is meant to stand on its own, not as part of a series.
Character development of a personality like D's is very hard, D is the typical strong silent type. Nonetheless Yoshiaki Kawajiri managed to write a script which actually developed D's personality a bit, this is an impressive feat. Some of the other characters on the other hand are very well developed; over the course of the 90-minute film the viewer is made to feel of the characters' grief, misery and pain (the movie is rather gloomy in this way).
.The classical soundtrack may not be for all, however the music does a very good job of setting the mood for the suspense and the action scenes which are periodically sprinkled throughout the film. There is enough to keep action junkies satisfied however the action scenes tend to be very short and cinematographic rather then edge of your seat intense.
Artistically, Vampire Hunter D is a beautiful movie. The characters are very well designed and original, as well as beautifully drawn. The backgrounds are stunningly detailed and the CGI affects are well done so that they flawlessly mesh with the cel animation. In essence there is nothing to complain about in the very fluid and beautiful animation of this film.
The version of Vampire Hunter D which premiered at Fantasia and will be playing theatrically is the English language version rather then Japanese with English Subtitles. While I didn't particularly like all the voices the voice actors were capable and delivered their lines in a believable fashion. Unfortunately they didn't always have the best lines to deliver. With the exception of a few well written monologues, Vampire Hunter D is full of really corny dialog which at times becomes so bad it is either hilarious or painful. Hopefully some of the dialog will be improved during final editing.
Final editing of Vampire Hunter D remains to be done, given a few improvements this could be a very enjoyable film. If you like movies which are a mix of action / drama then Vampire Hunter D is worth the price of admission or rental.
We Have a review of the DVD release here
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