Shaenon takes a crawl through the manga version of one of Makoto Shinkai's beloved films.
Reviewby Allen Divers, Apr 3rd 2002
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
In the near future, Vampires ruled over mankind. The humans of the planet began fighting back, unleashing Vampire Hunters upon their oppressors. One Vampire Hunter stands out from the rest. He is himself half vampire, a dunpeal neither human nor vampire. He hunts vampires for money, and has yet to lose.
Meier Link, a powerful vampire, kidnaps the daughter of a wealthy family. Vampire Hunter D is hired to get her back at any cost. He is not alone: another group of hunters, The Markus Brothers, have also been called in on the job. While fighting the other hunters and the minions of Link, D comes face to face with a nemesis from his father's past!
Based on the 3rd book in Shoji Kawajiri's series, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust takes parts of many popular genres to create an exciting sequel to an OVA released over 10 years ago. Part horror, part western, part romance and part samurai action film, Bloodlust combines the best of each genre to reach the viewers on a variety of levels. In terms of production, Bloodlust takes a different direction by having the English soundtrack used as the base for music and sound with the Japanese track a translation of the English original.
When compared to the original, the animation and artwork take an evolutionary step forward. Instead of the dark and brooding dominance of the first film, Bloodlust presents things in a much brighter tone. Animation production was handled by Mad House, known for their recent work on Trigun. The action sequences are crisp and clean, with a variety of camera angles being explored. The character designs show their roots in the original film, expanding with a variety of new and intriguing monster designs as well as mecha designs. Overall, Bloodlust retains the roots of the original film, but boldly steps forward in its own right.
When taking in the English soundtrack for Vampire Hunter D it is important to remember that it was created first. All the actors are well cast to their roles and do a good job of adding to the overall feeling presented. Being a self-contained story, Bloodlust doesn't really leave any room for character development. That actors' move in stride with this, allowing their characters to come to life as the story unfolds. The soundtrack and accompanying music do a spectacular job of fueling the emotional ride the viewers take while watching this movie. The only disappointment with the soundtrack is the fact that the Japanese soundtrack is not included for comparison. The reasons for the lack of that track are still a bit unclear, serving to disappoint the sub-fans of the market.
The features and extras go a long way in trying to make up for the lack of the Japanese soundtrack. The big feature is a 20 minute featurette on the making of Bloodlust. This feature contains interviews with the production staff, both English and Japanese members as well as shots of various voice actors. Other extras run the gambit of standard releases including: Theatrical Trailers, TV spots, Urban Vision trailers and Motion menus. The more specialized features include: Fans' Favorite Picks, Dolby Digital 5.1, Closed Captioning and Anamorphic Widescreen.
At the heart of any film is the story. Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, being a sequel, has an already established world to work with. This allows the film to work more towards character development and conflict. Of course, there is worry that it being a sequel will make it difficult to follow, but Bloodlust stands well on its own, providing enough information to allow new viewers to keep up.
The story works on a variety of levels, being something different for how the viewer watches the movie. At its heart it is an action film, with chase scenes, fighting scenes and lots of explosions. Next to that is the dramatic subplots of a man struggling with his inner demons and a couple locked in a forbidden romance. These various subplots and almost contradictory storylines meld together to produce a strong film with a stirring plot. The visuals and sound add to this to provide a very entertaining movie.
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust is a strong epic tale not seen in American cinema in a long time. It's strong plot, exciting visuals and excellent pacing take the audience into a very vivid world.
Overall (dub) : A
Overall (sub) : N/A
Story : A
Animation : A
Art : A
Music : A
+ Spectacular follow-up even stronger than the original
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