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Vampirehunter D: Bloodlust

First of, what is it and how is it relevant to the froth?
Vampirehunter D: Bloodlust is a masterful Japanese Anime movie. A must for any fan of Gothic atmosphere in general and vampires in particular. It's potential as sourcematerial for a RPG or Skirmish game is easily perceived, combining romance, gothic horror, science fiction and bloody action. The setting is an interesting one and shows us a post-apocalyptic world which is at times reminiscent of the Old West and the Victorian era. The year is 12.090 AD. This is a world where vampires are a known threat and for a long time it has been theirs to rule. But now their race is dwindling and many vampirehunters have risen to end what they see as the plague of vampirism. One of them is the solitary vampirehunter D...

The tables turned,
The secrets revealed,
And the hunters have become the Hunted.
This is Vampire Hunter D -
and all is not as it seems...

The story:
The story begins when Charlotte, a young woman who's part of a wealthy family is abducted in the night by the vampire Meier Link. Her family offers a huge reward to the person who will bring her back and one of those to answer their call is the mysterious Vampire Hunter D. However, he is not the only one and will have to face the tough competition of the Markus Brothers, a highly skilled team of bounty hunters.

But Meier Link is no fool and sets many traps on the road for those who would pursue him. And it is not all clear whether Charlotte's abduction happened against her will. There is more to this hunt than meets the eye and it remains uncertain who are the pawns and who is the player...

The impressions:
The mood is set from the opening scene where we see rows and rows of gothic crosses flashing by in the night, one by one being bent and distorted by an unseen power. It is only when the camera zooms out that we realise this is not a graveyard, but that the crosses are mounted on rooftops. Down to the groundlevel then, where a black coach races through the streets, emanating a subtile threat. When we finally get to the abduction scene, this is only shown as a reflection in the mirror and vampires cast none... These first few minutes of the movie breathe a splendid gothic atmosphere, one that will be a recurrent theme throughout the movie. For instance, D's entrance on his first encounter with the Markus Brothers must possibly be the coolest any character ever made in a vampire movie. The soundtrack does a good job of accentuating these moments as well.

But this movie is more than just another gothic vampire tale. Many scenes invoke the feeling of the Old West and should appeal to fans of games like Deadlands or Gaslight. There is a good dose of science fiction with the Markus Brothers' armoured vehicle or the fact that all horses seem to be living machines. But these bits are never overwhelming and are more discrete touches than anything else. Another thing that sets this world apart from the classical vampire stories are the weird creatures that inhabit it, from the gigantic sand manta's living in the desert, over the mysterious clan of madmen and mutants hired by Meier to stop his pursuants, to the parasite living in D's body and talking to him through his left hand.

D himself is not your average bounty hunter, but a Dunpeal, born from the union of a vampire and human and blessed with eternal youth, but continuously struggling to preserve his humanity. There have been many movies before exploring the theme of humanity and who is more human, the whole or the half, so yo could say it's running a little on the beaten track, but it never goes too far. And as the parasite tells D in the movie, he's not bad, he just dresses bad.

The only possible complaint is perhaps the fact that there's not much depth to the female leads, but then again I'm not sure if more was required anyway. The level of animation is virtually irreproachable and there are no cheap "filler" scenes. Everything scene looks just as good or better than the last. It is in this point that Bloodlust exceeds the original cult classic "Vampire Hunter D". Fans of the original movie will say the story of the new movie doesn't measure up, while the new fans will defend Bloodlust as the superior movie. Let's just accept that both movies are different in what they're trying to do and keep it at that. Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust is a classic in it's own right and more than "just a sequel".

The official website:
For a large number of independant opinions, visit's customer reviews here.

Technical information:
Full title: Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
Feature Length: 103 min. approx.
Origins: Japan, 2000
Language: English (this is the original version!)
Production: Madhouse Animation Studios & Urban Vision Entertainment
Producers: Mataichiro Yamamoto & Masao Maruyama
Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Composer/Audio Producer: Marco D'Ambrosio
Audio Post Supervisor:- Terri D'Ambrosio
Sound Effects Editor: Scott Strain
Sound Designers: Nick Peck & Larry the O


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