Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
Directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Review by Evelyn Gildrie-Voyles <firstname.lastname@example.org>
It won't be easy to see Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust in the theaters. It has a very, very limited release. Unfortunately there isn't currently a large market in America for R-rated animated films. Any fan of vampire movies or gothic romance should try and see this film either on the big screen or video/DVD. It is the best vampire movie, animated or live action, I have seen in theaters. It crushes Dracula (both 2000 and Coppola's Bram Stoker's), The Vampire (Interview with and Shadow of) and completely decimates Blade. If you love beautiful animation and detailed character design, search it out in the theaters. It is absolutely gorgeous on the big screen.
Vampire Hunter D (voiced by Andrew Philpot) is a Dunpeal, a half-human/half-vampire, who lives forever as a professional hunter of vampires. At the start of Bloodlust, D is hired by a wealthy landowner to rescue his daughter, Charlotte (Wendee Lee), who has been carried off by the Vampire Lord, Meier Link (John Rafter Lee). The landowner has also hired a team of "high-tech" vampire hunters. D and the other hunters compete to be the first to find Charlotte and earn the large reward. Their conquest is complicated by Link's body guards and Charlotte's love for the vampire.
The animation, character designs by Yoshitake Amano, and art direction by Yuji Ikehata are appropriately gloomy, dark, and eerily beautiful. I particularly like the castles and vehicle designs. The music created for the English version by Marco D'Ambrosia fills out and supports the gothic atmosphere.
I am not usually a big fan of dubbed anime, I prefer subtitles with the original Japanese dialogue. However the voice talent and dubbing for Bloodlust are quite good. Much better than other recently theatrically-released anime that used big name stars rather than seasoned voice actors. (Poor Gillian Anderson just sounded dumb in Princess Mononoke.) None of the actors in Bloodlust are famous, but they are all experienced voice actors and escape the common pitfalls of sounding wooden or inappropriately emotional. Particularly good are Michael McShane, who voices the parasite that lives in D's left hand, and Pamela Segall, who plays the female vampire hunter.
A brief clarification about the rating: In comparison to similar anime available on video, such as Ninja Scroll or Vampire Princess Miyu, Bloodlust is a good movie. In comparison to similar non-animated and animated films released in theaters, Bloodlust is a great movie.
To find out where Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust is playing, visit the official site.
For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
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