Sunday, May 30, 2004

Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust

Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust

5/5 Stars

Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Studio: Urban Vision Enterta
Theatrical Release Date: September 28, 2001
DVD Release Date: February 12, 2002
Run Time: 106 minutes

D catching an arrow in front of the moon.Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust is breathtaking. It lives up to the promise hinted at in the first Vampire Hunter D movie, and gives the viewer beautiful animation, heart-pounding action, and a multi-layered and engrossing story. Bloodlust stands head and shoulders above it's predecessor, and further develops both the characters and world of Vampire Hunter D.

The basic story follows D as he once again must rescue a young woman from the clutches of a powerful vampire, Meier Link. This time, however, the story is more complex. The girl's father is wealthy man and has hired a competing team of hunters, the Markus Brothers, to track down and rescue his daughter. The four Markus brothers and their team mate Leila are more than a match for D, with technology that makes them the equal of any vampire. The heated rivalry between the Markus Brothers at times helps and at times hinders their quest to rescue Charlotte from Meier, as he races to reach the safety of the powerful vampiress Carmilla. There's the usual mix of fighting you'd expected as D and the Markus Brothers must fight off the Barbaroy mutants that protect Meier. There's a few hidden under currents, as Leila and D reluctantly help each other, despite her hatred and mistrust of D's vampire half. And there's more than meet's the eye between Charlotte and Meier, who might not have taken her against her will after all...

Meier Link, the vampire.Bloodlust describes even more of the world introduced in Vampire Hunter D, with the same strange mix of technology, mutants, and magic. Many details of D's past remain mysterious, such as where he got his talking left hand, but more is revealed about his past and why he hunts vampires. His father is called the Vampire King in Bloodlust, as was hinted in the first movie, though this always seems to come as a surprise to the vampire's he's fighting. In one touching scene between Leila and D, D chides her for wasting her life hunting vampires, saying, "Atl east you get a life." D's hatred of himself is revealed as the cause of his quest during a conversation with the Left Hand, and during an illusion sent by Carmilla where D must confront his mother. The movie's ending is very touching, as D must always be forced to watch as others love and he cannot.

The Markus Brothers, looking for trouble.Bloodlust is somewhat less violent than the first movie and certainly less gory feeling. This, combined with the superb art, animation, and story should make it appeal to a wide audience. The music also is astounding. It's not your usual anime fare of J-pop, but rather an orchestral masterpiece. The voice acting is also very good, with the Hand played by Mike McShane (from the British version of Whose Line Is It Anyway?). John Rafter Lee turns in a fantastic performance as Meier, adding a great deal of nobility to the character. John Di Maggio (Bender from Futurama) voices several different characters but minor characters. The DVD version is excellent, with a great deal of extras and very nice packaging. The extras include a behind the scenes "making of" mini-documentry, four trailers (including the Japanese and Korean trailers), as well as numerous other little goodies. For the money, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust is a great buy and should appeal to mature anime fans of all stripes.

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust (DVD)

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