I remember a day when Anime was the hot thing. There was an influx of Anime left and right. Suncoast had a strong selection and even Best Buy was adding a second shelf in their movie section. During that time, there were a few recognized classics: Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Galaxy Express 999, and Vampire Hunter D among others. Any anime fan has probably seen or at least heard of all of these. Now, fans are never satisfied and always want more. Hideyki Kikuchi was also in favor of a second Vampire Hunter D as he felt the first looked a little cheap. In 2000, Yoshiaki Kawajiri brought fans Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.
The Film: 4/5
The Vampire Hunter D movies follow a dhampir (the child of a vampire and human, dunpeal in this translation) named D. D is a powerful and talented vampire hunter in the post-apocalyptic future. In Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, he is contracted by a wealthy man to recover his daughter, Charlotte. A vampire noble, Meier Link has taken Charlotte from her home. Charlotte’s brother has also hired a group of vampire hunters named the Marcus Clan. The Marcus Clan is a group of skilled and highly regarded vampire hunters. They each have their own special attributes, but have worked together to build a resume of getting the job done.
While both D and the Marcus Clan are in pursuit of Meier, Meier has likewise hired a group of his own mercenaries to protect him from the hunters. These mercenaries are deadly mutants: a shapeshifter, a shadow-mancer, and a werewolf. What ensues is a battle between hunters and the mutant mercenaries with heavy losses on both sides. As a result, D and one of the hunters become close and form a close partnership with one another as they continue to pursue Charlotte and face many surprises and twists ahead.
The battles between the two groups are fantastic and imaginative. The artwork is very clean and beautiful. I’ve always loved the variety in the two groups of mercenaries in this movie. The members of the mutant team all have their own unique abilities. The members of the Marcus clan all have their own preferred weapons and way of fighting. As they battle, we see the strengths of each character on display for a fun mash-up of skills and abilities. Those who enjoy the different types of horror movie monsters and creatures are sure to have a good time in the battles.
The animation is very nice and smooth. I find this one to look much better than the original Vampire Hunter D. While certainly busier than the original, I also have always felt like the characters get enough time to shine, for the most part. Likewise, the twists and turns in the plot get enough detail to feel fully developed. The pacing is strong and competent as the whole production shines as a polished product.
Picture Quality: 2.5/5
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust doesn’t have the best transfer around. There is heavy grain and the picture is frequently soft. The dark scenes are often a bit muddy. On the other hand, the colors do look good. While it looks like there wasn’t any good restoration done on this, I wonder how much of that is Discotek’s fault. From what I’ve seen, it might have been due to the source they were given. That said, this is still not a very pretty transfer.
Audio Quality: 2.5/5
Discotek delivers Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust with a solid DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. While this is not the most active track, it is pretty clear. Additionally, the score sounds good pretty much every time it hits the sound space. Unfortunately, all that is on this, is the English audio track. The license owner did not provide or allow Discotek to include the original Japanese audio. Even so, the lack of the Japanese audio is a detractor regardless of who made the decision.
Special Features and Packaging: 3.5/5
Special Features and Packaging
US Theatrical Trailer: ‘Nuff said
US Television Spot: ‘Nuff said
Japanese Theatrical Trailer: ‘Nuff said.
Japanese Television Spot: ‘Nuff said.
Korean Theatrical Trailer: ‘Nuff said.
Behind the Scenes: Talk with various members of production and behind the scenes footage of the animation and scoring.
Storyboard to Screen: Story boards to help see the creative process in the design of the scenes.
Art Gallery: General pieces of artwork of D and other characters from the movie.
Not a bad selection of features. The behind the scenes pieces are nice. Also, it is always nice to get the trailers even if it is just a small addition.
Discotek delivers Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust in a standard Blu-ray case with a nice blood stylized slipcover.
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust Overall: 3.5/5
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust is a rather enjoyable piece of anime. It is a shame that this release has such limited technical merits. Lack of original Japanese audio is a huge disappointment. Likewise the transfer is relatively poor. Unfortunately, it seems that both of these problems might be less Discotek’s fault and that of the company licensing it out. This will probably be the best we get stateside any time soon, so this version is still recommended to get for the movie. Due to the limitations, I have to suggest you wait for it to go on sale or it is available on Amazon for those that wish to splurge now.