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Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust

Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000) Movie Poster
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  •  Japan / USA  •    •  103m  •    •  Directed by: Yoshiaki Kawajiri.  •  Starring: Andrew Philpot, John Rafter Lee, Pamela Adlon, Wendee Lee, Michael McShane, Julia Fletcher, Matt McKenzie, John DiMaggio, Alex Fernandez, Jack Fletcher, John Hostetter, Dwight Schultz, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn.  •  Music by: Marco D'Ambrosio.
        Thousand of years in the future after the Vampires ruled the world, they have been reduced in numbers by fearless bounty hunters. One such hunter is D, the halfbreed son of a human mother and vampire father. When a girl from a rich family is taken from her home by the vampire Meier Link, her father contracts both D and the Markus brothers (a rival group of hunters) to race to retrieve her.


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Image from: Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000)
Image from: Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000)
Image from: Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000)
Image from: Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000)
Image from: Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000)
Image from: Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000)
Image from: Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000)
In the distant future, vampires that once ruled over mankind are slowly dying out, killed by Vampire Hunters for money. One hunter is especially feared, a dunpeal half breed both Vampire and Human yet something much more. His name is "D". As our story opens, a powerful vampire lord named Meier Link kidnaps Charlotte, the daughter of a wealthy family and Vampire Hunter D is hired to get her back. This time however, he's got some serious competition in the form of The Marcus Brothers, a team of cybernetic enhanced vampire hunters who are determined to get the bounty even if it means taking out the competition. But as D learns more about his quarry and his competitors, he starts to see that things might be much more than they seem.

Based on the 3rd book of in the Vampire Hunter D novel series "Demon Deathchase", Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust(which is the 2nd Vampire Hunter D anime film following the 1985 "Vampire Hunter D" movie), is a beautifully piece of work. Through the magic of animation, the world as envisioned by novelist Hideyuki Kikuchi, with its foreboding castle spires, post-apocalyptic deserts, hauntingly dark jungles and rundown villages, is given form.

With Yoshiaki Kawajiri, the master Director behind Ninja Scroll and Highlander: The Search for Vengeance, at the helm, this anime film establishes a new benchmark of excellence in terms of both animation and art. From the opening scene all the way to the end credits, this movie captivates with its stunning visuals. Everything from the realistic looking backgrounds to the attractive character designs is vividly and painstakingly detailed with heavy blacks and rich shadows lending to a dark Gothic feel for the whole movie. Madhouse has pulled out all the stops with the animation, giving a fluidity the likes of which is rare among Japanese anime and a high frame-rate movements to the characters on screen despite the great amount of detail per frame. At no point in the entire movie are there any visible money-saving short cuts so common in most anime.

The story presented in Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust is straight forward and easy to understand, more an action thriller chase movie with romance than a horror movie, going from intense fight sequences to the more subdued character centered moments seamlessly and without losing its sense of pace.

It is weird however that in a movie titled "Vampire Hunter D", its eponymous character, D, is easily the most uninteresting of the main cast. We do get some insights into his inner struggle with regard to killing his own vampiric kin and the forsaking of his own happiness to lead the lonely life of an immortal Hunter, but that is about it. Meier Link and Charlotte's character arc comes across as a little cliché (see Romeo and Juliet forbidden love) but I do appreciate the twist which lent a whole new emotional level to the "powerful vampire prince" stereotype. Even the Marcus Brothers (who are actually 4 brothers and 1 sister) are not your typical Kawajiri "wise-cracking band of freaks to fight the main character"(see Ninja scroll for an example of what I mean). They are portrayed as very human with a strong sense of loyalty and care toward each other, a stark contrast to the distant and stoic D, despite their numerous cybernetic enhancements. This is actually a big change from how they were portrayed in the original novel (in the novel, the Marcus brothers were cold blooded sadistic degenerates who had an incestuous relationship with their sister), and in my opinion, it is a change for the better.

Add in some great acting (I applaud the decision to have this movie's primary language in English as the setting and the characters have western names and appearances.), on par with even live action movies, and a script that even manages to throw in some well placed witty humor(usually in the form of D's talking left hand) without affecting the grim atmosphere of the show, and you have one of the most enjoyable animated movies of its genre.

Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust delivers the goods and would exceed any expectations one would have from a movie of the horroraction genre. An excellent blend of action, violence and science fiction with well developed characters, awesome animation and a strong plot. A definite "must have" for the animated movie enthusiast, Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust has all the makings of a true classic.

Review by xamtaro from the Internet Movie Database.