Director: Toyoo Ashida
Written By: Yasushi Hirano
Based On: Vampire Hunter D volume 1 by Hideyuki Kikuchi
Studio: Ashi Production
Original Release Date: Dec. 21st, 1985
U.S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23
U. S. Re-Release Date: Aug. 25th, 2015
Format: Blu-ray / Feature Film / 80 Minutes
Genre: Supernatural, Drama, Action, Romance
Age Rating: TV MA
Overal Personal Rating: B
For 10,000 years, Count Magnus Lee has walked the night, sustained by an unholy thirst for blood and an unending lust for human women. But when he tastes the sweet nectar running through Doris Lang’s veins, the Count knows he has found more than his next meal: this is the woman he intends to claim as his next vampire bride. As the daughter of a werewolf hunter, however, Doris Lang is less than willing to step into the thrall of evil. And if she is unable to defend herself from the Count’s nightmarish powers, she is fortunate enough to have found someone who can: the Vampire Hunter known as D. But D is no ordinary man, and signing up for his protection may carry a price of its own.
1985 was a long time ago for many of us for other it seems like yesterday. To have a fan favorite from 30 years ago make its return is something of a wonder. To keep it true to its look and from the video era may not be what everyone is looking for. Granted producing it on Blu-ray and trying to clean it up to add color and richness to it may improve the quality a little bit, but overall I wouldn’t say that the new version is much different than the original VHS version.
The story itself is a derivative of a classic archetype of the tragic hero who is plagued with much of the same weakness that the antagonist must suffer. In this case it takes on a literal aspect that not only helps further the cause of the plot line, but helps saves the story from a glide path into a simple hentai genre.
There is a simple romantic aspect that isn’t realized and if anyone ever saw the classic film Shane they would understand some of the overlapping sub-plot.
Overall Grade: B
Vampire Hunter D is a classic anime that should be brought out every 30 years or so and revisited to understand how the genre has progressed and what some of the complexities from the past really looked like. I know that many of us look back at many of the classics from the 40’s and 50’s and wonder how they ever made it that level of stardom, but one thing that never gets lost in technology is the quality of writing. Vampire Hunter D is written well and layer the ground work for many darker tales after it. This alone should be enough to keep it in the classic anime column, but much of the production of the time was also at such a high quality that it does keep us interested in the story. That aspect is key to any classic and Vampire Hunter D deserves the title.
If you haven’t seen it then you need to check it out. If it has been some time I think the re-visit will take you down memory lane with a smile on your face.