Anime Meta-Review


Vampire Hunter D


By Date




Title Info

  • type: movie
  • grade: watchable
  • Other elements of this title:
    • This title has been commercially released in Australia.
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Recently, but I didn't record the date.
  • mod: none

I watched this movie for all the wrong reasons. The Anime Movie Guide listed it as one of the 10 worst anime movies. Sadly it failed to fail me, and seemed reasonably watchable to me. The story considers a very strange world full of technological artifacts existing side by side with magic and monstrous beasts, including vampires. This seems to have pushed civilization back to the level of dark ages social structures although this aspect is never explored. In this case the local vampire lord has awoken and decided to go courting the local lasses in the charming and hospitable manners of vampires everywhere. Things look hopeless for the spirited young woman, the towns people desperate only to get her away from them, when over the hill rides a lonesome cowboy... ooops, make that vampire hunter. He's dark, he's got that ol' gothic thing going and, best of all, he's here to kick some vampire butt.

What this means in practice is a lot of fighting between the vampire lords followers, the vampire hunter and a whole bunch of other characters with their own violent desires. The first problem is one shared with most other vampires movies, which is that if you don't find the whole vampire mythology interesting this isn't going to be much fun. All you are left with is a lot of magical fighting and some very strange scenery, since the story is largely only support for the action and some exploration of the vampiric condition.

And sadly this is where the production values come into play and deal the movie a heavy blow. The movie clearly wants to be richly atmospheric and visually impressive, but the dated production just can't manage to achieve what it aims for. Experienced critics tend to go on about how much prettier the manga looks, so perhaps it seems even worse given that background. Regardless the animation is fairly flat, with some of the `scary' scenes looking terrible and the closing `epic' animation embarassing. The limited character animation and palette also reduces from D's attempts to get the gothic ambience going (although the vampires daughter makes a spirited attempt). The action is likewise restricted by the dated nature of the animation, which considering how much of the movie it dominates is not a good thing. And, a final blow where none is needed, the voices on the dub are not great and the production is so unsubtle it damages the mood the movie is trying so hard to build (and they sound familiar, not the macross crew again?). Of course if you really love the whole vampire schtick, and don't expect too much, this isn't too bad a movie and is reasonably watchable.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:26 WST 2009