Review: Vampire Hunter D

The banter and conversations you can have with workers is wonderful if you can find the right people. And while I’ve had a falling out with my last great employ, they were by far the best in terms of fun. Besides what the business required of me in terms of interacting with the community, I also got to interact with a good assortment of people. One of these was a fellow driver that eventually got smart and became an insider (exclusively making pizza, order taking, shop maintenance, etc.). Of the many things we would talk about which included comics, movies, and philosophy (we ran the gamut), anime also came round, along with appreciation of Vampire Hunter D.

As I mentioned in the past, Vampire Hunter D was quite possibly one of the first ventures I’ve had into cartoon violence and anime in general, so the conversations shared with the coworker obviously struck a chord with me. Especially when he said that the new film was better than the older one. Sure, there was the talk that Vampire Hunter D was originally a novel and more than just two anime movies, but here was a guy telling me a nostalgic film of mine wasn’t as good as the new one. For shame! So I bet the fella the other one was better, and we were going to watch each one back to back to be a proper judge on the matter.

Problem being that neither of us had a copy of either film. So I took it upon myself to find a copy by searching through local stores and…eBay. I’d like to think this was how I got started on the track of eBay addiction, but it was originally so I could buy certain comic books to have my collection not feel incomplete.  Good buys those were as well, though I got a little out of hand after the fact. Still, my DVD buys for Vampire Hunter D were smart because I gave myself a proper budget to work with, which meant it took a few months to get just the right bid. And then more months after the fact, because we were so good at scheduling time away from work, but in the end we had that Vampire Hunter D day, and it was nice. We even got to see Dead Leaves before hand, and if you ever want to see an amazingly crazy film under one hour, this is your film. That’s even shorter than Tetsuo: The Iron Man, which I’ve always thought got film making right: short, sweet, and blows your head off.

But onto the films! The first one was…well, what I thought it would be. The old film which I haven’t seen in a very long time. But it suffered greatly in contrast for my memory. I don’t know what the issue was, but this version of the DVD had incredibly poor quality in terms of contrast. Over half of the time you couldn’t even see what was going on in a scene, and we are talking about simple things like being able to distinguish differing clothing on the body of a person, actually seeing someone’s fist being crushed, and…you know what, just see for yourself. What’s sad is I clearly remember seeing all these necessary details in other versions I saw years ago, and this was a Special Edition Remastered what have you, and it ended up so sloppy. I have half the mind the creators didn’t care what the product looked like on the screen, because fans were going to buy all the same, and they sure did.

It was still the same old Vampire Hunter D, however, and it’s as good as I remember it. The visuals were extrodinary for the time, and the music complimented well. The story was predictable as all hell, but it was enjoyable all the same, spiced just right with the horror of a future alien world. A lot of that was sloppy as well, but that was more a product of the time it was created than of those who published the DVD. All the same, that same sloppily published made for a bad experience, really making me wish I had kept inside my memory. Still a good watch though, and was refreshing to see what my mind saw in the past and what it actually was.

Now Bloodlust. That was a refreshing watch. Everything about this film was top notch, from the animation to the DVD release itself. More so, the story felt stronger and wasn’t as generic as the first. It was not only more solid in all aspects of the script, but we even got to see more of the history of the world and have the mystery unfold, give rise to even more questions. That is everything a new edition to the mythos of Vampire Hunter D should do, and they did it amazingly well. If I had a complaint to give, it would be for the English voice dubbing, because I’m always keen on the original Japanese audio, which the animation is made for to begin with. But the jokes on me, because the English voice dubbing was the original dub of the film. And sure the violence has been toned down in comparison to the original, but violence does not a movie make, and what violence they did have was handled very well.

At the end of the marathon, we played some PS3 games and I called it an early night for me. All and all a good time, and I went home with my copy of the original Vampire Hunter D and my coworker got Bloodlust, the victor of the two films head to head. This is not to say it wasn’t a good film, because it is. It was a star of filmmaking and anime, sparking a rush for new content to be put out. But like the Nostalgia Critic puts it in his Old vs. New: Karate Kid review, the film that is put together better is the superior one, and I take my hat off to Bloodlust. If you need something a little more in-depth, check out the DVD review by Zaranyzerak, a talented and DVD minded fellow over at YouTube. I’ve said my fill.

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