Vampire Hunter D


Dir: Toyoo Ashida
Starring: Kaneto Shiozawa, Michie Tomizawa, Seiz˘ Kat˘, Kazuko Yanaga

Inspiration here seems to come from a number of sources. The story is traditional vampire; the hero still appears to have dust on his boots from a spaghetti Western; and the setting is ten thousand years in the future, post-apocalypse. D rides into town, saying very little, and sets about saving unfortunately-named heroine, Doris from the lustful ambitions of local vamp, Count Lee (sadly not known as Christopher, but Magnus). While the animation is creaking a little at the seams, as you'd expect from a 1985 movie, the characters and plot help overcome these deficiencies. If anything, the most complex character is Lee's daughter, who wants to stop her father from "despoiling" their blood with this common wench. Like Blade, half-vampire, D also has a bizarre possessed hand that talks. Precisely why is never explained - perhaps the novel series upon which this was based goes into the details, here it's just a puzzling sideshow. Nor does Doris ever really do much, save act as an excuse for some startling blood-letting, despite some nods to female liberation (Tomizawa would go on to fame in series like Bubblegum Crisis, Sailor Moon and Project A-ko) - this is a man's world, and women are kept firmly in their place. Going by one particularly gratuitous scene, that place would appear to be the shower...

C+


Roughly, a vampire slayer
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