Monday, February 9, 2009

Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2002)

"Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust" is an animated movie set in the far-future, about a woman, Charlotte, whom has been kidnapped by a vampire. Vampire Hunter D is a dhampir, or a half-vampire, has been paid to go and find the woman, dead or alive, but he has competition in the form of another group out to collect the bounty.

For those that associate animation with ridiculous anime, morning cartoons, or shows with crude humour, disregard these stereotypes when you watch “Vampire Hunter D”. It’s a serious movie, with quite detailed animation, and it’s scenes vary from gaily-coloured rural villages to dark, foreboding futuristic Gothic castles. It all looks quite well-done. There are a few nods to anime-style fight scenes, with aerial fighting and the like, but it works for the characters involved in the story – a half-vampire fighting a variety of creatures does call for a bit of over-the-top action.

I am quite taken with the idea of vampires in the far-future – as they are immortal, it seemed to be a natural question of what might happen to vampires in the future – and it was interesting to see how the methods of killing a vampire have changed in the far-future. Although D rides a robotic horse, he uses a sword and kills his opponents in single combat, in an over-the-top but old-fashioned manner. The other bounty team have a huge armoured vehicle, and they use a mixture of near and far-future technologies, from knives, bows and explosives, to a person who uses drugs to allow his astral projection to attack his opponents.

The movie was also not afraid to use other fantastical creatures, some of which are devised on it’s own. There are creatures who disguise themselves in the shadows, or shape-shift, for example. There are also the creatures of the Barbarois, with a variety of appearances and abilities, whom are paid to protect the vampire. It’s ideas like this that elevate “Vampire Hunter D” from one of many vampire stories to something that is far more memorable and original.

Vampire Hunter D has a great central idea of using the traditional mythology of vampires in the far-future, which does provide for an extremely interesting setting. It also brings in it’s own ideas for fantastical creatures, which I did enjoy. It’s well-animated, with lots of gratuitous fight scenes, but it does fit in with the setting and storyline given in the movie. I recommend the movie for those whom would like to see a different take on the traditional vampire and it’s setting. 4.5/5.

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