A few months ago when Kenny, myself and some others were at Anime Boston, we attended a horror panel. One of the prizes I manged to win was the light novel of Vampire Hunter D, which I read a few chapters of and have really enjoyed. The series follows an immortal dhampir (half-vampire, half-human) named D who is of massive power and ancient age this all takes place during
The Dark Age of Technology 12,000 A.D. or so, some 10,000 years after a nuclear war that brought about mutants and the rise of vampires (also known as Nobles/Nobility). After listening to Dan from Game Grumps, I’ve been itching to pick up watching the anime. Some researching found that there was actually not a series but two movies created, one back in 1985 titled Vampire Hunter D, and a newer one in 2000 called Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. Surprisingly I found both on YouTube and proceeded to watch the first movie, which was to say the least a rather standard 1980’s anime movie both in artwork and plot. The sequel however was considerably better albeit still a bit dated by today’s standards.
We start out seeing D walking along into the ruins of a Wild West looking church, with numerous men armed with rifles trained on him as he enters. Here, he is hired to seek out Charlotte, the sister of a local affluent man, and given $500,000 for a down payment and after negotiating with Charlotte’s father, gets a bounty of $20,000,000 to return her, or see to her swift end should she be turned. As he turns to leave, he’s informed that there is another group of hunters, known as the Marcus Brothers who have been sent to hunt the vampire who kidnapped her, Baron Meier Link. The Marcus Brothers are actually a group of hunters with their special skill sets, Borgoff, their leader and master bowman, Kyle, a man who is rather proficient with spinning blades, Nolt, a massive man with a kick ass spiked hammer, Leila a beautiful blonde pistolera, and Grove who is physically a sickly and bedridden man. Coming across the aftermath of the Baron passing, they are attacked while riding around in their bad ass APC of vampire hunting. After finally gaining a lead, the Marcus Brothers proceed to decimate the zombie/ghoul horde and encounter D in all of his moon lit badassery. Leila proceeds to race off and follow after him on her mono-motorcycle and the rest of the Marcus Brothers proceed on the trail of Meier, costing Nolt his life.
We then find the cause of Nolt’s death is a trio of mutant mercenaries named Barbarois, whom D begins to square up against. Before the fight however, Grove is revealed to be a psychic who’s mental form is a happy little floating image that shoots numerous beams of death. Seriously, this dude alone going through and smoking the mutants like they were joints at a Bob Marley concert was just freaking amazing. Of course D is no slouch either so he raced off after Meier, finally finding him during the day while Charlotte comes out and it’s confirmed that she is in fact in love with him, which hits home for D. During this time, the damage done to the Marcus Brother’s vehicle by the Barbarois immobilizes it and Leila races off while the rest fight off and defeat the shadow ninja mutant, Benge who killed Nolt earlier. Leila interrupts the conversation between D and Charlotte by nabbing Charlotte. The remaining Barbarois jump in to retrieve Charlotte and combat Leila and D, leaving the shapeshifting Caroline seemingly defeated and D trying to dig a hole to bury himself to recover from sun sickness (a lessened but still serious weakness to sunlight inherited by his vampire half).
After Leila combats and defeats Caroline permanently, D awakens and the two have a heart to heart, revealing that Leila has lived her life in fear of dying after her mother’s end at the hands of a vampire. D, also concerned that he might not make it to the end of this hunt, makes a pact with Leila that the one to outlive the other would lay flowers at the deceased’s grave. This means a significant amount to Leila, who is convinced she would die alone and unmissed, hence her choice of profession. Meanwhile, Meier and Charlotte race off to the castle of Countess Carmilla, a fabled bloodthirsty noble who supposedly was ended by her father after her violent tendencies became too much. Kyle and Borgoff strike at the carriage while planting explosives on a bridge to trap them. The final Barbarois, Machira, is revealed to be a werewolf and dispatches Kyle and nearly does the same to Borgoff, who barely manages to survive his trap backfiring (literally).
Finally Charlotte and Meier arrive at the Castle of Chaythe, where they are greeted by a happy and positive Countess Carmilla. As D, Leila, and Borgoff and Grove arrive, they along with Charlotte and Meier are assailed by visions leading to the death of Borgoff and Meier and Charlotte being mortally wounded. D manages to cut through and swiftly realizes that Carmilla’s ghost is the one inhabiting the castle and attempting to resurrect using Charlotte’s blood. Her magic is overwhelmed by D as he finally begins to unleash the might of his vampire half, to the horror of Carmilla who realizes D is a truly powerful and frightening entity. Unfortunately Charlotte has met her end and D, in his goal to return the body, is at ends with Meier who begins to fight the now re-restrained D. Leila, sickened with the sadness and fighting in front of her, throws Charlotte’s ring into the midst as a compromise, and D spares Meier at the last minute. As D and Leila leave the Castle of Chaythe, they see a rocket ship shooting off with Meier and Charlotte’s body and Leila cheers them on to break free of the planet and leave the depressing world behind. The movie ends with a still young D at Leila’s funeral, leaving flowers on her grave. Unlike her initial prediction of dying alone and unloved, she ended up having a great amount of loved ones, including a granddaughter who noticed and recognized D. The movie ends with D riding off and a beautiful sight of green hills with trees and flowers abound.
While I think Dan may have oversold the series, especially considering the first movie, I felt it was a solid showing. D is never portrayed as overpowered like Alucard, or perfectly gentleman-like like Sebastian from Black Butler. He is a stoic, cool, calm, and collected vampire hunter, who combats his daemons, and while he makes a fight of that internal struggle, never loses to the thirst. I found the movies to be great, especially Bloodlust and I look forward to reading more of the light novels because honestly, they take place so far apart, you’ll can even watch/read the media out of order and still get some good story telling out of it.