Vampire Hunter D (Banpaia hantâ D) (1985)


“Vampire Hunter D” is an underrated movie; sure, it may not rank up there to some with other anime masterpieces, but it will always top my list of the best anime horror I’ve ever seen. Though kind of an obscure animated horror/action classic, “Vampire Hunter D” is one of my favorite animated films of all time and is worth the watch. In the animated adaptation of the manga, we meet Doris, a lonely demon hunter and farmer who lives alone with her little brother. One night while hunting a monster, she meets up with a vampire warlord named Magnus Lee who brands her with his patented vampire kiss of death.

Later, she meets a lone drifter who she hires to hunt down the count before she becomes a vampire. But the hunter’s mysterious past seems to come to play when Doris’s little brother is kidnapped by the dark lord’s evil minions. Now, the man known only as ‘D’ must break the solid fortress of Magnus lee and encounter vampires, demons, and ogres. “D” is still my absolute favorite animè movie of all-time. I’m a sucker for animation and vampires and when you mix them both up into this hot hybrid of an animation flick, things only get good for me. The animation and action scenes are excellent. We get to see some hand chopping, decapitation and a great scene of someone being telepathically thrown against a wall with the back of their head exploding.

My favorite character in this movie would be of course, D. He is a silent, humble, yet ferocious hunter who’s quick with the sword and fast on the battleground. Little is known about his past, and he never fully exposes his true personality–until he gets angry. I loved the character development and interaction with him and his partners, especially Doris’ little brother, who responds to him like a guardian. The chemistry between them all felt natural and smooth, which made this watchable.

One of the problems, however, is that its slight camp which tends to ruin most of the action scenes. For example: ‘D’s hand. We never got an explanation as to why there was a face on his hand that constantly mocked him in battle. One of my favorite aspects of the film is the climax as we get to see what ‘D’ is all about and why all the vamp goons are so intrigued by him. The landscapes are horrifically beautiful. We get a mixture of bright sunny fields and gothic dark castles. The goons are incredibly cool, especially one guy who throws this big blade-like boomerang. “Vampire Hunter D” has been a favorite of mine since 1995, and it is still an exciting horror genre entry.