Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000)


I loved the original “Vampire Hunter D,” I remember watching it for the first time with my jaw hanging down, drool and some snot hanging down. So, I was obviously excited to see this, and after I popped this bad boy into my DVD player, I was not disappointed. I was weary about the new design for Vampire Hunter D at first, I wasn’t sure what was wrong with the original design, but he looks so much better here. With a design that Universal ripped off in 2004’s “Van Helsing” he’s just so stylish here with a beautiful costume that not only acts as a shroud but protection from the sunlight and they make his vampiric appearance better here with a white pale face and just a cold exterior that makes him such a great character to watch.

This explosive and beautiful sequel to the first is right at its level with this sequel starring the legendary vampire hunter named D, the dhampir (half man/half vampire) who is back on his own on his horse and ready to slice some vampire tale with an all new groovy design including darker clothing, smoother design, pointy ears and a pale face ala his vampire heritage to emphasize his vampire background and so much more. In the second tale, D has been hired by a village aristocrat and his overprotective son to find their missing daughter Charlotte whose been kidnapped by the powerful vampire lord Meier. He’s been given over a million bucks and agrees, but there is one consolation, he has to compete with a group of bounty hunters who have also been hired and are already on the hunt for her, the Markus brothers, a band of family hunters who drive in a super pumped vehicle killing all sorts of creeps and creatures.

They’re very ruthless and will stop at nothing, now D must find Charlotte before the vampire lord turns her into one. The original film revolved around different characters as well as D, and here it’s basically the same thing with D contending with the groovy Markus brothers, three new characters who gets some spotlight in the story who wield some great weapons and take thrill in hunting down vamps, with them are the rogue hotheaded Leila, and the odd character Grove who is bed ridden and skin and bones but has a great power to emerge as a ghost like apparition and destroy monsters whenever he injects himself with a green fluid, all of the film revolves around these characters including the great Meier, the powerful vampire who I like better than Count Magnus Lee from the first film and Charlotte his love interest who’s caught between her family and her lover.

All of which happen in very interesting intertwined sub-plots, most of all D who watches from afar awaiting his chance to enter to get his bounty along with his sidekick (so to speak) “Left Hand.” The enigmatic character element from the first film is back again serving as D’s conscious and sometimes rival who talks to D throughout the film advising him, warning him, and taunting him into submission. D never flinches, and while he’s still an interesting character aspect, I’d still like to wonder what he is. What works here is the way the writers pay homage to westerns here by including a lot of great scenes reminiscent of westerns including the fight with D and Meier aboard a horse and carriage, the old fashioned saloon scene with Leila, and the bandits a la the Markus brothers, now that’s some good stuff.

The animation is just beautiful with very smooth glimmering movement and motion that surpasses the original, along with such grim dark settings like the graveyards, and the dark ghettos which give this the boost it needed and it has plenty of franchise potential. Unlike the original, though, there are no scenes that stay down and grounded, there’s a lot of things going on at all times and we never get the chance to just settle into our seats. The Markus brothers are too cool to be considered supporting characters, so I wish they’d have had more focus and emphasis and gives us a back story. Beautiful animation, exciting, and just as good as the first, one of my favorite characters is given justice with two great movies that just make him one of the most appealing characters in Anime, “Bloodlust” is one fun exciting flick.