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Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust
Distributor Optimum Asia
Date 13 Oct 2004
One of the most eagerly awaited releases this year - ever since Bloodlust was made everyone was wondering which UK company would pick it up. I don't think anyone really expected it to be Optimum Asia, but they have done a fine job with it.
Bloodlust tells the tale of two very different kinds of vampire hunters, D, a 'dunpeal' (half-vampire, half-human) and a family of hunters called the Markus brothers who are looking for revenge against the species that killed their parents. They are both looking for the same person, Charlotte Elbourne. Instead of working together, there is a very uneasy tension between them. Meier Link, the main villain of the story, has captured Charlotte, but with an added twist: she was taken of her own free will, as she is in love with the vampire. This complicates things very much for D and creates a moral dilemma. Other interesting aspects of the story are that we once again meet the annoying parasitic face on D's hand. He is back but thankfully, his design is a little less silly this time around, and of course, D has his love interest in the youngest of the Markus family, Leila.
The film is a big (VERY big) leap from the original film. For a start, it sticks a lot more to Yoshitaka Amano's original designs, with D looking just as pale and mysterious as he did in the original novels, not the very human, almost super hero-like character he was in the original movie. Secondly, everything is paced far faster and more serious than it was before. The enemies are very modern and slick looking, and the story provokes a lot more thought than the original ever did.
One of the unique things about Bloodlust is that it was originally recorded in English. This, in my opinion, makes the acting throughout the film is a lot more deep, and the script a lot more faithful than it would have been if it were originally Japanese. It also demonstrates that anime's appeal is a lot more widespread than just in Japan, and it's nice to see that the Japanese film makers are aware of that.
The DVD is relatively packed with features compared to the usual UK anime DVD. It features trailers, "A making of..." feature, a storyboard to film comparison and something called, "Fan Favourites" although it wasn't working on the review copy of the DVD, so whatever it is, is beyond me.
Definitely one of the best anime releases this year, I'd recommend it in anyone's collection.