In the distant future, humans live in constant fear of vampires. No one dares to fight against them except for a few brave vampire hunters. When a young girl, Doris, is bitten, she seeks the aid of a mysterious hunter known only as D. He accepts her request and sets out to vanquish Count Magnus Lee and save Doris’ life.
summary by Gatts
Highs: Action; stylish setting and characters
Lows: Shallow characters; little revealed about D
Based on a series of novels by Kikuchi Hideyuki, Vampire Hunter D has become a cult classic to many anime fans. Featuring character designs by Amano Yoshitaka of Final Fantasy fame, it tells the story of the struggle between vampires and humans in a dark future.
Easily one of the anime’s greatest assets is its eerie, Transylvanian atmosphere. It mixes elements from classical horror and science fiction to create a unique setting that complements Amano’s designs. As far as vampire stories are concerned, Vampire Hunter D is about as straightforward as they come; vampire bites a girl, she hires a vampire hunter and the action ensues. It may sound boring on paper, but in execution, it’s actually fairly entertaining. Everything moves along at a speedy pace, never forgetting that this is first and foremost an action film. Just don’t go into it expecting anything incredibly deep or thoughtful.
While the simple plot and brisk pacing work well, the overall lack of character development detracts from the anime. This is especially true in the case of D. He is a character who just oozes with style yet very little is ever revealed about him. While there is no doubt that D is a “cool” character, there is very little substance to make him more than a stylish one. The rest of the cast is equally underdeveloped and fulfill stereotypical vampire movie roles.
I’ll always fondly look back on Vampire Hunter D because it was the first anime title I ever purchased, and it was largely responsible for sparking my interest in anime. While it is far from perfect, this anime still stands as an entertaining, albeit shallow, action flick nearly twenty years after first being released.