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Vampire Hunter D

Tailored to the international market, "Vampire Hunter D" reps a change from the brutal, dystopian yarns that dominate Japanimation in Western ancillary markets. Anime specialist Urban Vision is launching U.S. release of this year-old item--with the subtitle "Bloodlust" added-- this weekend in New York.

Tailored to the international market, with an American-dubbed version already sneaking at festivals, “Vampire Hunter D” reps a change from the brutal, dystopian yarns that dominate Japanimation in Western ancillary markets. L.A.-based anime specialist Urban Vision plans an early 2001 Stateside theatrical release, and has already put out a 1985 version of the same hero’s exploits — also called “Vampire Hunter D” — on half-inch.

New film is based on the third of Hideyuki Kikuchi’s novels, set in the year 12,090 when “vampires rule the night … but their numbers are declining.” That’s partly thanks to half-human, half-fanged bounty hunter D, who here is hired for $10 million to find a rich guy’s daughter, Charlotte, who’s been kidnapped by the nasty Meier Link, who in turn answers to super-vamp Carmila. Slow-to-start narrative really starts to deliver the action goods an hour in and, with its medieval-futuristic look and graceful, sweeping lines — with an almost fetishistic interest in flowing hair — movie has a visual poetry that’s refreshing. “Omen”-like score plays up the Gothic elements, and scripter-director Yoshiaki Kawajiri (“Wicked City”) gives equal time to a memorable gallery of supporting characters.

Vampire Hunter D


Production: An Urban Vision Entertainment release (in U.S.) of a Filmlink Intl./Vampire Hunter D Prod. Committee production, in association with BMG Funhouse, Movic, Goodhill Vision, Softcapital. (International sales: Filmlink, Tokyo.) Produced by Mataichiro Yamamoto, Masao Maruyama. Directed, written by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, from the novel "D -- yousatsukou" (D -- Demon Deathchase) by Hideyuki Kikuchi (In color).

Crew: Music, Marco D'Ambrosio; art director, Yuji Ikehat; sound, Dolby Digital; animation production, Madhouse; original character illustrations, Yoshitaka Amano; conceptual designer, Yasushi Nirasawa. Reviewed at Pusan Film Festival (Wide Angle), South Korea, Oct. 12, 2000. (Also in Fant-Asia Festival, Montreal, and New York Anime Film Festival.) English dialogue. Running time: 103 MIN.

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