You were expecting Crusher Joe, but it was me, Vampire Hunter D(io)!
Terrible meme humor aside, July is coming to a close and we’d be remiss if we didn’t offer up another quivering slab of Anime Fun Time. This time Tom and I take a look at Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, a slick albeit strange theatrical film from 2000. In a movie filled with vampires, torso-wolves, mechanical horses, steampunk tanks, and ghost lasers, can a fun time be far behind? Click on the movie title or the DVD cover above to find out!
Ghost vampires are like the worst kind of vampire.
I remember watching the series back in the Nineties, Paul – how’s this different?
I think you might be thinking of something different, Tim. Vampire Hunter D was originally a series of light novels in Japan, and was later adapted into two theatrical films, one in 1985, the other in 2000. It was never a television series.
Yes, I’m mixing it up with VAMPIRE PRINCESS MIYU, Paul. I did see the ’85 movie at some point, though – at least, I think the VAMPIRE HUNTER D movie I saw was ’85, because I don’t remember any steampunk tanks…and I would!
It irks me that Kawajiri’s works are held in such low regard in Japan that it’s a struggle to even get Blu-Rays of them made, let alone licensed for release elsewhere in the world. Debate the merits of the man’s directorial efforts all you want–it’s popcorn action entertainment–but they’ve all been hits…internationally. Sadly, due to the way the contracts get written, global success doesn’t amount to much in Japan itself if nobody cares over there. Glad I got to meet the guy and talk with him for a while about his career, at least.
To my knowledge, no high-definition edition of this movie has ever been mastered in any region. The Japanese DVD includes the English audio as well as the Japanese audio track, with English subtitles for the Japanese audio version which is a more straightforward rendition of the original script. It gets rather “How They Lied O-Vision” at times to compare the script as written to the English audio as recorded. Some characterizations differ a bit, even.
The biggest differences are with regards to Left Hand’s dialogue: while I never watched the American version, Mike McShane was a regular for years on the Clive Anderson-hosted “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and as such improvised approximately 90% of his lines on account that he didn’t really need to worry about syncing to lip flap animations.
One issue I always had with the English audio track is that despite its Skywalker Sound-recorded 5.1 mix, the music and effects during the action sequences are SO INCREDIBLY LOUD relative to the rest of the movie. I would constantly fiddle with my remote. Turn it down during the action, turn it up during the talking, repeat. That’s no way to watch a movie! The Japanese audio track evened things out, but alas it’s only available in stereo. To this day, a substantial amount of anime is only mixed in stereo for the Japanese track, since people in Japan don’t have space for surround setups anyway.
Great podcast, Tom and Paul. And thanks for taking my question too!
I agree with Daryl about the sound mixing on this movie. Like Steamboy, it is atrocious. It is however more tragic than Steamboy because Bloodlust is actually a really good movie.
I like Mike McShane as Left Hand quite a bit, but then I like a lot of what that guy has done. He was Friar Tuck in the Kevin Costner version of Robin Hood, which was a really fun and exciting movie back in the day (haven’t seen it in years and doubt it holds up).
I had always heard that bit about the dub being a placeholder as well. I wonder how true that was, and if so who they would have cast as D in that case.
Glad to see some else’s likes Mushishi the 2nd is pretty I would also recommend you check the ova too
Regarding what you said about Bloodlust being swept under the rug and forgotten by anime fans both old and new, I would say the same can be said for a number of anime films made in recent years. Films like Redline and Sword of the Stranger never got the treatment they deserved, made worse by the fact that they could have been to the current generation of fans what films like Akira and Ninja Scroll were to fans back then. The only anime films that get any kind of decent distribution nowadays are either franchise-based movies (Poke’mon or Shonen Jump for example) or Ghibli and Ghibli-esque films (in the latter case, the Hosoda/Shinkai films).
Unfortunately for fare like Redline and Sword of the Stranger, Daniel, many modern anime fans think they’re too “highbrow” and “intelligent” to watch stuff like that. I blame EVA.
“The Japanese audio track evened things out, but alas it’s only available in stereo. To this day, a substantial amount of anime is only mixed in stereo for the Japanese track, since people in Japan don’t have space for surround setups anyway.”
Wouldn’t surprise me at all if we’re leading the way with these Home Theater setups Japan just can’t afford the space for.
“Unfortunately for fare like Redline and Sword of the Stranger, Daniel, many modern anime fans think they’re too “highbrow” and “intelligent” to watch stuff like that. I blame EVA.”
I do too! EVA RUINED EVERYTHING!