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ANIME: Vampire Hunter D (1985), Dungeons and Dragons meets Castlevania in this great dark fantasy adventure.

April 4, 2016

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MY CALL: Dungeons and Dragons meets Castlevania in this great dark fantasy adventure featuring demons, vampires, mutants, cyborgs, castle lairs and magical items. If you like Anime or dark fantasy you should probably see this. MORE MOVIES LIKE Vampire Hunter D: Of course Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000) and the rumored upcoming TV series Vampire Hunter D: Resurrection. Then perhaps Demon City Shinjuku (1988), Bio Hunter (1995), Wicked City (1987), Ninja Scroll (1993), Cyber City Oedo 808 (1990 mini-series), and maybe such fantasy as The Dark Crystal (1988), Willow (1982) and Legend (1985).

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The future is populated by demons and mutants, dinosaurs and werewolves, and all manner of supernatural creatures and mystical magical items with unexplained names like “the time-bewitching incense.” Sounds like a dream to any Dungeons and Dragons fan, if you ask me. And that’s exactly what I am!

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Not at all as perverse or provocative as its unrelated successor Wicked City (1987), Vampire Hunter D (1985) features nothing more risqué than a few boob shots and some frequent panty glances of our strong protagonist Doris.

111She can hold her own and handles a whip pretty well, but having been bitten by the 10,000-year old Count (Dracula), she hires D–a wispy and mysterious hunter, riding atop his fiendishly horned cybernetic horse.

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The Dhampir offspring of a vampire and a human (like Blade), D is a most formidable swordsman bearing an antagonistic face that never shuts up on his right hand and the ability to regenerate. His eyes glow when we embraces his true nature.

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Defending Doris from the romantic interests of the noble vampiric Count, D combats his mutant servants imbued with all manner of time-space-bending and magical powers. One particularly weird henchman emits spiders from him porous hunchback–yuck.

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In his Castlevania meets classic Dungeons and Dragons dungeon crawl he faces the shape-shifting life-draining lamia (which strike me more as a mix of sirens and naga), traps, ghosts, a witch, a pterodactyl man, a giant, and ultimately the revered noble vampire. It’s a fun mix of enemies.

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The Count possesses a most powerful telekinesis which contributes some festive gore, complete with dismemberment, blood geysers, eyeball gauges and an exploding head. All in an effort to prevent the Count from forcibly wedding Doris in his gigantic castle attended by all manner of hooded minion monks.

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As the story progresses we learn that D is more powerful and more important than he lets on, but even by the end some mysteries remain as he exits to parts unknown, much as he arrived. Perhaps these are mysteries answered in the Manga books.

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This movie was a blast when I was a kid and still maintains its entertainment value today. It reminds me of my Dungeons and Dragons days in the best way.

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