Are you one of those poor, unfortunate souls who just doesn’t get that whole ‘anime’ thing? Do you find yourself drawn to big eyes and crazy hair, but fear the ridicule of your peers if you ask for an entry point into the world of Japanese animation? Fear not, my friend, for I was once like you, lost in a sea of attractive but utterly mysterious DVDs, on the outside of a fascinating world and eagerly looking in. Now that I’ve made it through the wilderness I present my findings as the DVD Vault’s Anime Essentials.
Vampire Hunter D (1985)
Surely you all remember ‘Castlevania’ from back in the glory days of eight-bit gaming. Oh, what fun we had storming Dracula’s castle and laying waste to legions of vampires and other assorted nasties.
Well, ‘Vampire Hunter D’ predated the ‘Castlevania’ games by a year or more, and in an odd way it’s a lot more fun. D is, as you can probably guess, a vampire hunter, contracted to take out Count Magnus Lee. Along the way he hacks apart all manner of bad guys, all the while getting berated by his self-aware left hand (quirky and odd, yet somehow totally normal). With art designs by Yoshitaka Amano, who designed the early ‘Final Fantasy’ games, it is a distinctive piece of animation, a nifty little horror story, and one of those movies that is clearly an ‘inspiration’ for more things than people realize.
DVD transfers of animation can present problems due to the starkness of color and abundance of curved lines