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D, a haunted half-human, half-vampire warrior, wanders the countryside of a feudalistic future, hunting his own kind while battling his own evil nature. Like a rogue samurai, the silent, solitary hero wanders into a small hamlet terrorized by the all-powerful Count, a monstrous vampire lord, and his demonic minions from a castle that casts a long shadow over the countryside. The Count has claimed the human Doris (who wields a mean cutlass herself) as his bride. D becomes her protector and--when she's captured by the Count's shape-shifting minions--her savior. Designed in slashes and sharp, angular images and directed with abrupt explosions of lightning-fast action, Vampire Hunter D is violent and bloody in the mode of a samurai adventure. The sleek D is appropriately dark and quiet, cutting a mysterious figure, while the Count is a veritable demon of a vampire, a supernaturally powerful monster whose appetites know no bounds. The undercurrent of sexuality never spills over into the sadistic vein of so many "adults only" thrillers, but it is recommended for mature audiences.
The DVD features both English and Japanese language soundtracks with optional English subtitles. It also has a documentary featurette, deleted footage, and an artwork gallery by Amano among its supplements. --Sean Axmaker
Vampire Hunter D