Blu-ray: Vampire Hunter D (Sentai Filmworks) [2015]

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Vampire Hunter D


English Blu-ray Title (Region A)

Vampire Hunter D

Sound:

Japanese (2.0 Stereo), English (2.0 Stereo)

Subtitles:
Length:
Release:
Company
:
Discs:
Aspect Ratio:

English
80 minutes
2015
Sentai Filmworks
1
1.33:1 Anamorphic

Movie:

Vampire Hunter D

Blu-ray

Extras

  • Menus (English)
  • Chapters (13)
  • Trailers: Vampire Hunter D, Ninja Scroll (US), Devil Survivor 2 The Animation (US), Nobunaga the Fool (US), Mardock Scramble (US)

Captures


Review

By: Anthony Romero

This mid-1980's post-apocalyptic, horror, science-fiction, action flick (sometimes also called a romance, but that's a laughable claim) was one of the original anime hits in the United States before the term "Anime" became a household name. Featuring gore-ridden violence, unlike anything American audiences would have been used to from domestic productions, the film gained a cult fanbase. The movie is dated today, but still boasts an avid following. Thankfully for fans, this release by Sentai Filmworks, the first time the title has been seen on Blu-ray, is pretty stellar. It offers great video and audio quality, although is a little lacking in terms of extras.


 Video: Star Rating


The 1985 film has, simply put, never looked better. The video quality is great, offering vibrant, natural looking colors that make the animation come alive. The darkness of the print is also perfect, giving the film its atmosphere while the brightness is set to make even the night time visuals easy to see.

The print used for the transfer is also in great shape offering a well restored presentation of the mid-1980's feature. There is grain, but never overpowering and the animation looks very clean without becoming soft from the restoration process. Sadly, there are a few frames which look, for a lack of better words, out of focus. There is only about half a dozen segments that demonstrate this problem, but it is distracting when it occurs. Here is an example from the climax, and the most overt of the instances where this happens.

Vampire Hunter D is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, or "full screen". Despite getting a theatrical release in 1985, the film was groomed for the home video market and was never given the widescreen treatment.

 

 Audio: Star Rating


The Blu-ray offers two different audio tracks. Both of these are in 2.0 Stereo, using DTS-HD Master Audio's lossless codec. The result is stunning, with great clarity to the audio tracks. The original Japanese track shows good depth in the music component, considering it's only a stereo presentation, although the sound effects are a little flat sounding.

The English dub track here is one created, or at least owned, by Toho for the feature. Sentai Filmworks announced early on it was a new audio track, attempting to leap ahead of any disappointment fans of the original dub might have had. The end result is nothing to write home about, but is serviceable. A lot of the performances range from good to okay, although a few do stand out poorly like the odd dubbing choice for Larmica.

The Japanese track can be accompanied by removable English subtitles.

 

 Extras: Star Rating


This release is very light on extras. It contains the original, theatrical trailer to the film, which is a nice bonus. The video quality on the trailer is stellar, although the audio track is a little lacking and is in bad shape. This is very obvious during the song segment, which sounds very harsh to the ears. Sadly this is the only real extra on this release. The disc does have a collection of adverts for other Anime titles available from Sentai Filmworks, but these are just random footage clips from the films set to music before the title appears.

In terms of the packaging, it uses cover art by Yoshitaka Amano. The artist is well known for his work on the video game Final Fantasy VI and many other pieces such as art for the film Onmyoji (2001), which was used on the soundtrack (BVCR-11035). In an unforeseen move, the side of the cover also displays the Toho logo on it. This is rather surprising given Toho's involvement in the film was rather minor. In fact, many sources incorrectly state the production as a direct to video OVA, glossing over the limited theatrical release that Toho gave it before it hit home video. At some point, though, it seems that Toho became involved with the international distribution of the title, and this disc uses their English dub track as referenced on the back of the case.

 

 Overview: Star Rating


Fans won't find a better home video release of this title, in any region. For anime lovers who enjoy taking a trip down memory lane on some of the early trend setters in the US, and don't mind a film that is a bit antiquated, Vampire Hunter D is a great choice. While an extra or two would have pushed this release to new heights, the solid video and audio tracks make this a worthy release regardless.