Set in a post-nuclear world in the year 12,090 AD, Vampire Hunter D is a Japanese animated sci-fi horror movie, which follows the story of D – a half-vampire, half-human, vampire hunter. In the movie, D is hired by a young woman to offer her protection, after she draws the attention of a vampire lord who has nefarious plans for his new victim.

Across the course of the 80-minute movie, D must take on the forces of darkness, in order to save the woman. Along the way, he is battered, bloodied, and beaten, but remains steadfast until he completes his mission.

Initially released in Japan in 1985, before being released worldwide during the 1990s, Vampire Hunter D is often regarded as one of the best OVAs (original video animation) of its generation. The film became a huge hit with young anime fans when it made its debut, and continues to maintain its loyal following to this day.

But what should you know about Vampire Hunter D? Hmm… how about ten facts?!

Below are ten little nuggets of information to know about Vampire Hunter D. So, whether you are new to the movie or it is a firm favourite, here is some additional info about this classic slice of ‘80s animation.  

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Light reading

Image: ©Toho

Vampire Hunter D is based on the first volume in a series of Japanese light novels by author Hideyuki Kikuchi. In addition to his work on the popular Vampire Hunter D series, Hideyuki has also written novels for Demon City and Wicked City – both of which inspired anime horror movies during the 1980s.

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Calling the shots

Image: ©Toei

Vampire Hunter D was helmed by the late director, Toyoo Ashida. During his career, Ashida worked as an animator, character designer, producer, and director, with his directing work including the 1986 anime, Fist of the North Star, and episodes of cult TV favourite, The Mysterious Cities of Gold.

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Release

Image: ©Toho

Originally released in Japan in December 1985, it would take a further seven years before Vampire Hunter D was dubbed into English! It was first released in English-speaking territories beginning with a limited theatrical run in the US in 1992, before continuing with a home video release in 1993, where it reached a much wider audience thanks to VHS.

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The voice of a dhampir

Image: ©Toho

In the original Japanese version of the movie, the role of D is voiced by Kaneto Shiozawa. Prior to his death in 2000, Shiozawa had an extensive career in voice acting, with projects ranging from OVA’s such as Cyber City Oedo 808 (1990) and Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie (1994), to shows such as Dragon Ball GT and Yu-Gi-Oh!.

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Dub be good to me

Image: ©Toho

To date, Vampire Hunter D has been released with two different English soundtracks. The first English dub was released in 1992 through Streamline Pictures, while a second dub followed in 2015 after Sentai Filmworks licensed the movie.

In the Streamline Pictures dub, Michael McConnohie voices D. In the Sentai Filmworks dub, the role of D is taken by John Gremillion.

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The darkness within

Image: ©Toho

Upon release, Vampire Hunter D was promoted as a ‘dark future science-fiction romance’. According to the movie’s opening text, “This story takes place in the distant future. When mutants and demons slither through a world of darkness.”

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You can count on it

Image: ©Toho

The chief villain in Vampire Hunter D is the vampire lord, Count Magnus Lee. The character’s name is a nod to the late actor, Christopher Lee, who famously played the role of Count Dracula in multiple British horror movies, beginning with the 1958 Hammer horror film, Dracula.

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The monster squad

Image: ©Toho

In addition to Count Magnus Lee, Vampire Hunter D also features a collection of gruesome mutants, a werewolf, and a trio of snake woman known as the Three Sisters (aka the Snake Women of Midwich). Some of the creatures featured in the movie are truly terrifying.

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It’s a Scream

Although very brief, clips of Vampire Hunter D can be seen in the 1995 music video for the pop song, Scream, by Michael Jackson/Janet Jackson. Look carefully and you can see images of Lamika – the daughter of Count Magnus Lee – appear on video screens behind the Jacksons.

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The legacy

Image: ©Nippon Herald Films

And finally, due to the popularity of Vampire Hunter D, a second D movie was released in 2000, called Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. The movie was directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri and is once again based on the Vampire Hunter D novels by Hideyuki Kikuchi – specifically Volume 3: Demon Deathchase.

In Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, Hideyuki Tanaka voices D for the Japanese soundtrack, while Andy Philpot provides the voice for the English language dub.

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Thank you for taking the time to read this post about Vampire Hunter D on It’s A Stampede!. If you have never watched the movie but love horror and/or classic anime, then its certainly one to seek out.

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