Directed by: Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Jack Fletcher, Tai Kit Mak | 111 minutes | action, animation, adventure, horror, thriller | Actors: Andrew Philpot, John Rafter Lee, Pamela Adlonl, Wendee Lee, Michael McShane, Julia Fletcher, Matt McKenzie, John Di Maggio, Alex Fernandez, Jack Fletcher, John Hostetter, Dwight Schultz, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn
This sequel to “Vampire Hunter D” comes from the stable of Yoshiaki Kawajiri. His studio was also responsible for the anime classic “Ninja Scroll” (1993). Kawajiri has earned a good reputation for flashy and well-crafted anime. “Vampire Hunter D: 2” does not fall under the classic category, but it has become an entertaining animation film. The Japanese animation film is somewhat like the “Blade” films. Many actions and a similar “hero”. This anime in turn has influenced a number of recent Hollywood productions such as “Underworld” (2003) with Kate Beckinsale.
The film lacks a good story. Not that the story is all that wrong, but it simply resembles Kawajiri’s earlier film “Ninja Scroll”. Despite the somewhat outdated animations of that anime, that film remains well above “Vampire Hunter D: 2”. You simply expect more from this director. The animation is very good, the voice acting is decent and the music is fine too. Unfortunately, there has been cut back on a strong story.
The standard story of this anime is basically no problem. If the animations are well put together and the atmosphere is good, this can become an exciting “no-brainer”. The film succeeded in that, but to be honest, “Vampire Hunter: 2” is disappointing. It’s a nicely made movie, with nice scenes in it. But it is nothing but a clone of the ninja classic.
Just like in that movie, a number of opponents have to be killed in chronological order. In “Ninja Scroll” there were seven, in “D” there are three. The relationships between the main characters are also almost the same. Both Jubei from “Ninja Scroll” and D get and receive the respect of their co-stars by the end of the movie. It is actually already too late for both women, a possible relationship is impossible. The past of both the characters from “Ninja Scroll” and from “D” are tragic and there are more similarities between the two films.
The film looks fine and is entertaining, but the déjà-vu feeling ruins a lot. What remains is a flashy action movie with a slightly deeper story than the standard action movie. The animations are the best there is to see. A Japanese popcorn movie and unfortunately not the animation classic that the movie could have been. A missed opportunity.