I'm not sure but I think this is my first post on HTF, although I have been a member for a while. This is also the first time I've ever written a review on anything and so I thought this would be a good place to put it. Opinions expressed in this review are, just that, opinions. Genre: Anime/Horror Released by: Urban Vision Entertainment (2001) BACKGROUND: Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust is the sequel to the original Vampire Hunter D which was released in the states in 1985 by Streamline pictures. It is based on a novel written by Hideyuki Kikuchi. Vampire Hunter D, aka “D”, is not human nor vampire, he is a breed of both. Something as to which I think the producers of Blade got ideas from. He is a special kind of bounty hunter, a vampire hunter (duh). Bloodlust was released mainland in 2001 and I am not sure if it was screened in US movie theatres because at the time and as of now I am on Guam. I am sure it was meant for a theatrical release though because of the amount of energy spent on producing this film and it has a MPAA rating of R. Surprisingly this film was released in English in Japan with Japanese subtitles.. Mind you this is a “cartoon” but it’s definitely not for children. Speaking of which, for those of you who have not viewed the “Animatrix” or think Japanese animation (Anime) is Dragon Ball kids stuff., you may want to think that over and check out the Animatrix. Animatrix goes in depth as to the bases of Anime, far more than I will go into for this review. Let’s just say the Japanese take these “cartoons” very seriously. The DVD comes in a nice package with a red case and a nice glossy sleeve to go with it. It is presented in Widescreen Dolby Digital 5.1. Now let’s go into the actual review shall we. STORY: D this time around is hired by a wealthy man to find his daughter Charlotte Elbourne, who has been kidnapped by a seriously powerful vampire, Meier Link. Charlottes father has also hired the Markus Brothers. An exceptional group of 5 vampire hunters, each possessing unique talents with weapons to match. While D rides on a cyborg horse, the Brothers ride in a beefy vehicle only referred to as the “Tank”. I can only describe the Tank as a train from Hell on wheels. Meier Links destination is Carmilla’s castle, where they seek refuge. Link is not alone, like any “good” bad guy he has henchmen who possess dark talents of their own. Link himself is respectfully skilled in combat. Storyline development in this picture is paced well although at times dialogue may seem lengthy. In my opinion those times are times for character development and it only helps you understand the film better as well as moving the story along. Dialogue is also a big part in the development of this film and the voiceovers represent the characters well. Action sequences are superb. Director Yoshiaki Kawajiri (also character designer) did a marvelous job at portraying it in such a way that the audience is grasped fiercely by its intensity. You can also see this style in other films by him which I will recommend at the end of this review. 4 out 5 for story. AUDIO: Ahh yes, the sound quality of this DVD. First of all let me say I do not have reference equipment nor have I heard “reference quality” equipment, and I do not have timbre matched speakers (something I’m working on slowly). I will say what I do have. My DVD player is a Sony DVP-NS300 connected to my Panasonic 32” TV via Monster Cable Components, and runs to my Sony STR-K502 (5x100w) amp via a Monster Toslink Optical Cable. As for my center channel I have a JBL S-Center II, my front stage is set by Polk RT25i’s and my rears are 4 Sony satellites that I wired in series for each channel. All speakers are connected using 12 gauge high performance OFC speaker cable. My sub is an ample 50w Sony unit. My system is tuned optimally, imaging is great, and it’s plenty loud, minus bass impact (sigh). Oh yeah, the movie the movie... The soundstage in this movie ROCKS!!! It’s some of the best audio I’ve heard from any DVD. Whomever was involved in mixing the audio on this DVD definitely knew how to add impact to this film. Although a DTS soundtrack is not available it seems as though it’s not as compressed as other discs, allowing a more articulate sound. There is a great dynamic range from near silence to all of the effects crashing at you through all speakers, channel separation is also top notch. The LFE’s in this movie are used quite frequently and so are the rear channels. A very good example is in chapter 7 where there is a heartbeat coming through the sub I’m curious as to see how low this actually goes. (hint to the guys with the spectral analyzer thing). Also surround channels play an almost exclusive part in that referenced scene too. Dialogue also comes across the center channel crisp and distinct. The score of this movie is what really set this apart from other Anime and live action films too. An actual orchestra was used in the production of the score. The grand finale in Chapter 17 displays one of the most dynamic audio scenes I have ever heard. It’s awesome and makes excellent use of that aforementioned orchestra. Something unique to this DVD is even the opening sequence to the menu is presented in 5.1, the menus background music is also 5.1. Bottom line, this DVD gets a 5 out 5 for it’s stunning audio display. It will definitely define the weaknesses (if you have any) in a home theater system. VISUAL: I’m not exactly too sure on how to judge picture quality, so for those of you can and have viewed this movie, you may want to chime in a little more on this area. Picture quality is also top notch. I have never had the pleasure of seeing “artifacts” on any DVD so I don’t know exactly what to look for, but it dosen't seem to have anything detracting from the ambiance of this movie. Color separation is fantastic, sharpness is also a positive trait of this DVD. Black levels play a big part in this film as well. There is no graininess and the transfer to DVD gets high remarks from me. IMHO and with my limited knowledge it gets 4 outta 5 SPECIAL FEATURES: Special features are good, although they might not be as in depth as say, Reloaded, but there is a behind the scenes of this film which reveals the attention to detail that was put into making Bloodlust, helping you to appreciate this film that much more. There are also the US and Japan movie trailers and TV spots for Bloodlust as well as storyboards. One of my favorites is “Fans Favorite Picks” which goes over several scenes voted by the public as being the best scenes in the movie. There’s also a DVD-ROM portion and weblinks, although I have never accessed it because I don’t have a DVD drive on my rig. Special features gets a 3 ¾ SUMMARY: To give up 1 hour and 45 minutes of my life just to watch this film is worth it and I’ve done it more than once. My overall review, “A visually stunning masterpiece in anime and a grand film of epic proportion.” Overall I would say own this DVD, if not an impulse buy, then go ahead and screen it, Blockbuster should have it. And if you liked it check out Ninja Scroll and Wicked City, these are previous works from Yoshiaki Kawajiri. Averaged out, this movie rates about 4 ¼ out of 5. Hope you enjoyed this short, but essential review. Enjoy the show!!! Tip: Watch it at night, It sets the right tone for this film.