1985] I was first introduced the the Vampire Hunter D universe as many were, Vampire Hunter D Anime - 1985 through the original anime, released in 1985. Given that I was only three years old at the time it came out, it was of course somewhat later that I saw it. I won't soon forget how I had turned on the tv late one night, after everyone else in my family was already sleeping, and stumbled across this... this cartoon. But it wasn't like any cartoon I had ever seen. There was swearing. There was fighting. There were blood and gore and demons. And sex! Not just veiled references nervously giggled between cutesy characters, either... I was absolutely enchanted. Here was something which not only made me wonder - it made me shiver in ways that nothing else had. I don't remember exactly what year it was that I saw it, but I can guarentee that I would have in no way been eligible to view it in the theater.

Between that chance encounter and the next time I saw it, many things happened, including at least half of the 1990s. I have a long memory, though. (Just ask my Sea Prince and the Fire Child tape.) One of my first purchases once I set myself up at college was the Vampire Hunter D VHS. I wasn't quite so easy to impress as I had been way back when, but I still enjoyed oogling that delicious half-breed and wishing I could have visited many hours of pain upon Grecko. I found that instead of excellent, it was merely good. The artist in me wanted to thwack whoever okayed some of those character designs. Still, it was good enough that word of a sequel in the works had me dancing with anticipation....

2001] It was with an unsual amount of excitement (for me, at least), Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust that I counted down the days till the new movie. Opening night, I arrived two hours early and probably bothered the theater staff with my lurking around. My foresight served me well, however, as within a half hour, the first few others had shown up, and by ten minutes to showtime, the line was stretching back at least a block. I didn't know what to expect as that huge crowd filed in, filling the entire theater, but as the previews and ads and warnings gave way to the movie itself... I might as well have been alone there, for all I was concerned. Immediately the quality of the artwork left me opened-mouthed with surprise. It flowed like liquid silver. They almost had me jumping out of my seat with the first glipse of a human figure. Charlotte... and then the shadow coming through the window with a strange urgency... I was inexorably hooked from that moment on.

I won't provide a full account of Bloodlust here. It would be impossible for me to capture all that I have to say about it. I tried to give some hint of what so drew me in in another section, but it falls dismally short. My only advise would be to see the movie. You absolutely must if tragedy, romance, beauty, and blood appeal to you at all. See it in the theater if it is in any way possible. Nothing could compare to having this take up your vision and pull it around, larger than life. As of this writing, the DVD won't be out stateside for months. You can bet I'll be first in line to get it on pre-order.

Kikuchi Hideyuki] Writer of the Vampire Hunter D novels. As these are all in Japanese, for the time being I have as much chance of reading them as I do waking up dazed and disoriented in a nude mud wrestling pit in Las Vegas.

Amano's Vampire Hunter D Yoshitaka Amano] This introduction wouldn't be complete without a mention of the artist who has been bringing D to eyes across the globe for the better part of two decades. His style is utterly incredible. Every time I think I'm starting to "get it" as an artist, I find someone else who's totally different and whose distinct style I want to tuck in with the rest and hit "liquify" on the mental blender... Michael Whelan, Bethany Bajema, Brom, Jessica Hickman, Linda Bergkvist, Lisolette Eriksson, Julie Dillon, Socar Miles... Previous to November, 2001, I hadn't paid the least amount of attention to him, and I seriously doubt I could have identified a piece of Amano's as his own. How very, very sad. I am quickly making up for my years of ignorance, however, by snapping up his artbooks as quickly as I can come up with the money to buy them.