Netflix’s Castlevania anime delivered a sophisticated take on the Dracula myth. Its gothic look and R-rated subject matter appealed to fans of the video game as well as new audience members. But all great art has its influences. So if you’re looking for the next vampire story to sink your teeth into, track down a copy of Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.
The cover art on the Vampire Hunter D novels served as core inspiration for the original Castlevania games. When developing the Castlevania anime, producer, Adi Shankar wanted to capture the same dark and bloody tone as Vampire Hunter D.
The film follows a vampire-human hybrid known only as D, who hunts bloodthirsty vampires in a gunslinging post-apocalyptic world. Aside from being part vampire, D is also unique in that he has a face-shaped parasite on his palm that can be used to suck out an enemy’s life-force. D’s palm-face acts as his creepy sidekick/mentor.
In the film, D is tasked with recovering a young woman who has been abducted by a vampire lord. However, as D soon finds out, the human woman and the vampire may truly be in love. This complicates things as factions of human and vampires seek to disrupt the couples’ unholy union.
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust is a macabre feast for the senses. Whether it’s a quiet meditative scene of D riding his horse through the wasteland or a vicious vampire battle, the animation delivers on all points. The world combines gothic architecture, the American Western, and science fiction in a genre-defying mosaic. There are satellites with stained glass-like cathedrals and motorcycles with headlights in the shape of a crucifix.
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust is the synthesis of centuries old art and storytelling that will no doubt inspire artists for centuries to come.