Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Screening Room: Vampire Hunter D (1985)

The topic of discussion in The Screening Room this week is another older anime movie, the 1985 film Vampire Hunter D.  The film was directed by Toyoo Ashida, animated by Ashi Productions, and produced and distributed by CBS Sony Group, Inc.  The anime was based on the series of illustrated novels created by Hideyuki Kikuchi.  The series of novels also inspired manga adaptations, American comics, an audio drama, and a survival-horror video game of the same name released on the Sony PlayStation.  A second anime film, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, was released in 2000.

The plot of the film differs from the original novels, mostly in regards to the behavior of specific characters and their interactions with each other.  The story takes place in the year 12,090 AD in a post-apocalyptic world in which vampires and their mutant slaves terrorize and manipulate ordinary humans by means of both special powers and advanced technologies.  Doris Lang, the daughter of a deceased werewolf hunter, is attacked by Count Magnus Lee, a member of the vampire nobility.  She survives the attack although she has been bitten by the count, and later hires a mysterious caped hunter named D to protect her from further attacks.  Doris is attacked by Count Magnus Lee again, and is kidnapped and brought to the Count’s castle.  D must attempt to rescue her from Count Lee, the Count’s daughter Lamica, the Count’s mutant servant Rei Ginsei, and various other minions. 

Various battles with different kinds of monsters and mutants take place during this rescue attempt, and both clues to the back story of the mysterious D as well as his special powers are revealed.  The powers of specific beings, the technologies used by both protagonist and antagonist, the dress of certain characters, and even the final battle scene itself have been changed from the novel to the film adaptation.  However, the story’s conclusion does remain similar to the canon story.  The runtime of the film is 80 minutes, which is similar in length to Ghost in the Shell but shorter than Akira, Venus Wars, or Lensman: Secret of the Lens.

In North America, a dubbed version of Vampire Hunter D was published by CBS Theatrical Films, with dubbing work done by Streamline Pictures.  Streamline Pictures released the dubbed version of the film on VHS in 1992.  Urban Vision Entertainment acquired the rights to the film in 2000, and released a Special Edition DVD which included the original dub as well as subtitles done by New Generation Pictures.  In addition to the Japanese and North American markets, the film has also been released in multiple European markets in a variety of languages.

Vampire Hunter D (1985)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Time Capsule: Gimmick! Video Game Rock Band - Debut Performance

The Time Capsule is a section for quick blurbs about “current” events that don’t necessarily fit into any other category on Nerd Up, such as a movie or game trailer, an album release, an astronomical observance, etc.  The implied joke is that most of the content discussed on Nerd Up is from years or decades in the past so we need to come into a different time frame to discuss topics in the present, with the normal understanding of the function of a time capsule being to view in the present things that were preserved in the past.  If you got that on your own from the beginning, then I’m sorry you had to read the explanation… your brain is apparently as broken as my own.

The topic here is something that did happen a few months in the past from this posting: the debut performance of the video game music cover band Gimmick! Video Game Rock Band.  Gimmick! contains two former members of Descendants of Erdrick – Chris Taylor and Mike Villalobos, who have switched instruments from their previous roles – as well as guitarist Kenneth Reichelderfer and drummer Justin Olejnik.  Based out of Austin, Texas, the group performs rock versions of songs from old video games that are close covers to the original songs.

Their entire debut performance – at Genuine Joe’s coffeehouse in Austin on January 12th, 2013 – was recorded and uploaded to Youtube by Robert Swackhamer from the 8bitX Radio Network, and we’re going to embed that video here for your enjoyment.  Check it out, and keep an eye out for these guys going forward.  Rumor has it that a demo CD may or may not have been recorded and may or may not be available in the not too distant future.