View Full Version : The original Vampire Hunter D...
12-01-2006, 04:01 PM
How does the R2 release compare to the Urban Vision one?
12-01-2006, 09:45 PM
It's a little better but not by much. The R2 is less dark than the R1. The R2 is interlaced but the R1 is progressive (I think). The R2 contains no extras but the R1 includes the original making of segment that was on the Japanese Laserdisc release. And the R2 doesn't have hardpressed English credits, and one scene with the Count is unedited whereas the R1 cuts a brief second of violence out.
Unfortunately, the R2 is not remastered, which is what VHD really needs.
12-02-2006, 08:37 PM
The R2 is taken from an old composite master, and much like the R1 was a cash-on in the premier of the VHD movie (Bloodlust). So both of them have rainbow and dot-crawl issues.
The R1 is taken from a theatrical-ready print, so it has cigarette burns on the print. It also has a fugly video generated title card and clunky English credits tacked on the final scene (before the actual credits). Also, the scene where Spoiler
Count Magnus Lee's face gets crushed is edited out of the R1, and replaced with a red and black blinking screen. Also, there's a short advert at the end of the credits saying "The movie is now available on video" (basically)... which is ironic, since the original Vampire Hunter D never actually had a theatrical release. An unimpressive 5.1 upmix of the Streamline dub is included, as well as the original 2.0 Japanese track. The subtitles are okay, apart from the expected "dunpeal" translation errors, and some I wasn't expecting (like "Gorem").
The Japan R2 - which is OOP, but still easy enough to find - is an improvement for the most part, but not the best it could have been. The black levels are much better and the colors definately brighter without being over saturated, but the transfer is interlaced and has about as much visible artifacting. It's less grainy, but also softer than the R1 and has a strange, processed pattern in the background making me think it was put through some hardware like a TBC or something at one point. The reel change-overs lack the 'cigarette burn' marks, but the 3:2 pattern changes a lot because of them, so unless you're in to IVTCing stuff by hand, it's basically as interlaced as anything shot on film could possibly be. At least the original title sequence is here, and it's unedited. Japanese 2.0 with no subtitles, but I'm sure you expected that.
There's a R2/PAL release from Manga Entertainment... but it's an NTSC-PAL conversion, only has the English dub (2.0 and 5.1), and apart from a new commentary track by Johnathan Clements isn't really worth even mentioning.
There was a remaster of Vampire Hunter D, but it's got a major problem. The German DVD from OVA Films (R2/PAL) did a brand new telecine and color correction, and while it's a hair lighter than I think it should be (blood is a sort of neon-pink, and the black shadows are never quite as black as their outlines) it's very bright and vivid, with no noise reduction or edge enhancement to speak of and only a natural film-like texture of grain. It's a component master too, so no more damned rainbows... unfortunately, OVA Films (with the director's approval) cropped the OVA from it's 1.33:1 fullscreen OAR to 1.78:1 anamorphic, and the results of the cropping are similar to the recent Dragonball Z remaster - with a miniscule ammount of new info on the sides, and the top and bottom of the frame completely mangled. Thanks, guys... they also did a 5.1 remix of the Japanese track (which sounds suprisingly good) as well as an interesting German dub, but included the "original mono" mix as well. Hate to break it to them, but Vampire Hunter D has always been Hi-fi Stereo, so I don't know who this 1.0 track is supposed to make happy. German subtitles are included, but I don't speak it, so I can't tell you how accurate they are.
Vampire Hunter D '85 is in need of a restoration, and NOT yet another restoration where the people behind it are more concerned with making it fill up a widescreen TV than they are with anything resembling cinematic integrity. I do have all 3 of these DVD's if you'd like to see a comparison, though.
12-03-2006, 07:06 AM
The original Vampire Hunter D did play in theaters in North America, along with films like Neo-Tokyo (i.e., Silent Mobius/Manie-Manie) and Wicked City (i.e., Supernatural Beast City).
12-03-2006, 04:21 PM
That I didn't know. I guess it would explain why Streamline did their own telecine instead of using some kind of D2 master, anyway. (Shame they didn't do a very good job of it.) The ad after the credits was in kanji, and I don't think the R2 cover or making-of called it anything but an OAV so I've always had to assume that the theatrical-ready prints were never used except maybe at film festivals.
Any clue when, or where the US theatrical release was?
Edit: IMDB says March 26, 1993. Anyone have something I could clean this egg up with?
12-03-2006, 05:23 PM
I believe some OVAs were shown in theaters in Japan (but probably not for long). You can find program books for things like Megazone 23, and Vampire Hunter D was released around that time. If the little numbers appear in the bottom right of the frame when the movie's title comes up, that's usually a good indicator.
12-03-2006, 08:00 PM
Some projects were meant to be OVA's but were upgraded to be theatrical features, like Youju Toshi: Wicked City (which got a longer runtime... but not a bigger budget), and in the case of Megazone 23 the series was just popular enough to justify a road show. Back in the mid 80's OVA's often had comparable animation quality and runtimes to theatrical movies anyhow, so it only made sense to show off the bigger productions on the big screen. Looks like I'll have to do more research on Vampire Hunter D '85 after all: I've yet to see a trailer that wasn't for the video release (and even that doesn't have a firm date), and anything mentioning a "Road Show" would put my mind at ease.
OVA's probably weren't in theatres for long. It's like how V-Cinema (direct to video) features ranging from esoteric art films like Izo, more or less unknown but high quality yakuza movies like Gonin, or just plain crazy stuff like The Calamari Wrestler will play in a theater or two for a week shortly before the video release. It's a PR move that allows the distributors to mark it as a 'gekijou' (Theatrical Movie) rather than a video release. Theatrical releases - just like OVA's versus anime movies - generally have better production values and a longer runtime, so convincing people it isn't a cheap, direct to video release can be a good move overall, even if it isn't an entirely honest application.
12-04-2006, 12:08 AM
Thanks for all the information, guys. Here's to hoping that they finally do this classic right... and maybe take another look at DYRL while they're at it.
12-04-2006, 03:03 AM
Eh, for the hell of it, here's a quick comparison:
Urban Vision - R1 (http://i82.photobucket.com/albums/j255/Kentai_Films/Vampire%20Hunter%20D%20-%20Comparison/VHD-UrbanVision.jpg)
None too pretty...
SME Visual Works - R2 (http://i82.photobucket.com/albums/j255/Kentai_Films/Vampire%20Hunter%20D%20-%20Comparison/VHD-SMEVisualWorks.jpg)
Not much better...
OVA Films - R2 PAL (http://i82.photobucket.com/albums/j255/Kentai_Films/Vampire%20Hunter%20D%20-%20Comparison/VHD-OVAFilms.jpg)
BEAUTIFUL... but cropped straight to hell.
Comparing them side by side using PowerDVD, the R1 is infact "brighter"... but it looks that way because the contrast and saturation have been manipulated, creating an extremely sharp drop-off in the colors. See how D's skin is basically glowing and orange, as opposed to looking like, y'know... skin? That's why contrast boosting is bad. They both have some level of edge enhancement (the R2 slightly moreso), and the difference in framing is better on the R2, but not by very much. It's almost a toss up... they both look pretty dark and unimpressive.
Then we have the OVA Films restoration, which was approved (though not overseen, far as I know) by the director, Touyo ASHIDA. I definately think it's a touch too bright - making characters stand out on dark backgrounds a bit more than the animators probably intended - but look! You can actually SEE things in the transfer! A shame they cropped the living hell out of the top and bottom of the frame... D's eyes also look slightly pink, so the color temperature is more on the warm side than the other two. Definately the most presentable transfer it's had yet, aside from the OAR being mangled. A shame, too. I could have finally given up on needing a better print of Vampire Hunter D if they hadn't decided that widescreen TV's were teh rox0rz or whatever in Germany.
12-20-2006, 02:18 PM
Thanks for the comparison. I think I'm going to go with the R2 release... I think its definitely a step up from the R1, and would probably provide a good start point for some avisynth/virtualdub magic.
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