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|Title:||Halloween horror recommendations!|
|Published:||Sun, 30 Oct 2005|
To celebrate this ghoulish season, the Anime UK News team have locked horns and produced a particularly striking epitaph recommending a host of blood drenched anime for those who enjoy the company of monsters, ghosts and vampires.
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
Recommended by: Martin Butler
The half human/half vampire bounty hunter D is given the task of rescuing Charlotte Elbourne, a young woman who has been kidnapped by the vampire Meier Link. This particular assignment is made more complicated because the Elbourne family have also sent the Markus borthers to rescue Charlotte: D must not only hunt down Link but also reach Charlotte before his rivals.
Being a vampire flick with a sword-wielding dhampir (half-vampire) as its hero, it goes without saying that there is a lot of spilt blood, death and destruction! D is driven by not only the promise of a substantial bounty but also his lifelong hatred of vampires, so thinks nothing of swiftly disposing of the undead in stylish fashion. Meier's love for his human would-be bride means that he will stop at nothing to keep her, and the vampire-hunting Markus brothers have a spectacular array of weaponry at their disposal.
Apart from the obvious cast of several powerful vampires, there are a number of werewolves, shape-shifters and demons employed by Link to ensure that his kidnapping of Charlotte proceeds successfully. Even D himself has a parasitic demon inhabiting his left hand: when it's not sucking the souls of his enemies it is making some sarcastic remark or other.
Even the most loyal fans of the original VHD film will admit that after twenty years it's showing its age a little. Bloodlust however benefits from technical advances in animation techniques, and as a result is more visually impressive. The plot and characters have more depth as well, showing D's inner conflict from his half-vampire origins, the rivalry with the Markus brothers and a victim who might not even want saving; even without the improved visuals this raises it above the simple 'hero rescues damsel in distress' premise of the original film.
Those who are looking for vampire themed anime will no doubt be satisfied with a film that's darkly stylish, gothic and violent. VHD: Bloodlust has all of this, plus some interesting characters and a great story to boot, making it not only a must for fans of the original film and manga, but any lover of animated horror in general.
Recommended by: Paul Bates
Yuji Kaido is unlucky. Sometime in the near future, he contracts a rare disease and is willingly put to sleep while a cure is developed. Some 20 odd years later, a groggy Yuji wakes up but it isn't the warm welcome he was expecting; many of his fellow "sleepers" are dead, rolled into stiff green meatballs, and he is being rushed out of the hospital by a group of less than friendly soldiers, chased by teaming hordes of blood thirsty insects! It turns out that the world Yuji once knew has since been overrun by vicious pests and as a last resort, humanity has retreated into space to regroup and plan a counter-attack. Yuji must contend with the fact that the world as he once knew it has been destroyed, and with it- all of his old friends and family are most likely dead.
Blue Gender is an exciting, bleak and gruesome anime series. In a world where humans are loosing control of the planet to spidery giant insects, you can understand that many of these people live short, brutal lives. Yuji is saved by a dozen soldiers but their numbers fast dwindle as they are forced to withstand wave after wave of gruesome attacks.
This is a markedly downbeat, angry series where human life is cheap. Many of the characters are down trodden and cynical; Yuji is not a hero, he doesn't want to save the world- he only wants to survive for another day. His protecting soldiers are depressed and resigned to their inevitable fates as insect food, but battle on anyway.
Like most great horror, Blue Gender plays with familiar themes of humanity vs. nature- this series gives us a situation where Mother Nature is pissed off enough to unleash the monstrous Blue (military slang for the insects) on us all; they delight in decapitating, dismembering, eating humans by the truck load.
As you will no doubt have recognised by now, this is a bleak and uncompromising romp through the familiar conventions of science fiction and horror with just enough excitement to give us hope that in fact, humanity may not be doomed after all! Many will enjoy the heavy influence of the popular bug-bashing US movie Starship Troopers, but Blue Gender is strong enough to stand alone as a prime example of creepy crawly horror.
Recommended by: Stuart Bullen
Go Nagai’s Devilman is a blood soaked blast from start to finish; the plot may be thinner than Keira Knightley’s waistline, but when it comes to serving up ghoulish chills and gruesome spills few horror movies come close. The story of an unassuming schoolboy bestowed with hellish super powers is nothing new, but those with an interest in the occult will find plenty to sink their fangs into and the amount of splatter is more than enough to keep gore hounds baying for animated blood. Yep, this is appallingly gruesome stuff, Go Nagai’s never been known for his restraint, and whilst many anime adaptations of his work shy away from the more, shall we say controversial aspects of his stories, Devilman hits full tilt barely two minutes in and never lets up, playing the controversial source material for every blood-splattered thrill it’s worth.
The intro is particularly noteworthy for being one of the freakiest, out-and-out disturbing pieces of animation ever made, allowing us a glimpse of the Demons’ primordial plane that’s as chilling a representation of hell on earth as anything ever seen onscreen. And then there’s Devilman himself, one of the most twisted (and I use the term loosely) superheroes ever created, spewing venomous one-liners and tearing apart the bad guys with inhuman contempt, he’d give even the staunchest of superheroes a run for their money, Spawn had better watch his back.
Anime horror doesn’t come much better than this, if you like your scares lewd, crude, and drenched in the red stuff, Devilman is a macabre thrill you’d be mad to pass up this Halloween holiday.
The Devil Lady
Recommended by: Michelle Howarth
Shy fashion model Jun Fudou has a dark secret hidden inside her. Unknown to her she is a Devilman, a being that could be the future evolution of mankind, but at the same time are the stuff of nightmares. Taken to a warehouse one night by the mysterious Asuka Lan, what lays inside Jun is soon forced to the surface. Jun finds herself forced to battle another Devilman causing her body to transform temporarily to defeat it. After this all that appears in front of Jun is an endless nightmare as Asuka seems determined to use Jun as a hunting hound to eliminate other Devilmen around the city.
While at first glimpse The Devil Lady seems a rather generic monster of the week type show (albeit with lots of gore) it is certainly more than it at first appears. Behind the show’s originally simple exterior a dark cloud is brewing and once the series reaches its halfway point things descend into a macabre world of violence and gore. The show becomes relentless and frenzied very quickly, and is totally unforgiving to it’s cast members. You find yourself sucked into the dark world (originally created by the legendary Go Nagai) and keep watching, expecting the worst as events head towards an ending that makes you sit up and stare.
The cast aren't lost amongst this carnage though. You have the shy, reserved Jun grappling with the beast inside her. You also have the powerful and menacing Asuka towering over Jun personality wise, coercing her onwards. Finally you have Jun's best friend Kasumi, bubbly and full of life who suddenly finds her world crumbling around her. Three distinct personalities that are thoroughly well developed once the series gets into its flow. Mix proper horror, well developed characters together with a superb gothic soundtrack and you have Devil Lady. A horror anime well worth watching.
Cyber City Oedo 808
Recommended by: Jo Sarsam
Sengoku, Goggles and Benten are three criminals sentenced to several hundred years of imprisonment each. Fortunately for them, there is a way to cut down those sentences- by taking on jobs for the Cyber Police. Unsurprisingly, however, there is a catch; each prisoner is wired with an explosive-filled collar set to detonate if they don’t complete their missions within the timespan allotted by their boss.
It might be hoped that in eight hundred years time humanity might have come to settle its differences and live in peace- but in the future depicted by Cyber City, nothing could be further from the truth. Each episode sees a different one of our surprisingly likeable protagonists take centre stage to solve cases that can involve anything from super-charged robots to modern day vampires. Blood and explosions are never in short supply, and even though the main characters tend to survive their adventures (albeit somewhat the worse for the wear), the supporting characters are rarely so lucky. It’s classic horror distilled down to the essentials and given a futuristic setting- a perfect choice to stick in your DVD player come Halloween night.
Vampire Princess Miyu
Recommended by: James Seys-Llewellyn
Breaking the mould of the mahou shoujo genre by splicing the typical blend of action and drama with horror and the supernatural, Vampire Princess Miyu is an eccentrically unique success. The vampiric, titular protagonist is a far cry from a ditzy heroine or a sugary maid, instead a chillingly darker form. Miyu never ages, blessed or cursed with eternal youth until all the diabolical shinma have been defeated, and is stranded between the world of the humans and her own. In some ways her character shows the same sort of lone conflict as Berserk's grizzled warrior Guts, wandering in solitude with an unhuman companion. Her past, and how she became what she is now is not the most pleasant of suprises.
But the focus is not solely on Miyu. In the OVA, we also follow Himeno, a spiritualist whose path becomes entwined with that of Miyu. While her past is somewhat dark, Himeno's goal is to protect others from the shinma. She is the closest character to the viewer, learning about the supernatural forces that threaten the world and craving balance and peace.
While the original OVA is perhaps the series at its most compelling, the television remake is likewise a worthwhile watch, summoning a formidable brew of conventional gore, hideous monsters and psychological turmoil with twists aplenty that should keep any fan of horror, action, drama or magical girl anime firmly in its grasp. Miyu suceeds in that it manages to keep all its disparate elements under wraps to create a product that can charm, horrify, amuse and astound viewers of all types again and again.
Enjoyed this article? Got your own horror anime to recommend? Why not drop by the forums some time and let us know what we missed!
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