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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Bloodhound: The Vampire Gigolo, Vol. 2
Bloodhound: The Vampire Gigolo, Vol. 2
Bandai // Unrated // June 19, 2007
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted September 6, 2007 | E-mail the Author
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The Series:

There's an old game that I used to play in college back in the 80's.  You think of outrageous descriptions of two people, put the phrase "and they're both detectives" at the end, and anything you come up with sounds like a bad TV crime show.  There's a certain amount of comfort knowing that this still works in the 21st Century and that Japan isn't immune to it either.  Case in point:  Bloodhound (known as Vampire Gigolo in Japan).  She's a plucky young high school student who isn't afraid of danger.  He's a male prostitute who also happens to be a vampire.  They're both detectives.  Yes, the show is as bad as the description makes it sound, and volume two continues with the same lame stories and overacting that filled the first one.  Even so, there's some rudimentary charm to the show, and it can be fun to watch.

Series background:

Rion Kanou (Minako Komukai) is high school girl who receives a strange voice mail message on her cell phone on afternoon.  Her best friend, Shiho Aiga (Yurie Kojima) call, panicked, and says "Rion, help me!  A real vampire..."  Needless to say, Shiho doesn't answer her phone nor is she home.  That mysterious message starts the young high school girl on a quest to find her friend.  The search soon leads Rion to a "host club" named Kranken Haus, a place where older women can go to spend the evening with handsome young men dressed in gothic garb.  For a price, of course.

Checking out the club, Rion meets Suou (Satoshi Matsuda), an escort at the club who dresses as a vampire right down to the long fangs.  It's not really an act though.  Not only does Suou dress like a vampire, but it turns out that he really is one.  He can walk in the daylight, eat garlic, and isn't afraid of crosses, but he's a blood sucker none the less.  He wears a necklace around his neck that dampens his powers and his thirst for blood; it's the only way he can fit into human society.  Suou didn't take Shiho however, but with Rion's help they start to investigate and eventually find the missing girl.  The pair, though they fight a lot, decides to continue working with each other and together they investigate mysterious disappearances and deaths that seem to have supernatural causes.

This volume:

Like the first volume, this disc contains a pair of two-part stories.  It starts out with the weakest episdoes so far.  A couple of women have been turning up dead, slashed and mangled as if by a werewolf.  All of these women are patrons of Kranken Haus, and when more of their visitors start turning up dead, business falls off dramatically.  With Suou's blood payments cut back, he starts to investigate just who or what is scaring off the customers.

Meanwhile Rion bumps into an old friend and renews the acquaintance.  Going over to her apartment one day, she finds the place in a mess.  In the video camera there is a tape that captured everything that happened:  it shows Rion's friend turning into a werewolf.  Can Suou and Rion find the girl and stop her before she kills again?

The next tale picks up a bit.  Rion meets a mysterious man on the street one day.  His name is Yuji Katsuragi, and he describes himself as a "traveling host."  He also calls himself the Grim Reaper because he doesn't take any money from the women he spends time with.  He just takes their lives.  Rion doesn't believe this at first, but when she sees a woman who was dating Yuji jump off a building, and another gets killed by a car, she has little doubt that he has some control over people's lives.

Suou isn't so easily convinced, but he's also really pissed off.  If there is a host giving his time away for free, who's going to want to pay at Kranken Haus?  The pair tracks down Yuji where he gives them a demonstration of just what he can do.  A woman took off the skull necklace that he gave her, and the punishment for that is death.  He calls the woman up and tells her to kill herself.  As the trio watches via the woman's webcam, they see her put her head in a noose and jump off a chair.  It seems as if this guy is the Grim Reaper, and he's given Rion one of his skull necklaces.

Make no mistake, this isn't a quality show.  It has very low production values, bad acting, and jokes that fall flat more often than not.  The plots are pretty stupid too, with the mysteries being more reminiscent of Scooby Doo than anything else.  Like the children's cartoon, it turns out that there's always a rational explanation for the mysterious events that the pair stumble across, and these explanations are about as plausible as the ones on Scooby Doo.

The direction is painfully bad.  Cameras are placed on the floor for no apparent reason, the scene with flash back and forth between two static shots several time in order to show a relationship (one that the audience has already picked up on) and the blocking is often horrid and uneven.

Having said that, there is a sort of goofy charm to the show.  Yea, it's really cheesy, but I can't say that I didn't have a good time watching it.  The ultra-low budget special effects and the corny plots make the show fun in an old movie serial kind of way.  No one will ever accuse this show of being great, but it's not the worst thing out there.

The DVD:


Audio:

This disc comes with the original Japanese soundtrack in stereo along with optional English subtitles.  There isn't a bud track.  The audio was about average for a low budget production.  There wasn't a huge amount of dynamic range, and the dialog comes across as a bit thin.  In addition, the drums in the background music are pretty anemic sounding.  Besides that the show sounds fine.

Video:

The full frame image doesn't look that great, but this is due to the poor production qualities rather than the fault of the publisher.  The series has a real low budget feel to it and looks like a low grade soap opera.  Some scenes are too bright and filled with blooming whites and others are too dark.  The image is very soft and looks like it was recorded on low-grade digital video tape.  Aliasing was also a problem and some scenes have excessive edge enhancement, though that's not a problem through the whole disc.  Overall this is a less than average looking DVD.

Extras:

The only bonus items are three trailers and a textless 'eyecatch' that plays at the end of each episode.

Final Thoughts:

With bad acting, lame humor, and simplistic plots, this show should be a lot worse than it is.  Even with the multiple flaws, this program has a cheesy sort of fun to it that will appeal to fans of movie serials and 50's SF movies.  It's worth checking out, but make it a rental.
 

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