Ogy Anime Reviews: Dracula (Marvel/Toei)
Name: Dracula (Marvel/Toei)
– Other aliases:
- Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned
- Emperor of Darkness – Vampire Dracula
- The Tomb of Dracula
- The Tomb of Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned
- The Curse of Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned
- Vestron Dracula
- Dracula (1981)
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Supernatural, Mello Drama
Age Range: 13+ Seinen
Total Episodes: 1 special, 90 minutes 09 seconds
Original creators: Bram Stoker (main inspiration), Roy Thomas
Directed by Minoru Okazaki
– Other works:
- Dr. Slump (Original T.V. Series, 97’ T.V. Series, Movie 2, and Movie 4)
- Kennosuke-sama (Movie)
- O-bake no… Holly (T.V. Seires)
- Puttsun Make LOVE (OAV)
Production: Toei Animation
Sound Production: Seiji Yokoyama
-Book: Dracula. Written by: Bram Stoker. Written in 1879.
-Comic: The Tomb of Dracula. Written by: Roy Thomas. Published by: Marvel Comics. First appearance in The Tomb of Dracula (1972).
Licensed by Vestron VideoBeginning Story:
Take the book Dracula and make shift it in to a 1970’s modern Marvel comic.
– Movie beginning overview:
Many scenes of distant reaches of space are shown as we hear a narrator who either has a cold or just got a root canal tell us the definition of evil and terror of Dracula. After a pan through of what appears to be some hellish Baroque art which might be from Dante’s Inferno, the narrator tells us that Dracula escaped from his native Europe to lose an organization of vampire hunters.
What does this mean? NO BLADE !!!
Now he lives in America within the city of Boston. We are now introduced to a satanic cult as they prepare a ritual to give their master a suitable bride. Just like Franken from Frankenstein, the Count flies through a condemned church window into this G rated Sabbath to take the offered bride for himself. He turns into a giant bat and takes her with him. The Black Mass Cult leader thanks Dracula as he believes he is Satan.
At the Count’s abode, he lays Dolores to rest so he can enjoy her as a feast, but couldn’t bring himself to do it like it’s some sort of romance that accumulating between the two. Dracula now confused with the power of love for her. He goes through out the town to feast on many innocent damsels. A brain dead drunk hobo spots one of his hunts and tells the news about it.
Here enters Frank Drake. He is descendent of Dracula and looks kind of like Ken the Eagle from Gatchaman. We find him at a bar hanging out with his buddies as they hear the news of a vampire attack. His chums goof around as Frank is in deep thought until he gets a phone call. Next scene we see Frank, a Blonde (Rachel Van Helsing), and Santa Clause in a wheelchair (Quincy Harker) talking in a park. They ask Frank to join their vampire hunting group, but Frank laughs like a jack ass at the idea. Soon Santa and the Blonde rush Frank. Santa swiping at Frank with his cane sword and the blonde just keeps pushing Santa around in his wheel chair. Frank dodges and disarms the old man. Quincy congratulates him on passing his test and begins to convince Frank as the scene changes to Quency’s study room.
Quency retells a different alteration of the Bram Stoker novel. In this version Jonathan Harker & Quincy didn’t kill the count with a bowie knife, but Dr. Helsing and Jonathan were about to stab a wooden stake into him, Dracula wakes up to kill them both. Drac’s eye do glow red like in Super Kids (1996), but it work here.
Quency offers Frank the position to be a vampire hunter again and again; however, Frank just laughs like a jack ass per every offer. In desperation Quency tells him that he will pay $100,000.00 for his services. Frank continues to smuck it up a bit and steals a kiss from Rachel. She slaps him and entangles Frank with crossbow bolts. Frank soon agrees to join their group. He sasses about how they will track Dracula. Here enters the dog that can sense all evil. Zoinks man, more likely his breed is a Great Dane or variant of due to its history in the paranormal.
Soon the priest finds out from Satan himself that he had been tricked. With the cult leader enraged, he pleas for Satan’s help. Satan accepts and tells him to wait a year before pursuing him. On the other side, Frank and his fellow hunters try to narrow out where the count is.
A year has passed. Dracula and Dolores have had a baby boy; Quincy has found the region where Dracula lives at; and the wicked priest sets forth his plan to pleas Satan.
What will happen to Dracula?
What perils a wait?
Who will live?
But more importantly can Dracula run his side business of wedding planning without Frank or Franken crashing them?
Note: The movie has no credits besides it’s from Vestron Video and the back of the box says that it’s dubbed from Harmony Gold. Therefore, The VA (Voice Actor) portion will not be available.
Personality: Dracula-like, not a fan of Satan, and angst
Role: The main anti-hero who rediscovers humane love.
Personality: Almighty and doing bad things
Role: Bad guy
Personality: Calm, caring, and angelic
Role: Love of Dracula and something more
Name: Black Mass Cult Leader
Personality: Loud, resentful, and gullible
Role: Loyal grunt
Name: Frank Drake
Personality: Jack ass at times and Peter Parker-like
Role: A descendant of the count who is a martial artist
Name: Nah-nah, I’m not telling.
Personality: Holy, righteous, and stealthy
Role: An angelic being that causes a torment in Drac’s life
Well its way better than Frankenstein. The animation style does reek of the seventies with some characters looks like a variant of a Gatchaman character. The martial arts scenes are crazy like a Wu Tang Clan movie.
The only off putting detail is Dracula looks like his comic book self. This may sound very stupid of me to point out and usually should be praised, but this sticks out from the rest of the other character designs. His gritty facial outlines make his design look sloppy and ugly. I understand that Dracula should stand out of a crowd with his evil omnipresent and “When 900 years old you reach, look as good, you will not” will affect his skin, but keep the outlines consistent. If the character was in a different mood or just using powers, the outlines would be understandable.
Animation Rating: 3/5 (C)
I give it props for not using the music from the ballet Swan Lake; however, it reminds me of a three way blend of stock 70’s, Hanna-Barbera, and Hammer Horror Dracula music which goes well with the tone, atmosphere, and time period of the setting.
Sound Rating: 3.5/5(B)
Overall Production Rating = 3.25/5 (C)
Pros, Cons, and Other Thoughts:
- Action at times does get over-the-top
- The gore isn’t intensive like previous shows I’ve reviewed, but it’s done well for a Dracula/Vampire movie
- It’s like I’m watching a comic book
- The brain dead drunk
- Some impressive shots historical relics in the background
- NO BLADE
- Tells the origin twice when it could have been edited to be one scene
- Dead pan voice acting and bland scenes
- Decide who we should boo against
- Bland in some scenes
- Just like Super Kid (1996) the eyes animate a light but this time a white sparkle that chimes to let you know your food is done in the microwave … luckily, this happens under five times when they do this, so this not that bad just sticks out like a wart on your hand.
- While watching, at times it feels like more information is missing than given
This is the first co-production between Toei and Marvel in the 1980’s; however, after the Frankenstein project the two came to terms and decided that this was a failure.
A side from its campiness and limited release of these stories, these stories were placed/sold to for children (because it’s a cartoon and all cartoon’s are child friendly thinks’ the 1980’s parent) and were made for adults which angered some parents obviously.
Well, Dracula, my man I’d say you have some grave problems.
This time the special has a title card that properly names it Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned; however, this doesn’t explain why the VHS box calls it Dracula.
In this special, it delivers in power fights and elements of the supernatural, but lacks in emotion and pace. It reeks of the time period, but is not really too bad. I enjoyed the classic vampire motifs and the troop of vampire hunters. I’m sad to say but this is a mediocre special due to its pace and dialog.
The potential is defiantly there and I would recommend people to give it a watch, but as listed in the ‘Con’ section it really takes away from the experience.
Dead people still turn blue, but at least everyone is one size.
For some reason, people who have seen this will mention that the hamburger scene is totally abysmal, out of place, and laughable? I don’t see it as such because it does make sense. In the last third of the special, the count is punished and becomes mortal once again. With this mortality comes a century hunger, so he hops from Boston to New York to find another vampire before he dies as a mortal While dealing with these mortal hunger pains, Dracula mugs a couple for their money and goes to a dinner to eat a hamburger.
*Pro’s, Con’s, and Other Thoughts Rating: 3/5 (C)
- Plot: 3.5/5 (C) Solid for the most part and is true to a marvel comic experience.
- Performance: 2.5/5 (C) When a terribly tragic scene happens to Dracula it sounds like he is whining more than Buffy in her later seasons. The dialog is monotone and choppy at times. There could have been more takes to better improve the performance or at least put more proper emotion into the role.
- Pace: 2.5/5 (C) This has a sight campy drag at times kind of like a Kung Fu movie.
- Characters: 3/5 (C) Not bad but every scene with Dracula is melodramatic and monotone which upsets the tone and situation sometimes.
- Production Quality: 3.25/5 (C) Animation: Not bad. Sound: Hammer Horror like.
- Pro’s, Con’s, and other thoughts: 3/5 (C)
- Overall total: 2.958/5 (C) It’s mediocre, but not a bad watch.
Note: Due to my own belief and further defining anime as a pop art, no rating will ever receive a 0, 1, or 5 (a Z, F, or A in my book). For this reason is that times will change as opinions. Anything can be far greater or worse than before. That’s just human triumph and error.
- Some more time on the script work and VA performance
- A re-release on DVD or Blu-ray
- Fred Fuchs.
If a slow campy movie is up your ally then this is for you.
Please let me know what you think in the comments below.
Link to Frankenstein review: https://overencumbrance.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/ogy-anime-reviews-frankenstein-marvel-toei/
Link to Super Kids (1996) review: https://overencumbrance.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/ooo-whos-bad-anime-sludge-super-kid-1996/