Vampire Wars was in the same boat as Kimera. It’d sit there on that video store shelf, looking up at me longingly, pleading with me to take it home. But I ignored its call and passed it up for the latest volume of Ranma or whatever. Maybe it was some lame attempt at “sophistication” or something. “Yeah, Vampire Wars, you’re beneath me with your vampires and your wars. I’m too mature for you now. Now begone with yourself as I watch such fine intellectual fair involving pandas and crossdressing martial artists.”
Then I realized that true maturity doesn’t have a stick up its ass and is capable of digging shit like this. And now that I’ve finally seen Vampire Wars I can say that it’s pretty damn awesome.
I was sold on this OVA from the get-go. We’re introduced to the main dude, Kuki. He shows off some killer moves, taking down some French secret service types with ease before being shot from behind with tranquilizers. That’s when we get the lowdown on this guy. He’s a KGB-trained Japanese revolutionary on the run from the powers that be. He worked with a radical group that wanted to bomb Japan for some vague, unstated. Probably because he’s a commie bastard or whatever. And that brief list of “credentials” makes him all the more awesome. Not only do we know that he can kick ass, but we also know that he’s this elite special ops sort of guy that’ll be able to handle anything that’s thrown at him. It’s the exact sort of set-up I was hoping to see when I ranted about the first episode of Fate/Zero. It’s the sort of spiel we get in classic action movies, and it sets the tone perfectly for everything to come.
The rest of the movie follows your typical 80s/90s action movie plot line. The guy’s coerced into taking on a mission by the French– framed for murder and everything– and he soon finds himself in far deeper shit that anticipated. Turns out that Lamia, the lady the main dude is trailing, isn’t only a target of the CIA, she’s also a target of terrorist vampires who blew up a NASA facility in the opening sequence. Now he’s head deep in a three-way conflict between the French, the CIA, and Space Vampires.
The guy could easily give up, turn the girl in, and walk away. But he isn’t that sort of cold-hearted bastard. I know Scamp didn’t quite buy into this romance, but this is classic action movie love. It always moves fast and is triggered by the threat of mutual death. The chicks he slept around with up to this point were there purely for pleasure. The prostitute at the beginning may have gotten beaten, but Kuki’s life wasn’t on the line during that fight. An action movie hero can only fall in love if his life is threatened at the same time as his potential love interest’s life. It’s that sort of morbid sharing that allows for their love to form. That’s just how this shit works. Don’t blame me, blame Schwarzenegger.
So Kuki can’t let Lamia go. He has to see to it that she doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, and is willing to blow away anyone that gets in his way. The action scenes may not be beautifully animated or whatever, but they play off of the same routines you’d see in action movies from this era. The best one involves Kuki and his newfound vampire buddies raiding an airfield in order to intercept a CIA plane. Everyone rushes out of their vans, firing off machine guns and blood splattering everywhere. The CIA dudes even have a Gatling gun at their disposal. But the vampires have proverbial ace up their sleeves: Their leader pulls out a rocket launcher and takes out the CIA goons, allowing Kuki to board the plane. Seriously, the rocket launcher always wins. Anything else would ruin the flow of things.
So yeah, about those vampires. They’re Space Vampires, just like the ones in Kimera. Much like the aforementioned ones, the vampires in Vampire Wars come from an ancient alien empire that has made contact with Earth in the distant past. They’ve been at war with an unseen empire for who knows how long, but their king and a few of his loyal subjects have been trapped on Earth for 5000 years. They conveniently landed in Transylvania, and while the OVA never outright states it, it’s easy to assume that they’re the basis of all of our vampire myths in this world. The catch is that these vamps are good guys. While they apparently need blood to survive, their early years on Earth were devoted to trying to grant immortality to the people of the ancient continent of Mu. They even explain why Mu was destroyed, claiming that it was the evil empire’s doing, wiping out all of the good work of the hippie space vampires.
The vampires need Lamia because for whatever reason her blood is rich with the parasitic life form that grants the vampires’ immortality, and they need it to resurrect their sleeping King. They also took out that NASA facility because it was in contact with a radio signal sent out by the evil empire, and they want to protect Earth from being its next target.
So these space vampires aren’t baby-generating dicks like the ones in Kimera. They’re here to bring about enlightenment in the form of space bacteria that makes you drink blood and live forever. Sounds good to me. I’m glad Kuki and Lamia take down those bastard CIA dudes who wanted to contact the evil empire. Hopefully I’ll get to become a vampire and not become one’s lunch. Because you know that’s totally what’s gonna happen once all of this goes down. Lamia’s blood saves this King dude. The vampires reestablish their thing on Earth. They start to spread their awesome disease, but then they realize they need cattle. Not everyone can be the master, someone has to be the poor sap getting his blood drained to satiate the hunger of the elite.
Yeah, this is an awesome example of the old school OVA. It’s almost as brilliant as California Crisis, but not everything can be so sublime. Vampire Wars is a sufficient approximation of such awesomeness.
Also: My favorite moment was where the main vampire gets his neck broken by Kuki. The vampire rises back to his feet, his head at an awkward angle, and sticks his fingers into his neck. The fingers shuffle around for a bit until you hear a sickening snap and the vampire’s neck is back to normal. He seals it all with a smile. Beautiful.