Who Censored Vampire Hunter D?
                by Cathy Krusberg
          Internet: ckberg@ix.netcom.com
Superstation TBS first broadcast _Vampire Hunter D_ on
May 1, 1994, as part of a triple animation bill: it was
preceded by _Heavy Metal_ (American animation) and followed
by _Robot Carnival_ (Japanese animation). All three
programs ran late because a preceding baseball game went
overtime, to the chagrin of a number of persons who had set
the timers on their VCRs. "Who Censored Vampire Hunter D?"
was written specifically to recognize the circumstances of
the May 1 broadcast.

This particular version of "Who Censored VHD?" has been
edited slightly from the version that was posted to the
newsgroup rec.arts.anime.stories in May 1994. (The group
rec.arts.anime.stories is itself now history, having been
supplanted by rec.arts.anime.creative.)

And now, on with our story:
A funny thing happened somewhere in an American cutting-
room, not too long ago. One or more censors working for
SuperStation WTBS encountered an English-dubbed version of
an animated Japanese movie entitled _Vampire Hunter D_.
It kept them busy for a while.
And it made me wonder: What if the VHD personae were more
than celluloid and videotape? In the process of finding
out, I wrote _Who Censored Vampire Hunter D?_

The full extent of my background in this kind of thing --
besides a penchant for silliness -- is having seen _Who
Framed Roger Rabbit?_ and having read _Who Framed Vampire
Princess Miyu?_ by Christian Gadaken. _Framed/Miyu?_ is
the source for the very few bits of jargon I've included: 
Dessin-Machi as the Japanese answer to Toontown, and the
word "animate" for the beings who people it.

(The curious can obtain their very own copy of
"Who Framed Vampire Princess Miyu?" by ftp-ing to
ftp.cs.ubc.ca/pub/archive/anime-fan-works. I'm not
sure of the subdirectory name -- at one time it was in
Miscellaneous, but there may now be a Miyu subdirectory --
but the filename is miyu.frame.gz.)

I imagine the following scenario being played out in
Dessin-Machi, Japan, with characters using the
original (often Western-sounding) names rather than those
familiar from the dub. The heroine is Doris Rumm, not
Doris Lang; the old vampire is referred to simply as
Haku Shaku, which is more an epithet (in the neutral
sense) than a name proper. As in the anime, they all
look very Anglo in features and coloring.
In this world, my dramatis personae are relatively ordinary
people. D is still a dhampire (half human, half vampire)
and finds his symbiot (that face in his left palm) not much
easier to live with than his character does in the movie.
Dan, Doris's younger brother (I thought of him as about 10
years old in the anime) has aged in some respects, but not
in others -- not in physical appearance, for example, nor in
his taste in movies. They and other members of the cast
of _D_ have stayed at least nominally in touch over the
intervening years; when Doris learns that she will have a
chance to see a broadcast of _Vampire Hunter D_ from
American TV, her curiosity is piqued, and she decides to
host a get-together in honor of the occasion.
All dramatis personae have some familiarity with English,
although (with the possible exception of D) they are not
fluent in it. They have seen the dub before and are
curious to learn what the Americans are going to do to
the movie *next*.
For any purists reading this: _Who Censored VHD?_ does not,
in fact, record *all* cuts that were made by TBS --
several snipped lines go unmentioned because commentary on
them would have been too cumbersome. (Or you can rationalize
that these characters probably would not have noticed their
absence from the dub, although they might if the same bits
had been cut from the Japanese version.)
Would Japanese animates *care* how they appear on American
TV? Certainly! They know that there's a huge potential
audience in America for their work. And regardless of
audience size, they are (or at least have been) actors; of
course they care how much, and what part, of their appearance
ends up on *any* cutting-room floor. Reflect that animates
perform their own stunts and have no doubles for the most
outrageous acts. Onscreen violence consequently has a much
greater significance for them than for live actors: cutting
a blood splash or the amputation of a bodily member is
almost a personal insult.
But what do you expect from a bunch of Americans? :)
Disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction, not meant to
infringe on any rights associated with any version or aspect
of _Vampire Hunter D_ or characters associated with the same.
Kudos to Hideuki Kikuchi for having created the universe that
has inspired my work. And a few overripe fruits to the
scissors-people working for WTBS.
               Who Censored Vampire Hunter D?
            A Cynical Look at _Vampire Hunter D_
         as Edited for Broadcast by Superstation TBS

  In a house in the Westernized part of Dessin-Machi:
  A knock at the door. "I'll get it, Sis!" Dan Rumm
exclaims, leaping up from the couch.
  "Thanks," Doris replies. She is a short woman with huge
blue eyes and long blonde hair, wearing a dress with a long,
pleated skirt. She barely glances over her shoulder to
speak, for she is preoccupied with standing on tiptoe to get
condiment bottles down from shelves in a kitchen that could
belong to any American home.
  Dan opens the door. "Rei! D! Come in!"
  Two tall figures enter. "Thanks," says Rei, grinning.
His hair is as gray and as spiky as ever. He wears a
slightly more conservative tunic but is otherwise dressed
more or less as costumed for VHD, except that no scabbard
hangs at his side.
  D follows him in. He has long, wavy auburn hair and a
somewhat morose expression. While Rei is ushered toward the
entertainment center, D doffs his wide-brimmed hat and hangs
it and his cloak on a peg in the entrance hall. He has
abandoned the superhero-type garb that he wore in the movie
for a dark, tailored shirt and Levi's.
  "Hey," says a deep voice. "Aren't you forgetting
  D sighs. "No; it seems I won't be permitted that
privilege." He removes his gloves and lays them on a high
shelf near his hat.
  "Ah!" the symbiot sighs. "That's better. Sometimes I
think you want to smother me!"
  "Fancy that," D murmurs, stepping into the kitchen.
"Hello, Doris."
  "Hi, D," Doris replies, smiling. Then she turns serious:
"Oh -- couldn't Ramika make it?"
  D shakes his head. "She couldn't stand the thought of
all the juicy parts --" D grimaces slightly at these words
"-- being cut. I tried to explain that this is as much for
socializing as for blood and guts, but it didn't seem to
make much of an impression. That's the problem with getting
into a role too much."
  "That's too bad," Doris says sincerely. Meanwhile, near
the entertainment center, Dan is peppering Rei with similar
queries: "What about Tula? What about Gimret? What
about -- "
  "Hey, hey, one at a time! Gimret had to teach an aikido
class. And you know Tula won't go anywhere Goreim can't.
Have you heard from *Peringo Sensei* [Dr. Fering]?"
  "He's working as an extra somewhere -- I think in
whatever Studio Ghibli is shooting now." Dan glances
nervously toward D and whispers to Rei, "Uh -- what
about --?"
  Rei looks to D but does not need to repeat the question.
D heard.
  "*Haku Shaku Sama* [Count Lee] is out of the country," he
tells them, voice tinged with irony on the very respectful
honorific *Sama*. "Though he'd probably say the same as
Ramika if he were here." D shakes his head. "I wonder about
those two sometimes. Who else have you heard from, Doris?"
  While Doris mentally reviews all the people she has
contacted in the previous week or so, D's hair ripples past
his face in the breeze Dan creates dashing past to retrieve
the glass of juice that Rei has just accepted, reminding
Doris of her own responsibilities as hostess: "D, I'm so
thoughtless! Would you like something to drink, too?"
  [No cheap vampire jokes here, folks. Sorry.]
  "Later, I'm sure, thank you." D's hair is blown in the
opposite direction as Dan whizzes by again, performs a truly
impressive skidding halt and turn near the entertainment
center to hand the juice to Rei, then pivots to check (at
lightning speed) all the settings on the various equipment
for about the zillionth time to be sure everything will be
perfect for the upcoming broadcast. Actually, the television
is on, but the sound is turned off. "There was some kind of
programming glitch," Dan tells Rei. "I think one of those
American baseball games went overtime and pushed everything
back half an hour, so there's this American animation on
now -- but they *will* show it, I know they will!" [The
American animation that Dan refers to is _Heavy Metal_,
which aired just before _Vampire Hunter D_.]

  Rei settles on the center of the couch, juice in hand,
stretching his long legs under the coffee table and crossing
them at the ankles. "Sure they will," he replies, grinning.
He pats the cushion beside him. "C'mere, sport, and tell me
how your metallurgy is coming along."
  Dan complies, vaulting the coffee table (after glancing
aside to be sure that Doris isn't watching) and twisting at
the last possible moment to land butt-first, so forcefully
that the cushion bounces nearly a foot in the air and the
couch rocks backward -- it probably would fall over without
Rei's weight as counterbalance. The juice in Rei's hand
sloshes impressively but, being grade-A animate juice, holds
together with the tenacity of Silly Putty (tm), leaping up
in elongated blobs that never *quite* escape the confines of
the glass.
  Dan had been fascinated by Rei's throwing-blade from the
first time he saw it whirling through the air; he had begged
Rei to teach him to use it, and Rei had explained that one
does not begin blade-throwing with a double-edged boomerang-
blade any more than one begins to learn swordsmanship with a
sword like D's. He had, however, taught Dan the rudiments
of regular knife-throwing inbetween takes and had
recommended better instructors than himself. To Rei's
pleasure and surprise, Dan had persisted in applying himself
to the art. Whenever both their schedules permitted, he had
also watched Rei practicing with his great curved blade.
Rei found the attention and admiration flattering, to say
the least; the two had become fast friends, and Dan had
become nearly as proficient with a throwing-blade as Rei and
had gone from merely throwing blades to making them,
although he still didn't have the skill to produce a
folding one like Rei's.
  "But I'm working on it!" he says, and he proceeds to give
a blow-by-blow account of his latest accomplishments,
occasionally glancing at the TV screen to be sure the movie
hasn't started without them.
  D -- who prefers using a blade that stays in his hand,
thank you very much -- has listened patiently to Doris's
recital of who isn't coming and why and changes the subject.
  "American television," he says. "We made that movie
when? Ten years ago?"
  "Nine, about," Doris replies. "It's a wonder any of us
have kept track of each other all this time. It was in
theatres here, but they always do us as videocassettes
there." She looks at D squarely and voices the question
they've all been thinking: "How much do you suppose those
Americans are going to cut?"
  D shakes his head. He has never been a talkative man ...
dhampire ... whatever. "Hard to say." He glances at the
silent TV screen. An alien-looking creature has just gotten
a bad spear wound to the neck. "Mm. Nasty. Well, I see
they don't cut *all* violence from their broadcasts. What
are you making there?"
  "Popcorn seasoning. Don't worry, there'll be a big bowl
of plain, too, if you don't want to get your -- uh -- hands
  From D's left palm comes a deep chuckle. "That's okay,
sister. I don't mind food that runs down my chin."
  The conversation turns to doings of other VHD cast
members: Uatori [Waytry], who had played a storekeeper, now
a partner in a law firm; Gorman, who had played Runsilva's
mayor, tending bar in a nightclub -- the same nightclub
where Greco (arguably one of the movie's heavies) now works
as an exotic dancer.
 "He has the body for it!" the hand puts in. "Hubba
  D ignores this, as he does most of the symbiot's
tasteless remarks. It won't make them go away -- in nearly
ten years, D has drawn that unhappy conclusion -- but
remonstrating is usually about as effectual as pouring oil
on a fire to extinguish it.
  "What about you, D?" Doris asks.
  "Well, after that business with Miyu [_Who Framed Vampire
Princess Miyu?_], I don't get such nasty looks when people
figure out that *that* --" he tilts his head leftward "--is
basically a kind of vampire."
  "One guy offered us a position doing hand jobs," the
symbiot puts in. "I don't know why D's being such a prig
about it. We could really rake it in!"
  Doris tries *very* hard not to giggle at the idea of D's
symbiot fellating tourists. D snaps, "One more word about
that and I start wearing *rubber* gloves."
  "Hmf," mutters the hand. Doris puts an enormous covered
plastic bowl into the microwave and turns it on. D watches
the TV in his usual silence and listens to Dan's chatter and
the soft roar of the microwave's fan and the muted
explosions of popping corn. When the microwave ends its
cycle, the end credits of the preceding movie are rolling.
A few last errant grains explode as Doris gently shakes the
covered plastic bowl. D helps by steadying another bowl
while she pours half the first bowl's contents into it, then
pours on top something pale yellow and greasy and full of
green and red flecks. D bridles, sniffing the air
  "Oh, relax," says Doris, a little irritably. "You know I
wouldn't put garlic into anything when you're here."
  D's mouth twitches in a hint of a smile, but before he
can make any response, Dan calls out, "Hey! They're showing
the moon! C'mere quick!"
  "Perfect timing," D observes. Doris has the seasoned
popcorn, D the plain, and he follows her to the TV room,
where they set the bowls on the spotless coffee table. D
sits on the couch next to Rei and absent-mindedly kicks
back, resting his heels near the snacks. Doris sweeps D's
feet off her coffee table and onto the floor before grabbing
a handful of plain popcorn and settling into an overstuffed
chair. D sighs and leans back as Doris's thighs, half
hidden by waving, moonlit grass, appear on the TV screen.
  "Hey," says the symbiot. "What about me?"
  D leans forward and holds his left palm outspread over
the bowl of seasoned popcorn, although this nearly blocks
Rei's view of the screen. The symbiot makes a sound
something like "Yum!" and promptly sucks in the equivalent
of several handfuls, then starts making contented munching
noises, interspersed with occasional sounds to the effect of
"Mm. Mm!"
  D really isn't unhappy with this state of affairs.
Ill-mannered as the thing can be, it at least won't talk
with its mouth full, and that much popcorn will keep it
busy for a while.
  The four (or five; the symbiot usually perceives the
world via D's vision) watch unspeaking, every mouth but D's
own occupied with popcorn, as a saurian appears onscreen and
is illuminated with floodlight after floodlight. Then:
  "Hey!" says Doris, through the bare remnant of a
mouthful. "They didn't catch my marksmanship -- shit! They
cut me dodging that thing's bolt!" Then, incredulously --
"They cut out my shooting! They cut out my hitting that
thing *three* times in a row from a galloping horse! You
think it was easy to hit that fucker from a galloping horse?
How *dare* they!"
  "Easy, Doris," says D. "It's just an anime." Pause.
"They did leave in your mounting the horse at a gallop."
  "They cut out my energy whip!" Doris exclaims, not
hearing him. "Do you know how long I had to practice with
that thing to make it go around that critter's neck and buzz
and everything?" She interrupts herself to gape at the
next bit lost to American sensibilities: "They cut out the
werewolf! Do you know how many times he had to rehearse
picking Luke up in his teeth so they could do it all in one
take, with the blood running and everything? How *dare*
  D, in self-defense, takes a few pieces of popcorn out of
the plain bowl, puts one into his mouth, and slowly chews
it. Then swallows. Then does the same with another. And
  It has been nine years, but they all remember the story
that plays out. Actually, they have seen it more recently.
When the English-language dub was released, Doris had hosted
a similar get-together to view a copy that some enterprising
 (or cruel) soul had brought back from America. Since then,
Dan has gotten over his furious exasperation at being given
a voice that sounds like a girl's; Rei has recovered from
his outrage at hearing his own mellow if somewhat hollow-
sounding voice replaced by that of a duck with laryngitis.
The symbiot is so ticked at its bass having been replaced by
a sneering tenor that it refuses to discuss the voices of
the dub at all -- which D considers no small blessing.
  Doris and D have declared themselves satisfied with Carl
Macek's casting for their voices. They all concur that
Ramika's rather deeper voice, with what they understand to
be *some* sort of accent, sounds a bit silly, and that the
echo chamber effect applied to The Count's voice is corny --
but no moreso than the plot. And so they watch mostly in
silence as the video story unfolds, as D with his cyborg
horse and skin-tight outfit appears onscreen, to be
challenged by a scantily-clad Doris.
  "Look, Doris," D says placatingly. "They got all your
stuff with the whip here."
  "Hmf," says Doris, not particularly placated.

  The tape continues to roll; the screen now shows a flock
of sheep dashing across a meadow. Dan immediately sits up,
wiping his greasy hand on his jeans. A pink glowing *thing*
floats behind the sheep, reaches nebulous tentacles toward
one -- a laser shot rings out.
  And a reedy voice calls from the speakers: "Is everything
all right, Sis?"
  Dan stares. "They cut my shooting! Damn, all of it!"
  "Dead sheep," D observes. "Americans don't like dead
animals unless they've been cut up and burnt."
  "Uh, D, I think you mean cooked," Rei suggests.
  "Just a matter of degree," D replies, tone a little
defensive. Rei remembers that he is talking to a half
vampire and decides not to pursue the matter.
  At the commercial, D accepts Doris's offer of a cup of
tea and nixes the symbiot's suggestion of something stronger
 ("You *know* how you get when you drink"). A somewhat
cordial atmosphere has been restored by the time the movie
resumes. The group chuckles at Greco's lines, although they
don't fully follow the English, and at Greco's pratfall,
which requires no translation and yields compliments to Doris
for her handling of the whip. Night falls on the screen,
and in a few more minutes Rei appears and throws his
crescent blade. Four pairs of eyes follow its path across
the screen and through a cruciform fencepost top.
  "Huh," says Rei. "Either that's not sacrilege or the
religious Right didn't preview this."
  "Probably both," says Doris distractedly. She does not
appear onscreen anytime soon -- at least, not *doing*
anything -- and although her eyes are still on the TV,
her mind has wandered. Rei and Dan, on the other hand, are
on the edge of the couch, waiting for Rei's blade to appear.
And soon it does: Rei and D face off on screen and the blade
works its magic: dancing about D's head, spinning down D's
long, curved sword, then cutting a furrow in the ground.
Rei on the screen snatches it in motion.
  "Damn, I'm good," says Rei on the couch, grinning.
"Now, watch the way I --"
  "-- shit!" For, yes, American sensibilities have struck
again. "Where's my blood splash?" Rei demands of no one in
particular. Then to D: "Where's *your* blood splash? What
the hell are people gonna think?" On the screen, D is
recovering from a serious abdominal wound, the infliction of
which has been laid to rest on an American cutting room
  "I would hope," says D, "that they would think my sword
thrust got edited out." D's words are calm, but there is an
edge to his voice. "I did a *nice* job with that blood
coming out of my back. They didn't have to cut that." He
grabs another handful of plain popcorn.
  "Hey, me too," says the symbiot, and D leans forward to
oblige it.
  "That's the end of the bowl," Dan observes.
  "I'll make some more," says Doris. She sounds relieved.
"It's quite a while before I'm on again anyway." Pause.
"That is, depending on how much they've cut out."
  "We'll give a yell if the end credits start rolling," Rei
tells her as she heads for the kitchen.
  "When's the next violence?" Dan asks.
  The three ponder this question, ignoring the quieter
scenes the glowing screen now shows. At last D says, "There
are some fairly gruesome sights when I walk into the castle
through that tunnel, but there's no blood until I fight the
mist cat."
  "Was that *really* bloody?" Dan asks eagerly.
  D almost curls his lip. "We'll see if the Americans think
it was."
  Soon the screen shows D entering the castle and -- sure
enough -- a gruesome assortment of creatures greeting him.
"Well," says Rei, as the tunnel creatures scatter and hide,
"they seem to have left this one intact." Onscreen, D's boot
very messily crushes a slug-like animate.
  "Huh," says D, who had forgotten that bit. "I guess
blood has to be red for it to count."
  Doris returns with another bowl of seasoned popcorn,
which D's symbiot dives for at the speed of light. "Hey!"
exclaims D, clutching his nearly-dislocated shoulder. "Some
of us are trying to watch a movie."
  "Can't watch a movie without eating popcorn," the symbiot
replies. Dan had been about to reach for the bowl himself
but draws back as the symbiot sucks in another large
mouthful. After D has leaned back and the symbiot resumed
its contented munching ("Mm. Mm!"), Dan digs into the bowl,
where the level is noticeably lower than it was when Doris
put it onto the table.
  "Here we go," says D, nodding at the screen, as the mist
cat bares its teeth and floats across the screen. D's knife
slashes into it --
  "It didn't even show us engaged!" D exclaims, aggrieved,
as his onscreen image dashes toward the next obstacle.
"And that was such a *nice* blood splash!"
  Rei frowns thoughtfully. "If they can't stand blood,
what are they going to do about my hand being cut off? They
*can't* cut the whole scene!"
  "Wanna bet?" says Doris.
  "No," Rei says quickly. "No, I don't."
  "When's the next violence?" says Dan.
  "Rei and the others attack Doris's home," says D. "But I
don't think there was any blood."
  "I'm in that!" Dan exclaims. "I got to shoot at Gimret!"
Pause. "I wish they'd let me use a knife." Another pause.
"When's the next *blood*?"
  D looks a little uncomfortable. "I bite one of the snake
  "That's a while from now," Rei observes.
  It is, but the group doesn't have to wait that long to
see American sensibilities at work again. As the first
notes of harp music float from the speakers, the symbiot
says, "Hey, I want to look, too. I want to see the snake
  =I'll bet you do, you lecher,= D thinks. The symbiot
can see through D's eyes as well as with its own, but
sometimes there's just no substitute, and D raises his left
palm to oblige.
  The harp music shudders, jumps; the screen ripples.  The
three snake women speak.
  "Hey!" the symbiot exclaims. "They cut out their tits!"
Pause. "I don't believe it! There are *no* *tits* left in
this scene! What the *hell* is wrong with these people?!"
  Doris thinks ahead to the implications of this. "Then
they'll probably cut my shower scene, too. Damn! I can't
shoot, I can't be naked -- what do they think I am, a
department store mannequin?"
  "I believe that's the traditional American perspective on
women," Rei observes. The symbiot snickers.
  "I recently read an article," says D, "that argued --
among other things -- that situations and characters
in anime are designed to resemble those in American
popular media, particularly that of, say, twenty or
thirty years ago, before women's rights and empowerment were
acceptable in mainstream American culture, and before
political correctness was an issue. Anime creators write
such a universe to cater to the Americans'... nostalgic
desire for a culture not influenced by rules that have
grown out of multiculturalism. The article went on to
argue that many aspects of anime are ultimately products
of American influence -- Disney animation, for example."

  [see the endnotes for gory details about this article
  in _Bad Subjects_]
  "Get to the point, D," says Doris. "Are you going to
use this to explain why we've been reduced to a bunch of
china dolls?"
  "No," D admits glumly. "That's the hell of it. I can't.
Because it makes exactly no sense -- that *is* the point.
Anime is influenced by American work in its origins and
caters to American audiences in its execution. You would
think it would be well-received. But look! Yes, it is sold
in America -- on videocassettes, many of which are
bootlegged or are translated by fans rather than
commercially distributed. It is very rare for anime to be
broadcast on a major television station -- like this." D
nods toward the screen, where three politically incorrect
snake women hold him captive. "Anime creators cater to
American values and expectations, and yet when the Americans
broadcast anime, they cut it." D looks particularly bleak
as he adds, "To bits. Which implies that the efforts of
those who write anime are somehow misdirected. If the
Americans liked it, they wouldn't make these cuts."
  As much from courtesy as curiosity, Rei asks, "Where did
you see that article?"
  "On the Internet. There's a place you can get it by ftp
or gopher. It's in an electronic journal called _Bad
Subjects_. I can download it and print it out for you, if
you'd like."
  "What language?"
  "Never mind."
  "Hey," says the symbiot, "after that dry lecture, I need
a good stiff drink."
  "A good stiff drink," D tells it sternly, "is the *last*
thing you need." (He knows lectures don't do any good.)
  "I'd prefer good, stiff tits," the symbiot concedes.
"Hey, Doris! How would you like to do a live encore of your
shower scene?"
  "D," says Doris, "how would you like to get your face
  In perfect unison, D and the symbiot ask, "Which one?"
  There's a glint in Doris's eye as she replies, "I have
two hands."
  D and symbiot exchange glances. In an undertone, the
symbiot says, "Where's that nightclub Greco works at?"
  "We'll discuss this later," D tells it firmly. "We've
got a movie to watch."
  "You're right," says Rei, changing the subject and
nodding at the screen. "They didn't cut anything from the
attack on Doris's house. I guess it's only blood that
bothers them."
  "Red blood," D amends, sighing and reaching for his
teacup. Dan feels relieved that Rei is between them;
D's tone makes the back of his neck prickle. But D sips his
tea as discreetly as any human might, and the symbiot, for
once, is silent.
  "Oh, boy!" Dan exclaims, as the scene shifts from the
old vampire to D, held captive by the snake women.
"Violence, right?"
  "Originally," says D. "We'll see what's left." On the
screen, beads of sweat appear on D's face -- his eyes glow
blue and his fangs grow longer, longer -- the mouth opens
wide as D growls like a starved tiger --
  "They cut the blood splash!" D nearly screams. "After
that buildup! What are people going to think?!"
  "Easy, easy." Rei pats his shoulder. "It's just an
  D shudders at the totally bloodless scene that follows;
the severed stump of the lamia neck ... gone, another
victim of the censor; the pile of dead snake women ...
absent. On the screen, D surveys his surroundings with
shaded, inscrutable eyes.
  On the couch, D wilts.
  "What are people going to think?" It's almost a moan.
  "That you should have gone into another line of work,"
says the symbiot.
  "Shut up," D mutters, his knees bumping the coffee
table as he draws them to himself, glowers over them at the
screen where he and Ramika are grappling over a dagger.
  "Rei," Dan whispers, "when's the next violence?"
  But it's D who replies, "All the way out. Gimret gets
a gut wound. Tula cut in half. Witch's brain lopped apart.
Goreim's arm blown off -- you've never seen so much blood.
But whether any'll make it onto the screen -- hah!"
  The four watch, D still curled, as Gimret does indeed
receive a sword blow (but the result is curtailed); as Tula
is cut in half (but the halves don't splatter artistically
all over the catwalk). Witch never even appears. "They've
 *got* to show Goreim's arm getting blown off!" Dan
exclaims. "They've *got* to!"
  But they don't. From the explosion, cut to Goreim
lying supine in a pool of blood and Rei vaulting over his
outstretched (remaining) arm. And at last, the scene's
crowning note: blood dripping from Gimret's feet where he
hangs, pinned to a great tree by Rei's blade.
  "I'm sure glad it was only an anime," Rei says,
desperate to lighten the mood. "It must be so embarrassing
to kill your last remaining ally."
  "The next ... violence," D says bitterly, chin between
his knees, "is your [Rei's] hand getting cut off."
  "Popcorn?" Rei offers. "Tea? Juice?"
  "Drink some tea," the symbiot suggests. "It'll cheer
you up."
  A strong cup of very hot tea, the symbiot's silence,
and a conspicuous lack of cuts (resulting from a lack of
violence or sex to be cut) work their soothing effects on D,
and he gradually relaxes to his usual state of quiescent
gloom. Rei, meanwhile, has become more anxious, wondering
what those American censors have done to one of *his* more
noteworthy performances. He soon finds out. On screen, he
and D face off: he with a candle in a long-handled holder, D
with his usual long sword. The two weapons meet, and the
broadcast Rei's face distorts in a ringing scream of pain.
  "How dare they!" Rei exclaims. "That's one of
my *best* effects! I made my hand come off, then bounce
along with all those lovely blood splashes, and land on
its wrist still holding that handle! How *dare* they!
That scene was a true work of art!"
  D nods agreement. He had thought so too -- enviously.
His symbiot had refused to attempt anything so ambitious.
  Rei doesn't curl his knees to his chest, but he crosses
his arms. "Hell. They've probably cut the whole business of
me lying there bleeding and clutching my stump."
  D nods sympathetically, and Dan says, "But you were
so *good* in that!"
  Rei tousles Dan's hair. "Thanks, sport."
  Imagine Rei's surprise when he appears writhing on
screen in full frontal closeup, blood pumping from the
stump of his severed left arm. Rei stares at the uncut
image -- and gasps.
  "They left it in! THEY LEFT IT IN! WAHOO!" He sits
still -- somehow -- for the rest of the scene, then leaps to
his feet and indulges in a thoroughly undignified victory
dance about the coffee table. "They left it in! HOPE!"
  "Sit down," growls the symbiot. "You're blocking the
  "Hush," D tells it. "I don't think we're going to see
any breasts."
  "For sure we aren't, with him in the way," D's hand
replies. Rei takes the hint and resumes his place on the
couch -- with an ear-to-ear grin.
  "This is where *Peringo Sensei* turns into a vampire
and then gets staked," Dan says. "And then I shoot Greco
and he falls into the gorge!"
  "*After* Peringo disrupts my decolletage and exposes
my breast," says Doris. "Don't forget that."
  "Wouldn't dream of forgetting it," says the symbiot.
"Some of the finest bouncing I've seen. You ever thought of
going into exotic dancing?"
  D hides his own face behind his left hand, so Doris's glare
goes to a deserving recipient. Who smirks shamelessly in
  On the screen, Ramika confronts Doris and Peringo in
Doris's cart. Peringo grabs Doris's whip -- grabs --
  "I knew it!" Doris exclaims. "What *are* those
Americans, queer or something?"
  "No taste," the symbiot agrees. "Not if they
cut *that*."
  As a fanged and rumpled Peringo leers at Doris, Ramika
approaches, draws his attention -- her dagger flashes toward
him, but --
  -- the blow, alas, has gone the way of so much else,
as has most of Peringo's descent into a convenient abyss.
  D sighs. "Too much blood, I guess."
  "D'you suppose they'll keep me shooting Greco, and him
falling?" says Dan.
  "One way to find out," says D. And sure enough, that
scene remains intact, to Dan's cry of "Hurray!" Rei
  "When's some more violence?" says Dan.
  The others ponder this. "Nothing before I get staked,
I don't think," D says at last.
  Dan sighs. "That's a *long* time. I'm going to make
some more popcorn."
  "You'll miss Doris showering," says the symbiot.
  "So will all of us, probably," D reminds it. If Doris
were not present, Dan would say, "Who cares?" -- but Doris
is, and the last few grains of seasoned popcorn play tag
in the bowl as Dan snatches it up and bounces kitchenward.
  D is correct; Doris next appears emerging fully clothed
from the shower. The symbiot gives a sort of growl and
yanks D toward the popcorn bowl (the plain one). Doris
looks thoroughly disgusted.
  "Sorry," says D.
  "I have a *very* *nice* body," says Doris. The
symbiot's mouth is full, to its frustration and D's
indescribable relief.
  D watches his scene with Doris with mixed feelings.
His violent reaction to the proximity of a human, even
an animate, had not been entirely an act -- which was,
of course, why the part had been his. In the intervening
years he has gotten some -- *some* -- control over his
desire to sink his teeth into any neck that comes too
close, but seeing his eyes go blank and his fangs extend
onscreen brings back unpleasant memories. The symbiot's
mouth is still full (that much popcorn takes a while to
chew, even for a vampiric thing), or it would be ragging
its other half mercilessly.
  Rei notices that D is looking gloomier than usual;
hesitates, then lays a hand on his shoulder. "You okay?"
  D nods. The tension of the moment is broken when Dan
reappears with the replenished bowl of popcorn. "Did I miss
  "No violence," Rei assures him. "You're just in time."
  Dan is. In the darkness of the video night, there is a
loud, bright explosion, and D's screen image recoils.
>From the couch, D watches with interest. An example of his
own virtuosity is coming up: it had been a grand death
scene. On screen, D cringes back from the light; with a
great show of pain and stars streaming from his mouth, he
finally succumbs -- or so it seems. Rei laughs in the
strange light, plunges a stake downward --
  "What?!" D exclaims. "There was hardly any blood at all!
Why did they cut that?"
  D's death, at least, has been preserved, complete with
roaring, glowing eyes, rippling cape, and all the rest.
Watching, D almost smiles. Beside him, Rei's fingers
twitch nervously. Sure enough --
  Rei's removal of D's left hand is gone, gone.
  "And after all that trouble!" Rei mourns. Using the
great throwing-blade for anything but throwing is an
accomplishment in itself; holding up someone else's arm and
slicing the hand off *one-handed* is the work of a virtuoso.
Or so it seems to Rei, who sighs as the scene shifts to the
ghoul parade in the old vampire's castle. Dan nudges him
and gives him an inquiring look.
  "Me," Rei says with a strained smile. He anticipates
the scene with mixed feelings: pride in having done a
marvelously gory head explosion, but wincing at the
recollection of how long it had taken him to literally get
his head together again, a la Humpty Dumpty.
  "You were good, Rei," Dan tells him, a little timidly.
  "Yeah," Rei replies. Then he points to the screen,
where Dan is tumbling in freefall, screaming. "You were
good, too."
  "But I didn't get to *explode*."
  "Count your blessings."
  "While Rei counts his money," says the symbiot. There
are some stunts that even animates get paid well for.
  "In retrospect, I don't think it was worth it," Rei
says. "It's just as well that killed off my part; I wasn't
good for anything the whole rest of the time they were
  "You mean money isn't worth losing your head over?" the
symbiot suggests.
  Sotto voce, D asks, "Does that pun work in Japanese?"
  In response, four voices chorus, "SHUT UP!"
  D shrinks into the couch cushions, glancing about
cautiously, prepared to dodge thrown objects. None are
forthcoming, however; all other eyes are fixed on the screen
with the avidity of Romans at the circus, as Rei's doom
looms. The lamp in his hand shatters before the old
vampire's gaze, a glowing gaze that picks up Rei himself and
slams him into a column --
  "AUGH!" Rei exclaims, almost as loudly as he had in the
movie. On screen, his inverted form is plastered against a
wall, a huge, dripping blood splash where the head should be.
"How can they *do* these things?!"
  "Scissors and tape," D says gloomily.
  "Hatchets and chewing gum, I think," Rei replies.
  "Do you suppose they cut the dagger going into *Hakuu
Shaku*'s eyeball?" says Dan.
  "There wasn't much blood," D says musingly. "I always
wondered if it was meant to be an allusion to _The Andalusian
  This observation merits D several dirty looks. It is
the second highbrow allusion he has made (the first having
been the _Bad Subjects_ article) in the course of what
is supposed to be purely escapist fanfic.
  "Well, they *did* allude to _Dracula A.D. 1972_!" D adds
  "Maybe there wasn't much blood," Rei reiterates, trying
to get the conversation back to a topic more appropriate
for the sketch's intended forum.
  There wasn't. Not much. But as the movie is
broadcast, there isn't any dagger going into the vampire's
eyeball. From the saliva-drenched fangs menacing Doris's
neck, the scene --
  -- to a flash of light that heralds the appearance
of -- D!
  "It's a very nice seque," D observes. "I guess you can
cut things out and make it look okay." He frowns
thoughtfully. "I went through the same kind of thing you
did, Rei -- not as much," he hastily adds. "I mean, being
battered around, with blood splashes. So," he concludes,
gloomy again, "I suppose they'll have cut that, too."
  But they haven't. D is slammed into ceiling and walls
with quiet explosions of blood -- and none of it has been
cut. Watching, D gapes, mildly incredulous.
  "Congratulations," Rei says bleakly.
  "My head didn't explode," D reminds him.
  The group watches as D on screen hangs spread-eagled in
the air, cape rippling; his sword, now under the old
vampire's psychokinetic control, whirls free of D's hand and
hovers, convex edge slowly wavering within inches of D's
throat. The camera angle changes to a full-face closeup of
D as the blade slides nearer -- nearer, the edge *into* his
throat -- a glimmer of red appears on the blade. Then D's
eyes glow blue -- the edge pulls away with a tiny splash of
  "Ha!" D on the couch exclaims. "They left it in!"
  They did. That and the old vampire's neat parry of D's
sword thrust. But the knife that hits D's chest -- D's
sword slammed through the old vampire's heart in return --
  "Wha - a - a - ?" D and Rei chorus, and D continues,
"But how can they cut that?! How on earth are people going
to know -- oh, good grief!" On screen, D pulls a knife from
his breast with an unsteady hand and collapses. The old
vampire's eyes glow in hypnotic command.
  "Oh, good grief," D reiterates. "How do people think
he got pinned to the wall, anyway? We worked *hard* on that
scene! The timing! The blocking! If they can stand
that --" he indicates the blood slowly covering the floor
onscreen "-- they can stand some action."
  "Americans are wimps," Dan concludes.
  "They certainly prefer a highly ... *sanitized* view of
the world," Doris observes. "It's not as if *everyone's*
an animate."
  The four watch unspeaking as the rest of the story
plays out, D's symbiot indulging in another huge mouthful of
popcorn as the vampire's castle sinks into its own abyss and
fireworks fill the screen again and again. At last the TV
shows D riding off through a landscape of mists and
mountains and flowers, and a few blips of English-language
flash past --
  Then a commercial.
  "What?" says Rei. "No credits?" [Rei means the
original credits, in Japanese.]
  "No tacky disco music, either," D points out.
  "But I *like* to watch credits," Rei protests.
  "Oh, just be glad it's over," says Doris. "Honestly!
That was slashed to *ribbons*!"
  "And they cut so much *good* stuff!" says Dan.
  "My marksmanship," says Doris. "My *breasts*!"
  "My bladesmanship," says Rei. "My head exploding."
  "My blood," D says gloomily. "You'd think there was
something wrong with having blood in one's veins."
  "Let's go to a topless bar and look at some tits," says
the symbiot. It is ignored.
  "I can't believe anyone would do what those Americans
did," says Dan.
  "Americans!" Doris snorts. "What can they know? Round
  "Long noses!" Rei chimes in.
  Then the four look at each other's features: Doris's
huge, blue, and very round eyes; Rei's long nose and
decidedly white complexion; D's wavy auburn hair -- and a
dismal silence blankets the room.
  "Or we could go to that nightclub where Greco works,"
the symbiot continues, undaunted.
  "Do you *have* to set the standard for 'polymorphous
perverse'?" D asks, a little irritably.
  "Do you *have* to be as dull as the character you
played?" the symbiot rejoins. "Eat! Drink! Fuck!
Raw material surrounds you! I can tell you exactly
where to start." It leers at Doris.
  Even as D claps his other palm over the thing, Doris
says, "Is this what one calls, in English, 'getting out of
  "This is what one calls, in English, 'time to bid one's
hostess good evening,'" D tells her, rising quickly. Palms
pressed together, he gives an abbreviated version of an
Oriental bow. "With many thanks for the tea and sympathy.
Good night Doris; Dan." He turns on one heel and zips
toward the entrance hall, a few motion lines dissolving
in his wake.
  "I really need to go too," says Rei, rising also.
"Thanks for having us over."
  "It's been a pleasure," Doris replies. "I'm just sorry
the entertainment wasn't of better caliber."
  "Not your fault," Rei assures her, smiling. "And --"
nodding at Dan "-- it's always good to come talk shop with
my buddy here."
  "Come back anytime, Rei," Dan says, smiling. "Someday
I'm gonna make a better blade than yours!"
  "I wouldn't be a bit surprised," Rei assures him. A
few more inconsequential pleasantries are exchanged en route
the door, where Rei arrives just in time to depart on D's
heels -- D having given up the struggle to don his gloves
once more.
  Outside, Rei falls into step beside him. "So, what's
next on your agenda?"
  "Going shopping," D tells him.
  "Gloves?" Rei asks, noticing the absence of those
articles. (D has pocketed them)
  "*Not* rubber gloves," the symbiot says firmly.
  "No," D rejoins, "I think a rubber hose."
  The thing gives a squeal of delight. "Oooh! "We've
never done S & M before!"
ENDNOTES ===================================================
D has given a rather distorted synopsis (IMHO) of the article
he's referring to, but it really *does* exist, in issue No. 13
13.5 Newitz, Annalee. "Anime Otaku: Japanese Animation Fans
Outside Japan." Subtitled by fans for fans.
The follow instructions for accessing _Bad Subjects_ are
taken from an article posted to rec.arts.anime:
You can access our online files (including back issues) via
the Internet.
 - Our gopher resides at uclink.berkeley.edu (port 52673),
or is available via "Other Gophers" menu choices
everywhere (look in North America, USA, California,
University of California Berkeley, Online Services).
 - You can telnet to ux1.cso.uiuc.edu (login: gopher) and
choose the "Other Gophers" menu choices (like above).
 - You can reach us via anonymous ftp at
english-server.hss.cmu.edu (in the directory
"/English Server/Journals/Bad Subjects").
 - You can use mosaic or www to find us in the Electronic
Journals menu at info.cern.ch or URL
Steven Rubio Bad Subjects Online Services

  _The Andalusian Dog_ is a surrealist film directed by
Luis Bunuel. One of its most famous scenes is the slicing
of an eyeball with a straight razor.
END ENDNOTES ================================================
Comments welcome.
The Mad Bibliographer and
Certifiable Vampire Hunter D fanatic,
Cathy Krusberg
Internet: ckberg@ix.netcom.com