Sometimes style can overcome a lack of substance–even a lack of coherence–and such is the case with Yoshiaki Kawajiri’s visually marvelous but narratively silly anime feature. Even granting the likelihood that things aren’t helped by an English dubbing job that alternates ridiculously flat lines with preposterously florid ones, the plot of “Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust” is nonsensical. The hero, whose gaunt impassivity makes him resemble a figure who’s stepped out of a Sergio Leone western, is a “half-vampire” who makes a living as a bounty hunter ridding the world of surviving full vampires. (The concept of a “half-vampire” itself seems odd, sort of like a half-virgin, but we’ll let that pass. He also has, it should be noted, a parasitic presence on his hand, which emerges periodically as a protruding face to advise him.) D, as this strange and enigmatic figure is called, is hired to retrieve Charlotte, who’s apparently been abducted by blood-sucker Meier Link. But her family also contracts with D’s rivals, the four Markus Brothers, who are accompanied by tomboy Leila–a potential romantic interest. The plot follows the hunters’ pursuit of Link through the dangerous territory of the Barbaroi, servants of the “people of the night,” three of whom must be disposed of (not without bloodshed and death) before a great confrontation at the castle of Countess Carmila, the head of the vampire aristocracy and a powerful foe with plans of her own.

All of this sounds ridiculous, of course, and it is. But “Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust” manages to be captivating simply by virtue of the remarkable ambition and accomplishment of the animation. Many of the episodes are astonishingly inventive from a purely pictorial standpoint, even if it’s not always easy to comprehend the rationale behind the action going on in them. (It would probably help to have seen the film to which this is apparently a sequel.) And the sweep and moodiness of the images prove enough to carry one along. The voice talent does what it can to keep the dialogue from becoming too risible, and though you’ll still find it sometimes difficult to stifle a giggle or two, they succeed more often than not.

“Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust” may not offer much to think about, but it does provide a feast for the eye, even if it’s a meal that’s mostly bright red.