DRACULA: SOVEREIGN OF THE DAMNED (1980) Animated Japanese horror


Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned is a 1980 animated Japanese TV movie version of Marvel’s The Tomb of Dracula comic produced by Toei and directed by Minoru Okazaki. It was titled Yami no Teiō: Kyūketsuki Dorakyura (闇の帝王 吸血鬼ドラキュラ – translation: “Emperor of Darkness: Vampire Dracula”).


Much of the main plot was condensed and many characters and subplots were truncated or omitted. It was sparsely released on cable TV in North America in 1983 by Harmony Gold dubbed into English under the title Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned and then on VHS by Vestron.


Count Dracula, lord of vampires and the sovereign of the damned, steals away a bride intended for Lucifer. Not only does this anger his dark creator but also a satanic cult and his fellow vampires. He finds that the sins of his past will not allow him to live a normal, mortal life. Events become complicated when he comes under attack from all sides, including his vampire hunting great-grandson and the children of others he murdered long ago.


“For all the torrid dramatics that the plot contorts, surprisingly little of it ever translates into visual excitement. The animation is very limited – the film does appropriate the robust dramatic style of the Marvel Comics artists of the 1970s but the fact that only the most limited part of the drawn action moves at one time virtually kills excitement off. What there is is melodramatic and flat. The characters are insipid and of little depth.” Richard Scheib, Moria

“At times, Dracula is presented as a sympathetic character capable of love until a second later he kills an innocent woman for her blood. It’s like this f*cker is bi-polar! At one point Satan takes his powers so Dracula decides to hide out in New York City.  It doesn’t help in the least that he still is dressed is his gaudy attire.  Lower those collars dude! Dracula has to mug a couple so he can pay for a bite to eat.” Zeegrade Reviews


“Watching Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned isn’t just like watching a car wreck, it’s like watching a slow motion oil-tanker-and-helicopter collision set to Rammstein music. It’s a lot of fun, simply because every time you think it can’t possibly get any dumber, it somehow manages to top itself.” Justin Sevakis, Anime News Network

“There is no doubting Dracula’s value for guilty laughs but around those scenes of wheelchair sword fights and Disco Lotharios are long breaks of plodding, dull talking and little action. The only real serious high point is the fitting and atmospheric score, if you ignore the shonky, wakka wakka disco tunes. Fans of the Comic Book series would almost certainly be outraged and for everyone else it’s just a long drag to the closing credits.” Anime Bargain Bin

Comics Alliance summary

Choice dialogue:

Dracula: “Yeah, I had a run-in with Satan.”



Voice Cast:

Character Japan Original Japanese voices United States English dub voices
Dracula Kenji Utsumi Tom Wyner
Domini Hiroko Suzuki Arlene Banas
Janus Kazuyuki Sogabe
Quincy Harker Yasuo Hisamatsu
Rachel van Helsing Mami Koyama Melanie MacQueen
Frank Drake Keiichi Noda Dan Woren
Satan Hidekatsu Shibata Richard Epcar
Lilith Reiko Katsura Edie Mirman
Anton Lupeski Junpei Takiguchi
Torgo Yasuo Tanaka[29] Robert V. Barron
Saint White God
Narrator Ryō Ishihara Robert V. Barron

Related: Frankenstein (Japanese animated version)