BLOOD: THE LAST VAMPIRE (2000)

 

Format: 48-minute featurette

 

Rating: R (AL, GV)

 

Type: Horror

 

American Production: Manga

 

Japanese Production: Production I.G.

 

Grading

 

Premise:

C

Story:

B-

Writing:

B-

Character Design:

A- 

Animation:

A

Artistic Merits:

A-

English Dub:

Musical Score:

B

 

 

Humor Content:

n/a

Action Content:

B

Drama Content:

B

 

 

DVD Presentation:

B

DVD Extras:

B-

 

 

OVERALL:

B

 

Synopsis

      Saya, a seemingly teenaged girl who may actually be the last “original” vampire, uses a katana to hunt down demonic creatures that feed on human blood in and around an American air base in Japan in late October of 1966. While American men from a secretive security unit assist Saya, the base school’s nurse becomes an inadvertent witness to the latest hunt.

 

The Long View

      Blood tells a simple and straightforward story with a heavy emphasis on action and visuals. This isn’t necessarily a bad approach, but in this case it comes at the expense of backstory. We’re given almost no background on Saya, the people she works with, or the demons she hunts. The featurette might have been able to get by without such details if it weren’t for the fact that Saya seems to be quite an unusual vampire. Yes, she goes off on people that mention religious figures or make religious displays, but they don’t seem to hurt her, nor does the sunlight, and she never once shows fangs or any of the powers commonly associated with vampires. The viewer is left wanting more – and not in a good sense – at the end. Also, Saya is so dour and sourpussed that it’s hard to like her as a heroine. That being said, the writing is clean and effective in pursuing the story it tells, and the thoroughly overwhelmed nurse is quite effectively portrayed. Setting the story against the backdrop of the Vietnam War is an interesting approach (the air base is apparently a major stopping-over point on the way to Vietnam, although it’s unclear why this was done.

      The real highlight of Blood is its visuals. The movie has been highly lauded for its cutting-edge use of digital imaging, and there’s good reason for that. The dark, flat, and subdued color scheme might not work for everyone, but the artistry both in the digital and cel realms is quite good and the animation is as smooth as anything out there. This is an anime worth seeing for the artistic quality alone.

      In an interesting and very different approach for anime, Blood has but one vocal track, one that is partly in Japanese and partly in English. When the conversation is between two Japanese characters, it is subtitled. When the conversation involves American characters, it’s dubbed.

 

DVD Extras

     Despite an option on the menu which supposedly does it, the end credits are NOT subtitled – a major nuisance. Extras include:

·  Company trailers and info

·  Theatrical trailer

·  Art gallery

·  20 minute “making of” featurette

 

Principle English Voice Actors

Role

Voice Actor

Saya

Youki Kudou

nurse

Saemi Nakamura

David

Joe Romersma

Sharon 

Rebecca Forstadt

 

      Credits for other English vocal performances are not available at this time.

 

 

 

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