Japanese Title: Blood: The Last Vampire
Related: Blood+ (same setting)
Blood-C (same setting)
Similar: Black Blood Brothers
Watched in: Japanese & English (both languages used in one track)
Length: 50-minute movie
- Uses both English and Japanese voice actors to portray the American and Japanese characters respectively.
- Nice music.
- Too short to go into any depth, leaving a pure action piece.
- Everyone looks like a sagging sad sack (sorry Ted).
- Desaturated colour in many scenes.
- Unlikeable, empty protagonist.
In a military school on a US army base in 1960s Japan, Saya hunts vampires that infiltrated the school disguised as civilians. Set against the backdrop of a Halloween party, Blood: The Last Vampire largely takes place in a single evening, an evening of action and gore.
Blood’s problems start early with Saya. As someone who doesn’t respond when talked to, is generally rude, and whose expression never changes, she is an unlikeable and empty protagonist. She serves no purpose to the narrative other than as a tool for the gory action. I am sure the writers intended to have her as a quiet rebel, but saying little and not caring about anything is not how the archetype works. A character’s actions and emotions create the strong, silent type – simply being mute isn’t enough.
The action in Blood is decent – nothing to write home about. She is an expert in fighting these monsters, yet I don’t see why she is the only who can handle it (a common problem in the Blood franchise, I find), when an expert with firearms and explosives could do just as well. It’s not as though she breathes fire or some such.
There isn’t much beyond that in this film. Blood is too short to go into any depth, at least if they wanted to keep all the action scenes. The Garden of Words at nearly half the length has plenty of depth. With action taking ninety-percent of the screen time, the characters have no chance to develop a personality.
Blood: The Last Vampire is one for gory action fans only. A longer runtime and more attention to the character wouldn’t have hurt.
Art – Medium
Blood’s character design is ugly, as everyone’s skin looks like it’s sagging right off the bone. Many scenes look blander than a military FPS with their lack of colour. The animation is decent, but when compared to the likes of Ghibli and Satoshi Kon, it isn’t what it could be for an anime film.
Sound – High
This is one of the few anime to use both American and Japanese actors in the same voice track, which works well. Some actors even have to speak both languages – the one time Engrish is accurate! The sound effects are good, as is the music from the Halloween band, though the sound balance is too broad. Quiet parts are practically mute compared to the action; I had to adjust the volume several times.
Story – Medium
Blood is an action piece beyond all else. Saya, the vampire hunter, is unfortunately an unlikeable character.
Overall Quality – Medium
Recommendation: Try it for some stylised vampire hunting. With a longer runtime and better characterisation, Blood: The Last Vampire could have been great. That said, it’s still a decent anime movie.
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