Saturday, January 19, 2013

Blood The Last Vampire Anime Review

Blood The Last Vampire
Manga Entertainment
Movie - 50 mins. 1 disc
$19.97 (2009) Blu-Ray
$19.97 (2007)
$29.95 (2001)
$19.98 (2001)
ISBN 660200407827
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Hiroyuki Kitakubo
Studio - Production I.G

Synopsis: The year is 1966 during the eve of the Vietnam war.  In Japan, a girl who looks like a teenager works for a clandestine government agency and hunts creatures called Chiropterans.  Her name is Saya and she is the last vampire.  The creatures she hunts appear to be human, but can transform into truly horrifying monsters who subsist on human blood.  The chief field agent in charge of handling Saya is David and his partner is the less experienced Louis.  David knows how dangerous the Chiropterans can be and that Saya is their only real hope against them.  She uses an incredibly sharp and well-crafted katana sword, but the modern versions are poor quality and old swords are hard to find.
A mysterious death sparks Saya's involvement
A strange death occurs on a military base and David plants Saya as a student at the base's school.  She is tasked to sniff out the Chiropterans and finish them off.  The base is having a Halloween party to ease tensions from the current political climate and the recent death.  Saya meets the school nurse who immediately senses something decidedly wrong.  What are these monsters called Chiropterans and can Saya defeat them again?  David knows if they overcome Saya then there is no stopping the deadly creatures.
The deadliest school girl you'll ever meet
Pros: Great visuals and especially the early use of CG (computer graphics) in anime, good story with a unique take on vampires, Saya is totally badass, very cool action sequences, nice suspense moments, some extras, it was filmed in both Japanese and English language
The only way to kill a Chiropteran is to make it lose a massive amount
of blood with a single strike
Cons: Short running time, CG elements are dated, plot is very simple, no character development, more questions than answers, pretty pictures with little depth, not a lot of replay value
Now these are some suspicious looking students
Mike Tells It Straight: Blood The Last Vampire is a tease.  It gives us an intriguing character in Saya and the hints of a dark, unknown world filled with monsters, but then abruptly ends leaving a bevy of unanswered questions.  What are Chiropterans?  Why is Saya the last vampire?  Why does she work for a clandestine government agency?  Blood was highly touted as the next phase of animation through exclusive use of digital technology and computers in its creation.  It delivers a visually striking story, but the plot is notoriously thin with no character development and a highly unsatisfying ending.
"Damn cheap blade!"
The director and studio continued the story of Saya after Blood in a series of light novels and video games.  Many viewers who enjoyed the short film were disappointed to have no direct anime sequel.  Despite its short length and shallow plot/characters it delivers a unique take on vampires and inspiring visuals.  It's a good horror story crossed with a heavy dose of spy noir.  Saya is a complete badass.
Stalked by a Chiropteran
In 2005 a 50-episode television series called Blood+ was released which retells the whole story of Saya and the Chiropterans from the consolidated works.  Being a television series the violence, language, and nudity were completely toned down.  In 2009 a live-action version of Blood was released with overall poor reviews.  More recently in 2011 a 12-episode reimagining of Saya was released called Blood-C which was written by Clamp (Cardcaptor Sakura, Chobits, X/1999) and produced by Production I.G.  A blu-ray version has been released which beefs up the visuals, but it's still a short film and probably not worth upgrading (unless you love it).
Up close and personal with a Chiropteran
Blood was incredibly popular when it came out and essential anime viewing for many years.  This explains the long television series follow up to satisfy the large demand from the disappointingly short film.  The film probably felt shorter than it actually was in comparison to some other works due to the minimal amount of information offered.  I believe every anime fan should watch it once (and it's pretty cheap nowadays), but it's probably not necessary to own it.

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