Set in Japan, on the Yokota base, before the Vietnam War,
Blood: The Last Vampire is a story about a young woman
whose purpose is to hunt down and kill vampires. The young
Saya is a dark girl with a secret all her own who has the
ability to hunt the demonic beasts which have the ability
to disguise themselves as humans. To kill them, Saya must
perform an single attack that causes a severe amount of blood
loss. To do this, she keeps with her a lethal katana.
Blood's strength lies in it's visual style and animation.
The film is dark and violent, but never so much that it's
excessively gory. The characters have physical volume and
move and react like real people. You won't have any ridiculous
acrobatics that take away from a grim sense of reality imbedded
into this story. The monsters are an interesting take on the
vampire genre, shying away from the norm, but not dropping
the mythos altogether.
The soundtrack has some powerful moments and adds a nice
touch to the story. Instead of dubbing the whole film in English,
the film handles itself like a true foreign film. English
parts are spoken normally, while the Japanese parts are subtitled.
And since there seems to be a fine balance between the two,
the viewer is never left feeling like they're reading the
whole time, rather than watching.
Unfortunately, though, Blood runs at about an hour
in length, which allows the story to play out, but almost
in shallow fashion. There is never any time spent developing
any of the characters or establishing interaction between
anyone. A lot of things are hinted at that are never explained
and there are a few times where the viewer might wonder what
is going on behind the scenes. With maybe another 20 minutes
of film time, I think this movie might have had the depth
to be a real draw. Without it, though, Blood comes
across as a good action flick that throws the viewer into
the story and hopes they get what's going on before it's over.
Blood reminds me a lot of a blending of Buffy the
Vampire Slayer meets Blade with a true anime flair.
The animation and action is good enough to forgive most of
the lack of character exploration and even a shallow story.
If you're interested in vampire and horror anime, you should
give this one a view.