Blood: The Last Vampire

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.

- - Kinderfeld

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