Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 8/17/01
Blood the Last Vampire
2000 (2001) - Manga Entertainment
review by Todd Doogan of
The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/A/B-
Specs and Features
48 mins, NR, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, Amaray keep case
packaging, single-sided, single-layered, Making of
Blood: The Last Vampire featurette (21 mins), Manga video previews,
theatrical trailer, Manga DVD catalogue, DVD-ROM web access, English credit
sequence, animated film-themed menu screens with sound, scene access (8
chapters), languages: Japanese/English (DD 5.1 & 2.0), subtitles: English
"Don't ever piss her off
Like so many wickedly cool anime films, I couldn't tell you what the hell is
going on story-wise with this film. What I GATHER is that cantankerous and
no-nonsense Saya, who appears to be an everyday average Japanese schoolgirl, is
really the last "original" living in the world (we'll assume she's an
original vampire). Anyway, she's been contracted by the American government to
hunt down bloodthirsty demons/vampires/spawns of Satan and unquestionably kill
them with a high quality samurai sword that may (or may not) be specially made
for the job. I don't think it's special, considering that she uses a shovel to
attack one later in the film, commenting that these creatures "have to
loose a lot of blood in one strike or they won't die". But a sword seems to
do the trick most of the time.
The setting for the film is an American Air Force base in Japan in October
1966. Saya latest mission is reentering high school so she can flush out a
recently discovered demon and destroy it. But when she gets there, she finds out
that these "demons" are getting even more powerful than the government
guessed - and there may actually be more than one on the base. What follows is
an epic battle that will leave you scratching your head, but with your mouth
wide open at the eyeball-popping animation.
Blood the Last Vampire is awfully cool eye
candy. It's also awfully vague and awfully short. The run time is only 48
minutes and 15 seconds long. But there's enough here for a full-length film, or
that is to say, enough missing. It's definitely not bad in any way - I'd
actually say it's so good I was upset there wasn't more here to gravitate to.
The main reason you'll want to check it out, is that Blood
was conceived by Mamoru Oshii, the man who gave us Ghost
in the Shell. But it doesn't appear that he had anything to do with
the overall project other than putting together a wonderful team of traditional
animators and computer technicians and making this film possible. The box
proclaims Blood to be a breakthrough in
digital filmmaking, but it's not really - at least not in this day and age. But
don't take that as a poo-poo. This is definitely state-of-the-art stuff. There
are some shots in this film that are so photo-real you'll jump back to see the
image again looking for faults. And the character animation, although poorly
synched, features some of the coolest looking characters I've seen in anime.
Saya herself is pretty badass and the demon creatures will send a nice willie
down your spine.
The picture quality on this DVD is very nice. It's the best thing Manga has
ever put onto DVD, video and audio-wise. The anamorphic widescreen picture is
artifact free with nice colors and deep blacks. There's no shimmer, no blur and
no bleed. I was very impressed from the first moment I put the disc in the
player. The sound is also top notch. You get both Dolby Digital 5.1, which is
wide open and playful, and a 2.0 track as well.
Extras on the disc are light, but what you get is important. Along with a
trailer and the standard Manga video ads, you'll find a Japanese documentary
about the making of the film. A lot of work went into Blood
the Last Vampire. A lot of work and a lot of pride. Here, you'll see
exactly what it took to make this film and how they got it to look so "different".
Unfortunately, the documentary gets slightly annoying when you notice that the
interviewer is constantly agreeing with the interviewee, with uh-hum's over and
over again. At first I had no idea what it was that was bothering me about it,
and then it became as clear as day.
Blood the Last Vampire isn't a
breakthrough, but it sure is cool. Every animation fan should pop this sucker
into their player. It may be more of a rental for the curiosity factor,
especially given the brief run time and the price, but it's definitely worth
checking out. Blood will suck you dry and
you'll love every moment - as short as those moments may be.