The United States is preparing for the Vietnam War. American forces at Yokota Air Force base in Japan are beginning to mobilize, but vampires are a larger concern on the base. In an attempt to keep the general public from learning about the situation, a special team is sent to exterminate the creatures. Saya, a mysterious young girl with a sword, is sent with the team because she seems to know the secret to destroying these strange beasts.
summary by Gatts
Highs: Beautiful animation
Lows: No plot; zero character development
As the credits began to roll at the conclusion to Blood: The Last Vampire, I asked myself, “That’s it? It’s over?” The movie is a mere 48 minutes long; because of its short length, the film suffers.
The major flaw is the lack of storyline. When the plot finally seems like it’s starting to develop, the movie ends. Without any real plot, I was left questioning the motives behind the characters’ actions. Also, since there was so little character development, I really didn’t care about any of them. Another thing I disliked was that 75% of the dialogue was in English. The English dubbing was above average, but in certain parts, it detracted from the scenes.
On the positive side, the animation is excellent, which comes as no big surprise because Blood is from the creators of Ghost in the Shell. It combines digital animation with 3D CGI very effectively. The 3D animation does not look out of place and is not overused. Also, the musical score adds to the impressive visuals, creating a great atmosphere for most of the film.
In the end, Blood: The Last Vampire is a disappointing anime. The movie is entertaining during its first viewing, but the underdeveloped characters and shallow plot make it difficult to enjoy.
Highs: Crisp, vivid animation
Lows: Who, what, when, where, how… and why?
Someone forgot to mention to me beforehand that I was watching a trailer. Mind you, forty-eight minutes is mighty long for a trailer (that’s nearly half the length of a standard movie), but perhaps someday I can be privy to the actual movie itself… because I refuse to believe that this is it.
The only thing Blood: The Last Vampire really has going for it is that it puts on display how far animation techniques have come in the last few decades. Computer graphics are used generously but unobtrusively; visually, this anime is really easy on the eyes.
Just like Ghost in the Shell before it, this anime is all style and no substance. That statement could not be any truer than in this case. Ghost in the Shell at least had a complete, albeit unimaginative and frigid, plot. Why was Saya cooperating with an American government agency? How did they know the locations of the demons? What was the main motivation behind using a military base school as the primary setting? What was the school teacher’s name? It helps if a major character at least has a name. You think that could have had any effect on my being emotional detached from the characters? Nah, that couldn’t be it at all…
The fact that the anime created more questions than it answered is a testament to how not to make an anime. Someone let me know when the real movie starts so I can get a refill on popcorn…
Highs: Smooth-as-glass animation; attention to details
Lows: Any substance is nonexistent
Some praise Blood: The Last Vampire as being a great anime because it was created by novices who used Production IG’s staff and gear in order to educate themselves. Yet, when put side-by-side with small, independent works like She and Her Cat and URDA that lack financial backing, fancy equipment and directorial experience, this movie still cannot compare where it matters most.
One thing that this anime does very well is display Production IG’s great animation to the extent that you will know just why it has become one of the leading anime production companies. Each cel glides to the next with a smoothness on par with Akira and Ghost in the Shell, and this is to be expected from a modern movie. Yet, what stood out even more for me was the intense attention to detail. From 1960’s cars to Army uniforms to English signs to even English-speaking people, everything is painstakingly detailed so as to be as accurate as possible. Many anime attempt to pass off every American as being able to speak Japanese, but this movie goes as far as to have bilingual voice actors.
While attention to stylish detail is always nice, completely forsaking any attention to substance, let alone detail, is unforgivable. The most amount of substance is a result of people screaming or watching situations play out. At best, we are given the main character’s name, Saya. Who exactly is she? No clue is ever given. Why is she hunting vampires? We will never know. Why does she smack a cross out of a nurse’s hands? Perhaps it has something to do with vampire folklore, but it is never explained what Saya is. So we are left with a main character who has no background and no motivation. What about the plot? After watching the movie, I gathered that it was Halloween, but why is an American agency going after vampires? The reason behind this must be top secret and known only by certain characters, but I would love to have been clued into such “minor” details like this. And just as it seems that Blood is about to go start going somewhere, it ends as quickly as it began.
Perhaps the students who made this anime were action fan boys who thought that “little things” like character background and a plot only detract from an anime. Excuse me while I watch a low-budget, independent anime that has substance. Budget-blowing jokes like this are a waste of time, both mine and yours.