Blood: The Last Vampire (2000)
Director: Hiroyuki Kitakubo
Japan is on the brink of the Vietnam war but the Yokota Air Force base has more than the impending battle to worry about. You see, a band of vampires called “Chiropterans” are feasting on civilians and it's up to “vampire hunter” Saya (Kudoh) to go undercover at a school near the base to find the bloodsuckers and dispatch of them.
I have never been a big Manga fan. The ones that I have seen failed to impress me ("Akira" and "Ghost in the Shell") and I therefore never got hooked. But "Blood: The Last Vampire" might be the one that sends me to the Manga store to see what else is up in the genre.
This slick flick grabbed me right off the top with its impressive visuals and didn’t let me go until the closing credits. I should mention that the film is a mix of classic animation and 2D-3D CGI imaging. It blew my pointy ass away! In my entire life, I had never seen such vivid animation. The vibrant colors that the movie showcased, its wonderful play with shadows and bright lighting and the incredibly beautiful backdrops that populated the film, left me spellbound. Words can’t describe how sharp this movie looks; it is truly digital art in motion. Add to that a breathtaking pace, gnarly creature transformations, excessive violence, some tense moments, gnarly action set pieces and crazy shot compositions and you get a definite crowd-pleaser.
So what’s missing? Well, the flick only lasts for 49 damn minutes (credits included) and when all was said and done, I was thirsting for more Blood! Another minor qualm I had with the film was the inclusion of the whiny “school nurse”. She was way annoying and I kept waiting for her to bite the big one…she didn’t. Even though the plot is far from original (kind of a cross between "The X-Files" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") it still pleasured me like a drunken prom queen. I’m a horror fan for Romero’s sake! I love storylines like this! I got taken even more by the film’s protagonist Saya (Kudon). She’s the classic badass heroine. I got a big kick out of the fact that she appears to be 14 years old and is whooping so much booty. Such a young age for decapitating creatures of the night…that’s so sweet. I also appreciated her no-bull attitude, her brooding nature and her groovy swordplay. The girl captured my wretched heart.
"Blood: The Last Vampire" is an action packed, visual trip but it almost feels like a tease for something bigger. I for one hope that this will be expanded into a series or maybe a feature length film. If this tale ever continues, I’m in for the long haul. Slash this!
Oh yeah! We get vampires chewing on humans, vampires being cut in two by a sword, basically a lot of “slash”, “splat”, “slash”, “splat”. The bright red blood looks great!
Youki Kudoh (Saya) doesn’t say much but when she does...it counts. She's perfect casting for the Saya character. Joe Romersa (David) does ok, although nothing over which to do back-flips.
T & A
Naked vampire creatures…you horny yet?
The film is filled with flashy editing, atmospheric lighting, kinetic shots and slow motion. I loved it! Couple that with astounding digital animation and you get an “anime” feast.
The score by Yoshihiro Ike perfectly communicates how the characters are feeling. It’s subtle and sparingly used.
Distributed By: Manga Entertainment
IMAGE: The 16:9 Anamorphic Digital Transfer gives the film a crisp and vibrant look. The image leaps out of your screen, grabs you by the balls and says: WATCH ME!
SOUND: The Dolby Digital 5.1 also serves the film well. This film is filled very sound oriented and here every “swish”, “splat” and “drip” hits your eardrum clearly.
EXTRAS: The extras are ok but apart from the “making of” nothing really outstanding. Read on…
The “Making” of Blood (~ 20 minutes): This subtitled “making of" touches upon everything. From where the concept of the film first originated, to everybody who involved in the making of the film (a lot of fucking people…wow), to the storyboarding of the film, to the computer touch-ups and it even shows the original teaser of the film. I was very impressed by the amount of people and work that was put into this movie. This “making of” puts that into perspective.
Original Blood Japanese Trailer (~ 3 minutes): The highlight of the trailer for me is that it shows clips that were emitted from the film.
Image Gallery: Here we get dozens of kool stills from the movie.
Manga Previews: Guess what we get here? A montage of other Mangas distributed by the company. None really stood out for me, especially after watching Blood.
DVD Rom: I don’t have a DVD Rom so you’ll have to check it out for yourself to see wassup with this feature.
Everybody involved with this project should open a big bottle of “Saki” and celebrate heartily. Great job, guys! Even though Blood is way too short, it still delivered gangbusters on a visual standpoint and on the action front. Now how about giving us a feature film on Saya’s adventure. Actually, make it a movie series! Or maybe a TV show? I want more of Saya and her quest! I loved the gal! She would surely give Buffy a run for her tampons.
The film is half dubbed and half subtitled.
Youki Kudoh (Saya) can be seen in the flesh in the movie “Snow Falling On Cedars” alongside Ethan Hawke.