Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Horrors of October - Blood: The Last Vampire (2000)

Blood: The Last Vampire (2000)

A Japanese monster hunter goes undercover as a visiting schoolgirl at a high school located on a American military base. She is tasked by her secret government force to flush out two "chiropterans", bat-like demons that are hiding in human bodies and can only be killed by severe blood loss from a swift sword slash. BLOOD: THE LAST VAMPIRE was all the rage during the peak years of anime popularity and distribution but I just didn't get the urge to rent it out at my local Hollywood Video. I think my valid excuse was finding out online that the DVD back cover was lying and that the film is only 45 minutes long. Upon finally watching it, my lack of believing in the hype is correct as it is very overrated. The short film is basically a pilot episode for a television series, giving you a brief sampling of what's to come and having a bigger budget than normal. Its story literally is just a girl doing some recon, taking out her two opponents, another wild demon appears, kills it and leaves without a trace. More egregiously than its small story is the sheer fact that you spend less time with the heroine Saya and more with the annoying fat nurse that keeps screaming and making the situation worse. I also couldn't accept the character design, a big pet peeve of mine with animation, as many of the characters have terrible hairdos, rigid facial construction, and big and ugly lips. Additionally, the big twist of the entire film is spoiled in its own title! That all being said, I still was overall fine with the final product. It's not a true treasure and Production I.G. has advanced their rich animation further since releasing this but I enjoyed the breezy tone and the more ambitious aspects of the product. The anime film is directed to be English-first, Japanese-second, which had my mind blown as you rarely ever see this even till today. The Japanese voice actors do a pretty good job and phonetically sound perfect with the English script and the American voice actors, including everyone's favorite Steven Blum. Additionally, I really loved that it was taking place in 1966 around Halloween, allowing the crew to flood the picture with great background material and a cavalcade of costumes. Unfortunately, the throwback design does lead to the stupidest moment of the film, namely its ending. It concludes with the nurse lady having a "deep" thought about humans killing their own kind while an American B-52 flies off to assist in the Vietnam War. To quote Jeff Bridges, "What the fuck does anything have to do with Vietnam?! What the fuck are you talking about?!" Give this a watch and then move to better anime, including other works that wisely handle the premise of a samurai sword wielding schoolgirl.


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