In 1966, the Yokota Air Force Base in Japan is busy with the tense job of supporting the U.S. war effort in Viet Nam. Suddenly, in the surrounding town, several suspicious suicides have been reported and students at the base school are behaving strangely. Enter Saya, a mysterious swordswoman who works for a secret organization dedicated to hunting down Chiropterans - demons who subsist on human blood and are the basis for our legends of vampires. All we know is that Saya is 'The Last Remaining Original' and that her powers are considerable.
Disguised as a schoolgirl, Saya investigates the school and discovers the presence of three of the horrific creatures. In the middle of the school Halloween party, Saya desperately tries to hunt them down and kill them before they can escape or enter hibernation. If unchecked, the creatures could endanger not only those at the base, but the entire war effort.
'Blood' is beautifully made, with a careful blend of three-dimensional CGI work and classical anime illustration. This is an experimental approach that, for the most part, works quite well, heightening the viewer's sense of realism. The film gains its noir effect from very skilled use of light and shadow, and has surprising color range for having very little direct light.
Both plot and characters are minimalist in style. Nothing is allowed to interfere with the steady increase in tension and pace of action. Thus, the feature length film seems to run by like a single episode of other anime. Even so, the work is so atmospheric, and Saya so strong a character that it develops surprising levels of meaning. I picked this up expecting a pleasant vampire concoction, and I feel I got much more than that. Worth looking for.
on October 20, 2005
I bought Blood: The Last Vampire because I'm not a huge Anime fan, but really appreciate this movie's beauty and story. Seeing it on DVD, I knew the video would look great on the PSP screen, and for that most part, that's true. Also, the movie is about 45 minutes long, so the PSP is a great outlet for it as opposed to a painfully long feature film (I prefer to watch TV shows and shorter films on the PSP because I rarely have long spans of time to devote to PSP-filmwatching).
The bad news is related to the video quality itself. The studio converted the video to UMD as a matted-widescreen version (not sure of the technical term), so when you first play it, you get a small widescreen picture with "black bars" on ALL FOUR SIDES. You must use the "Zoom" option under the PSP display menu for the picture to fit right. A minor annoyance, but worth mentioning.
Also, the black-level is washed out. I've found that watching the UMD at the lowest brightness setting on the PSP screen is most accurate color-wise, but with such beautiful animation, it's sad to see the contrast couldn't be nudged up some. I don't know if this represents studio laziness, but I understand this is common on UMDs.
Ultimately, entertaining and a great flick for the UMD format, but not perfect.
on July 28, 2002
When this movie was first released I heard a lot of good things about it and wanted to see it for myslef, but when I did I was extremely disappointed. First of all, there's no real storyline here, sure there's an over-all plot, but they don't take the time to get into the characters. Take Saya for example, I'm sure she could've been a very interesting character, but with the film being only 45 minutes, there's no chance for her to develop. They leave many questions unanswered, like if she's the last original vampire, then why does she work for the government to kill her own kind? And for that matter, how did vampires turn into the dumb beats we see in the film, and yet she remains looking like a human?
The film being so short also takes away from the quality, but when you watch the trailer for it, you notice that there are several scenes shown that aren't in the film. For example, we see that agent Louis shooting at one of those monsters in some kind of warehouse, and we also see helicopters chasing after the plane that the last monster was trying to jump on to at the end. I know this film had a lot of potential, but because of the way it was made and edited there's a lot left out that could've made it ten times better. I'm not sure if it came out the makers had hoped, but I found it very disappointing. The only thing that saves it is the animation and sound effects, both of which are pretty flawless. But if you're looking for a more detailed vampire related manga that delivers, try out Vampire Hunter D or it's sequel Bloodlust.
on March 15, 2002
What struck me most about this film when I was watching it was how much better it _could_ have been. I found myself just enjoying the animation and the horror aspect of it, but disliking the lack of back-story and in-depth characterization. In short, this anime looks amazing at times, but it's rather shallow. It seems like the people who made this were more interested in making a good-looking anime rather than a well-written anime. For instance, most of the time the characters remain silent and do battle against each other. You'll find yourself wanting to know _why_ they're doing this, but they never tell you. Why is Saya fighting them? How did she get involved with this? What are her feelings about doing this? Just who are they? Since hardly any of the characters reveals his or her emotions about certain things, they'll start to resemble nothing more than cardboard cutout, static characters. They're only there to move the story along. This anime has too many questions and not enough answers.
Another negative point is the ending. I felt like they were trying to put some vague concept behind it... Something about war? What does vampires vs. demons have anything to do with the battles between men? It feels like the ending just got tacked on to make it seem like it's "deep" although it's actually not. You can't have a deep movie without knowing the characters, which we don't. It just doesn't work.
It's sad... If the makers of this anime would have just added, say, 20 more minutes and put in some back-story, characterization, anything that would have shown what made the characters tick, this film would be excellent instead of just merely good. Don't get me wrong, though, this is still an incredibly enjoyable film for anime and horror buffs. Like I said, the animation is incredible at certain times, and the demons look excellent. The way demons should look. The classic horror element is there too... Frightening monsters popping up out of nowhere to disembowel a hopeless victim. At the current price I can easily see buying this to add to your anime/horror movie collection. It's just that if you're looking for a well-done story, you're not going to find it here. If you're looking for eye candy and something to watch come Halloween, then by all means buy this.
Now, about the DVD extras: Like the amazon.com reviewer above said, the included making-of documentary just rambles on, and on... Why do we need a 20-minute documentary for a 45-minute short film? About halfway through the documentary, I started thinking to myself: "All right, I get it... They used COMPUTERS. Sheesh." That's the gist of the entire documentary. They used computers to animate the backgrounds. Big yawn. So, basically, the documentary isn't exciting... It's like a one time viewing thing. Although they do show the teaser trailer they did, which includes scenes that I guess were later cut... So that's pretty cool. The only other extras on the DVD is the official trailer, a rather short (why does everything have to be short except for the documentary?) image gallery, and a couple anime previews... Yawn. Nothing spectacular here.
Here's the quickie rundown:
- Extremely well done animation in certain places.
- Very well done action scenes.
- It's a basically good horror flick.
- Almost no back-story.
- Almost no characterization.
- Too short. They should have added at least another 20 minutes to flesh it out some more.
- The documentary doesn't have any major replay value, as with the other extras on the DVD.
- The ending just doesn't work in my opinion.
Even with all the shortcomings, "Blood: The Last Vampire" is certainly worth buying. I just feel that's it's too shallow, but it's eye candy... Eye candy is fun. Hey, I like it. This anime is good, but not great. 3/5 stars.
on January 16, 2002
Wonderfully done graphics, really good shading and so forth.
As far as the plot goes it might as well be a situation of, Plot? Oops, did we need one of those?
Your more or less dropped into the middle of the story and then bounced from scene to scene so quickly you're still trying to figure out what was happening in the last one. Unfortunately, you never do. The only piece of evidence that even corresponds with the title "Blood the Last Vampire" is a little folder thingy but even that's pretty sketchy. Mostly you just run into some pretty fun slice and dice scenes with Saya *the supposed last vampire, or "origanal" as she is referred to all the time (I kept saying, the origanal of WHAT??)* kicking some...creature ass. That's another problem, you never find out exactly what she's killing and why and then combine all this along with Saya 's last scene and it turns out to be one of those movies that will leave you with a "Huh? Did I miss something here?" kinda feeling.
The only reason to buy this movie is for the graphics, but otherwise don't bother. Go buy Princess Mononoke or something with a halfway decent plot!
on August 30, 2001
For fans of anime and animation in general there are not that many theatrical quality shows produced, often we're stuck watching a series developed for television or Disney films aimed at a less mature audience. Every few years however we get a "Princess Mononoke", or "Ghost In The Shell"; "Blood: The Last Vampire" is such a film in terms of technical excellence and adult tone.
In part because of the films brevity (it clocks in at about 50 mins) Blood does not feature the same level of character/theme development as the aforementioned titles, but the story told fits well in the time frame given, which is very surprising. Most questions people will be left with are ultimately not pertinent to the story, but you'll want more. Part of the problem is that in Japan Blood was an entire media event, including games, a novel, and several manga (comics). I hesitate to recommend it to a non-anime fan, because it's clearly a portion of a project, and one where the viewer is not explicitly told much. Some people hate that method of story telling. Keep it in mind.
Pacing is quick through much of it, but slows down for scenes that need to make the viewer anxious. At it's heart this film is horror/suspense. The action is good, and leans toward the realistic side, but the focus is on the hunt. So fans of such awesome swordplay as ADV Films "Samurai X" (Rurouni Kenshin OAV) might be left craving more scenes, I think most people will be satisfied with the amount of action. Their quality though is incredible, the opening train scene is simply great. The only film that can match Blood in action scenes and over all speed is the soon to be released Katsuhiro Otomo produced kinetic frenzy "Spriggan". American fans of Indiana Jones and Akira will have to wait later in the year to see a domestic release of that though. Every shot in Blood is lit and textured in a moody style, and space is filled deliberately in each scene. Unlike most vampire films, Blood does not go down the monochromatic route of gothic. Much of it takes place during those late autumn afternoons where everything glows a golden hue, and it works amazingly. Visually there is nothing to complain about at all. The sound is an interesting issue, the score seemed well done, but it's not memorable (and it shouldn't be), FX were great, and the voices... Well, that's an interesting issue. Most of the movie takes place on an American military base in Japan, so about %70 of the spoken dialogue is in English. Personally, as a fan of the Japanese method of voice recording I'm used to characters emotions coming out as very real, however the work in Blood often sounds flat, with a particular scene near the end being an amazing exception. All in all though, a very small price to pay for an excellent production.
My quick synopsis of the plot is: Brooding girl is sent to an American army base by an "agency" to unearth and terminate several monsters that drink blood and can assume human form. If the idea of watching that play out doesn't appeal to you, skip it.
on August 28, 2001
The latest release from Manga has killer hype behind it. Production IG (from Evangelion fame) and the creators of "Ghost in the Shell"...going to be top notch, right? I'm glad Sputnik7.com ran the stream from it. It's more of a rental, show off to your friends-type movie than anything else. Nothing remarkable or substantial is presented (sans the visuals), the story is ok at best, and the extras are non exsistant. Best bet is to 1) Rent it, 2) Buy into the hype (as in get Ghost in the Shell or Evangelion), or 3) Just get Blue Sub 6. Sure it's more, but at least it's more enjoyable to watch as oppose to this.
on August 31, 2001
Sure... pretty sights... a waste money... Wait for the rental
Complete lack of character and story, a mere piece of eye candy.
on May 27, 2014
I love the movie for all the reasons everyone else does but there is one giant problem for the Blu-ray edition.
Unfortunately most of the movie is spoken in Japanese.
on September 27, 2001
The computer graphics and animation in this film were good and I like the idea that a vampire can only be killed by causing them to suddenly lose a large amount of blood, but that isn't enough to keep this movie afloat. The movie is far too short. It's quite slow and it's only 45 minutes long! There is practically no character development. When I saw the credits rolling, I actually thought that credits were appearing halfway through the movie as a artistic decision, or as an intermission sort of thing. I did not expect it to be the end of the movie. Very disappointing.