Blood - The Last Vampire (2000)
By: CJ on October 12, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Manga Video (UK). Region 2 PAL. 1.85:1 English DD 5.1. English Subtitles. 46 minutes
The Movie
Director: Hiroyuki Kitakubo
Starring: Youki Kudoh, Saemi Nakamura, Joe Romersa, Rebecca Forstadt
Screenplay: Kenji Kamiyama
Music: Yoshihiro Ike Country: Japan
Saya, a vampire hunter, is sent undercover into a US military base by a clandestine American agency to seek and out and destroy the vampires that are hiding out there. And so follows lots of bloodshed and violence with Saya gruesomely dispatching the fearsome creatures left, right and centre.

This is the very basic premise of this anime release from Manga Video. The anime is startlingly good, it has to be admitted, and the audio is vibrant and powerful. Sadly, though, it's ultimately all hot air. The story doesn't really involve the viewer and it seems rather more like an excerpt from a longer film as it runs for a relatively short 46 minutes. There is no explanation as to who Saya is, or where she originates from. The only clue given is that she is the 'last original', and from this we assume that she is vampiric herself.

The story itself doesn't dig deep enough into how this situation has arisen, with vampires roaming the earth that need destroying. It's a bizarre little film indeed that doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Some reviewers believe that the 'vampires' are little more than symbolic representations of the American presence in Japan. A strange view, but an interesting one nonetheless.

This is all high-velocity entertainment with very little substance, but it's an enjoyable ride even though one is left feeling a little dissatisfied at its conclusion.
The image quality of this disc is faultless. It perfectly reproduces the striking visuals with startling clarity. The colours are deep and rich with solid blacks and no artifacting or colour bleeding. The picture is clean and sharp and will certainly cause no complaints amongst viewers.
The audio is suitably impressive with lots of sound movement and atmospheric effects swirling around the soundstage. The dialogue is clear and perfectly audible, though the voice actors don't really 'act' with any enthusiasm, coming over as rather flat and unemotional. Another odd thing is that not all the film is in English, some of it is in Japanese with English subtitles. So, the Americans speak English whilst the Japanese speak Japanese. It makes a certain kind of sense to do it this way, but seems a strange logic to employ on a film that's intended for universal appeal.
Extra Features
Not exactly bursting with extras, Manga do at least provide something. There is an image gallery, which is basically just screenshots from the main feature. Trailers for the film as well as trailers for forthcoming Manga releases. There is also a web link and some DVD ROM material, as well as a reasonably interesting 'Making of' featurette that looks at the making of Blood - The Last Vampire. Not a bad provision overall and probably more than enough for this release.
The Verdict
It's a superb disc, no doubt about that - it's just a shame that the film didn't match its production values. A shallow storyline that amounted to little more than copious helpings of bloodshed and violence fuelled by some unfathomable logic. Manga fans probably won't be disappointed by this disc, but the casual viewer may find themselves left a little bewildered by it all. I must confess to finding myself somewhat baffled by the whole thing…..

Still, it's an excellent disc and definitely worth a look if Manga is your thing.
Movie Score
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