Friday, February 8, 2008

Blood: The Last Vampire

One of the most impressive animated films in 2000, garnering a Grand Prize at the Japan Media Arts Festival, Blood: The Last Vampire is a beautiful dark anime that is lauded for its extravagant production values.
"Blood: The Last Vampire" DVD @ Amazon
"Blood: The Last Vampire" AUDIO CD @ Amazon
"Blood: The Last Vampire" (Japan Version - English Subtitles) @ Yes Asia
"Blood: The Last Vampire" DVD @ Play-Asia
"Blood: The Last Vampire" DVD @ RightStuf
"Blood: The Last Vampire" Soundtrack CD @ RightStuf

The film, produced by animation studio Production I.G. of Ghost in the Shell and End of Evangelion fame, in collaboration with Sony's Aniplex, features main protagonist Saya, a seemingly young Japanese school girl, who is actually a covert agent for the US Government. Her objective is to discover the human identities of chiropterans (monstrous winged creatures that feed on blood) and kill them before they fully transform. Saya uses a katana, saying in one instance that a sword can make a large enough cut that would spell the end for the monsters.

In the beginning, we are introduced to Saya on a deserted train. She sits very still, unmoving. Then all of a sudden, the train stops and the lights go out. What follows next is a one-minute action sequence that is guaranteed to take your breath away and give you an idea just how bloody marvelous this film is.

Although the film never does expound on Saya's real nature or the nature of the chiropterans for that matter, the characters do recognize her as the last remaining "original." Later, just before the ending credits roll, we are given a huge clue as to what Saya really is, which is to say a vampire.

Admittedly, the film does not explain a lot of things about itself. Much is merely suggested and audiences are often left to figure things out by themselves. For instance, we don't know why Saya works for the US Government. Nor do we know what these chiropterans are. Are they vampires? They feed on blood.

Actually, the entire film feels like an hour-long teaser trailer. A beautiful, 2D-3D film quality, mind-blowing trailer, that is. And in a way, it is only just a trailer, as more of Saya's story is expounded on in a later spin-off series, Blood+, another Production I.G. masterpiece.

But if anything, this anime will change how you think of animation. Even Academy Award-winning director James Cameron is reported to have said: "Digital imaging has entered a new era. The world will come to consider this work as the standard of top quality in digital animation." (source)


Official Production I.G. Site
Wikipedia Article
"Blood: The Last Vampire" IMDB
"Blood: The Last Vampire" live-action film (2008)
Screencaps from "Blood: The Last Vampire"


Ria said...

Blood, the Last Vampire is nothing like the anime show, Blood+. The Saya in The Last Vampire is mean with a nasty attitude. The plot wasn't strong enough for me to get a grasp of what was going on. All I saw was this girl trying to kill some creatures.If it wasn't for the Blood+ series, I still wouldn't know anything about Saya. On a scale of 1-5, I'd give it a 3.

animeshoon said...

I totally agree with you on that. That's why I said the movie feels more like an hour-long teaser trailer for its spin-off, Blood+. Never mind the plot, I do acknowledge that Blood: The Last Vampire, on a purely visual level, is beautiful.