Saturday, December 26, 2009
Blood:The Last Vampire (2000) animation movie review
Overall verdict: 5.5/10
The Good: Extremely life-like animation fluidity, intense atmosphere, genuinely scary at times, impressive level of art detail, novel use of "mixed language" dub track
The Bad: flat one dimensional character personalities, no character development, lack of emotional depth, too short running time, erraticly paced story.
Current Availability Status: Very rare to find in local stores. Internet is the answer(order online)
Standing at 48 minutes long, Blood: The Last Vampire (2000) is cornucopia of pure violence, bad ass melee combat and suspenseful monster slaying action. It has exceedingly smooth animation combined with highly detailed artwork; a rare combination in japanese anime that works really well thanks to the professional production team at "Production I.G". This movie's appealing character designs are a far cry from the cutesy big eyed girls in most anime and together with some awesome fight choreography, sets a standard for a martial arts monster slayer action film that rivals many big budget live action productions.
However, look beyond the "wow factor" and there is little else that this film offers.
In terms of plot, "Blood: The Last Vampire" is very straight forward and predictable with few story twists. Saya is a half vampire, half human who hunts demons for a secret government organisation. At the dawn of the vietnam war era, Her latest assignment is to go undercover as a schoolgirl at a school on Yokota air force base in japan in order to uncover the cause of some mysterious but familiar killings. She is to seek out the demons disguised as humans in that school and eliminate them. Think "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" minus the wit mixed with "Blade" minus the cool factor of Wesley Snipes.
The characters are typical action movie stereotypes with the main character of Saya being seriously under-developed. It is very difficult to emotionally connect to any of the characters at all. Any sense of peril in the fights is effectively negated thanks to Saya being characterized as some unbeatable monster hunter extraordinaire. What is her motivation? We never get to find out. Her personality can be summed up as "cold" and her emotions range from bored anger to angry boredom.
Although the actors do their best to bring out as much emotion from the characters, the flat dialogue falls squarely on the shoulders of the writers. Special mention however goes to the decision to record a mixed language dialogue, which is no doubt a novel approach in japanese anime. Western or caucasian characters speak English, Asian characters speak Japanese. This movie enhances the realism and believability of the setting and the international cast of characters.
To top it all off, The pacing of the movie in erratic and it shows in the more subdued scenes of conversation where things get really boring. Lump that together with a huge let-down of an ending and you have Blood: The Last Vampire.
Vampire?? WTF vampire?? Where's the fangs?? Does she look like a vampire to you?!?!? The word "vampire" only appears once in the title and another time on a piece of paper. Saya is never shown to drink blood or die under sunlight. The creatures she hunts look more like mutant dinosaurs than vampires. So WHERE THE HELL does "Vampire" fit into this whole movie?!?!?!?!?
*****Fanboy Rant end****
Sure, this anime is famous and exceedingly popular among enthusiasts. But we have to look at what made it famous and it definitely was not its half baked story or one dimensional characters. Surely the animation and level of detail in the artwork is way beyond anything seen in typical japanese anime, having won a couple of awards and all, but an anime film with impressive animation alone is not a good anime film. There has to be a balance and sadly Blood: The Last Vampire does not have that balance.
The entire movie is easily summed up as a A bloody, over hyped, waste.
Go For it:If you want to see some of the most impressive animation and beautiful blending of traditional artwork with CGI. Watch also if you need some badass monster slaying action to pass the time
Avoid it: If your favorite anime involves "kawaii" characters or if you want to get emotionally attatched to these characters
Voice work(English and japanese mixed ):A-