Manga
Blood: The Last Vampire
.
Dir: Hiroyuki Kitakubo
Star: (Voices) Youki Kudoh, Dave Mallow, Rebecca Forstadt, Joe Romersa
Cert / Year: 15 - 14A / 2000
Format: DVD R2
'

At the Yokota Air Force base in Japan, a nervous American military is on the brink of the Vietnam war. But a greater threat exists within the walls of the heavily guarded compound: Vampires. A team of top-secret undercover agents dispatches a mysterious young woman to destroy them, as she is the last remaining "original".

Blood is the first fully digitally animated feature from Japan. Unsurprisingly it is brought to us by the famous Team Oshii, the same superb creative team that produced the amazing Ghost in the Shell. In places, this is a stunning example of CG visuals and in others the occasionally bland textures scream out for some creativity and punch, as they don't even afford any minimalistic flair. The balance is off here and where Ghost in the Shell was a groundbreaking exercise in anime, and despite the amazing CG visuals they have accomplished for the film Blood struggles to really do anything new. There is no doubting that Blood has ushered in a new era in digital imaging but it just needs that certain something special to give it a boost. This is still reassuringly Manga though, with some nicely animated action and typically atmospheric visuals it does deliver pretty much what you would expect. The film kicks off well enough in an almost deserted underground railway station and train, which looks really good and is pretty impressive to say the least. But, once this sequence finishes, you are kept waiting for the next bit of action to pick up the pace again and take the story somewhere.

Overall the animation is impressive, but does suffer in places of being terribly flat and unimpressive, doing little to really elevate this above the norm in the huge Anime market. The story courtesy of Kenji Kamiyama is pretty good, but the script isn't, and this is plainly not attributable to "translation problems". A secret government agency using a young vampire to hunt down and kill her own kind is a cool concept, not really original but it is a good premise and it did promise a lot. There are some fantastic sequences, but the film does become a little staid easily and the biggest problem is that just when the film starts getting anywhere it finishes. Quite inexplicably too, just when the pace is right and you get into the film, the superb visuals get you and its sweeping you along it goes a bit surreal right before it stops. The ending does feel a as if it was rushed and hastily added but the fact that the film only creeps in with a running time of 48 minutes, this is more of an episode than a film. However, if you like your Manga, this is going to appeal, but as far as vampire killing Manga goes, Vampire Hunter D does it much better.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

DVD
Picture 16:9 Anamorphic Excellent crisp image
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Not a bad mix
Features "The Making of Blood" - Interesting documentary
Original Japanese Theatrical Trailers
Web Links and DVD ROM Content
Image Gallery
Verdict A decent enough offering, but nothing special.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Back Top Home