Blood: The Last Vampire (DVD)
Blood: The Last Vampire is the best action Anime that I've seen all year, and you can quote me on that. It's the critically acclaimed, action packed effort of the team that worked on "Ghost in the Shell" and several animators who worked on the genre's magnum opus, "Akira." Following in those footsteps, Blood delivers a high-octane experince, but it gives it to us in a 40 minute condensed version that forsakes a developed story. Don't let that keep you away though, Blood has the best 39 minute action scene you'll see in anime this year. I love it; you'll love it. But it is our job to "criticize," so criticize I will.
The story follows a girl named Saya one of those "I don't smile because I'm so hardcore" bad-arses. From the beginning of the movie, you are dropped into the middle of the story's rising action. A little too close to the climax of the story in my opinion, but more on that later. Blood takes in 1966 on the US owned Yokota Air Force base in Japan, and begins when Saya is sent by some nameless organization to vanquish bloodsucking demons that have taken sanctuary in the American base school.
Some movies leave you satisfied, others leave you wanting your money back, this movie leaves you confused. Where is the first hour? That's what I was left wondering after the movie was finished. There's no exposition, and a scant and cryptic backstory which leave it up to your imagination to fill in the holes. Confusing the situation even more are some plot elements that will leave you asking "How did she get there so fast?" or "Where did he come from?" The movie could have been a half hour longer and still maintain its quality; I feel like I started watching the movie half way through.
The ending is also another gripe I had with the movie. At the end of the DVD, when the credits rolled, I seriously thought that what I just saw was only the end of the movie's introduction. This feeling was shared by the others who watched the movie with me. After the credits screen took us back to the main menu, we all turned to each other and asked "Is that it?"
Now its time to break this DVD down technically. Blood features Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and Dolby 2.1 for those who can't drop a couple hundred dollars on a home theater. It also features 16x9 Anamorphic Digital Transfer for all of you luck wide-screen owners. For all those who don't know, "16x9 Anamorphic Digital Transfer" is just a fancy elitist way of saying those black "movie bars" on the bottom and top of your television screens. You see standard, whimpy television screens display at a resolution of 4x3; widescreen, manly televisions, on the other hand, can display pictures at 16x9. That's your lesson today, class dismissed.
Blood is Japan's first fully digital animated feature length film. The character designs and backgrounds were created using traditional drawing techniques, and then the elements were painted, compiled, and filmed using computer technology. This process was then enhanced the inclusion of digital lighting effects, computer generated models, and various camera techniques.
The Bottom Line: Its Groundbreaking digital animation, and famous animators aside, Blood is an insanely adrenaline pumping experience.