Plot: What’s it about?
Yokota Air Force base is an American station in Japan, where soldiers are poised to go into battle, but there’s more on their minds than war, to be sure. The area has been inhabited by unwanted residents, but these folks aren’t just bad neighbors, they’re a real pain in the neck. Yes, it seems vampires have invaded the base and unless something is done soon, there could be some real problems, massive ones in fact. In an effort to quell the vampire menace, some secret agents send in Saya, who is a one of a kind young woman to be sure, with a mysterious past. Soon enough, Saya is planted undercover in a school nearby, where she is able to base her operation, including discovering some fanged beasts within the school’s halls. But who is Saya in truth and even with her immense powers, can she hold back the vampires that prowl in the area?
I found Blood: The Last Vampire to be one of the best anime release in a while, but the brief running time left me let down, as I wanted more Blood. The film runs under fifty minutes and while a lot is packed in there, I wish the movie was longer or at least, we get a sequel sooner or later, which I think we will. Of course, the first element you will notice is the animation used, which is a real treat and should dazzle viewers, even those used to intricate anime designs. The use of digital animation here is excellent and while the approach is different than we’re used to, the results are superb and anime fans should enjoy the view, if nothing else. I love the character designs and especially the work on Saya, who looks superb, I think. As you’d expect from a vampire flick, there is a lot of the red stuff and Blood is a violent picture, but it ties into the storyline, so this is not random attacks, not by any means. The story is weak at times, but the lush visuals and incredible atmosphere more than compensate, if you ask me. I recommend Blood: The Last Vampire to all those interested and while it might be short, it makes good use of each second, I assure you.
Video: How does it look?
Blood: The Last Vampire is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is as good as it gets folks, no doubt about it. Blood is a visual feast, the kind of movie you know deserves a perfect visual transfer and here, it gets just what it deserves. The print used is pristine and shows no defects, while the film’s dazzling visuals come off without a hitch. The intense, dark visual patterns look excellent here, with slightly muted colors and overlighting in some scenes, just as intended. I’ve seen a lot of good anime transfers in my time, but this is the best looking one I’ve come across, kudos to Manga on this excellent visual treatment.
Audio: How does it sound?
This release uses a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround option, which supplies a terrific and very active audio experience. The surrounds are used a lot here and to fantastic ends, especially in the more tense scenes or battle sequences. But power isn’t the sole element here, as some scenes have wonderful, but subtle presence also, which is good news. As far as the dialogue goes, it sounds clean and never falters, even for a second. Some of the characters speak English and some speak Japanese, so their dialect is preserved in both cases. If you enable the subtitles, they will kick in when a Japanese speaker is present, then vanish when English is spoken. This disc also includes a 2.0 surround option, in case you’ll need that instead.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Manga has included some cool bonus materials, but this package pales when compared to the import box set, to be sure. But this disc has some goodies, such a twenty minute behind the scenes featurette, The Making of Blood. This involves a series of interviews with the filmmakers and offers a nice look behind the curtains, but is too brief, if you ask me. This disc also includes the film’s original Japanese trailers and a selection of still photos, as well as the usual package of Manga product ads, such as weblinks, fan club info, and a catalog.