Blood: The Last Vampire is an original anime horror film based on vampire mythology and was influenced by Buffy The Vampire Slayer and the original Dracula book. It was a project between Ghost In The Shell writers/directors Kenji Kamiyama and Mammorou Oishi. The production team Production I.G collaborated with Aniplex and Sony to help create this film. It is set during the mid 60s in the USA and focuses on the supposed last original “vampire” Saya who works with a secret government group called “Red Shield.”
Saya hunts down bat like creatures known as chiropracteans which have the ability to change shapes. They can disguise themselves as humans and can only be killed due to massive blood loss when a single fatal strike is delivered. Tasked with hunting down chiropracteans, Saya goes deep undercover in a high school during Halloween. Eventually, she discovers that there are more than one chiropracteans in the school and she must secretly destroy them before pandemonium breaks out at the school.
A school nurse is eventually caught up indirectly in the conflict and she witnesses first hand the horrors of the chiropracteans. She has no choice but to help Saya to destroy them.
This was the first anime film to be released outside of Japan with both English and Japanese used at the same time. Both worked perfectly well for each other for the most part but the English at times can be off beat. There is Japanese to English translations.
The action in the film was nicely done and very high risk and the amount of blood and ultra-violence in it was well utilized. The art style was dark and brooding and in terms of visuals, the lighting was very low key and shadowy. The dark color scheme was nicely done and blends well with the gothic horror atmosphere of the movie. The animation, even by today standards, is an incredible mix of digital cel animation and hand drawn animation and the CGI blended in mostly quite well.
The musical score was haunting and somber which fits well for the film.
Saya’s mysterious aura is one of her biggest character highlights. Nothing is really certain about her true nature or her own background.
She is highly skilled and deadly and she is pretty good in infiltration. It is clear she is misanthropic in nature and she is very introverted and quiet. She gets very distressed whenever religious symbolism or whenever “god” is mentioned or if someone prays. Even when exposed to sunlight she has no signs of being hurt and she is pretty determined in carrying out her missions.
The main problem of this story is that it is extremely sparse and filled with many plotholes which makes it difficult to follow. This is a problem shared in many of Mammorou Oishi’s works. You really have no idea who the characters are and there is nothing about their backgrounds either.
There is little to no information to what is really going on. It is not explained what Red Shield’s goals are but it is clear that the government is involved into shady ventures. Chiropracteans also have no explanation about their origins or what exactly they are. The action is fast paced but the storytelling is rushed. There is also no form of character development.
The relationship between David, a government agent and Saya was pretty one sided and there was no chemistry between them. Production issues were the main reason as the film was supposed to be longer and this anime was actually the second part. The first part ended up being cut into manga and light novels.
Plot holes are very common and you do not know if the person killed was really a civilian or a chiropractean in disguise. Plus, David and Saya’s whereabouts and personal status are unknown. Its pretty short as well about 45 minutes.
In general, for the start of an original anime series it does a good job at creating something that is not based from any existing manga adaptations. It was entertaining if a bit confusing but given its short duration, this is to be expected. So, if you want to see a good vampire film then this would be it.
It gets 3 stars out of 5.
There are other adaptations of Blood as well from Blood-C by Clamp and Blood +. Also, there is a Japanese exclusive game Blood C for the PS2 by Suda51. The light novels expand more of the movie storyline.