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Blood: The Last Vampire
Blood: The Last Vampire
Blood: The Last Vampire is from the creators of Ghost in the Shell and is directed by Hiroyuki Kitakubo.
When the Yokota Air Force Base in Japan is threatened by blood-drinking demons, a top-secret U.S. government agency places Saya, the last original vampire, undercover in the nearby high school. It isn't too long before the demons make themselves known, prompting Saya into action.
While certainly not the first anime film to combine traditional hand-drawn animation and computer generated effects (Blue Submarine comes to mind), Blood: The Last Vampire is still quite stunning. The film, if you hadn't guessed from the summary, is quite short, clocking in at slighty over forty minutes in length. Despite that, I really enjoyed Blood. Sure, the plot is simplistic and Saya remains mysterious throughout, but the visuals are stunning, as are the fight scenes.
Blood: The Last Vampire is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The film is terrific combination of traditional, hand-drawn animation with computer-generated imagery, and the transfer is absolutely stunning with no print defects that I detected. Colors are muted for the dark tone of the film and blacks throughout are rich.
Blood: The Last Vampire is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 in a combined English & Japanese track, as well as Dolby 2.0 Surround. As the film takes place on an U.S. Military base in Japan, different characters speak in English or Japanese. Saya alternates between the two. Whenever Japanese is being spoken, the English subtitles appear (if they've been turned on), and when the characters onscreen speak English, they don't. I was very impressed with the 5.1 track, as it contains a great deal of directionality and surround use, especially considering it is an animated film. The film's score is quite good as well, and really benefits from the 5.1.
The main extra is the approximately twenty-minute "Making of Blood" featurette. Filled with interviews with the production team, the featurette covers the story's development, the film's style and look, and even has the original Japanese teaser. Also available is a photo gallery of twenty pictures, the film's trailer, the Manga Video trailer, the Manga text Catalogue, a list of website links, and a few trailer ads for, among other things, www.sputnik7.com.
With terrific picture and sound quality, Blood: The Last Vampire is definitely recommended to fans of Japanese anime. Mainstream vampire fans might also want to give it a rent, for a different take on the genre. However, due to the film's length, a rental should suffice for most. Recommended.