Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: A
- Video Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: A
- Menus Rating: B-
- Extras Rating: B
- Age Rating: 15 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Manga Entertainment
- MSRP: 24.95
- Running time: 80
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Blood: The Last Vampire
Blood: The Last Vampire
By Thomas Eggenberger
February 06, 2002
Release Date: August 28, 2001
I've decided to write this Alternate Angle as a counterpoint to what seems to be the generally accepted view of Blood: that it's pure eye candy, without a heart or a brain. As such, it's going to be relatively short, (hopefully) sweet, and to the point. Since this is basically just a content review, there will be no "Video" or "Audio" sections - suffice it to say that Manga has done a fine job with both. A warning to those who haven't watched it yet: there is some amount of "spoilage."
Blood is not a traditional narrative. It throws us headlong into the story but, unlike others that take this approach (e.g. Evangelion, Gasaraki), it does not later explain itself. This is a choice, not a flaw. It is purposefully episodic, comfortable with the form it's chosen, and designed to maximize the impact of what is, essentially, a storytelling hit-and-run.
Horror movies are usually more effective when they're vague, because the audience tends to imagine something more frightening than what could be viably shown on screen. In Blood (which I do not consider a part of the horror genre), the vagaries are in Saya's character, her nature, and her relationship with David and his colleagues. Things are hinted at but not said, said but not explained. We are left, essentially, in the position of the nurse, witnesses to something we don't really understand. We must let our imaginations fill the gaps, or simply allow gaps to exist in the story.
And gaps can exist in the story without undermining it or the characters. The aspect of the unknown helps create and maintain the dark sensibility of Blood; not knowing the motivations of the characters means anything could happen, and leaves us with a sense of unease. The only way we can get to know Saya is through her actions, and actions can often be at cross-purposes with desires. We may think we know her, but we can never be sure.
This is not to say that Blood is flawless. Were I to give it a grade for Content, it would probably be an A-/B+. Saya's magnetic presence drives Blood, and when she's not on-screen the story can drag a bit. There are some silly, pointless sections as well, notably the scene with the nurse and the guard. But I think many viewers have simply misunderstood what Blood is trying to do from a narrative perspective, and have dismissed the story as sub-par. Hopefully, this review will spur some of you to reevaluate your views.
Pioneer DVD-104 drive, 17-inch Proview monitor, WinDVD