Blood: The Last Vampire (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: -
What They Say
At the Yokota Air Force base in Japan, a nervous American military is on the brink of the Vietnam War. But a greater threat exists with the walls of the heavily guarded compound: Vampires. A team of top-secret undercover agents dispatches a mysterious young woman to destroy them… she is the last remaining original.
Featuring brilliant character designs, top-notch animation and a stunning musical score, “Blood the Last Vampire” is a breakthrough in digital filmmaking, taking anime to a whole new level.
Blood the Last Vampire. What more can be said. Beautiful animation. Excellent dual English/Japanese soundtrack. A tad short in length. Now let’s see how the Australian Region 4 version produced by Madman Entertainment renders this epic.
Visually, Blood is amazing, and so is the 16:9 Anamorphic digital transfer. The combination of 2D cell and 3D animation provides an interesting number of visual options. The soundtrack is of an equal standard, with an excellent 5.1 track, and a 5.1 sound effects only track, very nice indeed. I wish they’d gone the whole hog and included the option of the isolated music score, certainly a better use of space than the fairly dull and flat 2.0 track also provided.
The menus system, from a visual viewpoint is outstanding. All the menus are on the same blood splattered, rough wooden board floor, with all the buttons being blood drops and when switching between options it rotates to the required area. You can actually even see other menu pages as it does it, which looks amazing. All the menus have varied and different audio playing in the background. Pity that the playtesting of the menus wasn’t perfect, with a few fairly niggling problems. The trailer page is a good example, clicking on the Black Jack blood drop plays the Macross Plus trailer, and visa versa. Rather more annoying is that clicking on the option go see the Blood trailer after you’ve either watched the movie, the making of featurette or any of the other trailers causes the disc to halt and the player to revert to it’s standby page.
Almost in an attempt to help make up for the short running time of the main feature, we get a fairly substantial package of extras compared to other releases. The center-piece is The Making of Blood video, a fairly indepth 21 minute look at the production through interviews with the staff. In effort to help provide some vague background, the History of Blood section provides world background involving Saya both long before and after the movie starts and finishes. There is also a section that gives some teasers about Saya, but it’s mostly profile about her voice actor Youki Kudoh. Interestingly it’s not just a direct cut and paste, and is written from an Australian perspective. Afterwards it then tacks on staff quotes and the project’s software and equipment list. The remaining extras are much what you’d expect, with theatrical and teaser trailers for Blood, an image gallery, trailers for Perfect Blue, Ninja Scroll, X, Black Jack, Macross Plus and Ghost in Shell, not to mention the usual ‘hidden’ authoring credit for Madman Interactive.
The packaging is fairly low key compared to other anime release, let alone the excellent Region 2 limited edition box. The front cover features a cell image of subdued high-collared coat wearing Saya taken from near the start of the film, with rather small screen captures along the bottom. The only thing really eye-catching about it is the distinctive Blood title. The disc itself has the crouching Saya with sword over the shoulder in the motor pool image, in my opinion a better choice for the front cover if far more beautiful and distinctive art by Katsuya Terada couldn’t be used.
Blood’s admittedly short story is centered on the efforts of the young woman named Saya, a member of secret group of which we only see three members of in the film. They are dedicated to the destruction of vampire like demons, with the sword wielding Saya their primary weapon against them, but also a major cause for concern due to her status as the last original pure-blooded vampire.
After Saya takes out one of them on a train, the group learns that others have been located at an American Air Force base. With the military personal and staff checked out and clean, that only leaves the students at the base’s high school. Complete with sailor scout school uniform, Saya arrives and searches for the creatures. Against the setting of the school’s Halloween dance, Saya confronts her targets while trying to keep herself and a nosy school nurse alive.
Blood the Last Vampire is a exceedingly beautiful piece of entertainment, in both the quality of it’s animation and it’s audio. While kinda short in running time, the wealth and quality of extras on offer help to soften the blow.
Video Rating: A+
Audio Rating: A+
Content Rating: B
Package Rating: B
Menu Rating: B
English/Japanese 5.1 channel track,English/Japanese 2.0 channel video,Image Gallery,Saya/Youki Kudoh profile,Staff quotes,History of Blood guide,Blood theatrical trailer,Blood teaser trailer,DVD-ROM content
JNL-7001 DVD Player, Commodore 1802 PAL Color Monitor.
Mania Grade: NA
Audio Rating: N/A
Video Rating: N/A
Packaging Rating: N/A
Menus Rating: N/A
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Region: 4 - Australia / South America
Released By: Madman Entertainment
MSRP: 34.95 AU
Running time: 46
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Blood: The Last Vampire