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Shopping Bag: BLOOD: The Last Vampire Blu-ray

Another Crack at my Anime Dilemma

By Robert T. Trate     November 24, 2009


Saya from Blood: The Last Vampire is now on Blu-ray
© Bob Trate

 

In June of this year I wrote about my “Anime Dilemma” (see column). In that I column I spoke about my little to no success with the world of Anime films. More often than not I have stumbled into the dark and often overly twisted Anime films. Because of this I have unfortunately stayed away from the big titles such as Akira (1988) and Ghost in the Shell (1995). That week I gambled on Gigantor (1964) and hoped, due to the era it was from, it would be more fun than frightful. Sadly it was more dull than dynamic. Thankfully, Mania is the kind of site where our readers can respond to the plight of its columnists and give back. I didn’t give up on my “Anime Dilemma” and I have returned with good news.
 
Now before you get all crazy and think I watched all of your suggestions I didn’t. Time is of the essence for this critic/ columnist and watching what I need to sucks up a lot of my what-I-want-to-watch time. Thankfully today Starz/ Manga released both Blood: The Last Vampire (2000) and Ghost in the Shell 2.0 (1995) on Blu-ray so two Anime films coincided with my wants and needs. I flipped a coin and Blood: The Last Vampire would be my next attempt into the Anime world. I remembered what one Maniac said, “The most important thing to understand about Anime is it is not a genre but a medium made up of many genres…” (kirarakim_home). So, this story about a mysterious agent, who is “the last original”, hunting Vampires in Japan, had a lot of appeal. I was completely apprehensive at first because I had no way of knowing was this a sequel or a spin off. Was there a Blood: The First Vampire? I probably would have watched Ghost in the Shell if it wouldn’t have had 2.0 next to the title (later I learned it was to signify a re-mastered special edition) but regardless Blood: The Last Vampire it was going to be.
 
The animation for Blood: The Last Vampire was incredible. Initially in the first few frames I thought perhaps the only thing that was Anime was the box and the title sequence. The same creators as Ghost in the Shell did Blood: The Last Vampire and used some incredible digital effects adding to the realism. To witness this was a true treat on Blu-ray in 1080p. This wasn’t much of a surprise though. The animation in Anime has never been the problem, it’s just the usual explicit sex scenes lose me. This makes me roll my eyes and wonder when the story is going to take precedence over two people humping. Blood: The Last Vampire isn’t that kind of Anime.
 
The film opens with Saya (voiced by Youki Kudoh) hunting one of the last Vampires in Japan. We learn that she is “the last original” and the only person that can stop them. Her handlers are top-secret government agents who clean up after her and deliver her new assignments. This next one is to go undercover as a student on a U.S. Air Force base and take out yet another Vampire. There isn’t a lot of character given to the piece. Saya is said to be “the last” which gives her character a sense of loneliness. She has also been at this, hunting vampires, for some time because she complains that her sword no longer has its edge. Just how long we find out in the final minutes of the film. More of her back story would have lengthened the story however it just didn’t fit into the action at hand. There is an urgency that clearly takes precedence over the getting to know Saya.
 
Saya doesn’t have much time to blend in with the other children to find her prey. Immediately she is pegged as an outsider by the school’s nurse, Makiho (Saemi Nakamura), and before you know it Makiho and Saya are battling two Vampires. The action is cut throat as well as the Anime. I kept waiting for either of these characters to have the big crazy sex scene or even stumble into one and it never happened. This was a film about a huntress in her quest to eliminate these Vampires off the face of the Earth. It was creepy, scary and constantly threw surprises at you. Screenwriter Kenji Kamiyama even took the time to write in classic horror movie dialogue where the non believers try to console the believers. Of course this only leads to them learning the terrible truth in the worst way.
 
By the film’s conclusion I was left wanting more. This would have been a great pilot or first installment and its sequel would have easily made it to the top of my Netflix queue. As of now, at least to my knowledge, there isn’t one. There was a live action film released this year (see Tim Janson’s review) but I think I know enough that the Anime version will be far superior to anything done with live action. Since I finally found an Anime film that actually lives up to the hype for this style of storytelling I have decided to watch Ghost in the Shell 2.0 next. Much like the way I watch most foreign films I’ll look for similar writers, producers and directors. For the time being Anime will be no different.
 
ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS
 
A Walk In The Sun ~ Dana Andrews, Richard Conte, George Tyne, and John Ireland
 
Adventures of Tartu ~ Robert Donat
 
Akihabara@Deep The Movie ~ Hiroki Narimiya
 
Angels & Demons ~ Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer, and Stellan Skarsgård
 
Angels & Demons [Blu-ray]
 
Angels & Demons [UMD for PSP]
 
Angels & Demons (Two-Disc Extended Edition)
 
Angels & Demons Giftset with Bookends [Blu-ray]
 
Angel Heart [Blu-ray] ~ Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro, and Stocker Fontelieu
 
Buffalo Bill Jr. Double Feature: Rawhide Romance/The Texan ~ Buffalo Bill Jr.
 
Clearing The Range ~ Hoot Gibson
 
Encounters ~ Jonathan Reason, David Kershaw, and Alexandra London-Thompson
 
Far Cry ~ Til Schweiger, Udo Kier, and Emmanuelle Vaugier
 
The Fiend ~ Ronald Allen, Tony Beckley, Percy Herbert, and Madeline Hinde
 
Fugitive Road ~ Erich Von Stroheim
 
Green Fish ~ Seong-kun Mun, Hye-jin Shim, and Suk-kyu Han
 
He Walked Through the Fields ~ Chana Eden, Shraga Friedman, Assi Dayan, and Samuel
Atzmon
 
Human Cobras ~ Giorgio Ardisson, Erika Blanc, Alberto de Mendoza, and Miguel del Castillo
 
Ichi the Killer [Blu-ray] ~ Nao Omori
 
Ichi 1 ~ Yuki Oikawa, Eiki Kitamura, Kazuhiro Mashiko, and Chisato Amate
 
Mad Dog Morgan ~ Dennis Hopper, David Gulpilil, Harold Baigent, and Natalie Bate
 
Mallanna ~ Vikram, Shriya Saran, Ashidh Vidhyarthi, and Prabhu Ganesan
 
Megafault ~ Brittany Murphy, Eriq La Salle, Justin Hartley, and Bruce Davison
 
Megafault [Blu-ray]
 
New Police Story [Blu-ray] ~ Tony Leung Kar-Fai, Alex Lee, Jackie Chan, and John Sham
 
Radio Ranch ~ Gene Autry
 
Rex Bell Double Feature: Crashing Broadway/Fighting Pioneers ~ Rex Bell
 
Righteous Kill/Traitor [Blu-ray] ~ Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, 50 Cent, and John Leguizamo
 
Roy Rogers Double Feature: Cowboy and The Senorita/Under Nevada Skies ~ Roy Rogers
 
Seventy 8 ~ Haley Ramm, Dameon Clarke, Susana Gibb, and Rachel Loera
 
Silver Spurs ~ Roy Rogers
 
Silent Scream ~ Barbara Steele, Rebecca Balding, Cameron Mitchell, and Yvonne De Carlo
 
Son of The Renegade ~ Johnny Carpenter
 
Streets of Blood/Lies and Illusions [Blu-ray] ~ Val Kilmer
 
Terrorist Next Door ~ Michael Ironside
 
Three Monkeys ~ Yavuz Bingol, Hatice Aslan, Ahmet Rifat Sungar, and Ercan Kesal
 
Tokyo 10+01
 
Turning Point
 
Valley of the Heart's Delight ~ Tom Bower, Bruce McGill, Pete Postlethwaite, and Diana Scarwid
 
The Way of the Gun [Blu-ray] ~ Benicio Del Toro, Nicky Katt, Dylan Kussman, and Geoffrey Lewis
 
ANIME
 
Bamboo Blade: Part 1 ~ Cherami Leigh
 
Blade of the Immortal Volume 2 ~ Rina Satou
 
Blood: The Last Vampire [Blu-ray] ~ Youki Kudoh
 
Ghost in the Shell 2.0 [Blu-ray] ~ Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Ôtsuka, Kôichi Yamadera, and Tesshô Genda
 
Godkiller: Walk Among Us #2 ~ Davey Havok, Lance Henriksen, Danielle Harris, and Bill Moseley
 
Ikki Tousen Dragon Destiny Volume 1: Romance of the Three High Schools ~ Masumi Asano
 
Nabari No Ou: Complete Series, Part 2 ~ Brina Palencia
 
Nana: Uncut Box Set, Vol. 2
 
Naruto Uncut Box Set: Season One, Vol. 2
 
Philosophy of a Knife Limited Edition ~ Manoush
 
Philosophy of a Knife
 
Pokemon Elements, Vol. 5: Ice
 
Tears to Tiara: Collection 1
 
Teknoman Complete (Thin Pack) ~ David Thomas
 
CARTOONS
 
The Animation of Alexeieff
 
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs ~ Adriana Caselotti, Harry Stockwell, Lucille La Verne, and Roy Atwell
 
Superman: The Complete Animated Series
 
COMEDY AND LOVE Mania Style
 
Four Christmases ~ Reese Witherspoon
 
Four Christmases [Blu-ray]
 
Funny People ~ Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, and Eric Bana
 
Funny People [Blu-ray]
 
The Jerry Lewis Show Collection ~ Jerry Lewis, Don Rickles, Flip Wilson, and Janet Leigh
 
The Maiden Heist ~ Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman, Marcia Gay Harden, and William H. Macy
 
Air America [Blu-ray] ~ Marshall Bell, David Bowe, Burke Byrnes, and Jr. Robert Downey
 
Shorts ~ Kat Dennings
 
Criterion Collection
 
A Christmas Tale (The Criterion Collection)
 
The Golden Age of Television (The Criterion Collection) ~ Andy Griffith, Myron McCormick, Ernest Borgnine, and Betsy Blair
 
Gomorrah (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] ~ Toni Servillo, Gianfelice Imparato, Maria Nazionale, and Salvatore Cantalupo
 
Gomorrah (The Criterion Collection)
 
HORROR
 
Breaking Nikki ~ Oliver Kolker
Cujo (25th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] ~ Robert Behling, Danny Pintauro, Terence Donovan, and Bob Elross
 
The Curse of the Crying Woman ~ Rosita Arenas, Julissa, Enrique Lucero, and Rita Macedo
 
Devilman ~ Hisato Izaki
 
Frailty [Blu-ray] ~ Luke Askew, Powers Boothe, Vincent Chase, and Cynthia Ettinger
 
This Hollow Sacrament ~ Anthony Falcon, April Potter, Marcus D. Shelby, and Sheila McClay
 
Hunchback of the Morgue ~ Albeto Dalbes, Maria Perschy, Vic Winner, and Rosanna Yanni
 
I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle ~ Anthony Daniels, Michael Elphick, George Rossi, and Neil Morrissey
 
The Monster Squad (20th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] ~ Ernie Brown, Adam Carl, Leo Cimino, and Sonia Curtis
 
My Bloody Valentine (Special Edition) [Blu-ray] ~ Neil Affleck, Cynthia Dale, Don Francks, and Lori Hallier
 
Red Room 2 ~ Miyuki Katô, Yukio Kokago, Salmon Sakeyama, and Yuka Takahashi
 
The Witches Hammer ~ Claudia Coulter, Stephanie Beacham, and Jason Tompkins
 
SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY
 
Ink [Blu-ray]
 
Rock and Rule ~ Catherine O'Hara, Maurice LaMarche, Susan Roman, and Don Francks
 
S4 (Sector 4) ~ Henry Clarke, Robert Watts, Will Edwards, and Antoinette Correia
 
TV LAND
 
Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season Four
 
Beverly Hills 90210: Season Eight ~ Jason Priestley, Brian Austin Green, Ian Ziering, and Tiffani Thiessen
 
Hogan's Heroes: The Komplete Series, Kommandant's Kollection ~ Bob Crane, Werner Klemperer, Richard Dawson, and Larry Hovis
 
Laredo - The Complete Series 1965-1967 - 12 DVD Set! ~ Philip Carey, Neville Brand, William Smith, and Peter Brown
 
Law & Order: Criminal Intent - Season Four ~ Kathryn Erbe, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jamey Sheridan, and Courtney B. Vance
 
Life on Mars: Series 2 (UK) ~ John Simm, Philip Glenister, Liz White, and Dean Andrews
 
Melrose Place: Season Five, Vol. 2 ~ Thomas Calabro
 
The Sopranos: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] ~ James Gandolfini
 
BOX SETS
 
Ken Maynard Western Classics: Honor of The Range/Town Went Wild/Fargo Express/Lightning Strikes West/Two Gun Man ~ Ken Maynard
 
COMING SOON
 
Kingdom of the Spider Special Edition ~ William Shatner
 
Robert Trate writes two weekly columns for Mania the DVD Shopping Bag and the Toy Maniac. Robert also participates in a pod cast that reviews movies, comics and celebrates all things geek. Check it out at You’ve Got Geek on You.com.
 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 5 of 5
1 
StarlightGuard 11/24/2009 4:50:21 AM

one must also ask themselves -- self, was there also a Blood -- The Penultimate Vampire?

I remember I'd sent that great big blog discussion I had with Maelstrom (and company) and I think someone added a comment to it....but hell I can't see it -- the third or fourth page (whatever it was) shuts down and it asks for a password or something...

maybe if Jarrod can get some oo-mox from this Movie Maven female hotness....he could fix it :) go for the timpanic tickle, movie loving femle hotness!

still love FullMetal Alchemist -- haven't seen its movie "Conquerer of Shamballa"....yet....but if you try it, you obviously need to watch the show first as I'm told it ends in a cliff hanger....which the movie dives into...but the premise of the movie is awesome and makes me want to just go watch it anyway

here's a question -- since we have standard hand drawn animation on Blu-Ray now, is there a noticeable difference from the standard dvd presentation? animation is so clean looking to begin with, I'm just wondering if it really is better or if it takes a trained eye to see the difference

StarlightGuard 11/24/2009 5:08:52 AM

wait -- did I read that right? complete "Hogans Heroes" collection?

hooray!

THERE HAS NEVER BEEN AN ESCAPE FROM STALAG 13!

TigerPrime 11/24/2009 9:38:31 AM

Isn't "Blood " the series based on Blood the Last Vampire? I'm still a big fan of the Cowboy Bebop series, and recently watched Millenium Actress which I though was phenomenal.

skyn3t 11/24/2009 12:11:03 PM

I seldom watch the anime with nudity and what not.  I agree, it often does nothing for the plot and such.

BUT, there are TONS of shows/movies you can watch that don't fall into that trap.  There's plenty that'll keep you occupied for the next year, and almost none of these shows will put you to sleep. Here's my personal list:

AKIRA
GHOST IN THE SHELL
GHOST IN THE SHELL: STAND ALONE COMPLEX (SEASONS 1, 2, AND THE OVA)
BLOOD THE LAST VAMPIRE
VAMPIRE HUNTER D (Both new and old)
CYBER CITY OEDO 808
DEMON CITY SHINJUKU
NINJA SCROLL
SAMURAI X OVA
TEKKAMAN BLADE
TEKKAMAN BLADE 2
LILY C.A.T.
ROBOT CARNIVAL
CASSHAN ROBOT HUNTER
X/1999 (Movie and TV Series)
DEATH NOTE
FIST OF THE NORTH STAR (The movie and any of the TV Series)
STREET FIGHTER II: THE MOTION PICTURE
WICKED CITY (It is oversexualized, horror-oriented, but it kinda serves a purpose)

 

skyn3t 11/24/2009 12:12:24 PM

ERGO PROXY is another good series, I just think they could've done a better job with the ending.

1 

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