Blood: The Last Vampire (animated)

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“Buffy goes East – and gets out of bed on the wrong side.”

Don’t believe the running time: listed at 83 minutes on the DVD sleeve, this is actually under 50, a nasty piece of marketing to make you think you’re getting a full-length movie. Not sure whether an extra 25 minutes would help or harm here: there is certainly room for development, but equally, there is an awful lot of slack which seems designed only to show off whizzy digital animation. Saya is a vampire. She’s also a killer, tasked by…well, it’s never quite made clear who, but she hunts down bat-like monsters who can take human form. The only way to kill them is to make them lose a lot of blood. Very quickly. Being trapped forever in her teenage years, she’s ideally placed to go undercover at a school and investigate mysterious occurrences there.

Set in 1966 for only one tangentially-connected reason, you’re never given enough information to care about Saya or any of the other characters. Mystery is one thing; obscurity another. She is perpetually pissed-off, which while initially appealing, does wear thin before long. I liked how some people spoke English, others Japanese, though this did have me fiddling with the DVD remote, since I thought I was watching a wretched dub. The Western characters seem horribly drawn; was this deliberate, or perhaps our faces just don’t suit anime style? As a standalone item, this is unsatisfying, despite some spectacular gore that will make you sit up and take notice. Give it another five episodes, and you could probably edit a decent feature out of this, but as it stands, it’s worth no more than a rental.

Dir: Hiroyuki Kitakubo
Star (voice): Youki Kudoh, Rebecca Forstadt, Joe Romersa

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