Ani-Monday: Blood: The Last Vampire (Hiroyuki Kitakubo, 2000)

Clocking in at a breezy 48 minutes, Blood: The Last Vampire concisely engages at its opening via a subway-set expositional bit involving main protagonist, Saya (Yûki Kudô) and a supposed member of the Chiropteran scourge. As feral and unfailingly murderous bat people, the latter are systematically weeded out by said female – also the world’s lone remaining “original” vampire – and her American military cohorts. Infiltrating a Japanese school for American transplant students, Saya’s latest task is to weed out the flesh-cloaked teenage imposters roaming its halls before they claim their next victims.

What’s most peculiar about Blood isn’t just its meager run time, as it’s instead the half-a-decade-later television iteration that arguably overshadowed the precursor in question. Playing like a familiarly double-stacked pilot in this regard, the film’s ability to tell a story in the manner that it does is admirable, even if the desired implementation of additional content is bothersome. The script deftly covers all its bases in laying the groundwork for its successor, from a comprehensible introduction of good and evil to the requisite artistic flair that radiates from its brooding artistic sensibilities.

While satisfactory fare in the realm of adult-oriented anime, Blood: The Last Vampire is ultimately too cookie-cutter to wholly recommend. It sports an appropriately enigmatic central character and serviceable foes, however the film’s overall structure fails to captivate outside of key action sequences and base level suspense. If you’re looking for something short, sweet and perfectly adequate to satisfy your taste in mature content however, you could do worse than this should you take it for what it is, especially so if the groundwork is enough to spawn an interest in Blood+.

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