- The Last Vampire
in June, 2001 by Mark Vallen, Jeannine Thorpe, and John Lentini
Screen shots generously provided by John Lentini.
by Jeannine Thorpe) Occasionally an anime comes along
that breaks so many new frontiers, that it's considered an instant
classic. BLOOD-The Last Vampire will surely be one of
these. Already, it stands apart as the first 2D anime to be
created using completely digital media, and the first anime
film to have a bilingual score of Japanese and English dialogue.
But the truly masterful thing about this remarkable anime is
how the various elements come together to create an unbelievably
realistic work of art that will hold you breathless from the
very first frame, to the very last.
on the Yokota American airbase in Japan during the beginning
of the Vietnam War, you are immediately pulled into the story
of Saya, a mysterious young female figure who is brought
to Japan to hunt down a menacing race of demons, the Terrapterans.
Little is revealed about Saya or her background, but her strong
will and grace with her preferred weapon, the Japanese sword
or katana, bring the screen to life.
is brought into the American style High School located on the
base in order to lure out the hiding demons, and the story that
unfolds is as dark as it is terrifying. The digital animation,
particularly the soft lighting effects and seamless movement,
create the perfect illusion of realism, and you will have to
suspend belief that you are not watching a live action film!
is the bilingual, bicultural nature of this film that I feel
truly sets it apart.
the dialogue in both English and Japanese, seeing the melding
of cultures on the American airbase, even the ultra realistic
character designs which could arguably be labeled "American-inspired"
due to the large full lips.... is a fascinating melting pot
of cultures that one very rarely sees on film. Both native English
speaking actors as well as bilingual Japanese voice actors were
used, resulting in a flawless transition between languages,
especially with the extremely gifted talents of Youki Kudoh
English dialogue is thoughtful and colorful, reflecting both
the style of the time in this period piece, as well as the direction
of the Japanese creators. It was delightful to hear English
dialogue as the Japanese directors meant it to be heard, and
not a bad dub by American companies who don't even listen to
the original dialogue when doing a project. The overall feeling
you get from this film, is that you are witnessing the true
avant-garde of animation in art. Your only complaint will be,
"why can't it be longer?"
by Mark Vallen)
Forget Buffy the Vampire Slayer... Animation Studio Production
IG and Director Mamoru Oshii ("Ghost In The
Shell", "Jin-Roh") have presented us with the
real Slayer, in Blood - The Last Vampire. This
dazzling movie is a humorless, brooding, Gothic masterpiece
with a plot somewhat akin to a cross between X-Files,
Men in Black, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. However,
unlike the aforementioned live action shows... "Blood"
is ultra serious in it's treatment of the supernatural.
movie goes beyond anything I've seen in terms of realism
in animation. It is the most startlingly realistic work, so
much so that at times you forget you're not watching a live
action production. The movie flawlessly combines super realistic
computer generated 3D Illustration with beautifully rendered,
exquisite drawings. In this film, all things mechanical were
produced using 3D software, and then welded seamlessly into
other shots. The scene directly below is one such example. A
3D airplane is incorporated into a more traditional 2D animated
tableau, and the computer controlled motion tracking results
in the most incredible illusion of realism!
you're a science fiction or Gothic Horror fan, the fabulous
swordplay, demonic transformations, and unnerving terror of
Blood will have you howling for more. But even if you're
not a fan of the aforementioned genres, you'll still marvel
at the unequaled artistic triumph of this production.
The world of animation is definitely changing... and Blood
represents the most advanced vanguard in the new school of animation
by John Lentini)
I first got into anime way back when, two series I remember
vividly in my past were about Vampires, and at that time they
were two of the best anime series I had ever seen. Those
two anime series being Vampire Hunter D and Vampire
Princess Miyu. Now over a decade later both Vampire Hunter
D and Vampire Princess Miyu have returned to quench the thirst
of anime fans that enjoy Vampire stories. So logic would dictate
that more Vampire stories would follow, and the first one I
got to see was Blood - The Last Vampire, which should
really give anime fans what they want to sink their teeth
into! Blood is a feature that will take a couple of minutes
to adjust to, not only is this movie bilingual in Japanese and
English, but all the characters are drawn as real as you and
like Blood and Jin-Roh appear to be going away
from the usual style of anime, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't
embrace this type of anime as well. Realistic
storytelling and drawing seem to be the way of the future in
anime features, so we as anime fans should open our open minds
a little wider to accept this new method of storytelling. Blood
does not have a lot of bright colors and cute character designs
that so many of us have grown up on, but that shouldn't stop
you from watching this fantastic feature.
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