There’s more story context provided by Blood: The Last Vampire‘s opening text crawl than by all of Hiroyuki Kitakubo’s 2000 animé source material, which—considering that 48-minute saga’s shallowness—would seem an upgrade. Yet the details which director Chris Nahon and screenwriter Chris Chow concoct to pad out their tale, about a 16-year-old female vampire who hunts demons posing as humans on a 1970 U.S. Air Force base in Japan, are, to a gory tee, clichéd and/or ridiculous. Nahon mimics much of his predecessor’s dialogue, scenarios, and compositions, though he gussies them up with enough hectic edits and wretched special effects to destroy the beauty of Kitakubo’s original compositions (crafted with a combination of hand-drawn and CG techniques) and further amplify his tale’s crushing goofiness.
Shot to shot, Blood is borderline incomprehensible: During combat, spatial coherence is nonexistent, while scene transitions present sudden, random jumps in location and time. Flashbacks designed to dispense background motivation for demon-killing vampire Saya (Gianna)—dressed in a naval academy uniform for maximum pubescent-Buffy sex appeal that’s furthered by her apparent lesbian affinity for a helpless American sidekick—merely afford opportunities for more sword-slashing mayhem photographed with shifting camera speeds and typified by mass beheadings and torrents of spraying blood. The fights are hectic but inert, though defter than Nahon’s attempts to mask lousy creature effects-work with darkness, or his pitiful English dubbing for lissome master villain Onigen (Koyuki). Numerous American soldiers boast poorly concealed foreign accents, the director’s ‘70s aesthetic amounts to overexposed colors and stock period songs, and Gianna’s heroine proves a stereotypical, lifeless animé hack-and-slash windup doll bouncing from one corpse-strewn skirmish to the next.
Still, during its final act, the action careens so wildly into camp ludicrousness—Saya fells an opponent by sliding down a tree upside-down and stabbing him in the eye; Onigen is speared, promptly explodes like a bomb, and is then seen intact; Allison Miller’s Alice flashes grade-A crazy eyes—that one might be tempted to label the film intentionally absurd, if not for the grimness with which it splashes gonzo nonsense across the screen.