STUDIO: Sony Pictures
MSRP: $119.95
RUNNING TIME:  608 minutes
   •Interviews with director Junichi Fujisaku and cast
   •Also from Sony Pictures

The Pitch

It’s the classic schoolgirl protagonist as ultra powerful super entity fighting to save the world anime.

The Humans

Director:  Junichi Fujisaku

Cast(English dub):  Kari Wahlgren, Ben Diskin, Crispin Freeman, Olivia Hack, Dave Wittenberg

“I think you want the Anderson party in the next hall”

The Nutshell

Saya has discovered that she is a centuries old vampire and that her sister is alive and dangerous. Her
sister, Diva, is using and being used by the Cinq Fleches Group, who have interest in using her blood to create an army of bio engineered robot vampire hybrid military soldiers. Aided by a group of people dedicated to protecting against vampires(known here as chiropterans), Saya has dedicated her life to destroying her sister and ending the threat of chiropterans forever. Much crying takes place as well.

The Lowdown

I think the thing that drives me the most up a wall with regards to anime is all the wasted time spent reflecting and dealing with psychological/philosophical/emotional turmoil. Television is often faulted for producing time wasting filler content while trying to fill seasons 20+ episodes. Given that anime is based in a less concrete seasonal format you would think it would be slightly more immune to this sort of problem. Nothing could be further from the truth.

On. Nose.

Starting where volume one left off, with Saya ally Kai’s little brother Riku having been turned into a vampiric servant of Saya. this was done as a last ditch effort to keep him from dying. Kai is taking it hard, seeing his brother turned into what he is fighting against. Much moping and crying ensues. Facing a brand new threat, they’re back into action against this new foe, the Schiff. After some initial battling, Kai falls in love with one of the Schiff, but we soon find out that they were created by the evil Cinq Fleches group as weapons, but they have an expiration date, ala Blade Runner‘s replicants, in the form of a disease that turns them to dust called the Thorn. Much in the same way as the replicants, they’re not necessarily evil just survival minded. Of course, the girl that Kai falls in love with dies soon after. More crying ensues. I think you can see where this is going.

While Saya has vowed to destroy her sister and rid the world once of all of the chiropteran threat, that also includes her and her chevalier (a term used for the humans turned chiropteran by the queens they serve). Its a constant struggle for Saya to keep a distance from her friends and the Red Shield members that are charged with protecting her, because they are the closest thing she has to a family. This is maybe the biggest emotional problem for those close to her and Saya herself. To complete her mission she has to die. Everybody seems to fall in love with her, also. Seriously, you’d think there were no other women in the world the way everyone gravitates to her.

Because it’s not today, I guess?

Kai is the other main character in the show. As previously mentioned he has brother problems and a dead crush problems, which inevitably lead to being in love with Saya issues. I had hope for him, he actually had problems and was able to move on and helped other characters deal with their problems, and then he fell in love with Saya. Things go downhill from there.

Ultimately, I found him difficult to relate to because of the same problem I find with most major characters in anime in general. They don’t have personalties so much as they have philosophies that become the main defining aspect of them. Long stretches of time are spent in internal consideration of what kind of person they want to be and how they wish to be understood or if they’re doing the right thing. There is a lot of self-Hamleting going on here.

Hmmm, I’m not familiar with those.

I find it massively difficult to summarize in any understandable way what happens in this show. The events themselves aren’t hard to understand nor is the main thrust of the show so difficult to explain, but there is so many unnecessary tangents from that plot that it is easy to get lost in the explanation. The fact that this is a 50 episode series kind of baffles me. The story could have easily been accomplished within the confines of a film or several OVA’s(do they still make those?), so what we have with this is a story that is stretched out to an absurd length. By the last ten or so episodes I was getting impatient with all the feet dragging so much so that by the time end came it felt wholly perfunctory.

This is a decent anime. The animation is nice to look at, clean and attractive, but never really hitting the heights of some of the best in the genre. The music was produced by Hans Zimmer, not that I think you’d ever notice(weirdly one piece of the music sounded suspiciously close to music from the movie Predator). Anime fans might enjoy this more on the whole than I did. It is neither the best of the genre and it is certainly not the worst. I quite enjoyed the original Blood: The Last Vampire, but this isn’t very comparable. As a fan I was disappointed this wasn’t more like it’s inspiration. Taken on its own I found it far too wan for my liking.

Doctor Manhattan now available as Sea Monkeys

The Package

The DVD has both English and Japanese language tracks as well as subtitles in English and French. There are interviews with much of the Japanese voice cast over six segments running about ten plus minutes a piece each covering two members of the cast. There is also an interview with the writer director Joji Fujisaku (in which he threatens furthering the series) as well as additional interviews with the two main voice actors, all of these are dubbed(funnily enough). Additionally there are Sony previews of Blood: The Last Vampire, Sky Crawlers, and not an anime Moon and Fearnet.

5.5 out of 10

Goths now have cotillions?