Review of “Blood: The Last Vampire” (2000)
Stay away from the rest of the franchise, it’s not about answers. The silly notes attached to the picture in the final scene is already too much in the way of answers, for that matter. I love the sense of mystery, of inscrutable and desperate superiors who may have known the first victim was human. Very Delta Green.
The metaphorical political subtext is tremendously strong here. I think the violence and the beasts represent how the Japanese are complicit in US imperialism, most directly Vietnam. It’s a suppressed sense of guilt, as opposed to US pinko paranoia, which is why Amano follows a trail of blood into the room full of blissful dancers; the massive student-led protests against Anpo have not yet broken out at this point (1966), and the height of the war is also a couple of years off. This subtextual stuff is very well done, and some scenes, particularly the confrontation in Amano’s office (flawless use of counterpoint!), are absolutely brilliant. Sadly there are also a few mistakes in animation, and some poorly edited/directed English-language voice work.