Thursday, June 4, 2009


BLOOD: THE LAST VAMPIRE is an early 2000 anime film produced by Production I.G. (the studio most famously behind GHOST IN THE SHELL and in all it's various incarnations, as well as other pretty fucking sick-ass anime, many of which are personal favorites of mine) based on a novel by popular anime director Mamoru Oshii (the guy behind PATLABOR1-3/GHOST IN THE SHELL/GiTS: INNOCENCE/JIN-ROH/SKYCRAWLERS/etc) about a serious 'young' girl with a perpetual scowl named Saya, who stalks and viciously murders the FUCK out of cool looking Vampire/Monsters called Chiropterans on an American Army base in Japan in the 1970's, a few months before Vietnam. Though only, like, an hour long, BLOOD was a seriously awesome and concise action movie that clearly defines the differences between North American and Japanese views on what animation can be used for. I recently found out that BLOOD: THE LAST VAMPIRE has since been adapted to a live action film, produced by the guy that produced CROTCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, and directed by Ronny Yu, whose made a number of shitty movies in North America (WARRIORS OF VIRTUE, that kids movie about the kung-fu Kanjaroos, BRIDE OF CHUCKY, ugh, and FREDDY vs JASON, *vomit*), and a number of awesome kung-fu movies (BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR and FEARLESS being the only ones I know personally).

BLOOD: THE LAST VAMPIRE being adapted to live action doesn't come as much of a surprise to me; in fact it makes perfect sense. Despite the original source material being animated, the content of the film was nothing that couldn't be achieved in live action. Beyond that, unlike most anime BLOOD is much more accessible to a North American (and in fact, international) audience as it features an international cast and switches logically between English and Japanese dialogue depending on the background of the character and the necessity of it (BLOOD takes place in Japan, but is mostly set on an American army base). It also helps that Vampires are big in just about any culture. BLOOD is a slick action/thriller/sci-fi/period piece featuring a strong yet sexy, bad-ass, female lead fighting awesome looking monsters with a cool fucking sword; there is absolutely NO reason a movie like that would fail to find success in North America, or be inachivable when adapted to live action. So, just out of curiousity, I though I'd compare the two and see how they stack up.



Comparing the two trailers, I notice a lot of stuff in the live action trailer that seems to have been adapted directly from the original, such as the setting and overall plot, as well as some specific visual cues, but also a number of notable plot changes, such as the more mystical approach to the vampires rather than the animes more sci-fi slant (Chiropterans are a seperate species produced by a virus passed through fluid exchange), and the inclusion of a central villian in the form of 'Onigen', rather than the anime Saya's mandate to just genocide the shit out of the entire species. Also notable is the CYBERSIX-esque plot point that Saya needs to drink the blood of the 'Oni' to survive.

While I am somewhat nervous about these plot changes, I can't really say I find them offensive; to be fair, it'd be pointless to directly adapt an already successful film directly, not to mention that BLOOD was only like an hour long to begin with. Logically some changes would need to be made to pad out the narrative. It just bothers me that the changes made are so... done to fucking DEATH. Seriously? "She killed my FATHER!"? That's a little weak. But, like I said, non-offensive, just disappointingly weak and unoriginal. I still think this looks like an overall strong movie and a good stab at adapting an anime to live action for a North American audience... at the very least it's a far sight better than the fucking steaming pile that was DRAGONBALL: EVOLUTION. I am filled with indescribable RAGE at the thought of that movie.

I'm also impressed that the first five minutes of the movie are an almost shot for shot adaptation of the opening of the anime.


Overall, I'm pretty excited about this. I feel like there is at least a 75% chance this will not blow. That's pretty high for a movie these days.

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