Tag Archives: blood

Review: Crimson Peak

…Yes, you can pick your jaws up off the floor, I’m reviewing something that’s still in theaters. Mostly because I really wanted to talk about this movie, but didn’t want to see it again, so I needed to review it now. (Also, this means I dig less into my limited horror movie resources for next Halloween, yay!)

Edith Cushing wishes to become a writer, a difficult thing indeed in the days of Edwardian New York. The oddball of her social set, she never expected attention from men, and in fact seemed to scorn all things feminine and romantic, at least in terms of her writing. This all changes with the arrival of Sir Thomas Sharpe and his sister Lucille, who are seeking investment from Edith’s father and his company to save his family’s lands. In a whirlwind romance, Edith finds herself as the new Lady of a harsh land. Except the ghost of her mother delivered a warning, and there are secrets in the hall of the decrepit house. Deadly ones.

Ugh, where to attack this one… Okay, let’s start with characters. The Sharpes were great. Thomas was this perfect level of warmth and strength, but there was brittleness there, and it made him very endearing. On the other side, Lucille produces this image that is supposed to be similar to Thomas, warm and strong, but she is in fact cold and it shows sometimes. Her strength, however, is very real and terrifying. The actress managed it well, so that when Lucille did show emotion, it was done so powerfully that it made me jump in my seat. I also liked Edith’s father, for the bit we saw him in, and showing an actual capable father (if a slightly underhanded one, but I’ll give him a pass). I golf clapped when he confronted Thomas in the study.

Where the characters fell apart were Edith and the doctor/childhood friend character. I don’t know why they picked up this girl from Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, and I honestly tried to give her a second chance, but she is so flat! I mean, there would be an occasionally flash of something good, and then…flat. Which didn’t fit with how spunky Edith was supposed to be judging from dialogue and other character’s reactions to her and just… Ugh. Bad casting decision. As for the doctor character, he was set up to be Edith’s rescuer, and that sort of irks me. I mean, they tried to fix that in the end, but honestly, I wish he hadn’t been involved at all. He was just an added complication to an already clunky plot.

And yes, the plot was a little clunky. The romance was built up great, and had a great ending, but it fell apart in the middle. I think skipping the boat trip was a bad idea. I think we needed to see at least a little of it, to help transition. But a lot of the plot problems actually come to issues with the world building. I mean, we’re supposed to be scared of these ghosts. Except they were shock-scares and gore, not actual fear because they established with the first ghost that even creepy ghosts can have good intentions. If the mother ghost was just supposed to be a warning about the future (and how she knows the future is a plot hole that irks me), then she needed to be not creepy so we would see a difference in the ghosts at Crimson Peak…except they were good intentioned too, so really, the ghosts were shot in the foot early on. They were shown too much, instead of just showing them sort of influencing the world around them at first and hiding the monsters until the end. Another minor plot issue is the clay itself. Is England really that much wetter? I’ve fallen on red clay earth (yay, Oklahoma and horses), and let me tell you, it’s hard! That part really made no sense to me.

I did feel like the sheer amount of back story and mystery were handled well, to a point. I knew something was going on by the walk in the park, though I wasn’t sure of specifics until later. But it was hinted at beautifully and woven into the story well as random little snippets that the audience saw, but Edith didn’t. I did find the actual recordings to be overkill. By that point, the audience knew what was going on, it was pretty obvious what all else was going on that with her smarts, Edith should have figured it out without having someone tell her. I mean, fine, keep the trunk thing if it is that important, but can we just stick with the pictures and whatnot being in it? And I refuse to believe that Lucille would have missed the canisters for that long anyway…

Overall, it’s a good watch. It’s less paranormal scary and more gory (sort of like the Underworld movies, now that I think of it), and you definitely can’t poke at the plot too hard before it falls apart. But the acting of the Sharpes makes it worth going to see, so if you can grit your teeth past Mia, you’ll feel like you definitely got what you paid for.


Review: Sweeney Todd (Film: 2007)

…I felt like I had to qualify which version of this I was reviewing. For those who are still confused, yes, this is the version with Johnny Depp.

Fifteen years ago, Benjamin Barker was falsely accused and convicted of a crime by a corrupt Judge Turpin and sentenced to life in a penal colony. However, his ship capsizes at sea and he is rescued by Anthony Hope and brought aboard another ship that eventually returns to England. There, Barker takes on the alias of Sweeney Todd and discovers that the judge who condemned him also left his life in ruins to satisfy his own lust. With the help of Mrs. Lovett, his neighbor from before the conviction, he declares that he will have his revenge against not only the judge, but all the people of London. But things are not as they seem, and the greatest tragedy of all is set to take the stage…

I’m not going to pick on the plot too much on this one. It was actually really solid and historically grounded, and is also somewhat based on an urban legend, so… Free pass. I will offer a little interpretation I have, which is the true villain is not Turpin or Todd… But Mrs. Lovett. I feel like she is real the center of everything that goes wrong. I don’t have proof of her being behind what happens to Lucy Barker, but I have the feeling of it. She’s definitely why Todd ends up as twisted as he is, with her being the one to suggest cannibalism, plus the ending reveal (which I won’t spoil). And what happened to her husband? I don’t know, but it’s convenient that he isn’t around anymore.

Now to the actual actors. I gotta say, Todd was great. Johnny Depp had a certain croon when he was being, for lack of a better explanation, the man Benjamin Barker was, and then a deeply gravely growl when he was being Sweeney Todd. The counter balance was just amazing. Okay, I was making Harry Potter cracks over the casting discussions for Turpin and his croney, the Beadle, because… Snape and Pettigrew. I can’t help it. Toby also seemed to grow (too much, I mean) between his first scene as the barber’s apprentice to shop boy. The only one I really had issue with otherwise was Carter as Mrs. Lovett. Sometimes, her way of being slow and creepy was just fine. But others, I felt like she missed that Mrs. Lovett was being a used carsalesman, one that sometimes talks too much. This was particularly obvious in “Worst Pies in London,” where she’s supposed to be talking Todd up…except she’s so slow in her movements, it completely contradicts the pacing of the actual song. I mean, Pirelli annoyed me for similar reasons, since he really should have been hamming it up and instead he was so tight and small in his movements, but his part is minor. Lovett isn’t, and that was disappointing.

From the horror standpoint, despite Burton wanting it to be a gore fest, it just doesn’t get there. Now, depending on the director in a stage production, your gore factor will wildly vary, but I expected a film version to be outright gruesome. Instead, similar to Sleepy Hollow, Burton used a rather comically shade of red for the blood, one that was extremely unrealistic (this spoken as someone with a skin condition that’s led me to some rather gruesome moments). It’s also got the consistency of milk, which is nothing like what you actually look for. So yes, it turns the stomach, but not for the ick, it’s blood factor, just the ewww, that looks gross one.

Musicals are not what people usually associate with Halloween. But I think you should make an exception for Sweeney Todd. It won’t completely give you nightmares, and the story really is quite sad, so don’t spoil yourself with Wikipedia summaries until you see it! The movie cuts some sillier scenes from the musical, so your grim and dark Halloween mood won’t be broken up by them, and instead it just lets you focus on the horrible, tragic circumstances of these characters. (It also does miracles for Johanna’s character, but that’s my opinion.)

Writing: Fanfiction is Awesome! (But I can’t read fics for my own stuff)

So, as a writer, I actually love fanfiction. For those ignorant about what that is, it’s when you write a story about another’s work, basically playing with their toys, sometimes with your own thrown in for funsies. And there is a rule about it. Eighty percent of it, if not more…is crap. Pure and simple. But the other ten percent is usually just as rewarding as the original medium, if not more so (spoken as someone who used to stroll through the Twilight fanfiction sites until the fourth book came out and ruined any tolerance I had for the series). Fanfic can be written about almost anything, from books to tv shows to movies to plays. The sky is the limit.

What is it about fanfiction I like so much? Well, some of it is a personal thing. I like cute fluff, and most writers don’t indulge me with enough of this. For completely understandable reasons, of course. You have to keep the plot moving, even in romances (which is usually sex, but that’s another need entirely), and in other books your romance is very much a subplot. Sometimes, writers frustrate the tar out of me and I want to read more about the characters and the world without their personal quirks or writing style frustrating me (Hello, Butcher…). In some cases, the series ends and I need more for resolution (Hello, Blood +).

But the biggest reason is because of what it does for aspiring writers or even people who just write for a hobby. I was almost completely self-taught until my junior/senior year of college, and fanfiction writing was really the best practice I could have ever asked for. I didn’t have to try and world-build, which is something that really takes practice and time that when I was first starting, I didn’t have the patience for. Learning how to write a character (even if they weren’t mine) and keep them consistent with their already determined personality, how to plot a story from beginning to end (admittedly not the best of plots at times), and even how to write believable dialogue, were all skills I developed when writing fanfiction. I also learned more about fleshing out original characters to match the ones in the fanfic (and developed my hatred of the term “Mary Sue,” but see this post for that.)

I honestly think there are some real gems out there, even for series that I might hate for some reason. For example, Naruto about drives me nuts in the series (and I hate the couples revealed at the end, or at least some of them). But House Calls is amazing and full of fluff and squee. I write fanfiction myself, at the moment mostly whenever something in the original series starts frustrating me (Dresden and Sly Cooper) rather than out of practice. I always encourage beginning writers to start with fanfiction before tackling their own stuff. It helps them get some basic tools before they tackle the huge amount of work an original novel, or even an original short story, can be.

The strangest part of the fanfiction world, at least in my opinion, is writers who take extreme steps to make sure that no one writes fanfic for their work. it blows my mind, if only because… Well, first off, it’s going to be written regardless. It’s a pointless fight to pick. And for another, it’s really a compliment, if you think about it. Someone loves your characters or world enough to write stuff about them. Take the compliment and enjoy it, really. But I can respect some writers feeling like it’s a back-handed compliment (remember why I’m writing it right now?).

That all being said, I have policies about writers and fanfiction. It’s actually one of my Cardinal Rules. (I have three of them.) It’s a big one. It’s simple really. Writers can’t read fanfic for their own stuff. Seriously. No. I have a couple of reasons behind this. For one thing, while there is no such thing as a completely original idea (and there isn’t), reading fanfic could give you ideas you wouldn’t normally have. Or even if you don’t have the same idea, just reading any fanfic gives someone who does have same idea as you the grounds to claim you read their work and stole it. It’s a giant legal nightmare. On the other side of it…remember that first paragraph? Eighty percent. It’s almost impossible not to cringe when it’s characters you love. If it’s characters you make? Oh lord, that just makes me shudder.

So I gave one of my favorite fics a shout out. Anyone have their own to call out?

As a bit of news, I will be changing my posts to Sunday, and maybe a random one in the week. I’m just stupid busy the rest of the time in the week right now with fair coming up.

Blood-C Review

Bleh. I’m full of fail on the blogging front. Let me do another dump of posts to get caught up. First, the last in my Blood series reviews.

Blood-C is CLAMP’s (one of the more popular anime/manga group of artists) take on Saya’s story. This time, Saya is a shrine maiden on a small island somewhere in Japan, with an equally small town surrounding the shring. She is charged by her father to use the sacred sword to slay the monsters plaguing the town–referred to as the Elder Bairns once translated–just as her mother once did. But Saya must keep it a secret, even when things take a turn for the worse and what Saya thinks she knows is brought under questioning.

Animation and design-wise…it’s a CLAMP project, that much is obvious. They got into this lanky, awkward way of drawing characters, and it’s worse in moving color than it is in black-and-white manga. Thankfully, it isn’t as utterly bizarre in this show as it was in xxxHolic, but it still lends a weird edge to the animation. The school uniform choice is…well, it’s dumb, and the characters even lampshade the design towards the end, calling it cosplay. I also think the “dog” didn’t really look like a dog, making it stick out way too much instead of being moderately inconspicuous.

This version of Saya is the most bipolar yet. She sings little songs, loves her father like he hung the stars, and is completely oblivious to the feelings of one of her classmates for her. But she is also a fearless fighter, a warrior that the Elder Bairns seem to hate, and, in the end, humanity’s reluctant defender. That’s right, CLAMP’s Saya links back to the first Saya from Blood: the Last Vampire, though it takes the entire series to get there, and a movie besides to really see the link. The movie also hints at Blood +‘s Saya with a flashback to a castle garden, but it was such a mild link, along with Saya’s senseless red eyes (seriously, they serve no purpose other than to look cool), that I’m not certain how much of it was intentional and how much of it was them just taking guessing stabs at key traits from previous work in the franchise.

As for the other cast members, well, they are as deep as a puddle. The father-figure and, at least up until the last couple of episodes, everyone else were as flat as could be. But once everything hit the fan, the side characters became much more real to me and far more interesting. I wish we had gotten more hints of them throughout the rest of the series, or even a couple more episodes to flesh them out a little better. The villain surprised me, and gave me Solomon flashbacks, especially in the manga version (which I’m only not reviewing because all my volumes are a six hour drive and three hours of searching my old room away). The cast with the movie was almost the exact same way, only even more rushed. We just weren’t given enough time or material to get an emotional connection to these characters, so instead of being this awesome, “Oh snap!” moment when things turn, we’re left going, “Eh.” Especially in the movie, since they went and had to introduce an almost brand new cast.

The plot took its sweet time building up, and once it did, it happened too much at once. It was trying to copy the rich plot of Blood +, but it was about a third of the length (not counting the movie). It was also trying to do the mystery aspect with Saya’s history, the love triangle plot trap, the link to the larger CLAMP universe with Watanuki and the wish shop…Though if you really think about that last one, it could explain the strange reason why Saya can’t kill humans. But that’s just my pet theory.

World-building wise, I felt like it took a left turn somewhere and I wasn’t with them. The Elder Bairns were not like anything that we saw in the first Blood movie, and they sure weren’t the Chiroptereans of Blood +. And beyond Saya’s special blood, there weren’t any real vampire hints, at least for most of the series. There was no clear reason why Saya and the Elder Bairns existed and why they were linked, or even how the father-figure came to exist in the first place and how he is either the same or different from Saya.

For the series as a whole, I think there were some interesting updates to the story, and the ties to CLAMP’s overarching world definitely offered some answers, admittedly very specifically for this version of Saya. But it was rushed, trying to do too much at the end, and a lot of practical information wasn’t given to us, or at least it wasn’t given in a way that made sense. I like that some of the flaws were lampshaded, but there were too many for me to let them all go. If they’d used a couple more episodes to explain the ending instead of what seemed like two or three episodes of filler, I think it would have been a lot more solid story. But that’s my aesthetic.

Overall, the Blood series offers very different takes on the same character. I’d gladly invest in another part of the franchise if they came out with another. (Seriously, I want a short series about the twins at the end of Blood +. I honesty thought that’s where Blood-C was going.) Each time it’s a little different, a little more of the mystery of Saya being revealed, and a twist I didn’t see coming (thank you, Watanuki). Sometimes they disappoint me, but I always leave with at least a little big of satisfaction.

Blood + (novel) Review

Sorry this one was late, it took me longer to re-read four books than I thought it would. For a summary, check out the review I did for the anime. It is literally the same story, just retold in a new format.

And I’m sure somebody is wondering: why are you reviewing the book if it’s the same story? The answer is pretty simple. Despite having the same cast of characters, the same world, and the same overall plot structure, the book series is fairly different from the anime, both in how the characters were handled and even where the focus was. Some of that was for the positive, giving us a deeper understanding of some of the other characters. But other times, it definitely felt like I was being cheated of the rich story that I had fallen in love with and the extra details I was hoping for out of the printed version.

The entire series is told in four books, which are also split into various parts and internal “books.” As I said, it follows the same plot as the anime series, but if you go in expecting it to be a read-along to the anime, you are in for some pretty major disappointments. A lot of the arcs have had bits and pieces cut away, with not all of those points reappearing. Saya is literally just thrown into the boarding school in Vietnam. We get some more information about her, like that she speaks French, something that didn’t come up in the anime that I remember. But we don’t get the trip to the museum, and what happened to Haji thirty years ago comes up much later.

If you thought the books were also going to expand on anything in return for taking things away… Yeah, if only. Nope. Instead, the entire thing actually feels rushed in comparison to the anime series. While the anime bounced around between different locations, we spent enough episodes in each change of locale that it gave them weight. It was long enough for me to adjust to the change of the setting, and then to get the arc-goal clearly defined so that I was paying less attention to where the characters are and more about what they were going through, emotionally and physically. The novels didn’t take that time, making it seem like a game of ping pong rather than a game of chess.

I also didn’t like how some of the characters came across in the novel. Some profited from the new medium, such as David and Solomon, who are so locked inside of their heads that it was impossible to get a grasp on them with just dialogue and facial expressions to go by. Saya survived intact, though at times she felt a little flat to me rather than fully developed as she could be. Julia was just bi-polar, rather than coolly logically like I was expecting and like I got from her in the show. Anshel (who also got a new name spelling for some reason) was missing the villain element, at least for him. He had a couple of moments where we sort of got a grasp on him, but I think without the visual effect the character design had on the show, he’s weak and missing something. Most of all… Diva is just strange. Somehow, they took a fairly threatening, moderately insane character…and made her this little fragile doll.

On the plus side, the cloning was given a little more depth, so that plot point finally made sense. I don’t understand why that information wasn’t given in the anime in some way. Yes, it would have been technical dialogue but it was NEEDED technical dialogue. There was also some clarification on the Zoo, as far as how the Goldschmidts and the Goldsmiths were divided, which helped a couple of things make more sense, at least to me. The sleep cycles also got a couple of lines that smoothed out a bump in the plot, and we got told about a couple of people who had been hinted at in the anime but didn’t get any real explanation. We even found out why Solomon got a lot of the dirty look and why Karl was treated as a bit of a pet by Anshel rather than as a fellow Chevalier.

The focus for me really shifted from Saya and her conflict with Diva, which is supposed to be the central conflict, to Kai and then later the Schiff (the spelling even changed, or maybe it was a translation goof, I don’t know). It seems more focused on his internal conflict as far as his relationship with Saya and then the Schiff’s backstory and ongoing struggle to live than it does on any of the end-of-the-world plot. Admittedly, my copy of the third book has little strips of paper tucked in to it all over the place, where I was tracking…something, though I can’t remember what, aside from the Schiff’s new details about their training. It was interesting to see the events from a new angle, but at the same time… I just felt very removed from what felt like a very rushed plot.

When I came into the series, I was wanting more details about the history. More about Saya’s life at the zoo, and her relationship with Diva before she released her from the tower. What was it like the first time Saya went to sleep? We get this brief image of Haji closing a coffin around Saya dressed in what I think is Elizabethan garb, but is that her first sleep? Why did she stay awake for so long and THEN start this cycle of long sleeps? Plus the questions revolving around when Diva made Amshel her Chevalier, why Diva had more powers than Saya (I don’t buy the blood from different sources theory at all). I read the after notes, where the writer admitted part of the challenge of writing the novels was keeping some of Saya’s secrets still secrets, but… I felt like I wasn’t given any at all, and in a new medium, I want to get new information I didn’t get from original. Giving us the names for the twins is cute, but it isn’t the kind of information I want.

Overall, I think the books are worth the read if you are a fan of the series. It offers a different look at the same story we know and love. But for someone who hasn’t seen the anime… Watch that first or be prepared to miss some of the best moments in the series (at least in my opinion). I think if they had tried for eight books instead of four, and taken their time like they did with the anime, it would have been a much better series. They could have given the main plot the same attention it deserved, and even had the room to expound on the stories they hinted at. But then, maybe they didn’t want to tell the same story twice, which I can understand. I just felt like it wasn’t as neat and well-developed as the anime series.

Blood + (anime) Review

Part 2 of my little series here, this time with the anime that got me interested in the franchise to begin with. I think Blood + will always be my favorite anime, so it’s nice to review it and share some of why I love it so much.

Much like Blood: The Last Vampire, the series follows Saya on her hunt for monsters. But there were some definite changes for the anime series. For one, Saya begins the first season as a normal high school girl and part of an adopted family. A monster attacks her school one night, trapping Saya. But a mysterious man known as Haji forces her to drink his blood, hypnotizing Saya. She uses a sword laced with her own blood to crystalize the monster. At first, Saya is horrified by what she’s done, and refuses to fight, despite the near-orders from a man named David on behalf of Red Shield. But when her father is injured and almost turned into one of the monsters, she takes the first steps on her journey. It takes four seasons for the truth to come to light about Saya’s past and her relation to the enemy Red Shield is sworn to fight. In the process, we are given a huge cast of colorful characters, each adding another piece to the past and to the present. The ending of the anime is full of sorrow and grief, but with an edge of hope for the future.

Obviously, I’m leaving details out of that summary, but that’s because a) it would take way too long to summarize four season (fifty episodes) neatly and b) I don’t want to spoil anything. Animation wise, it’s spectacular for its time and it still holds up today, at least in my opinion. Saya’s skirt length in the first half annoys me a little, but it gets better, so I let it go. When it comes to the historical character designs, they did very well with the costumes being authentic. Lewis’s design is a little racist, but I’ve seen much worse in anime, and all things considered, I let it go. It really doesn’t hit you how bad it is until you look at it in hindsight. The only thing that sort of irks me is there is a bit of generic work for the background or arc specific characters. I wish they had been given a little more effort.

The huge cast of characters and the sheer level of back story might be why I love this series so much. To begin with, for once we don’t have this airheaded whiny baby for a protagonist! Oh happy day! (You have no idea how happy this makes me, seriously.) Admittedly, Saya doesn’t want to fight, and often struggles with being expected to, but I found it didn’t really bother me as much, especially as more and more of her back story came to light. Considering her relation to the enemy, without the hatred she rightfully has for them, she wouldn’t want to fight them. Once her memories are back, it makes a lot more sense, as does her final wish that she managed to get Haji to agree to. And when she comes to terms with what she is, after what it costs her, you can see that she is trying so hard to be tough when all she wants to do is fall apart. Even in the end, that tough part falls aside as her kind nature comes through towards her greatest enemy. It takes the combined efforts of both Kai and Haji to get her to change her mind about what she deserves.

Which gets us to our male leads. For the first two seasons, it’s pretty much Haji and Kai, Saya’s older adopted brother. I could never get behind Kai/Saya, just because they were raised as siblings, plus he was just annoying to me. Very much the usual anime protagonist, thankfully this anime proceeded to smack him down and show him exactly how ill-suited he initially was to help his sister. After he was pretty much removed as a romantic interest, I liked him much better. By then, he had matured a good deal, and was taking his sister’s fight a lot more seriously. Haji came into the series with the obvious markers as being the romantic interest. His devotion to Saya can border on the creepy occasionally, but considering their relationship and what has happened to him over the years, I can’t blame him. He had a horrible burden to carry with him over the years, and he did so out of love. The second half introduces a third love interest, Solomon, who is on the enemy’s side. I’ve always felt like Solomon was just in love with Saya because instinct, or what his big brother Amshel convinced him was supposed to be their instinct, told him he was supposed to. And because he was that sort of dreamer type, he went along with it, even if it went much further than Amshel had intended.

The rest of the cast is far too huge for me to go into detail. There’s Red Shield, there’s the historical allies and enemies, there’s the Sif (my favorites), there’s the Cinq Fleches Group… To go into explaining them would not only spoil the series, but take me more words than I want to spend. I will spend a little time on who is described as the primary antagonist, though I really consider her the secondary one: Diva (Amshel is the primary for me, always will be). My god, she is amazing. I think one of her lines in the end of the series describes her best, “Now Saya, that’s not fair. Only you were treated like a human.” She really raises the question if what is wrong with her is nature or nurture, and she inspires pity from the audience rather than straight hatred, a nice change. As for why the Sif are my favorite… They are set up to be this force to be manipulated, and they fight against it, struggling for survival even as they die one by one, just because of how they are created. I can’t help but wish they would get that chance at life.

Plot wise, there is a lot going on in this series. It really can be divided into two halves: before the destruction of the Red Shield’s headquarters, and then a year after (yep, there’s even a time skip). Before, it really focuses on the memories that Saya has forgotten, and trying to find their main enemy, Diva. There is also the Sif’s sideplot, and the actions of the antagonists, who aside from Diva are leading up to something. Then there is what Diva is wanting, which is really ambiguous at that point in the series. The second half is Saya desperately trying to find Diva before she goes to sleep (her big sleep which lasts for thirty years), while the plans of the Cinq Fleches group, the survival of the Sif, and Diva’s wants all come together in a climactic final two episodes. I really didn’t find a lot of plot holes, and what few there were would have slowed the series down too much, so I can understand why there was no follow-through. Even the timeskip made sense to me. The plans we saw being put in place in the first half need time to ferment, and at least two of the protagonists needed time to grow and deal with their grief. I wish the ending had pushed on the hope aspect (as I’m covertly referring to it) a little more, but that’s a personal opinion, and there’s fanfiction for that.

The setting was possibly the most far-reaching I’d seen in a serious anime like this. It doesn’t stay in Japan like a bad cliche. Instead, it goes from Japan to Vietnam to Russia to France to the US… Very much a global-span, which makes a lot of sense with the plot. Some of the world-building is confusing as it is presented to you, but once you lay it all out after seeing the series, it does make sense. Basically, the world-building on vampires requires a bit of Fridge Logic to make it work. Of course, that’s fine by me, I like that element to a show, where it makes me think about it, as long as it makes sense. Don’t get me started on when it doesn’t. At times, it felt like it was pushing it (my fan theory is that the Sif aren’t created, they were initially real humans, but that only has limited backing. The cloning still feels stupid), but I was able to swallow it while I watching it, and it didn’t kill my love for the story, so I guess it got away with it.

Overall, the show is a bit like a very rich desert. Let’s say one of those giant slices of chocolate cake they serve at Cheddar’s (never eat one alone, seriously. It is meant for sharing. With like, four people). There is a big cast, a complicated story, and an equally complex world, and it takes its sweet time telling it to you so you don’t get overwhelmed. Layer upon layer upon layer. It is one of my favorites, and I definitely recommend it. Just, pace yourself.

Blood: The Last Vampire Review

I’m going to do a brief series on what I suppose is called the “Blood Franchise,” just for giggles. This week is the film that started it all, Blood: The Last Vampire. I’m going to do both of the anime series, and the book series based off of the anime, but I won’t be doing the book form of the movie or the manga of the series, mostly because both of those were a little too out there for my case.

Although I derped to do this for Hansel and Gretel and for Dragon’s Keep, I’m going to keep trying to summarize what content-wise I saw. Blood: The Last Vampire follows a girl named Saya as she hunts monsters on an U.S. air base in Japan (Yokota, if I’m remembering the spelling right). She infiltrates the high school to identify the monsters while they are still in their human shape, in the process dragging the school’s timid nurse along for the ride. She has some sort of power, though what it is remains a mystery as she struggles during this hunt, hampered by the nurse, her weapon, and orders forbidding her to hurt humans. In the end, it is revealed that Saya is the only known original vampire left, hinting that these monsters are, in a way, her children, reflected in the way she stands over the last one.

I guess I’ll start with the animation/drawing style of the movie. The background is very pretty and realistic, not just “cartoon” realistic, and I like that we can see all the details on the character’s faces and props at times. The fact it isn’t completely dark colors or completely bright colors also balances well, creating an “adult” feeling to it, suiting to the genre. I’m not saying anime isn’t adult, obviously, but that sometimes it’s jarring to have these serious issues being faced by character with neon pink or blue hair, so this is a nice change. I also liked how there were different body types, and even though Saya is in a typical high school uniform of the sailor variety, she isn’t overly sexualized, or really all that sexualized at all. But some of the drawing style was…weird. The way mouths were drawn just seemed strange to me, and at times the close up of sweat on the faces was unsettling.

Character-wise… Well, the story definitely didn’t rely on explaining or showing characterization off, beyond Saya and the nurse at least. Really, it focused on Saya’s relationships with those around her, which I thought were really interesting. Her and David were close, and that much came through once the danger became real, as did Lewis being a bit of a butt to her. Her relationship with the monsters they were hunting seems complicated, though we aren’t given quite enough for me to really understand her motivation. More than anything, I wish we had been given a little more background on Saya’s hunt. There just wasn’t enough information there for me to sink my teeth into as a stand-alone story.

The plot was really simple and straightforward. Not a bad thing, since it meant it couldn’t have unnecessary plot lines that were left unresolved…but bad, because there just wasn’t enough on the bone for me. I feel like there is so much that I don’t know about these characters or this world, and because of it I felt a real disconnect. Without that story, it was just…excessive gore. I understand the want for mystery throughout the movie, leading up to the big “vampire” reveal at the end. But there just wasn’t enough clues leading up to it for me. I needed more. There are hints of a huge back story, but I just wasn’t given enough of it.

Which at this point, I have to go to the film as a whole, since…that’s all about what’s to this one. Obviously, it was meant to be simple and provoke thought and curiosity about what Saya’s story is, along with supplying enough gore to keep the horror fans happy. In those aspects, at least, it succeeded. But I think it could have been pushed further, and just rested on the mystery…which was really more of a, “We’re not going to tell you anything at all,” than a true mystery to me. The animation was nice to look at, if pushed maybe a little too far on the quirk scale for me, and obviously I loved the character designs. Overall, it isn’t a bad film. I just think it could do better.

And it did…eventually.