The Last Dark is an animated feature film, which wraps up the story started in the 2011 anime series Blood C. The movie sees vampire chick Saya Kisaragi arrive in Tokyo on a mission to enact vengeance upon Fumito Nanahara, the man responsible for manipulating her in the aforementioned series. Saya’s quest won’t be an easy one though as Nanahara is the head of a wealthy conglomerate guarded by an army of security personnel in addition to monstrous man-eaters known as Elder Bairns. Aiding Saya in her endeavours is Sirrut, a group of young hackers, who are opposing Nanahara’s Seventh Heaven corporation for introducing a curfew that makes it illegal for minors to roam the streets past eight o’clock. I guess kids really do hate being forced to adhere to an early bedtime.
Blood C: The Last Dark continues with the tradition of reinventing Saya with each instalment of the Blood franchise. Although the leading lady retains the classic “schoolgirl with blade” look her personality remains in a perpetual state of flux. Blood Plus and Blood C toyed around with the idea of using amnesia to inject some humanity into the character but in this movie, freed from the shackles of brainwashing, Saya has now reverted back to a sombre monster eviscerating badass, akin to what we got in the original Blood: The Last Vampire. This may please old school Blood fans, but the more muted Saya means that the narrative relies on the supporting cast to move things along, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Saya’s Sirrut teammates are sadly not the most fleshed out of characters and are pretty much a troupe of anime clichés. Shun is as bland as a harem male protagonist and aside from admitting to having a crush on the movie’s heroine contributes zilch to the plot. Hiro is the thirteen-year-old ace hacker who is part of the cast simply to appease the Loli loving demographic that Japanese animation has a knack for attracting. Haruno is the competent second in command who is constantly bickering with Iori the slacker getaway driver (hmmm I wonder if they will get together despite always being at loggerheads.)
The only character to receive any worthwhile development is Mana Hiiragi who joined the Sirrut ranks to ascertain the whereabouts of her father, a newspaper reporter, who vanished whilst investigating Seventh Heaven’s shady dealings. For some reason Saya tolerates Mana tagging along with her, which is rather odd. Having a meek teenage girl accompany you on dangerous missions sounds like a huge liability, although to her credit Mana’s computing prowess does come in handy on occasion. I warmed to Mana as her cheery disposition and resemblance to the bespectacled Saya of Blood C added a dynamic that was otherwise missing from the script. Saya’s Blood C dual persona of jovial girl by day and serious monster slayer by night has in effect been replaced by upbeat Mana working in unison with the no nonsense Saya.
My rating for Blood C: The Last Dark is an average three stars out of five. I didn’t dislike the movie, but it’s not something I am in a rush to rewatch any time soon. Visually speaking the movie is gorgeous and a significant upgrade over the series. CGI elements are seamlessly integrated into the 2D artwork bringing the environments and vehicles to life. The only misstep made by the computer animators would have to be the garish creature that appears near the finale. I think they were hoping to dazzle audiences with a gigantic nemesis to confront Saya, but the design of the monster stuck out like a sore thumb and did not mesh at all with the two dimensional female it was battling.
It’s a shame that the movie’s artistic talents weren’t utilized better in delivering exciting action sequences. The film only has a trio of scenes featuring monster combat and they are all too brief given that Saya dominates her opponents with ease. More action would have been welcome as the plodding pace of the story made the flick feel much longer than its 106 minute running time. Overall I would recommend watching The Last Dark if you enjoyed Blood C, as it ties up all the loose ends from the show’s cliffhanger. I’m not sure it’s worth buying though. Viewers who don’t mind watching their anime dubbed may want to save their pennies and rent the feature from iTunes instead.