Posted at 9:43 AM on September 5, 2006
by Euan Kerr
Following up on Peter Carey's "Wrong about Japan," Malcolm the 15 year old and I watched "Blood: the last Vampire" the other night. I had given Malcolm the Carey book and he quickly devoured it, which was not surprising given his fascination with Japanese popular culture.
"Blood" is mystifying in many ways. It's beautifully made, with loving detail applied to the creation of this horror anime. The shadows and light play in the subway train at the beginning is mesmerizing, as are the asynchronous jiggling of the straps hanging from the handrail.
Yet the story of a teenage girl who dispatches alien vampires with her samurai sword seems lacking. It's only 48 minutes long, perhaps a victim of the effort it takes for all the special effects. The story is clearly trying to tell us something: it's set in a school on a US base in Japan in the 1960's, where bombers are taking off en route to Viet Nam. The anti-vampire effort is clearly sponsored by Americans, but they, like the vampires, just appear then disappear, with little explanation.
But perhaps that's the whole idea: make a viewer think. Or it could just be as Carey found in his book, that some things are just incomprehensible.