BLOOD-C – The Last Dark
「劇場版 ブラッドシー ザ ラスト ダーク」 (Gekijo-ban Buraddoshī za Rasuto daku )
“BLOOD-C: The Last Dark”
Having enjoyed Blood+, BLOOD-C was something I was admittedly looking forward to. With Production I.G. spearheading things as the animation studio and quite the cast to boot, things were looking quite bright. Sadly though, with flaws in execution readily apparent and a story that never really got off the ground until the very end, it never quite met those lofty expectations. At the same time however, I was still hopeful the movie would ultimately deliver on the promise and potential the series still held — especially considering the fact that the entire TV series was pretty much a set up for it. And well, having finally watched the movie the other day, I think it’s safe to say that The Last Dark definitely ends up fulfilling more of that potential than its prequel. At the same time though, it still possesses a multitude of flaws that ultimately bring down the overall experience.
Story-wise, what we get is pretty much a direct continuation from the TV series. Following her departure from Ukishima, Kisaragi Saya’s search for Fumito ultimately takes her to Tokyo. An encounter with an Old One ultimately leads her to SIRRUT — a rebel organization trying to fight the Juvenile Protection Ordinance and internet censorship. The organization is led by Mogari Kuroto, a descendant of the family that made the agreement with the Old Ones — and Fumito’s cousin. With his group — consisting of youth from various backgrounds — he’s managed to uncover information about human experiments run by an organization named Tower, which is led by Nanahara Fumito — the man that killed Kuroto’s family and left him wheelchair bound. With their interests the same, Saya joins with SIRRUT in their attempt to take down Fumito.
And well, that’s mostly what the movie’s story boils down to — Saya’s quest for vengeance. In many ways, it’s a pretty straight forward plot. Sadly though, the movie seems to take the straight forward nature of the plot a bit too literally, as virtually every element in the story felt like it was just there to allow Saya to fulfill that desire.
For instance, the revelation of Hiiragi Mana as a skilled hacker — notably one even more skilled than either Shu or Tsukiyama. After following Saya for a fair portion of the movie — which in and itself was somewhat odd, as normal people would not be attracted to someone wielding a katana and covered in blood — and seemingly not possessing any notable innate talents, she suddenly shows herself as possessing that one skill that would both let them escape the trap at Tsuki Private School and find Fumito’s main base of operations as well. In addition, it also seemed quite coincidental that Mana was both a student at Tsuki Private School and also possessed an extra uniform that fits Saya perfectly as well — although this could theoretically be explained by Fumito knowing about SIRRUT through Mogari. Either way, this brings me to SIRRUT itself, which was pretty much a kind of facade meant to lure Saya in the first place. None of the members had any chance originally of fulfilling their objective, and they were only allowed to do so because of the purpose it served — again to allow Saya to fulfill her desire.
I mean, the above things are bits open to interpretation and personal preference — but it just didn’t feel like the story ever really had anything going for it than a revenge story. Don’t get me wrong, I like series/movies that maintain their focus and try not to do too much as much as the next guy, but there were just too many aspects that just felt like they were inserted in for a particular, obvious purpose, rather than weaved in seamlessly to form a proper narrative.
Notably, the developments of the ending further added to my discontent, as it seems like the production team was clearly trying to keep the movie from eclipsing the two hour boundary. And it’s a pity, because the ending could have provided quite some enjoyment in the venue that BLOOD-C does best, which are the epic, gore filled fights. Alas, Fumito’s proxy not only gets taken out off screen, but the “final boss” too gets dispatched equally quickly — so quickly that it took barely half the time to kill it than to summon the monstrosity in the first place. They then top this off with Fumito killing himself with Saya’s sword — something which when combined with the revelation that he was doing all of this for her in the first place, would have held a lot more impact if it weren’t given only a short span from which to develop. Notably, it would have been much better had it not followed so quickly after the defeat of the Old One either, especially when such a short time eclipses that it’s still seen deteriorating in the background.
Ultimately though, not everything was negative. Admittedly, a vast majority of the post so far has been spent discussing the negatives — even more so than I ever anticipated I’d discuss — but there were definitely things done right here. The animation for one, was quite good (aside from a few instances of odd CGI clashes). The soundtrack by Satou Naoki added a great touch to the dark atmosphere of the series and served quite well in accenting the spectacular fight scenes — which for me, played quite a part in nullifying a fair amount of the discontent I mentioned previously. To top it off, Mizuki Nana does a superb job voicing Kisaragi Saya, which just further added to the enjoyment of Saya going about her slicing and dicing.
As such, BLOOD-C: The Last Dark ends up being quite the mixed bag — balancing a fair share of developmental flaws with a few notable aspects. Whether or not one considers this worth watching/enjoyable/good will depend a lot on your personal preference, but at the very least, I think I can speak for most people when I say that the movie was definitely an improvement over the original series. I suppose, for some, this doesn’t count for much — as I know there are a fair share of viewers out there that thoroughly disliked the original series — but at the very least, it does make it worth watching in my opinion, just to see how it all ends up. To that end, it’s interesting to note that Saya is indeed still alive… which makes me wonder if there may yet be more coming to the BLOOD-C franchise. It would be admittedly interesting if something new comes… but at the same time, I’ll probably be torn as to whether or not it would be the greatest of ideas. More Saya is always good in my mind, after all!
ED: 「METRO BAROQUE」 by 水樹奈々 (Mizuki Nana)