Blood-C: The Last Dark is a direct continuation of the TV series that shares the same prefix, but does little to take the franchise in a new direction.
While the series had the time to lounge around and obsess over character development, the film does not. There are some serious issues with pacing in The Last Dark – the film gets off to an explosive start and then seems to stammer, its words sticking in its throat until the climax of the third act.
The premise of it all is paper-thin, too: returning character Saya – a brooding, vengeance-seeking vampire schoolgirl – travels to Tokyo to hunt down veteran antagonist Fumito, who has enacted stringent anti-teenager laws within the city.
Considering the film carries an 15 rating, the angsty narrative framework feels a little misguided – the plot is anime-by-numbers and is completely serviceable, but never picks up enough to be anything more than adequate.
Saya is supported by a cast of largely forgettable characters, who only serve two core functions for the whole film: providing light (typically ineffective) comic relief, or contrasting against the cold inhumanity of Saya.
For those familiar with Blood-C, the film implicitly ties up some – but not all – of the loose ends the series fizzled out on, and provides some much needed characterisation of Saya herself. A katana-wielding schoolgirl vampire is all well and good, but the gimmick quickly deflates if there’s no one behind those blood red eyes.
When The Last Dark moves away from the languid conversational scenes, it does find its feet. The action-orientated parts of the film are a fantastic example of what high-budget adult anime can do: they’re dark, beautifully animated and touch (briefly) on elements of Lovecraftian-styled body horror that appeal to the morose, gothic tendencies you’ll find in the mature anime viewer.
The Last Dark is fairly inaccessible to anyone that hasn’t seen the series: this film is all about fan service, and is really only aimed at those that want to drink a little more from the brimming Blood-C cup.