Blood-C: The Last Dark (Japan 2012)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 10/13/13

"The Last Dark" is a continuation of Clamp's "Blood-C" TV series, which is unfortunate because I haven't watched that yet. But the good news is that Saya is back to her old self, and is a relentless bad-ass throughout the entire film. The Youth Protection Act is in effect in Tokyo, which places a curfew on minors and enforces strict regulations on Internet use. There are rumors floating around about a mysterious young girl who disregards the curfew and walks alone at night, and that girl is Saya Kisaragi. Saya has come to Tokyo to hunt down Fumito Nanahara and take revenge for the events that transpired in "Blood-C," and a group of rebellious young computer hackers agree to help her (whether she wants their help or not). This eventually leads to an assault on Fumito's headquarters and the horrors that lie within.

First of all, Studio I.G.'s state of the art animation is exquisite and breathtaking, and Saya looks utterly fantastic. I'm not a fan of Clamp's sharp and skinny character designs, but the movie manages to soften them up quite a bit. Oddly, the characters are only super skinny when they're fully clothed, and are much thicker and more voluptuous when they're naked. The soundtrack is quite good, and the film begins with a very strong and compelling piece that sounds eerily reminiscent of "Oblivion" (2013). Unfortunately, the story is rather weak and completely falls apart in the final act. Much like "Blood+" (2003), the supporting characters are annoying and uninteresting, and the film would have benefited greatly without them. Saya dominates every scene that she's in, and the film sputters whenever it attempts to shift focus away from her. Overall, I found the film to be a satisfying experience, and the action scenes are nicely staged and graphically bloody. Ultimately, your enjoyment will depend on whether you can ignore the goofy side characters and the ridiculous villain.