Asura Girl: A Blood-C Tale (Japan 2017)

Rating: **
Review Date: 6/20/18
Cast: Kanon Miyahara, Kaede Aono, Miki Mizuno

Kanon Miyahara and Kaede Aono from "High Kick Angels" (2014) star in this spin-off of Clamp's "Blood-C" series, which takes place in the 1930's and follows a rash of grisly murders in a small Japanese village. Demons or "asuras" are suspected, and vampire hunter Saya (Kanon Miyahara) shows up on the scene with her trusty sword, wearing a traditional schoolgirl uniform. The uniform made sense in "Blood: The Last Vampire" (2000), but here it looks ridiculously out of place. The Special Higher Police also show up looking for suspects, and hope to flush out some communists at the same time. Saya befriends a dopey kid named Ren, whose sickly sister Ran (Kaede Aono) happens to be a bloodthirsty asura. After the SHP kills all of the villagers and Ran kills all of the SHP, the stage is set for the inevitable showdown between Saya and Ran.

After seeing "High Kick Angels," I knew I wanted to see more of Kanon Miyahara and Kaede Aono, but this low budget horror film fails to utilize their talents. Their fight scenes are soft and slow, and marred by sloppy camera work and low lighting. It's a real shame, because they're both capable of so much more. Kanon Miyahara does a good job as the vacant and melancholy Saya, but she's so emotionally detached that she just disappears into the scenery. Saya is also highly ineffective as a vampire hunter and spends most of the film just hiding and waiting for an asura to show up. Kaede Aono sleepwalks through the film as Ran, and has no emotional depth at all. When the two finally face each other, it ends up being a huge letdown. It's a decent looking film, but the sparse visual effects are terrible and the gunshots look especially bad. Given the fact that we're dealing with vampires and swords, the almost complete lack of blood is disappointing, and it's impossible to tell who's alive or dead and what injuries they've sustained. At one point it appears as though Saya cuts off Ran's head, which would have been an appropriate thing to do, but in the next scene she's completely intact with nary a scratch. The film also betrays its low budget roots by being tediously long and intolerably slow. Very little actually happens, and the film mainly consists of long-winded exposition about the fate of the villagers. You're better off skipping this one, which might explain why it was so hard for me to find in the first place.