Blood-C: The Last Mind (Japan 2015)

Rating: **
Review Date: 8/1/18
Cast: Kanon Miyahara, Kaede Aono

Definitely the oddest entry in the "Blood-C" series, as this is a live play that was performed in Tokyo during a four-night run. Even though it had English subtitles (which came as a huge surprise), I had trouble following the story. The play opens with Saya Kisaragi (Kanon Miyahara) slaying her father, who has been turned into an Elder Bairn by her eternal nemesis, Fumito Nanahara. She's left for dead at the scene and nursed back to health by a timid Dr. Haru, who develops a crush on her. Unfortunately, Saya's traumatic injuries have left her with amnesia, and she spends most of the play as a frightened, vulnerable, and confused young woman. When she finally regains her memories, her personality reverts back to being a ruthless, kick-ass demon slayer, and she goes after Fumito for revenge. She crosses swords with another hunter named Ran (Kaede Aono), and they eventually end up working together against a common foe. The story ends with no resolution, as Saya continues to chase Fumito back to Tokyo. Perhaps this was meant to be a prequel to "The Last Dark" (2012)? Admittedly, I have very little knowledge of the whole "Blood-C" timeline.

Since it's a play, everything takes place in a very small space with harsh lighting and limited camera angles. The set dressing is sparse and minimalistic, but it does an adequate job of conveying the environment. The show revolves around Kanon Miyahara, who does a fantastic job and is delightfully charming throughout. It's also nice to see her wearing Saya's classic "Blood-C" uniform, which adds an extra cuteness factor. She effortlessly shifts between being a sweet and innocent young woman and a fierce warrior, and she excels at both. All of the performers do a good job, although there is a tendency to overact. Maybe that's just a side effect of giving a live performance. As an amusing side note, Haru breaks character during the play's only comedic scene, which evidently happened in all six performances. The only time he was able to keep a straight face was during the dress rehearsal.

The play is over two hours long, so it can be rather tedious to watch, but fortunately the characters are engaging and there are several action scenes that break up the narrative monotony. Seeing Kanon Miyahara and Keade Aono beating up bad guys using swords and high kicks is always enjoyable, but it obviously looks like stage fighting and there's no actual contact. Still, it's nice to see what they can do. In addition to fighting, the cast also performs a bizarre dance number after the credits, which seems completely out of place. I can't say that I recommend "The Last Mind" unless you're either a "Blood-C" completist, a fan of Kanon Miyahara, or a collector of obscure Japanese oddities.