Thursday, March 21, 2019

Review: Blood-C: The Last Dark (2012)

Blood-C: The Last Dark (2012) is a Japanese animated film adapted from the Blood series. It is available on DVD and Blu-ray. A summary of the film is provided below:

Tokyo, Winter. Despite the use of the Youth Ordinance Bill to enforce curfews for minors and regulate the use of the Internet, young people continue to fight for their own freedom through underground methods. One such group calls themselves Surat. They have decided to take on Fumito Nanahara, a man who has great influence on the political world, and basically controls Tokyo with an iron fist. While using the Internet as a weapon to discover more information about Fumito, they learn about "Tower", the secret organization behind Fumito which engages in human experimentation. When members of Surat attempt to set up an ambush in the subway to expose the truth behind "Tower", mysterious creatures suddenly appear and attack the passengers. During this crisis, Saya appears - a young girl who uses a Japanese blade to slay the Old Ones. The same Saya who lost everything dear to her in that horrifying incident in Ukishima Province. What sort of "experiment" is Fumito and "Tower" trying to conduct using the Old Ones? And can Saya finally deliver vengeance to Fumito? Now, the final battle begins...
IG and CLAMP definitely had the potential to turn this trainwreck of a series around for the better. The finished product? Nothing but bitter disappointment about how a great piece, Blood: The Last Vampire, could be turned into this. The issues definitely begin in the characterisation. Nobody is interesting. There is no emotional attachment to any of the struggles they go through, and we 'care' because the movie tells us to. Fumito definitely had the potential to be a remotely decent villain, but even there we are let down. The animation is mixed, but overall it is fairly negative. Much similar to the series Blood-C, the majority of art enjoyment comes from the monster design - and while a lot of what appeared is clearly rehashed from Blood+ and the entire Blood series (if you dare group them together), it is still the high point. For the remainder of the scenes, the animation is carefully guised to look pretty with that distinct I.G. style, but with some inspection the flaws are gaping. The CGI scene? Lets not go there. The plot itself made no real sense. The concept was clear, but the whys and hows of it were significantly lacking. There is no resolution, or even understanding, of the events that transpire and why we should be interested in them. Watanuki appears simply as CLAMP fanservice, in a drawn-out sequence which was really unnecessary. Blood-C has concluded to be a trainwreck of a project. With I.G. having input, one would have hoped for a return to the glory days of Blood: The Last Vampire. However the final project is nothing short of ridiculous, and while it is a definite improvement from the series it is still not cutting remotely close to average. show less Read more at Ah, Blood. To put it basically it was animes equivalent of Buffy the vampire slayer. Starting off from the fairly decent Blood: The Last Vampire movie and then moving on to the mediocre but well received Blood+ series. And then our dear old Clamp decided to try a hand at giving the blood series a new look. Enter Blood-c, a name which gave me a bad feeling from the get go. A series which suffered from abysmal storytelling, over-exaggerated gore which looked more comical than disturbing, characters with little likability and it says a lot when you can say that half the series can be read more Read more at And here is the rest of it.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Review: American Remake of "Being Human" (2011-2014)

Three twenty-somethings share a house and try to live a normal life despite being a ghost, a werewolf, and a vampire. 
I recently discovered that there is an American remake (2011-2014) of the UK version of "Being Human." It originally aired on the Syfy  channel for three seasons. I have not watched the series, but from the positive reviews that I have observed, I may check it out. I briefly watched the British version years ago, and the humor was more on the dry and cynical side than what Americans may be accustomed to. I hope that the American version has better acting and a more entertaining plot. It is now available for purchase on DVD.

After watching the entire first season, I must say that I was impressed with the acting and direction of the remake. While some fans will always stay true to the original British TV show, I believe the American remake addresses some of the weaknesses of the original plot and gives the audience more character development.

Check out the trailer below:

Friday, March 15, 2019

Review: Shades of Wicked (Night Rebel #1)

Sexy and ruthless vampire Ian finally meets his match!

Shades of Wicked, by Jeaniene Frost, is the first novel in the Night Rebel series. It is part of the Night Huntress World universe (featuring Cat and Bones), and the story takes place after the Night Prince series (featuring Vlad). Finally, much to fans' delight, we get to an entire series focusing on Ian, a vampire who insists on living life on the edge shamelessly. In some respects, he doesn't like rules imposed upon him. But his world will turn upside down with Law Guardian Veritas enters his life and expects him to go against his street credibility. Both have one enemy in common, and they must work together against the clock to defeat an ancient evil who would gladly devour both their souls. Here's an excerpt below:

The Rule Breaker...Master vampire Ian is unrepentant, shameless…and every shade of wicked. He’s made one too many enemies in his two centuries of existence, including Dagon, a demon who now lays claim to his soul. Ian’s only chance to escape Dagon is to join forces with a Law Guardian, but he's never been able to abide by the rules for long.

The Law Maker...Veritas’ normal role is police, judge, and jury to reprobates like Ian. But she has her own ax to grind with Dagon, so if she can use Ian as bait...well, all’s fair in law and war. As they scour supernatural hotspots to perfect their trap, Veritas soon realizes Ian’s carefully cultivated, devil-may-care roguish image hides something much more powerful. And Ian discovers Veritas has shocking secrets of her own. As they’re drawn to each other with a passion as intense as their peril, either love or justice will prevail. But each will have devastating consequences.

And here is the rest of it.

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Night Rebel series, Wicked Bite.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Review: Devils' Line (2018)

Devils' Line (2018) is a Japanese dark fantasy anime series. The first season contains 12 episodes.

Humans lives in a world populated by vampires, also known as devils. Few people know about the existence of bloodsuckers. Tsukasa Taira, a college student, is rescued from an attack by a devil, one of many vampires that can blend in among the human population. Yuuki Anzai, her savior, is a half-devil who exploits his supernatural gifts as a member of a shadowy police task force that specializes in devil-related crime in Tokyo. As Yuuki continues to keep guard over Tsukasa, the two quickly forge a tentative romantic bond—one that Anzai fears will test his iron-clad rule of never drinking human blood.

This is your classic forbidden love plot. Humans and vampires (called devils in the anime) are not supposed to be together. But I love how both Tsuakasa and Yuki developed their feelings for each other throughout the series. Awkward at first not forcing their feelings. Most importantly, it had the right amount of romance -- the circumstances that led to their meeting, the times they start more spending time together -- to make their relationship seem natural. I liked Tsukasa's adorable and honest personality -- she speaks her mind which amuses Yuki. But then a sexual assault eventually forces him to acknowledge his true feelings for Tsukasa. The audience also see how Yuki struggles with the vampirism in his body by distancing himself (so he assumes) to protect the girl he has fallen for.

Furthermore, I love how this vampire romance theme was executed in a way that you could empathize with the ordeals of the main characters. They were not simply monsters; they all had a backstory and human feelings. Despite their supernatural strength, agility, and bloodlust, the vampires in the anime lived like humans and endured everyday human situations. They are not allergic to sunlight; they try to co-exist with society.

Overall, Devils' Line was gory, romantic, and hot. Not to mention that the anime was aimed towards an adult audience (the protagonist, Tsukasa, is a college student). It was so refreshing to find an anime series targeted at young adults (age 21+ crowd). Another unique aspect about this show is the episodes were called lines. My major critique is the pacing -- the anime tries to introduce too many characters so fast that I could barely remember half of the people's names by the last episode (this is especially true in the dubbed version if your familiarity with Japanese is rudimentary).

Besides Attack on Titan and Code: Realize, most current anime shows have not been mystifying enough to captivate me. Devil's Line caught my attention during a web search, and I was glad to watch it. If you are a fan of action-oriented shows like Darker than Black and films like Blade, then you would like this dark take on vampires in human society. There is a 13th episode released as an original anime DVD ("Devil's Line: Anytime, ANywhere") that was released back in August 2018. The OAD's continues after the 12th and final episode in the TV series. It featured Anzai and Tsukasa and deal with the relationship between Anzai's parents Tamaki and Midori. It is so worth watching to get the full backstory on Yuki's parents.

Overall, I highly recommend this anime for adults over the age of 18 (mature content is advised). In fact, I enjoyed the show so much that I have started reading the manga -- something that is very rare for me. The show had that kind of effect on me -- I hope that there are more OADs about Tsukasa and Yuki. In the meantime, I will continue to follow the series in the manga.

Check out the trailer below: