Hello! I’m in an unusually pleasant mood this morning. Why, you ask? Well, mainly because I’m an idiot. Secondarily, I witnessed a redemption arc of redemption arcs. Imagine you are at an opera. There has been a lovers’ quarrel between two of the actors backstage, and the lead role has a sore throat. The first half of the performance, despite your anticipation and best efforts to enjoy it, is lacklustre at best. Everything is off-kilter– not horrible, simply off. But then, suddenly… there is a shift. Everything clicks. The teeth and grooves of the great orchestral clockwork that is a fine piece of art suddenly slip into place. The performers regain their lost synergy, knowingly or unknowingly, and the most crucial bits are carried to their rightfully-grand finale. When all is said, done, acted and sung, the audience is able to give standing ovation, so great was this recovery, all past faults forgotten… mostly.
Ugh. You can tell I’m in a good mood because I’m waxing poetic. Forgive me.
I neglected to mention Blood-C’s movie sequel in my review of the TV series. This was because I was not sure if I intended to watch the movie. After a quick skim (I may or may not have been slightly inebriated at the time) of the movie’s summary, I established, erroneously, that it was merely a spinoff, not a continuation of the original series.
I’m not someone who typically enjoys multi-part series. I’m more a “one and done” sort of guy. To me, if there’s no reason to continue a series besides the fact that the first part was popular, you should let the story rest. Broaden your horizons, take what you’ve learned and try something new. I am more tolerant of spinoffs, but they’re still not something I seek out as voraciously as some.
The Last Dark is neither spinoff, nor an unnecessary addendum. This is a finale, and, in most respects, a fitting one for this series.
If you read my review of the TV series, Blood-C, you will know that it did not capture me as I hoped it would. The entertainment it offered was superficial, at best. Plot and pacing took a back seat to the action sequences, which were good, but nothing to write home about. The most vexing part of the entire series was that it seemed to end just as the story was going to get interesting. I did not realise, at the time, that there was a reason for this– that the movie sequel had been in the works even before the TV series was aired.
This does not change anything I had to say about the TV series. The more I think about it, it seems to me that they intentionally padded out the TV series for the sake of the movie that they knew was going to happen before the anime had even aired. Even so, the movie does more than enough to recover what the TV series had squandered: a great plot, by way of shoddy execution. And overall? I’m glad I had the opportunity to watch the better arc of this series in high-quality movie splendour.
The difference in quality is noticeable within the first few seconds of The Last Dark. Everything is much more polished– then again, this is to be expected of a movie budget. Even so, I feel obligated to note that I took a tonne of screenshots whilst watching this movie, just because everything was so much prettier than I expected. Mizuki Nana is back as the voice of Saya, and, as usual, she does a terrific job. Well, every VA does, really. It takes a staggering amount of talent to become a seiyuu, and I have little else besides admiration for all of them. Mizuki Nana also just happens to be one of my favourite Japanese musicians on top of everything else.
The OST composed by Satou Naoki is also on-point. Right out of the gates is this super dynamic track, which sets the pace and stakes as the events that unite our main characters unfold:
And later, we are given this haunting track called The Tragedy of Ukishima, which is a remix of the most memorable theme from the TV anime.
It gave me chills. The song and scene in which it is featured helped solidify the events in the anime for me, make it feel more real, especially since everything felt so superficial in the anime. All those people who were butchered weren’t just props on a stage, and although their names and faces might be forgotten, the consequences of those events yet linger. The language of music never ceases to amaze me.
I sometimes like to watch sequels before their predecessors. You’d be surprised at how different a perspective on certain series it can give you. I almost wish I did that with Blood-C. I have a feeling that I might have been able to appreciate the anime more if I’d done so.
The movie basically does everything well that the anime did not. This is a much more character-driven story, with every event in the story having a consequence, or a least a tangible effect on the world and plot. It might even be said that the furukimono who kidnaps Mana in the opening scene in the anime might be there in that metro, at that time and place, for a reason. The TV anime’s plot was repetitive, and relied mainly on the sudden appearance of a monster to force the plot forward. Characters were mostly irrelevant, mysteries were teased without any real answers being given, and Saya never really developed as a character until the very end of the series. Who or what is the talking dog? What is the Covenant? Why does nobody from the outside world seem to know or care about what is going on in Ukishima? The movie helps us make sense of all of this.
…Well, it does to a certain extent.
This is where I think that the anime would have benefited from a second cour instead of a movie sequel. If the first season had been handled better, it probably could have garnered enough attention to warrant one. At the end of the movie, we’re still left with questions, questions which don’t look like they will ever be answered. Things seemed a little rushed at the end, and the final battle, though visually stunning, is almost humourously brief, and really just seemed like an excuse for the CGI department to show off their skills. It was impressive while it lasted.
The conclusion was also… satisfactory. I wish we learned a bit more about Fumito as a character, as, judging from what little we know about him, it is kind of hard to truly judge what, exactly, Saya means to him. The ending sort of suggests that he was not just toying with her all along, but if that’s the case… why does he spend so much time in the anime and movie toying with her? His methods and motivations are all very roundabout and convoluted. With a bit more effort he could have turned out to be a somewhat sympathetic, or at least a better-rounded main villain.
Overall, I’m pleased with how everything turned out. It was fun to watch, and made me glad to see a character with as much potential as Saya finally get the star treatment she deserves. If I were in charge of this series, I would have handled it much, much differently than its creators did, focusing more on the world and character development than the visually-pleasing but ultimately wasteful fight scenes that we got in the anime. Some of this was remedied in The Last Dark, but there’s only so much worldbuilding and character development that you can get done in less than two hours of runtime. All in all, I think the movie and series as a whole accomplished what it intended to do. The movie managed to transform this series from a fleeting source of minor amusement into something much more memorable; and I am happy to, at the very least, be able to call Blood-C a flawed gem.
Whew. Another review in the bag. I got this one done a bit quicker than I usually do, I think. Or so I want to believe. It still takes much longer than I should, mainly because I’m so easily distracted. My latest social experiment of sorts has been Tinder. It’s like this horrible, lurid form of people-watching that I can do from the comfort of my own desk chair, and is addictive in the worst way possible. I talk quite a bit (only half-jokingly) about being one of the last sane people on the planet… but Tinder really drives that idea home for me. I’m a very good judge of character, especially when there’s little-to-no character present. I can’t speak for the male side of the app– it’s probably even worse, if I had to guess–, but the experience overall has been both a minor confidence boost and lingering source of unease, simultaneously. I can only laugh– I honestly don’t know what else I expected.
But let’s not spoil this review with depressing thoughts. What did you think of this movie, if you watched it? Have any funny Tinder stories of your own? I read all your comments! Stay safe, my friends, and until next time, cheers.