Nick D Jake, it's finally that magical time of the year. The weather's getting colder, the leaves are changing colors, and Netflix is arbitrarily dumping a mountain of anime on our doorstep like a dead lizard from your cat.
Come on Nick, where's your fighting SPIRIT? (Get it, cuz Ichigo fights ghosts?)
Listen man, I followed Bleach weekly through its entire final arc. I have physically lost the ability to be excited about anything connected to it.
That's fair. I watched only the first 50-ish episodes what feels like A THOUSAND YEARS AGO now, so I was cautiously optimistic about revisiting this world and characters again.
To be honest, I kinda was too. Much as I dislike Bleach's back half, it was one of my introductions to anime and manga in general, and I still have a ton of nostalgia for the Substitute Soul Reaper arc.
Though upon revisiting the anime I found I'm still haunted by leekspin regardless of nostalgia.
Christ, next you'll be bringing up Caramelldansen. You know what, lemme just rip that band-aid off right now:
This is over a DECADE OLD.
Yet it's so dated that it feels like it's old enough to drink. Or maybe that's just me feeling like drinking.
Yeah, I was cautiously optimistic for this movie, but I guess I should have known Warner Bros. Japan gonna Warner Bros. Japan by now.
I'll give Bleach this much, it's more competently directed and acted than the FMA movie. At least it feels like a solid attempt to make a real movie out of the material, rather than slapping together important moments from the source and calling it a day.
Yeah, I really dug the casting! Let's start with nice things first, because I have several. Ichigo and Rukia delivered good performances that helped their duo carry the movie. The wardrobe design, while certainly not as hard to adapt as many other anime, was convincingly natural, it didn't look like cosplay at all. The first arc material they're working with also adapts well to a feature film. I didn't hate watching it. So they done fine in many regards.
I'm of two minds on Ichigo's casting. On the one hand, Sōta Fukushi is still as likable and engaging as he was in Kamen Rider Fourze. On the other hand, he feels weird as Ichigo, like a totally different character from the surly straightman I'm used to.
I thought he was a good live-action approximation of Ichigo in the same way that they shifted his dad and Rukia's characters to be more "normal", which is to say if you retain the goofy slapstick and anger level from the manga, it might be off-putting and not endearing coming from a real person. Like the high-five he gives Rukia there is one of the only times he's nice to her, and the movie definitely relied on that chemistry for its story to work emotionally because of the way they truncated things. So I can dig it.
It's not a bad performance by any means, but it's definitely a different interpretation of the characters that can feel jarring if you've spent as much brainspace as I have thinking about early Bleach.
If nothing else, I enjoy seeing Fukushi mug for his life during the action scenes.
Yeah, and I gotta admit that the high five also spoke to the movie's greatest problem, because that scene was the most I ever smiled during the experience, which should not be the case. This movie is pock-marked with halfhearted attempts at quirky levity in a dull gray melodramatic dirge.
I get that this is just how WB does things, but why did they take inspiration from Suicide Squad of all things for this movie's tone?
You mean you DIDN'T bust out laughing when a Nu Metal song about drinking your milk started playing during Ichigo's big fight scene?
Okay yes, that was extremely funny all three or four times it happened (please stop reusing the same song for fight scenes, this is a feature film not an anime series), but I wasn't supposed to be laughing. :'D
I'll take what I can get, but yeah, this movie files down most of the comedy and character from its chosen arc, and the end result definitely suffers because of it. Probably the biggest loser in that regard is Rukia. In the series she was Ichigo's instructor, but also kind of weird in a deadpan way that Serious Business Ichigo could bounce off. In this movie, she's the solemn one with lots of baggage and very few jokes to call her own.
Though their training montage offers some choice bits.
The training montage (high five included) was the best and worst part of the movie. It was the best because it felt most like the dynamic in Bleach to me, or at least something resembling its style and levity, oppressive WB color palette notwithstanding. But it was the worst because it happens like AN HOUR into the movie instead of at, say, the 30-minute mark, which is the optimal place to put this important turn if you're trying to pace Bleach's first 20 episodes into a conventional three-act popcorn movie.
Well obviously we needed that time for other important stuff. Like just dropping Ishida's entire backstory on us in one scene and then forgetting about him for an hour.
I was honestly stunned by how much this movie managed to turn what should feel like a LOT of content into something that felt like it was STRETCHING just to get to feature length. There was no reason for Chad or Orihime to be there. Time with Uryu was basically just a waste too.
And THIS is how they decided to introduce Byakuya? He doesn't even look important in this shot, much less threatening.
Byakuya and Renji get screwed pretty hard, yeah.
Definitely a place where the casting fell on its face in trying to be dark or hardcore or something. Renji's boring instead of fun and Byakuya's boring instead of scary.
Like putting aside their dogged insistence on killing Ichigo and Rukia for no established reason, they're just really bad villains. Renji is just constantly standing to the side licking knives and waiting to inexplicably lose to Ichigo.
Ichigo trained REALLY hard for like four whole days, Nick. He's a really good shinigami now. Did you SEE how many tires he pulled across the ground?
Sadly, that didn't leave time for learning trash talk.
The "you're slow" comeback was funny the first time, when he's throwing it back in Renji's face. Not so funny when Byakuya says it for a THIRD dialogue callback because they couldn't think of anything more interesting or god forbid in-character.
At least they kept this line. This movie is marshmallows of charm in an ocean of soggy cheerios.
Bad performances aside, I'm also just not sure of their motivations. Like they want to kill Ichigo to get Rukia's powers back, but then they decide to also kill Rukia for breaking Reaper Law or whatever, but then Rukia pretends to hate humans all of a sudden and they're just like, okay you can come back.
FIGHTS, Nick, they need to be ANGRY to FIGHT longer in the third act!
It really feels like both were included entirely because they're popular characters and we gotta get some Soul Society jokers in here, even though the Grand Fisher material would be a perfect choice for a self-contained movie.
And for what it's worth, the fights are well-choreographed, iffy effects and directing aside. It feels like the production crew put a lot of effort into this endeavor, but not much inspiration, and that's most of what you feel while you're watching it: "Oh they're trying, they just don't have any interesting ideas." The movie literally opens with Ichigo's mom's death scene, because hey, what's the simplest and most cliche way you could open a Bleach movie?
I mean yeah, it's cliche, but it's also the closest thing to a singular emotional through line in the pre-Soul Society material, so I do like that the movie tries to zero in on that for Ichigo's character.
It's just a shame that it mostly goes nowhere and Grand Fisher is basically a subplot in its own movie.
Yeah they succeed pretty well at giving live-action Ichigo an arc. I thought this line did a great job of summing up the guy's values without having to break for a distracting monologue.
The movie is at its best when it's focused where it always should have been, on Ichigo and Rukia's growing friendship.
Now if only they'd given Renji and Byakuya the boot and brought that story into his existing relationships with Chad and Orihime. Give poor neglected Urahara some opportunities for levity, change that awful omnipresent gray-blue color scheme into something more irreverent and poppy to match Bleach's aesthetic, and maybe this could have been good.
Oh come on, the human cast gets tons of great moments! Ishida fights alongside Ichigo for like a minute!
Chad lifts a thing!
As it stands, well, I didn't hate it. It was certainly better than the FMA movie! But I wouldn't recommend it to anyone either. It just sort of exists.
Yeah, there are bits and pieces of a promising movie in this whole thing. But to really double down and make something that works on its own, they either needed to do the unmarketable thing and keep the Soul Society cast confined to a sequel teaser while they focused on the humans, or totally restructure the story so that Byakuya and Renji actually have anything to do with the emotional core. As it stands, the movie's mostly just a curiosity if you're somebody who liked Bleach and have a couple of free hours.
Director Hiroyuki Hashimoto returns from 1st anime― A stage reading in the Magical Girl Raising Project franchise announced on Sunday that an anime adaptation of Asari Endō's Magical Girl Raising Project Restart light novel volumes has been green-lit. Hiroyuki Hashimoto reported on Twitter that he will return from the first Magical Girl Raising Project anime as the director. The franchise's Twitter ...
Bookworm short stories, Reincarnated Mage with Inferior Eyes, A Pale Moon Reverie, more licensed― J-Novel Club announced on Friday that it has licensed 10 new light novels and four new manga titles. The company additionally announced it will be adding state sales tax for 11 states on subscriptions and other purchases in the future, and also revealed a new rental system. The newly announced light nov...
Kenji Studio cancels campaign for Santa Company: Secret of Christmas, Kickstarter suspends campaign for Santa Company: Midsummer Merry Christmas― Kenji Itoso's Kenji Studio canceled its Kickstarter campaign for the English-dubbed and English-subtitled version of the Santa Company: Secret of Christmas (Santa Company: Christmas no Himitsu) anime film on January 14. The campaign had raised US$7,288 of ...
Chikahiro Kobayashi, Yusuke Kobayashi, Makoto Koichi, Daiki Yamashita join April anime― Twin Engine debuted a new video on Monday to announce and preview four more cast members for the television anime of Yūji Kaku's Hell's Paradise: Jigokuraku manga. The newly announced cast members are: Chikahiro Kobayashi as Yamada Asaemon Shion Yusuke Kobayashi as Yamada Asaemon Tenza Makoto Koichi as Nurugai Da...
Manga ends in 22nd volume on May 17, same day as new novel― This year's eighth issue of Kodansha's Weekly Shōnen Magazine revealed on Wednesday that Oh! great's manga adaptation of NisiOisin's Bakemonogatari novels will enter its final arc, and it will end in seven chapters. Kodansha will publish the 22nd and final compiled book volume on May 17. NisiOisin also announced that a new novel in the ser...
Asuna's story continues in the second Progressive film, opening in theaters in the U.S. on February 3. Find out more about her and Kirito's growing friendship and see the continuation of her rocky relationship with Mito.― Sword Art Online the Movie -Progressive- Scherzo of Deep Night is the second Sword Art Online Progressive film, and it picks up the story a bit less than a month after the end of A...
Neptunia Sisters VS Sisters isn't doing anything new in the JRPG space, but is it at least a fun ride?― The Hyperdimension Neptunia franchise has been pretty extensive since 2010. Including the mainline games and the spin-offs, there have been over a dozen games released for the franchise spanning various genres, from online card games to side-scrolling action games to hack-and-slash games with rhyt...
Major revelations will be blithely glossed over, and new characters are thrown at the audience who get one or two scenes to make clear that they're supposed to be somewhat relevant or important, but with no connective context as to why.― There's an element of presumed prestige to the back half of this Muv-Luv Alternative anime adaptation. And why shouldn't there be? The original visual novel is a pr...
The possibilities in The Legend of Mana: The Teardrop Crystal seem endless. Sadly, a show is not just possibilities and vibes— The Teardrop Crystal struggles with executing a meaningful plot.― I went into The Legend of Mana: The Teardrop Crystal anime with a very patchwork understanding of the original game. I have never played the original title from 1999 nor had a chance to play the recent remaste...
Jean-Karlo dives into the recent rumor of a "lost" Fire Emblem game, why Hi-Fi Rush isn't the Jet Set Radio successor he wants, and how AI helped botch the Persona 3 Portable remaster.― Hello, everyone! Here we are again, on the verge of the weekend. We've got tons of fun stuff to talk about this week! The year is starting to kick in with plenty of awesome stuff to discuss. Unfortunately, not all of...
Find out why this fan-made event has resulted in some of the most exciting moments in this Final Fantasy XIV and MMO history.― Final Fantasy XIV's newest “Ultimate” boss fight was released on Tuesday. With it, competitors, streamers, viewers, and casters are gathered once again to commentate and celebrate a fan-made event that has resulted in some of the most exciting moments in this game's history,...
Kim explains how it's not just COVID, but shortcomings of the industry itself, that led to three anime productions' schedule crashes.― This time, we interrupt the regular reader-submitted questions with some “behind the headlines” analysis. Kim asked: Three Aniplex shows—NieR:Automata Ver 1.1a, UniteUp!, and Ayakashi Triangle—have recently announced delays due to COVID-19. Is COVID actually a probl...
A name like Junji Ito deserves a worthwhile anime adaptation. Yet here we are with another installment from Studio DEEN. Did you watch Junji Ito "Collection"? It's more of that, which is to say, a muddy-looking series of stories that fail to scare.― A name like Junji Ito deserves a worthwhile anime adaptation. Yet here we are with another installment from Studio DEEN. Did you watch Junji Ito "Colle...
Fire Emblem Engage has had a rough time coming. The art style left a lot of people unconvinced, and it's coming on the heels of the widely-beloved Fire Emblem: Three Houses. How does Intelligent Systems' newest strategy RPG hold up?― Fire Emblem Engage has had a rough time coming. The title was weird, the art style left a lot of people unconvinced, and it's coming on the heels of the widely-beloved ...
There's difficulty in terms of enemy mobs, surprise enemies with bumped-up Morale, and bosses that require mastery in deflection, but Wo Long is surprisingly welcoming to even the most inexperienced of Souls-like players.― While Koei Tecmo already has one foot in the “Souls”-like genre courtesy of their Nioh series, it seems they want to take a second bite at the apple with their upcoming “masocore”...