Friday, February 27, 2009

Bleach: Memories of Nobody Impression

Bleach: Memories of Nobody from Viz is the first theatrical release featuring Ichigo and the gang here in the states. As cool as Tite Kubo’s creation is there was just something lacking in this first movie.

As Ichigo and Rukia take care of a hollow they encounter white souls, tons of them wandering the streets and they do not look human, so what are they. Before an answer can be found an unknown Soul Reaper shows up. Her name is Senna and as Ichigo and Rukia look on she eliminates these Blanks, souls with no memories in one swirling attack. Ichigo is tagged with keeping an eye on Senna and while Rukia looks into her past there are larger issues at hand. The human world and the world of the Soul Society are merging, coming together in what will only end as the destruction of both worlds. The key is the Shienju, a collection of memories stripped from their souls (thus creating a blank). As Ichigo and Senna are attacked by a new group of powered adversaries it’s revealed that a man named Ganryu, from a banished clan, is the cause of the problems in both worlds and he is looking to use Senna to accomplish his goals. As a handful of Captains and their Lieutenants step in to arrest Senna all hell breaks loose as Ganryu unleashes his minions and takes Senna to the Valley of Screams where the fate of both worlds will be determined one way or another. A banished clan, crashing of worlds, mysterious Soul Reaper with no past in the society and Ichigo is all wrapped up in the middle.

So, overall this is a very enjoyable movie, but one with a few faults. The voice work is excellent as always. The animation is good, but seemed to lack that movie quality, my biggest gripe with this feature. If you watch Naruto or even DBZ movies they have a higher quality than the shows, but with Bleach it’s a bit off. The show is great quality to start with but beyond a few special powers the animation just does not deliver that oomph fans expect. The action if excellent with each Soul Reaper showing off their powers as they clash with new foes. Story wise the movie is also a bit lacking as it really forces Senna on the viewer. Some viewers may be confused if they are following Bleach by the DVD release as the overall timing of the story is not quite there on the DVD yet, Rukia is still prisoner on series yet free in this feature and fighting with the other captains. There is a potentially tear inducing ending, but one reserved for a long established character, it’s forced with Senna. I blame this on Tite as he’s created such outstanding characters in the normal show that Senna as well as Ganryu and his goons just seem like so much fodder. It’s tough to make a cool show that much cooler I guess.

So, great voice work, character design and action mixed with adequate animation a so-so story and forgettable new characters leads to what is an enjoyable watch, but not much else. Not every movie of a long running series is hot stuff and sometimes it takes a bit of magic to really click. The DBZ Fusion Reborn movie is one of my all time favorite anime period. It hit on all cylinders (in Japanese audio of course) and sadly Memories of Nobody is not even close. The special features are really good and the included book is a Bleach cliff notes. For fans of Bleach this movie is a must, hey it’s the first, but for noobs go pick up the DVD box sets until Rukia is free then come back and watch the movie … heck there may be 2-3 more out by the time you catch up, be we’ll wait.

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