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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bleach the Movie 2: The DiamondDust Rebellion Impression

Bleach: The Movie 2
The DiamondDust Rebellion, the second Bleach movie from Viz does something very rare in the realm of anime movies, especially ones based on long running series. It shows that there is depth, great depth to the larger cast of characters, in this case Squad Ten Captain Toshiro Hitsugaya. As great a character as Ichigo is when the second movie in your series makes you more a bit player it says a lot about the world you inhabit. Props to Tite Kubo on this one; Why? Let’s take a look at the story, minimal spoilers to count the ways.

The Ouin, a Royal Family treasure, is stolen as it’s transported from one secret location to another. Of the various Soul Reapers guarding the transport it’s Squad Ten Captain Toshiro Hitsugaya who is first to respond to these strange attackers. As he’s wounded by this new foe Hitsugaya makes the decision to abandon his post and pursue the new foe for reasons only he knows. As the dust settles the executive order is given to capture Hitsugaya at any cost, even Squad Ten is confined to quarters in his absence. The wounded captain finds his way into Karakura Town and is discovered and cared for by Ichigo only to flee Ichigo at zanpakuto point. As Ichigo pursues he’s attacked by two female foes, one of fire power the other electric and is promptly knocked out. Hitsugaya has some ghost, one in particular, from his past, before he was a captain, and as he works to deal with this ghost he is branded a traitor, is hunted by his allies with the order to execute him while trying to correct a mistake that’s haunted him for years. As this ghost, the long since dead Sojiro Kusaka, unleashes the power of the Ouin it will take the full power of the Soul Society, all Thirteen Court Guards and one very Hollowfied Ichigo to give Hitsugaya his opportunity, one years in the making and tied to his zanpakuto Hyorinmaru. The sins of the past can be corrected it seems.

Wow, quite a summary and it is not as full of spoilers as you’d think. The animation is great, top notch which is quite the norm for movies based on long running anime series. It looks great on an HD screen with fantastic sound and voice acting that is excellent in both English and Japanese, quite a feat. The story is fantastic, yes fantastic and it has almost nothing to do with Ichigo and his cast of earth bound buddies. Ichigo himself is more support to Hitsugaya and while his attacks are quite badass, further ahead of the anime on DVD right now, it’s the youngest captain who takes center stage. The first Bleach movie felt empty with new characters and action that felt forced. While watching this movie, one that’s focus is on a secondary character in the anime, viewers can feel the weight, the burden which Toshiro bears. His past, the choices made by the council seem evil and the confrontation at the end feels just right as its friend vs. friend in a fight that needs to happen. Seeing every other member of the Soul Society in action is a pleasure also, it’s just a really well done movie that hits on all the right marks from story to action, drama to character development, and there’s no Kon (as he points out in the book with the movie).

Listen, if you are a Bleach fan this movie rocks and you must, MUST see it. For the casual anime fan the story is easy to follow and is enjoyable even without the background on characters and attacks. In the end it’s a tale of friends from long ago set on a path neither expected and it’s all a treat for us to watch.

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