I'll admit, I had a blast watching this movie! It has a lot of cool fights and an interesting plot. The plot isn't all that unique though, that's the only part that is disappointing. If you've seen the anime Bleach, then you know how their 'arcs' go. Bleach tends to do the whole "someone gets kidnapped, Ichigo has to go fight a ton of people and then save them! The end." That's exactly what happens in this movie too.
It starts off with a somewhat of a flashback to when Ichigo fought Ulquiorra back in Hueco Mundo when he turned into a crazed hollow. That caught my attention because I honestly loved that fight, it was very exciting! Then after that we go to Karakura Town where Ichigo is living his regular teenage life, and you can all guess what happens after that. Some bad guys from hell show up and kidnap Yuzu, Ichigo's sister.
Now, with the help of Kokuto, a new character that shows up out of the blue, Ichigo and his friends will go down to hell to save Yuzu!
Okay, I love Bleach. Even if it's a repeditive show with random (sometimes pointless) fights, it's still fun to watch! And that's really all this movie is about. So if you like watching the fights in Bleach and don't care a whole lot about a really unique story, then this movie is perfect!
The reason I give story a 7 is because, like I mentioned, it's the exact same as every other Bleach arc or movie. But what I DID love most about this movie is that Ichigo's Hollow has a main part, we don't actually see "Hichigo" (as some people call him), but we do see Ichigo's hollow mask show up often and see him do some of his hollow transformations.
His hollow side shows up quite often in this movie because they are going to hell, and because of that, Ichigo is starting to 'lose control' of his hollow powers in a way. All of his friends are concerned obviously, but Ichigo just wants to save Yuzu, because that's the kind of guy he is.
The downside to this movie really is that everything goes way too fast. Within about the first 10 minutes of the movie, Yuzu has been kidnapped and taken to hell and Kokuto is introduced. The explanations are very short and not very informative, to the point that I was wondering if they just cut out half of whatever the characters said to fit it into a movie.
I would have expected a story like this to have taken up 30 Bleach episodes at least, but it is of course crammed into an hour and 30 minutes.
The art in this movie is actually really nicely done! The battles have a lot of movement, and that along with the beautifully detailed backgrounds is like eye-candy for the audience! Because of the fact that they are fighting in "Hell", the background is quite different than any other place they've been. I mean, we've all seen the Bleach cast fight in Soul Society and Karakura multiple times! So to see them in a very unfamiliar place is quite awesome!
The bad guys might not look that attractive (actually I take that back, they're just ugly as hell), but it does seem like the artists took the time to do all the shading and colours very nicely, which is something I really enjoyed. But seriously, I do think they tried their best to make the ugliest characters we've ever seen. (The minute those guys took off their robes to reveal what they looked like, I think I screamed a bit)
A new soundtrack was made for this movie specifically. I got this soundtrack long before I watched this movie because the songs are seriously epic! I still love listening to it, all of the songs are dark, and intense, almost in a creepy way. Rather than just music playing, there's some chanting and singing along with it that really sounds like an incantation most of the time. But either way, it really adds to the movie's 'creepiness'.
Anyone who watches Bleach will know what the characters sound like.
Ichigo's voice actor Morita Masakazu is great at what he does! He's the perfect voice for Ichigo, I really don't have anything bad to say about him! He sounds very natural when he talks, and always has the exact emotion that is needed for the scene, which usually involves yelling and shouting.
Rukia and Renji are the same as Ichigo's VA, they know how to sound great and really bring the character to life!
I mentioned before that there is a new character named Kokuto, who is voiced by Nakai Kazuya, who happens to be one of my favorite voice actors! He has an incredible voice that is perfect for a 'cool' and 'badass' character, which Kokuto definitely fits that description. I'm really glad that they picked him for Kokuto's character because he is perfect for the role!
And lastly we have the new character Shuren, I haven't mentioned him yet, but he sits around for most of the movie and lets the other guys do all the fighting, but does eventually join in for a little while. Shuren is voiced by Furuya Toru who has done several main voice roles, but still isn't a very popular voice actor. He really does Shuren's voice well, he has the sort of 'bad guy voice' that we all can recognize. The only thing about him is that nothing really stands out about his voice among other people. Some voice actors have a way of changing their tone, rolling their tongue, or yelling in a way that makes us know exactly who they are (think if Ikkaku or Kenpachi, you can recognize their voice almost immediately). This guy doesn't really have that, but even so he is still a good voice for Shuren!
Ichigo, Rukia, Renji, Chad, and Ishida are all characters we're familiar with. Nothing about this movie really changes how we see them. You know exactly how they're going to act or fight in a dangerous situation. So I guess that part of the movie was what made everything pretty predictable.
But since there are new characters introduced, why don't we talk about them a bit?
For one, Kokuto. I'll admit, I like him. He shows up and is willing to help Ichigo's group, and has the attitude of "I make my own rules. I don't choose sides, I'm on my own side". Which reminds me a lot of Ichigo's character, maybe that's why they get along pretty quickly...almost too quickly.
I think the writers really forced Kokuto's character in some parts, and made it so that we really don't have time to get to know him. He's just there helping the group, and that's about it for the majority of the movie. What I do like is that he isn't the most predictable guy, sometimes things he does or says will catch you off guard! That makes the plot a bit more interesting than before!
Then we have Shuren again. Unlike Kokuto, I really knew exactly what he was going to do throughout the entire movie. That doesn't make him a lame character, but I think the writers could have done better with him.
If you haven't watched or read Bleach, I'm not sure if this movie will make a ton of sense. There are several things that happen that link to the original story. But even if you haven't seen Bleach, I think you might still enjoy this movie if you like Shounen animes with lots of battles! I enjoyed watching it a lot and would even be willing to watch it again! All in all, it's a great movie!