Don’t make me repeat myself. It will help to read my reviews of the previous movies prior to reading this one.
And after a long waiting, here comes the third Bleach movie. I must say, the guys who make these slowly improve the overall. It felt like they combined the best elements of the previous movies. The good part of the first movie was the twist about memories and the good in the second was the focus on a character from the series instead of a filler one. So, expect another theme about the importance of memories and lots of centering on the characters. The second movie was about a tragic event in Hitsugaya’s past, this one is about Rukia’s. And yes, it does feel good as a premise as far as filler missions go. The plot was otherwise simple and predictable as it usually is but at least the main idea of lost memories was enough to care about whatever dramatic attempts this movie had.
Production values being so damn high means that even the cheesiest battles look fine and even offered some good choreography at the final dual for a change. Adding cinematics like turning the image slowly to grey or having a sad eerie sound during the flashbacks gave a boost to all those moments the action just seemed pointless. Also, it felt like the animation was a type of “Find Waldo” as many flashback scenes are actually taken from the series, including filler arcs. So, it was a sort of summary of what happened so far and tribute to the evolution of the relationship between Rukia and Ichigo… before it was scrapped for that lame Inoue rescue mission. In any case, you better not watch this movie before the series as it reveals a lot of important events. It still feels weird at times as Rukia and that filler girl had huuuge eyes and the way lips are drawn is a hit or miss to not appear as lame. Still, very good overall. And let’s add to this the atmospheric music themes and the very catchy ending song too. Those finer touches actually helped me stay awake through the otherwise cheesy plot.
There are still the usual clichés you find in any fighting shounen movie. It is still to the most part a parade of special attacks and the “Let’s save Soul Society for the millionth time” theme is present for once more. And as I said, beyond the initial interesting premise of the story, the plot is cheesy as hell. Soul Society is in danger; Ichigo to the rescue, everyone fights the minions and lets the lead take on the boss. Plus, it gets lamer with one more addition. Remember how in American superhero crossovers, the heroes always fight each other when they meet? Just for the heck of it? Well, it is the same with this movie. Ichigo gets to fight EVERYONE he meets as they are supposed to have forgotten him. And yes it makes sense to do that but it gets staggering if 50% of the movie is spars between good guys that never result to anything other than advertising their transforming swords. The rest of the story is about… err… a super hollow created by Mayuti, that erases the memories of someone in EVERYONE’S minds… which escapes in the bodies of two children who can teleport… who were trapped in Hueco Mundo for a century… who return to find their good old friend Rukia and punish the tyrannical Shinigamis… and pretty much invade like the defenses in Soul Society are made of rice paper and turn everything to nice wax statues. Damn, movie villains seem to have 10 times the destructive power of the series villains.
Ok, if you try to make sense out of it, you won’t find any. This is Bleach we are talking about; remember? Plot holes bigger than Menos Grande are present as we never really told what the hell was the main enemy. A hollow that could transform from a tiny snake, to a scythe that erases memories, to a gargaduan tentacle freak that turns people to statues? For real now, that thing was supposed to be a simple Hollow? It owned most Espada. And what the hell was that glowing bottle thingy? And how could Urahara go to Soul Society if a barrier was supposed to prevent him from doing so?
All I can say is that unlike the previous movies where Ichigo just storms in and beats the villain in a flash, here he is not able to do that right away as the villain here can teleport and has Rukia and two children as hostages. This made things more interesting to watch. Still, the conclusion was predictable and cheesy so don’t keep your hopes up. He finds a way to win even without using his bankai.
In all, the story in the first movie is similar yet far better. The drama of the two children fades away pretty fast without any sense on part of the plot. Half of it is pointless duals and the other half is Swiss cheese. Also, the movie assumes Ichigo’s schoolmates or the Arrancar threat don’t exist so that makes it to stand alone and being unable to fit in some filler moment. Ok, theoretically it can be placed after the filler arc concerning the past of several captains as we get to see Mayuri without his mask. Then again, fillers in this series defy time and space so you can place it anywhere you like.
Still, the cast is more entertaining than the other two movies. The focus is Rukia but for a change, we get to see Mayuri going insane in his lab, Kenpachi going amok in battle, Renji showing care about the person who he doesn’t remember and many more. Thus, at least as far as characters go, they feel less dry than in the previous movies. Heck, they even brought Urahara in the action and had Soi Fong in a half-naked, half-yuri scene. Oh, and Kon was also there to be the comical relief that goes all emo on the loss of Rukia. Very pleasing moments. Not great but still better than before.
As for the new characters, those two kids? They had no idea what they were doing. Trying to find their names by making Rukia forget them? WTF? All whining and no meaning. Senna kicks their butts in personality and she was a much weaker fighter without even remembering anything. There is no way you can sympathize them. You can hate them for causing all this trouble out of whining and for torturing poor Rukia like that. Oh, and Rukia? She reverts to the passive damsel in distress who is need of Ichigo to come and save her again. Come on, this got old. Ichigo is always about saving girls than protecting the world from cosmic horrors. The entire Soul Society had turned to a hideous wax statue and all he cared about was saving a chick. Ok…
Value and enjoyment ain’t much for the various reasons I mention. This third attempt made some steps forward (more focus on multiple characters) and some backwards (lame whining new characters, plotholes big enough for the Enterprise to fly through). It is still an average time killer if that is all you want.