Color me undecided till we get more news on how they plan to compact something as stupidly long as bleach into a movie franchise.
If the first movie sticks to just Ichigo's training and ends with Rukia's arrest, I'll take a hopeful stance. But if wants to dive into the soul arc halfway, or even 1/3rd of the way through, I'm ignoring the movie's existence.
Same if they decide to cut out certain characters the way the musical did.
I didn't see this one on you tube, but heres another trailer. They are really ramping up to this one. Gotta say, almost all of my doubts about this film are gone now. I suppose it could still be bad, but I honestly havn't seen anything in any of the trailers or tv spots that I didn't like.
I just finished watching it and...Damn, that was exponentially better than expected. Whoever wrote it was extremely careful with the source material. Well acted, well adapted, and well shot. Spoilers for indepth review, but this is either a B+ or A- film for me.
So whoever wrote this really was very careful with the source material. In essence, the film covers the first arc of Bleach faithfully, although it does it in a way where it really cuts out all the fat. Almost all extraneous C-level supporting characters have been cut, and hollows have been reduced to three iconic encounters.
I start with this point because it is the film's one major flaw: While everyone here is exceptionally well acted, it's playing Set Up for Soul Society by bringing in characters that don't have much to do. Orihime and Chad don't get their development arcs at all, while Uryu has been upgraded in ability, and even initiates his Hollow Reaping Contest episode at first, but that beat is quickly aborted in favor of bringing in Renji and Byakuya right into the middle of the film.
This is where the film makes a major departure from the anime: While the encounter with the Fishbone hollow and the transference of Rukia's power plays out exactly like the manga/anime, we're given a new ticking clock: Ichigo can transfer Rukia's powers back to her but only if he defeats enough Hollows to raise his power level. Otherwise the attempt will kill him. The two reapers come to demand Rukia kill Ichigo and reclaim her powers, but when she refuses, they're given a period of time to try to hunt down Grand Fisher, who in effect becomes our ultimate baddy. The film then enters into a Hollywood-style training montoge, where an invigorated Ichigo accepts the challenge.
I feel like a little too much time was spent on this, and where one more fight with a hollow might have been a better, if more expensive choice. Either it wasn't in their budget, or they felt the movie was running overlong.
The fight with the hollows, especially Grandfisher, tends to be a bit of a CGI mess. They're realistic enough, but you sometimes have a little trouble telling exactly what's happening. This is compensated by the stunt and wirework, which is actually pretty top form. The final fight with Renjii more than makes up for the somewhat lackluster Hollow fights, even if again a bit of CGI foolery pushes things a little too close to feeling like a Power Rangers episode on steroids.
I know this makes it sound like I'm really giving the movie a hard time, so let me to get to what I like: This movie is nearly two hours but its almost perfectly paced. At no point do I really feel like any part is too indulgent. Elements from all over the first season are hinted at, nodded to, or placed in interesting new ways. Every actor really shines, and there's a surprising comedic energy to the entire film. The score feels reminescent of the anime, right down to a few familiar stings, but its still wholy original and appropriate to each scene. It feels VERY anime, but in a good kinetic way. I get the chemestry between all the characters, especially between Ichigo and his dad, and the budding romance between Ichigo and Rukia.
All in all, it's worth your time on Netflix. Give it a watch.
I'd argue that none of the ending romantic pairings in Bleach made sense except for maybe Rukia/Renji. And that's only because I got the feeling that if Byakuya hadn't been an absolute tool towards Ruika when he adopted her, she and Renji would have gotten together long before the manga started. Like, we see Ichigo acting about as platonic towards Orihime as he does towards Rukia, only his bond with Rukia is way stronger. Too much of the romantic plot happens "off-screen" in the manga for me to be strongly invested in any of them or do more then shrug at them.
So take out Orihime's early development arc and yeah... Ichigo really doesn't have any other romantic candidates in the first manga arc. And this is before we learn what Rukia's relationship with Byakuya and Renji is. I really can't blame anyone for deciding to go in that direction.
I'm speaking in terms of the film. It pushes the idea of them being a couple way harder. Orihime gets sidelined waaaay harder without including her development arcs.
I mentioned that Uryu's subplot got aborted: He literally crushes the capsule, the hollows are implied to have arrived, but then Renji and Byak come and just kind of slam that plot point out of the way. I suspect part two will start with that arc as a way to drag Orihime, Chad, Uryu, and Ichigo into things again.
I friggin' loved it. Also, I have to give MASSIVE props for Ichigo & Rukia's actors fucking NAILING those voices. There were several times where I was convinced that they were the same as the anime. Also, I think that they did a good job matching music without being able to use the tracks from the anime itself ("drink your milk" xD).
The action was solid, and the whole thing just FELT like Bleach from start to finish. I hope that they get to make a sequel, because the way that it ended with the text of it just being the one arc made it feel like they could DEFINITELY pull off the Soul Society arc in a similar fashion for how they did this one, and from the look of the little glimpses we got of it, they could TOTALLY nail it.
Ideally, they should devote the first 20-30 minutes to the hollows conncted to Orihime and Chad, but instead of Ichigo fighting them alone, the two get their powers unlocked during those. Then the second half involves getting to the soul-society intercut with the politics of the captains.
The question is can they fit the entirety of that, which has twice if not three times as much important plot beats? It might need to be two movies.
I think that Ichigo getting his Hollow/Soul Reaper powers back with Kisuke should be taking place at the same time that Chad & Orihime get theirs. This movie was 108 mins, so if they go a little closer around the 2 hour mark, and streamline a few things like they did in this one, they might be able to get it. The only new characters to introduce would be the Captains – which we'd have an opportunity to get to know before with Byakuya, Renji, & Rukia, setting up the basic stakes before everyone has to go into Soul Society – and Yoruichi as their guide.
I think it seems doable, but if they want to make it longer and have two films, I'm all about that, too!