Tag Archives: Tite Kubo

Bleach (2018 Movie)

Warner Bros.

My rating: 3.5 of 5

Kurosaki Ichigo: a normal high-school student with bleached-looking hair, a grumpy expression . . . and the ability to see spirits. The wheels of fate begin to turn as this ability leads to his encounter with a shinigami, Kuchiki Rukia, and spin completely out of control as their encounter with a dark spirit known as a Hollow leads to Rukia’s injury and Ichigo’s subsequent taking on of her shinigami powers. In effect, he becomes a substitute shinigami, fighting Hollows until he’s strong enough to give Rukia’s power back to her without dying in the process. He may even get a shot at the Hollow that killed his mother years ago. Assuming Rukia’s superiors don’t kill them both first.

I was surprised and pleased to see a decent live-action remake of Bleach released this year. This movie takes the first major story arc, all the stuff with Grand Fisher, Ichigo’s becoming a substitute shinigami, basically everything up to Rukia’s return to Soul Society, and compresses it into about an hour and a half of fast-paced action. It’s quite well done and manages to summarize a lot of information into a very brief chunk of time without losing the story in the process. Still, I would recommend this mostly for fans who are already familiar with the story, or at least the basic concepts, because it’s kind of a huge info dump even still. They did a good job keeping the balance, though, with drama, humor, and of course some action-packed fights interspersed. And the fights are properly epic. The CG throughout is very impressive, especially for the Hollows themselves. The casting was well done, especially for Ichigo himself and for Yuzu and Inoue, although I don’t personally love the casting for Renji. Honestly, my biggest complaint is just that, because there are sooooo many characters in Bleach, there just wasn’t time for lots of character development for everyone. Like, at all, in some instances. But still, they did a good job of picking a few key characters and developing them well. I liked that they actually took a proper story arc from the original manga instead of just making a random plot or hugely distorting a main plot, and I honestly do think they did well trimming and unifying it to work as a movie. So yes, I would recommend the live-action Bleach, particularly to fans of the original anime/manga.

Written by Shinsuke Sato & Daisuke Habara/Directed by Shinsuke Sato/Based on Bleach by Tite Kubo/Starring Sota Fukushi, Hana Sugisaki, Ryo Yoshizawa, Erina Mano, Yu Koyanagi, Taichi Saotome, Miyavi, Seiichi Tanabe, Masami Nagasawa, & Yōsuke Eguchi/Music by Yutaka Yamada

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Bleach, vol. 1-48

Mangaka: Tite Kubo

Ichigo is your average 15-year-old kid with an attitude. He lives with his dad and two sisters, helps out with his dad’s clinic, goes to school, hangs out with friends . . . oh, and he sees spirits. So maybe it’s only a matter of time until he gets drawn into the issues of the spirit world, but when it happens, it really happens! One night, a Soul Reaper girl by the name of Rukia Kuchiki happens to wander through his room tracking a hollow (a bad spirit), never suspecting that Ichigo would actually see or notice her. One thing leads to another, and Rukia finds herself unable to fight the hollow. In order to protect her and his own family, Ichigo takes her Soul Reaper powers on himself and becomes a Substitute Soul Reaper. From which point, things really start getting out of hand. . . .

Bleach is absolutely epic. One of my favorite manga, and indeed, one of my favorite stories in any medium. The plot is huge and complex, yet it maintains an impressive cohesiveness. I seriously don’t know how Kubo-sensei manages to make all the details work in a story that’s serialized in a magazine. Bleach is definitely a shounen story, with plenty of battle sequences, but that’s okay.  It’s about the only manga in which I actually enjoy the battles; they’re honestly pretty cool. Regarding the characters, the cast of Bleach is astonishingly huge, yet each individual is crafted with paternal affection–even the antagonists and random side characters! (It’s one of the only stories that I can sit with my friends and have conversations about what this or that character would do in this or that random situation–and love it!) The art is also quite nice–clean and crisp and slightly funky. It’s fun to see Kubo-sensei’s style develop as the story progresses. So yeah, Bleach gets top recommendations all around.

Note: I know it’s pretty unusual for me to review a segment of a manga that’s still ongoing, but volumes 1-48 make a fairly complete story with a clean break before the next segment. I’ll cover the later volumes when the manga’s finished. But I couldn’t wait that long to review a manga I love this much!

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