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Anime Review: Bleach: Hell Verse

December 10, 2012

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With this month being December, many are already out shopping. Luckily, I got my Christmas shopping done and I found out that Viz has released the second title I was waiting for them to release, so I decided to purchase it. Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called Bleach the Movie: Hell Verse.

Ichigo Kurosaki has been able to see spirit for the longest time and thinks nothing of it. However, one night, something comes attacking that Ichigo cannot fight and a soul repear, who has been sent to the living world, is rendered unable to fight. In order for Ichigo to be able to fight, the soul repear lends him some of her power, which changes his life forever. Now, Ichigo has become entangled in a mess that not only the living, but the realm of dead as well.

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Going on with his normal life, Ichigo is stands up for a child whose site of death has been disturbed and tries to convince the kid to pass on. Before he could find out what happened to the kid though, Rukia and Renji show up saying they were sent on a top-secret mission and try not to get Ichigo involved. Little do they know, there are people after Ichigo because he has the power to free them. While confronting the group in a fight, Ichigo sisters are taken hostage. Even though he rescued one of them, he is now determined to enter Hell, the place the group came from, even if it is exactly what they want.

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After the travesty that was movie 2, I was not too willing to see this one, but it was much better than I expected. Of course, the titles known as the shonen trio, which includes this series, are bound to be like that because they are all kind of considered the new DBZ. Anyway, what was so nice about this movie was that the fans of Bleach finally get to learn what Hell is like. Ichigo has been to countless realms like Soul Society, Hueco Mundo, where the Hollows reside, and recently he has entered the Spirit Palace. On the other hand, Hell has only been mentioned or talked about once, as far as I can remember about this series. Although this movie is not canon, like most movies in franchises, unless somebody can give a reliable source saying otherwise, there is certainly a hint about when the events here take place, which is after Ichigo's fiercest battle in Hueco Mundo, before he defeated Aizen. It is certainly nice for those that want to know when movies take place, especially since I have had people coming here via search results suggesting that they think that Sacred Star of Milos happened after FMAB. Al would have had his original body back, if it did. I really liked how Ichigo cared about his little sisters and wanting to do anything to rescue them. Of course, I have not really come across somebody that does not want to rescue their child or younger sibling, but even the people that are considered the worst in world, such as murderers, consider such people worse than them. Ichigo seems to also be a loyal friend, but not as much as Akira from Cage of Eden. Then again, Bleach is not a survival series like Cage of Eden is considered, so things would certainly seem that way. Hell certainly seemed like a place of torment as well. Those that are there are said to not really have any freedom, even when they escape to the real world, like the new characters that showed up in this movie. It does not really seem that much different from the views my church has, though the only mention of a hell I remember is supposedly a subset of what is called Spirit Prison and those that commit the worst of the unforgiveable sins are sent to Outer Darkness. At the same time, my own church does not believe that claiming a belief or faith alone will grant us a ticket to what most people would consider heaven because even a single sin that has gone unrepented will keep somebody from living with god again. Anyway, time to get back to the movie at hand. While I do not view Ichigo as loyal to his friends as Akira, I did like how he realized that he was reckless and his actions caused negative effects on his world. People seem to always ask why bad things happen to good people, but they do not realize that their decisions do not impact just themselves, but other people as well. If that were not the case, there would be no reason to pull somebody over or incarcerate them for DUI or DWI. Marriages end up falling apart and kids may end up being raised by only a single parent because of the greed that has consumed a spouse. That greed, according to Michael Oher's book, can also take kids and place them in a worst situation than from where they were taken. Here, Ichigo let the influences of Hell's atmosphere get into the living world because his hollow form took over control. Most of the time, people just give up doing anything when they know something is their fault, or kill witnesses, in the case of a murderer. There is a problem with that though and Ichigo certainly mentioned it in the final fight and that is the fact that one cannot run forever from the past and the pain it brought will consume the person. Bleach fans will like that the humor and action that they expect is present in this movie, which is certainly a given considering that Bleach and the rest of the Shonen trio, just like DBZ, is pretty much nothing but fighting. Speaking of the fighting, the fights that did occur in this movie were definitely enjoyable, though one of the opponents is not one that has not been encountered before in similar series. The best part was, of course, the last few minutes, which is also the case for the Detective Conan (Case Closed) movies, so I cannot really think of much else that I did like before that end. The fact that Ichigo learns that he must take responsibility for his decisions and that he has remained loyal to his friends are certainly some good points about this movie.

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Although I liked the movie, there are certainly some problems. However, like the case with Inuyasha: The Final Act, there is really only one thing that I can complain about, since the fans of Bleach do not really care much about its other flaws. Like the recent Detective Conan (Case Closed) movies, it seems that the creators have run out of ideas. In the case of the former, MagicBox has complained that they are now all pretty much bomb plots. In the case of Bleach, however, there is a different problem. In the Soul Society Arc, Rukia is taken back to Soul Society, which is Ichigo's reason for heading to Soul Society. Fans, at least from what I could dig up in the past, so this is at least how I remember things, thought that things were going to get interesting. However, Orihime was taken hostage and holed up in the Hueco Mundo Arc, which, according to the Bleach wiki, happens two arcs after the Soul Society Arc in the manga. This turned out to be a repeat of the Soul Society Arc, even though it was in Hueco Mundo, and fans complained about it. However, this repeated occurrence does not just happen in the anime and manga, but apparently the movies as well. The previous movie, also according to the Bleach wiki, Rukia was again abducted and things turned into a truer repeat of the Soul Society Arc. Likewise, in this movie, people close to Ichigo are captured and held hostage in Hell. Really, does somebody need to be taken hostage and/or abducted to give Ichigo a reason to leave the living world for some new and unexplored place? If repeats like this are bad enough in the manga and anime, I do not really think that people want the same stuff to happen in the movies either. Then again, there are live action movies out there that have absolutely no story whatsoever and bring on the eye-candy, which people seem to flock to these days and call great movies, so I guess people are not completely tired of things being repeated in their entertainment. The fact that the movie creators seemed to not have any other ideas than having people close to Ichigo get kidnapped and/or taken hostage to explore new terroritory certainly does quite a bit of damage, but not enough to make me hate this movie.

Despite the fact that somebody is once again taken to make Ichigo explore a new area, this was definitely worth watching. I recommend this to only fans of Bleach, since they are the only ones that will like it.

What are your thoughts on Bleach the Movie: Hell Verse? Do you agree or disagree with my views? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to comment.

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