BLEACH (Live action Movie)
Let’s go back in the time machine to when G4 was still a channel, I could get regularly updated news on some new anime without leaping through hurdles, and my body didn’t have quite the same aches and pains as it does on this day. Bleach was the new “thing” from Japan, a strong fanbase and a regular series on its’ way from Toonami, but we also still had a Suncoast video where I regularly bought into a regular anime collection on a semi monthly basis. Ahh, yes… disposable income… those were the days.
I started to pick up Bleach.
I thought it was a fun series, but the member of my household who really bought in was my young son who had gotten into the habit of expressing fandom through regular cosplay at the ripe age of five (maybe 4, really.) And I came home some days to find him dressed in a kimono his mother had fashioned for him, hair sprayed orange, and a decent facsimile of an oversized sword somewhere on his person. I am, perhaps, understating the absolute OBSESSION my son had with the sword swinging warrior who fought against and on behalf of ghosts. My son had a young hero that was his before it ever had a chance to become mine.
Netflix unveiled the film directly on the heels of it’s Japanese theatrical release in July. The story revolves around Ichigo Kurosawa, a teen with the ability to see and communicate with ghosts. A recent altercation brings him into contact with a “Reaper” named Rukio Kuchiki and she is stuck on Earth in a semi-human state while he is tasked with replacing her as a substitute. Neither are happy with the arrangement, both are resentful, and the Soul Society for which Rukia works is extremely displeased. They send two Reapers to bring back Rukia so she can face punishment for her actions, and Ichigo is forced to train hard in order to use his new powers effectively.
The film mostly condenses the first several chapters (or episodes) of the Manga/Anime in to an hour and forty five minutes. And this is a deep series with many threads to explore, but the film has to work in a different medium and can’t afford to spread itself as wide to satisfy some fan service to series loyalists. Suffice to say, a few elements from the series will be missing in this film so you should prepare yourself for that. But the characters are all true to their origins, with Ichigo himself as the central thread tying everything together. He’s brash, judgmental, a little arrogant, tortured, and… most of all… he risks it all to protect the ones he cares for. The ending is pitch perfect to the character of Ichigo, drawing at my now well-developed heartstrings and leaving my son with glitter in his eyes for the hero he discovered nearly a decade ago.
And make no mistake- this was a film for my son, who hates reading subtitles but sat through this rip roaring adventure because of the love he held for the series as a little tyke. His not-so-little heart was pounding, he was smiling from ear to ear, and that father/son bond we had as he sat on my lap in those days was beaming bright the night we sat and watched the live-action film. It was part nostalgia, but it was also the iron will of a young teen who refused to give up- regardless of how much the odds were stacked, regardless of what it cost him, and my son saw his hero brought to life.
8.5 and I highly recommend it.