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DVD Review

DVD cover

Bleach the Movie
Memories of Nobody


Starring (voice): Chiwa Saito, Fumiko Orikasa, Masakazu Morita and Masashi Ebara
RRP: £17.99
Certificate: 12
Available 06 July 2009

Through trial and tribulation Ichigo Kurosaki has attained the rank of Soul Reaper, ethereal inter-dimensional creatures whose sole purpose is to protect the souls of the dead from being consumed by the Hollows. Ichigo’s human life reaches a new level of complexity when white, faceless ghosts start to appear across the city. Their appearance coincides with the arrival of a new Soul Reaper, Senna. Further investigation only deepens the mystery. No one has heard of Senna and in the realm of the Soul Reapers the Dark Ones are trying to collapse the bridge between the real world and the soul world. If they succeed it will mean the destruction of both...

Bleach the Movie: Memories of Nobody (2006 - 1 hr, 36 min, 50 sec) is the first movie based on the successful anime show. The film was directed by Noriyuki Abe (Ghost Stories, Bleach) from a script by Masashi Sogo.

Being a movie release, the quality of the animation has been ratcheted up a notch, which makes a great looking show look even better; the 16:9 picture is crystal clear. Very often one of the problems with film and OVA releases of shows is that they don’t really add anything to the original show; generally the studios presume that the audience will already know the back story and so will add references which will mean little to the uninitiated. Memories goes one step further in producing well rounded, believable characters, who develop and change throughout the piece.

In the creation of Memories the studio has made the controversial, and possibly contentious, choice of providing a film which is not based on the original manga, but which introduces original characters. For the fans sake they have kept in some of the fan favourite characters from the show, but this choice to make something completely different has released the film from the restriction of canon allowing the studio to produce an emotional and truly immersive film. It also means that the film is not an impenetrable edifice; there is enough information within the narrative to give the audience a good idea about what is happening without the need for lengthy exposition.

The film eschews much of the comedy of the TV show as this is a story with more pathos and even heart breaking poignancy. I defy anybody not to have a lump in their throats at the end, which is not to say that the film does not contain the requisite number of well choreographed fight scenes. The final battle is especially effective, however the film remains a character oriented piece, rather than another 'fight of the week' show.

When we meet our young hero he is roaming round the city with his friend, Rukia Kuchiki, a fellow Soul Reaper, protecting young soul from the Hollows. With the introduction of Senna we see Ichigo go on an emotional journey. Initially drawn to the girl out of curiosity, he is further intrigued by her when he discovers that she has only partial memories and a feeling of loss for her family. It is only Ichigo who is willing to recognise her frail humanity, a humanity for which he is ultimately willing to enter the Valley of Screams to either rescues her or die trying.

I’m not really sure why a movie should only have audio options only for either an English or Japanese 2.0 track. The audio track is effective with some nice bass levels and a clear vocal track. The English dub holds up well to the original Japanese, the biggest problem here is the subtitles. Ok, I can accept that some things will always be lost in translation, but the subtitles seem to be almost telling a different story. Early on in the film, when the characters are discussing the breakdown and eventual collision of the dimensions, the subtitles insists on referring to them as "stars" giving a whole different and incorrect idea of what is going on. These discrepancies pop up throughout the show even down to the last battle where the audio track says that they have only twenty minutes to save the world, whilst the subs insist that it is two minutes - not a great problem but it is annoying.

The disc also contains no real extras. You do get trailers for Bleach, Naruto The Movie, Death Note, Buso Renkin and Mar. Depending on your point of view these are either interesting insights to other shows or adverts, personally I always view them as the latter.

So ultimately this is a great stand alone story which I would happily use to introduce people to the power of good anime, it’s just a shame that the disc didn’t come with any real extras.


Charles Packer

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