Previously released in 2009 on DVD by Manga Entertainment, the first Bleach movie finally arrives on Blu-Ray in the UK. Was it worth the wait? Read on to find out.
Bleach is known for its action, high-octane battles and long running story. But when it made its theatrical debut there’s a lot to consider including how the universe would translate onto the big screen. Memories Of Nobody is the first movie in the franchise. Originally released in Japan back in 2006 following the events of season three of the tv show, this film takes a fairly unique direction as it’s not all about big raging battles and massive powers, though rest assured you will get your fix of that, but instead does take the time to expand on the character of the main protagonist Ichigo Kurosaki.
The basic plot of Memories Of Nobody centres around the appearance of a unique individual named Senna. She is a soul reaper who is able to dispel the threat of a new foe that floods the streets in droves, much to the shock of Ichigo & Rukia. However despite her being a soul reaper, she is unknown to those in the soul society and doesn’t recall herself who she is affiliated with. Couple this with Ichigo tasked to keep watch over Senna, an outcast group of soul reapers and you’ve have a very unique Bleach experience ahead of you.
Throughout the film we get to see many of the regular cast that appear in the series, but the primary focus is put on Ichigo and Senna. Though the series had made it clear what the ideals and beliefs of Ichigo are, Memories Of Nobody takes the time to explore these traits to a new degree. We know nothing of Senna at the start of the film, but because Ichigo is determined to find out more about her along with attempting to get answers to the various questions that have also presented themselves, we come to see the many fragments Senna which gradually shape who she is. There is also a hint of romance between the two, though never actually played upon. It’s more present because of how close the circumstances are that bring them together.
The film itself is a standalone original story, meaning it has no bearing on the continuum of Bleach. Despite this fact it is a very engaging plot that in hindsight (having never seen this before and taking into account I am quite a way ahead of when this movie takes place in relation to the series) this does add a lot of depth to the Ichigo character. While the fact it is an original story, it plays out in a way that it does feel rewarding to have invested the time to watch it. It could be argued that this story could have been justified in being an entire arc in the Bleach series, (I’m sure there are some filler arcs that people wished didn’t exist and would happily take this in place of it) because it really does add a whole new lease of life to the franchise.
As a theatrical adaptation of a very popular series it delivers the goods in so many way that it has completely befuddled me as to why I hadn’t seen the movie before this point in time. The soundtrack is a wonderful addition to the story that plays on the emotional aspects as well as the battles and everything else in between perfectly. Visually the film is stunning, especially on this Blu-Ray! It is clear that this film was designed to be a unique addition to the franchise and they achieved that goal exponentially.
If there was one criticism of this release it would the subtitles used to accompany the Japanese audio track. Though a very good translation, there were some grammatical errors. The choice of font could have been better thought out too. Having a darker coloured outline to the letters or even them being bolder would have helped as the text occasionally blended in with what was going on in the scene.
That minor point aside, in conclusion you really cannot go wrong with watching this movie, especially if you haven’t seen it before. The Blu-Ray transfer is wonderful and vibrant so if you’re looking to upgrade to this version, you are in for a treat. The addition of Senna to this story is really one of the best selling points of the movie aside from the story and the execution itself. It even comes with Blu-Ray exclusive extras in the form of production galleries, original Japanese trailers and an interview with the producer, director and character designer that gives you a whole new appreciation for what they wanted to (and ultimately did) achieve with this film. All in all a great addition to your anime Blu-Ray collection.
Bleach the Movie: Memories Of Nobody is released on Blu-Ray by Manga Entertainment on Monday 28th May.
You can pre-order the Blu-Ray version at Amazon UK HERE.
– Jeremy Graves