Movie Review: Bleach – The Soul Reaper Agent Arc

Netflix and chill … the normal weekend plans for most people. With the ability to stream movies and television shows at the touch of our fingertips, access to a variety of options of entertainment is ultimately endless. During one of my normal scrolls through Netflix, I came across a movie that just caught both my eye and my geeky interest.

Most people who are enthralled in the Japanese entertainment industry, especially that of anime and manga, have heard of a series named Bleach. The series follows a not so typical teenage boy named Ichigo Kurosaki, who becomes a Substitute Soul Reaper with the task of eliminating the world of demonic creatures named Hollows via purification and to help those who have passed (ghosts) to depart to a safe haven known as Soul Society (essentially heaven). I mean there is so much more to it, along with becoming a part of the Reaper guard, and even fighting of various enemies from within such as Bounts, Quincy and Vizards.

If you are interested in checking out the anime version of Bleach in its raw Japanese dub, it is fully available on Crunchyroll :
https:// . The English Dub can be found in DVD formats, and even if you do enough searching on YouTube.

So what does all of this have to do with Netflix? Well on my browsing of Netflix, I came across a title listed as Bleach. I was quite shocked, as the creator of the series (Tite Kubo) in interviews had expressed his dislike for the idea of any live action film adaptations of the series. Apparently he changed his mind! He directly was involved within the development of the movie in order to ensure its faithfulness to the manga and anime.

Bleach – The Soul Reaper Agent Arc, encompasses the story line of the first 17 episodes of first season of the anime series. In the original naming, the Japanese name Shinigami is used instead of Soul Reaper; personally I like the Japanese word more — sounds more powerful.

The movie follows Ichigo, who already knows that he is unique as he can see ghosts, as he faces an unknown enemy in the form of a Hollow named Fishbone D. The goal of a Hollow is to devour the souls of those with high spiritual energy – and Ichigo has an ultimately strong spiritual pressure. Ichigo encounters Soul Reaper, Rukia Kuchiki, who is there to destroy the Hollow and protect Karakura Town.

When Rukia is injured in the fight with Fishbone D, she is forced to transfer her powers to Ichigo in order to finish the fight. This transfer of power transforms Ichigo into a strong Substitute Soul Reaper, who is both bad ass and stealthy.

This transfer of power leaves both weakened, and leaves Rukia to recover in a “human doll” body while Ichigo amasses enough Reiyoku (spiritual energy) in order to transfer her powers back safely. This transfer catches the attention of Rukia’s older brother Captain Byakuya Kuchiki and his Lieutenant Renji Abarai. Both are very emotionless, but extremely strong members of the Soul Reaper guard. It is a forbidden rule to transfer powers, and thus Rukia is given the ultimatum to either extract her Reiryoku from Ichigo (leading to his death) or return to Soul Society and be punished accordingly (where Byakuya will still kill Ichigo anyways).

Ichigo, by this time having close feelings for Rukia, strikes a deal to purify an infamous Hollow named Grand Fisher in order to gain enough Reiroyoku for a non fatal transfer. This Hollow has been eluding the Soul Reapers for years, and Ichigo has a personal reason to stop this Hollow once and for all — for his dearly departed mom Masaki.

A battle ensues when the Grand Fisher comes for Ichigo and his family while out on a outing to visit his mothers memorial. Despite his successful purification of Grand Fisher, Byakuya decided to go back on his deal and along with Renji, injures him to the point of near death. Rukia, who also has grown to care for Ichigo, intervenes and obediently extracts her Reiryoku and parts ways with him.

The next day, everyone is Karakura Town has forgotten Rukia and life returns to normal – except Ichigo finds a note left in his book from Rukia that seemingly triggers his memories.

This live action version of the anime in my opinion was well done, from the perfection of the hair styles, to the intricate details in the Shinigami attire. Even the digital imaging for the Hollows and the fast paced sword scenes (especially when Renji’s zanpakuto (Soul Reaper sword) is activated to its shikai advanced mode) catch every breath taking moment. Everything within the environment looks just like in the anime – which helps to keep it authentic.

The highlight of the movie, the original English dub voice actor for Ichigo (Johnny Yong Bosch) reprises his role as part of the dubbed soundbites for the movie. While there is no detail of if any of the other original voice actors were involved, the dubs for all characters sounds similar in the least to those used in the anime.

With only being introduced to a few of the main characters that are part of the entire series, by only touching on the tip of the main storyline and with the open ended ending to the movie — die hard fans like myself are left wanting more.

Whether you love anime or just want a movie with some fast paced action, I recommend giving this one a watch — I promise it won’t disappoint.

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Fast Action Anime Come To Life