After a mysterious pair attack Rukia Kuchiki and erase her memories while she is in Seireitei, Ichigo Kurosaki, a substitute Soul Reaper, briefly forgets Rukia, until he is reminded of her by Kon, an Underpod Mod-Soul. Confused, he seeks his town's candy-shop owner, Kisuke Urahara, who opens the pathway to Seireitei for them. Ichigo is then shocked to find that his allies in Seireitei, the Shinigami of the Soul Society, have forgotten him.
Filled with action, Kimi no Na wo Yobu follows Ichigo and Kon as they fight against their former comrades while searching for the missing Rukia and discovering her assailants before they strike again.
Cliched? Overbearing? Far too full of machismo? Has more plot holes than a colander?
I must be talking about Bleach.
The one thing that has always bugged me about most of the long running shounen anime is how creatively deficient they become over time. Bleach, like Naruto et al, is a prime example of the "anime-turned-cash-cow" phenomenon that seems to be occurring more and more these days, and this latest effort, Fade to Black: Kimi no Na wo Yobu (FtB: I Call Your Name), represents the series at it's worst.
Since this is a movie, I won't go into the details of the story proper as I
don't want to give anything away. That said, I would dearly love to know how and why Takahashi Natsuko, who wrote the screenplay for shows like "The Daughter of Twenty Faces" and "Moyashimon", and worked on the script for the first two seasons of "School Rumble", could ever claim that the screenplay for this movie was some sort of achievement? The plot, which any long term, reasonably intelligent, watcher of the series will know is more of a secondary consideration these days, actually had a lot of potential. But, like so many other things that Bleach has touched upon during it's long run, the more interesting things are never explored as there MUST be a scene where Ichigo comes flying in to save the day. People don't really watch shounen anime for it's cerebral nature, but there such a thing as going too far in the other direction.
Anyway, the plot is full of holes. Period. There isn't any real way to hide or disguise that fact, and frankly, the movie doesn't even try. Here's one example, and this one has bugged me for so long that I'm throwing this question out to everyone. Seireitei is supposed to be protected by a barrier of some sort (if I remember the whole rescue Rukia from certain death arc correctly - oh wait, that describes 70% of the episodes), so if that's the case, how the hell do the bad guys keep getting in? In particular, how does something like a hollow from Hueco Mundo get in to Seireitei? One would think that they'd guard against that in particular, especially after the whole Aizen thing.
The movie touches upon a number of themes, the typical shounen themes of friendship and never giving up are there, but the driver for the story is Rukia losingher memories of being a shinigami. One would think that this was simply a case of supernatural amnesia, but for some reason the cause is able to affect existence on a near unviersal scale. If that's the case, then the cause of Rukia's memory loss is potentially more powerful than Aizen, the Captain Commander of the Gotei 13 Yamamoto-Genryusai Shigekuni, all of the Bountos, the Vizard, the Arrancar, and just about everyone else in the world.
See what I mean about holes?
As it stands, the movie is actually better if you don't know anything about the series, which is unfortunate as I thought the whole point of things like this was to add to the whole instead of being a glorified advert for the series (congratulations marketing department, you win this round).
The art and animation is decent enough on the whole, however there's some glaringly obvious problems, one of which is the fact that the characters look angry or constipated for a lot of the movie (especially Ichigo, even when he's "happy" he scowls). The faces are sometimes unnaturally distorted when the character is feeling some deep emotion (grief, for example), something which is only exacerbated with close ups of the character in question. There's also a number of scenes that feature something I call "unnatural body position", which simply means that on occasion the characters will look "odd" in some manner (the most common one I've seen involves the shoulders - watch and you'll see for yourself).
Animation-wise the movie manages to at least attain some respectability. The characters do move quite well, and the various combat sequences are pretty decent, but Bleach fans will know that the series is capable of much better than can be seen in this movie.
Most people will be familiar with the voice actors, especially if they're regular viewers of the series. The cast do a decent job overall, but in the end this is still just another episode of Bleach so there is a distinct lack of passion in the characters, however this is mainly due to the scripting and screenplay rather than the cast's acting ability. Morita Masakzu (Ichigo), for example, has a problem in that his character is supposed to be almost perpetually angry at something, and lives with a huge chip on his shoulder. This may seem like an interesting character at first, but after playing the role for this long without any real development to Ichigo as a character, it's understandable how one would be "bored" by now.
Which leads me neatly on to the characters themselves. Oh look, the gang's all here (minus Chad, Orihime and Ishida - surprisingly). The problem with Bleach as a whole is that it never really looks at developing it's characters in any meaningful way, and this movie is no exception to that tried an tested (on morons), method. As a single movie it can get away with lacking anything in the way of real character development, even though there was a feeble attempt to highlight the "bond" between Ichigo and Rukia. As part of the greater series though, the lack of any real progression makes this seem more like just another episode of Bleach - it's just a bit longer than normal.
I will admit that as an action movie this isn't too bad. If the purpose of the movie is to "entertain" then it does just that - barely. One of the problems with Fade to Black is that it has a tendency to ramble at times, especially during the conversations (no one seems to have heard of getting to the point). There's also a distinct lack of urgency about the characters, almost as if they're trying a bit too hard. Since this is a movie I can forgive a lot more than I would have if this were a series episode, and it's only because of this that I didn't give Fade to Black a lower score.
On the whole though, this is not the best effort to come from the Bleach stable. Diamond Dust Rebellion was actually superior to this in many ways, so this is effectively a step down for the series. That doesn't mean it's not enjoyable, it's just that there's an almost juvenile feeling to the movie, almost as if it was designed to cater to wide-eyed 13 year old fanboys than the more hardened anime fan.
It's sad, but it seems like Bleach has finally run out of steam.
I watched this movie with a couple of friends, we watched this purely out of curiosity of how bad they could make a filler movie. We were not disappointed. This filler movie was of such bad quality that I actually turned it off within the first half hour when an even occured that caused Ichigo to do something preposterous. After a minute of discussion we decided to keep on watching but this time with even lower standards and watching it purely for the complete and utter worthless junk that it is.
One of the main issues with this movie, other than that it is a filler
and therefore meaningless, is that the entertainment value was really low, there were too many characters in the movie so it felt really halfassed in that aspect and then the story. This movie had one of the absolute worst plots I've ever seen in anime. For people who follow bleach and is not a complete fanboy of anything that looks like bleach regardless of plot, I'd bet you'd agree with me when I say it was very, very silly. I don't want to spoil this for anyone else contemplating watching this so I shall say no more, but the plot was of very bad quality.
Did you know that the captain with the foxhead's natural stance is bankai?
The movie is rather worthwhile to watch. So I'm going to try not to spoil for anyone so you guys can watch it for yourselves. First of all, the story was mediocre. It didn't really contain the BANG! movie watchers would want to have and even seemed unworthy of the long wait for the subs to come out.
However, I loved the art. As always, Tite Kubo is a great artist, although his story might not be great, looking at the characters is always cool. The sound was not especially good, and I wouldn't say it was too bad either. I'd give it a fair really,
if you ask me. I much rather the action scenes have more boom and bang but it was okay.
The characters were original... but I didn't really enjoy Homura, who was quite bitchy about everything. Shizuku was a great character though but he played a rather subtle role so it didn't really work out. I didn't particularly enjoy Dark Rukia though. The character progression was too fast, it was like they were trying to rush everything. That's one part of the movie that was really a letdown. They should have let Dark Rukia get more screen time. I think the movie was fairly enjoying, although I wouldn't say very. It was crafted such that it can be appreciated and watch a few times over but its not really the kind that you'd whip out when you're yearning for a great movie. Overall, I think the movie was quite good, thanks to the art, sound and enjoyment level, although the plot and character development still lacks in some areas.
But what can I say? Just watch the movie yourself and you'll understand what I mean.
Diamond Dust Rebellion had to be one of the better movies, until now. The storyline is both interesting and enjoyable, reminding the viewer of the eventful days when Ichigo first stepped into soul society. The only down side for me is the lack of appearance of Ichigo with his hallow mask.