"Hell" is the place where a person is sent to who committed violent crimes when they were alive. Shinigami are forbidden to go there. One day, prisoners revolt and make their escape to Karakura—the real world—where Ichigo and his friends live in. Ichigo and his friends are defeated one after the other by prisoners with overwhelming power. A mysterious man appears who comes to their rescue. With Kokutou leading the way, Ichigo, Rukia, Uryuu, and Renji marche into Hell to save the world.
Note: Episode 299 of Bleach serves as a prologue to this movie.
Brains versus brawn. Brawn versus brains. Round and around and around they go ...
The most puzzling thing about shounen anime and manga is the distinct lack of heroes with both strength and intelligence, and nowhere is this more prevalent than in the long running franchises. All too often it's the villains who possess this combination of traits, while the hero is nothing more than a super powered idiot with a tendency to rely on guts and brute strength. Risk evaluation, cause and effect, strategy, and other concepts that have more than one syllable seem to be beyond the ken of the typical shounen protagonist, and
while there are some vague similarities between them and the brutish heroes of yesteryear, at least characters like Conan knew how to plan and make traps.
It seems as though the once great shounen sagas are becoming nothing more than parodies of what might have been, and charging headlong into the fictional wastelands (where all good ideas go to die), is Tite Kubo's Bleach and its latest feature, Jigokuhen (The Hell Verse).
Now some people may remember a chapter of the manga called Imaginary No.1: The Unforgivens, which introduced the character of Shuren and showed him to be far more powerful than at least two of the Arrancar (who somehow ended up in Hell). This side story forms the prelude to Jigokuhen, which picks up the narrative after the whole business with Aizen has been concluded (that is, if the opening scenes of the fight with Ulquiorra are anything to go by). Karakura town is at peace, Ichigo and his friends are back at school, and everything seems right with the world.
Unfortunately, dark forces are stirring once more ...
Continuity has always been an issue for the Bleach franchise and this movie is no exception. The story appears to be set at a time after the current arc in the manga (you know, the whole thing with the Fullbringers), and Ichigo seems to have shaken off the effects of the Final Getsuga Tenshou. Then again, this is Bleach we're talking about, and given the storyline in the other movies it's more likely that the writers for Jigokuhen were more interested in opening up new ways to continue the franchise than they were in creating a viable narrative. That said, the plot is decent enough, but there's always the nagging thought that this feature has been made for reasons that have nothing to do with telling a story, especially when the actual content of the movie is little more than the same storyline regurgitated ad nauseum (i.e. Ichigo powers up and saves the day).
Jigokuhen features some rather nice visuals but there's little in the way of actual innovation because of the inherent franchise limitations on aspects like character design (although one can never rule out genericism caused by a lack of ideas). There are also some glaring irregularities that stand out over the course of the movie, one of which is Rukia's flash of nakedness and subsequent yet familiar white outfit towards the end of the movie (I'll pause for a moment while the fanboys squee).
The viewer is supposed to believe that her shinigami outfit "disintegrated" because of her situation at that point in the narrative, which may not seem like much at first, but when you take into account the fact that both Ishida and Renji have already gone through Rukia's ordeal, one does have to question how they managed to keep their clothes whole and on their bodies while she didn't.
Fortunately Jigokuhen is no slouch where the animation is concerned, especially during the action sequences, but that's not enough to balance the flaws where visuals are concerned.
As for the acting, if you've seen an episode of Bleach then you're in for ... more of the same. The voice actors may be talented and know the characters inside out, but none of that helps when the plot and the script have been written by people with a mental age of seven. The dialogue is exactly what one expects from an episode of Bleach, with lots of angry and/or frustrated shouting and screaming, and so much ham they could start up a new business selling sandwiches.
The ending theme, Save The One, Save The All by T. M. Revolutions, is a rather generic J-rock song that works well with the movie, but given that the franchise is about as generic as they come, maybe that's not such a surprising thing. Jigokuhen also features a variety of dramatic classical and operatic tracks that serve as the background music to a number of the action scenes, but while the usage and implementation is decent for the most part, choreography has never really been a strength of the franchise.
With a mixture of wooden deliveries, frustrated screams, people shouting, and lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth it's pretty obvious that Jigokuhen is little more than an attempt to put a set of characters with textbook shounen reactions into a new situation and set them off to spin around before exploding.
And that's pretty much exactly what happens.
Aspects like character development are virtually non-existent in this movie, while other factors like characterisation are actually dependent on whether one has read or watched the main series (and more importantly, whether you enjoyed it or not). In all honesty there isn't really much one can say about any of the characters other than that they are who we expect them to be. Ichigo is the knight in pyjamas wielding an oversized kitchen knife whose tendency to charge in where angels fear to tread is getting tedious (seriously, it's like nobody in shounen entertainment outside of One Piece is able able to learn from their mistakes). Chad is the reliably stoic sidekick, while Renji and Ishida sometimes offer light comic relief. Rukia, Inoue, Karen, Yuzu, and almost every other female Ichigo's age or younger, are all the princesses waiting for the knight to come and rescue them.
You get the picture.
The thing that is surprising is that Jigokuhen does work as part of the overarching Bleach saga, but only from a very narrow and specific perspective. If one is able to ignore the recent storylines in both the anime and the manga, and overlook many of the flaws, then it may be possible to enjoy this movie as no-brain entertainment. That said avid fans will probably like this more for what it heralds in the future which, given how the story ended, will probably result in Ichigo becoming the head of Soul Society, or even the next Soul King.
Jigokuhen is watchable though, but while doing so I found myself thinking of Diamond Dust Rebellion and Memories Of A Nobody, both of which deviated from the typical method of problem solving synonymous with shounen stories (i.e. hit it in a melodramatic way until it stops moving, then give it a few more whacks just in case). Neither of those movies will stand the test of time, but they're a damn sight better than Jigokuhen (which in turn is marginally better than Fade To Black). It's a sad fact that the last two feature length outings have been uninspiring, lacklustre affairs with plot holes so big one could drive a tank through them, and that's just the tip of a very large iceberg.
If nothing else, Bleach: Jigokuhen proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that this franchise lives and dies on the only trick it has.
I'll admit, I had a blast watching this movie! It has a lot of cool fights and an interesting plot. The plot isn't all that unique though, that's the only part that is disappointing. If you've seen the anime Bleach, then you know how their 'arcs' go. Bleach tends to do the whole "someone gets kidnapped, Ichigo has to go fight a ton of people and then save them! The end." That's exactly what happens in this movie too.
It starts off with a somewhat of a flashback to when Ichigo fought Ulquiorra back in Hueco Mundo when he turned into a crazed hollow. That caught
my attention because I honestly loved that fight, it was very exciting! Then after that we go to Karakura Town where Ichigo is living his regular teenage life, and you can all guess what happens after that. Some bad guys from hell show up and kidnap Yuzu, Ichigo's sister.
Now, with the help of Kokuto, a new character that shows up out of the blue, Ichigo and his friends will go down to hell to save Yuzu!
Okay, I love Bleach. Even if it's a repeditive show with random (sometimes pointless) fights, it's still fun to watch! And that's really all this movie is about. So if you like watching the fights in Bleach and don't care a whole lot about a really unique story, then this movie is perfect!
The reason I give story a 7 is because, like I mentioned, it's the exact same as every other Bleach arc or movie. But what I DID love most about this movie is that Ichigo's Hollow has a main part, we don't actually see "Hichigo" (as some people call him), but we do see Ichigo's hollow mask show up often and see him do some of his hollow transformations.
His hollow side shows up quite often in this movie because they are going to hell, and because of that, Ichigo is starting to 'lose control' of his hollow powers in a way. All of his friends are concerned obviously, but Ichigo just wants to save Yuzu, because that's the kind of guy he is.
The downside to this movie really is that everything goes way too fast. Within about the first 10 minutes of the movie, Yuzu has been kidnapped and taken to hell and Kokuto is introduced. The explanations are very short and not very informative, to the point that I was wondering if they just cut out half of whatever the characters said to fit it into a movie.
I would have expected a story like this to have taken up 30 Bleach episodes at least, but it is of course crammed into an hour and 30 minutes.
The art in this movie is actually really nicely done! The battles have a lot of movement, and that along with the beautifully detailed backgrounds is like eye-candy for the audience! Because of the fact that they are fighting in "Hell", the background is quite different than any other place they've been. I mean, we've all seen the Bleach cast fight in Soul Society and Karakura multiple times! So to see them in a very unfamiliar place is quite awesome!
The bad guys might not look that attractive (actually I take that back, they're just ugly as hell), but it does seem like the artists took the time to do all the shading and colours very nicely, which is something I really enjoyed. But seriously, I do think they tried their best to make the ugliest characters we've ever seen. (The minute those guys took off their robes to reveal what they looked like, I think I screamed a bit)
A new soundtrack was made for this movie specifically. I got this soundtrack long before I watched this movie because the songs are seriously epic! I still love listening to it, all of the songs are dark, and intense, almost in a creepy way. Rather than just music playing, there's some chanting and singing along with it that really sounds like an incantation most of the time. But either way, it really adds to the movie's 'creepiness'.
Anyone who watches Bleach will know what the characters sound like.
Ichigo's voice actor Morita Masakazu is great at what he does! He's the perfect voice for Ichigo, I really don't have anything bad to say about him! He sounds very natural when he talks, and always has the exact emotion that is needed for the scene, which usually involves yelling and shouting.
Rukia and Renji are the same as Ichigo's VA, they know how to sound great and really bring the character to life!
I mentioned before that there is a new character named Kokuto, who is voiced by Nakai Kazuya, who happens to be one of my favorite voice actors! He has an incredible voice that is perfect for a 'cool' and 'badass' character, which Kokuto definitely fits that description. I'm really glad that they picked him for Kokuto's character because he is perfect for the role!
And lastly we have the new character Shuren, I haven't mentioned him yet, but he sits around for most of the movie and lets the other guys do all the fighting, but does eventually join in for a little while. Shuren is voiced by Furuya Toru who has done several main voice roles, but still isn't a very popular voice actor. He really does Shuren's voice well, he has the sort of 'bad guy voice' that we all can recognize. The only thing about him is that nothing really stands out about his voice among other people. Some voice actors have a way of changing their tone, rolling their tongue, or yelling in a way that makes us know exactly who they are (think if Ikkaku or Kenpachi, you can recognize their voice almost immediately). This guy doesn't really have that, but even so he is still a good voice for Shuren!
Ichigo, Rukia, Renji, Chad, and Ishida are all characters we're familiar with. Nothing about this movie really changes how we see them. You know exactly how they're going to act or fight in a dangerous situation. So I guess that part of the movie was what made everything pretty predictable.
But since there are new characters introduced, why don't we talk about them a bit?
For one, Kokuto. I'll admit, I like him. He shows up and is willing to help Ichigo's group, and has the attitude of "I make my own rules. I don't choose sides, I'm on my own side". Which reminds me a lot of Ichigo's character, maybe that's why they get along pretty quickly...almost too quickly.
I think the writers really forced Kokuto's character in some parts, and made it so that we really don't have time to get to know him. He's just there helping the group, and that's about it for the majority of the movie. What I do like is that he isn't the most predictable guy, sometimes things he does or says will catch you off guard! That makes the plot a bit more interesting than before!
Then we have Shuren again. Unlike Kokuto, I really knew exactly what he was going to do throughout the entire movie. That doesn't make him a lame character, but I think the writers could have done better with him.
Like I said in the beginning, I had a blast watching this movie! Even though I really should, I never get sick of watching Ichigo kick ass! I would say this is my favorite of the Bleach movies. It had some great character development (even though it was really rushed) and it had some great fights that kept my eyes glued to the screen!
I also just loved having Kokuto in this movie, he was definitely the best addition to this movie, I'm sure you will all like having him in it too!
If you haven't watched or read Bleach, I'm not sure if this movie will make a ton of sense. There are several things that happen that link to the original story. But even if you haven't seen Bleach, I think you might still enjoy this movie if you like Shounen animes with lots of battles! I enjoyed watching it a lot and would even be willing to watch it again! All in all, it's a great movie!
Actually there is nothing to tell since it is only a repetition of previous themes only in another setting... Someone has been kidnapped, Ichigo comes to the rescue, enemies have a power up, someone good was in fact evil, Ichigo saves the day in a new form - sound familiar, no?
This film has nothing new, just a few fancy explosions and nice soundtrack.
Bleach: Jigokuhen or also known as "Hell Verse" is the 4th Bleach movie to be realeased to date, since the anime was cancelled back in 2012, this could be the last one for a while...which is somewhat dissapointing to not leave off on a higher note. Not to say movie 4 was bad, but in truth it didn't quite forfill my expectations. That said, it still was a decent watch and i'll explain why.
Hell Verse is the latest movie to be released, and you can clearly tell from its crisp and beautifully refined animation. Everything looked very smooth and detailed down to the bone, especially
the environment. More toward the beginning of the film which takes place in Karakura Town, the artwork is fantastic. The sky backdrop looks beautiful at sunset, and the town itself is fleshed out best as it has ever been. Then the main setting exclusive to this movie, (if you don't count the prequel episode from the anime 299) looks even better. I love how the Bleach version of hell wasn't the cliché biblical version that we all depict it in our heads to be...it had different levels to it which all looked unique. The first level looking like a map in some kind of retro video game, and one of the lower levels having geysers of some yellow acidic goo with a dark blue sky almost looking underwater. The overall lure of "Hell" was made very interesting, there were giant guardians and some other nice details that I'll let you find out for yourself. The action scenes also looked great, aside from the fact that there was a little too much smoke during the battles, the animations of each Bankai, and everything else looked great. There were some moments were things where moving too fast for me to follow what was going on but that's a small nitpick when the presentation was as gorgeous as it was. I just mentioned presentation...the movie was presented beautifully. The story flowed well and didn't feel rushed, and the intro to the movie was actually one of my favorite parts, showing a remastered version of Ichigo's fight with Ulquiorra which surprisingly has a sort of tie in with the plot. Now the sad thing is about Hell Verse is that the plot was underwealming. I wasn't really sucked into the story, it felt a bit on the average side in all honesty. They had a "plot twist" more toward the end that didn't really pull a reaction from me. There was a nice subtle moment between Ichigo and Oriheme that I liked but emotionally I was never really affected because I knew all the characters were going to survive. The movie also suffers from not having enough characters in it. Usually the best parts of both the show AND the movies involve the Captains. Sadly they were amost non existent aside from some dialogue and a very brief action scene involving one measly attack. We were given the crew of Ichigo, Rukia, Renji, and Uryu which we have already seen before in the Hueco Mundo arc of the anime...It gets kind of boring seeing Renji and Rukia just constantly using the same attacks, so I never really got to see anything new. The best part was probably Ichigo's fight, and for a simple reason that you'd figure out if you watch the movie. The villians were pretty weak too character wise. The "henchmen" looked kinda cool, but were so weak I didn't care at all about them...and thought they were just pointless being there. The only thing they really had going for them was that they had interesting character designs with somewhat unique attacks. Luckily enough, while i may have alot of complaints about the film, I was never bored and entertained throughout the 2 hours give or take.
If you're a fan of Bleach i'd definitely recommend checking this out, but if you don't like or have never watched Bleach this is not for you at all, you'll most likely not really enjoy it.
Thank you for reading my review and if you found it helpful please give it a thumbs up (:
Hey, what were you doing back in 2010? Hopefully, you were spending your time wisely by watching some of the best anime movies that year had to offer. And if you didn't, then here's the list to get you up to speed!