Bleach is an excellent and action-packed Friday night watch. But heads up; there isn’t an English version, so you’re going to probably be watching with subtitles.
There are many, many, MANY bad live-action anime adaptations out there. Bleach defies that trend, delivering an action-packed story that never feels too overwhelmed in mythology or too cringe-worthy. Instead Bleach knows that it’s supposed to be a fun action movie, and it embraces that aesthetic.
Based on the Tite Kubo’s manga, Bleach follows the life of Ichigo Kurosaki. A high school student whose mother was killed when he was just a kid. Despite the fact that he can see ghosts, Ichigo lives a fairly normal life, going to high school and eating family dinners with his father and two younger sisters. But all of that changes when he meets a Reaper by the name of Rukia.
Rukia’s job is to lead good souls to the afterlife and defeat the murderous souls of spiteful spirits, also known as Hollows. While in the middle of fighting a particularly difficult Hollow, Rukia loses her ability to fight and transfers her powers to Ichigo as a last-ditch resort. Big mistake.
A lot of what makes Bleach work comes from the performances of its two leads, Sota Fukushi’s Ichigo and Hana Sugisaki’s Rukia. The movie never gets bogged down by its lore, always rushing through the heavy subplots to focus on the one story that really matters, this Reaper and this human’s forbidden friendship. There are several other side characters fans of the manga and anime can obsess over, including Soul Reaper lieutenant Renji and Byakuya. But the heart of Bleach is always with Ichigo and Rukia’s relationship, making what could have been a dense movie light and easy to follow.
The CGI for the Hollows is excellent. The action sequences feels like what could happen in real life without the Micheal Bay touch. Just the right amount of special effects to warrant the over the top craziness we all come to love from the anime adaption.
Bleach is a movie that unapologetically knows what it is. Yeah, things are going to get silly, and yes several giant monsters and crazy swordsmen will be fought. The why doesn’t matter. Like my friend Lunchbox would say “Just put it in your mouth” and enjoy this live action buffet.