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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Bleach: Memories of Nobody (2007) review: Whatever you thought of the TV series will be what you think of this movie

*scroll down for screenshots*
*Note: Yellow text indicate "fan rants" which may be disregarded if you dont want to go deeper into the technical details of the movie*
Overall verdict: 5/10

The Good: Exactly like an episode of the TV series so fans should be pleased

The Bad: exactly like an episode of the TV series to anyone other than fans might be disappointed. Offers nothing new, not even improved animation or scripting.

Current Availability Status: Bare bones(no extras) DVD and VCD available in Laser Flair, Poh Kim and TS video outlets at discounted price. (IMO, the DVD is still not worth the price thanks to lousy quality control and a lack of extras. Might as well get the VCD or watch it on youtube.)


The first feature length animated project based on the popular Shonen Jump manga proves to be a forgettable and redundant entry into the Bleach anime franchise. Instead of weaving an epic tale that would be a crucial turning point for the beloved Bleach characters and do justice to a heightened movie-styled animation budget, the production team decides to churn out what is in essence an extended TV series episode in which, rather conveniently thanks to one of the oldest most overly used plot twists, nothing that happens in this movie has any place or effect in the main anime storyline. One could easily find a better way to spend 90 minutes and not miss a thing.

The story begins during a routine "Hollow" hunting when Ichigo and Ruika encounter strange spirits know as "Blanks". Initially confused by their sudden appearance, the plot thickens with the appearance of a mysterious new Soul Reaper named Senna who quickly befriends Ichigo. Slowly, the nature of Senna and the strange appearances of the spirits are revealed culminating with Ichigo and gang having to stop a age old feud by a group of Soul Reaper exiles who intend on destroying the world and the Soul society.

Face it, "Bleach: Memories of Nobody" is just an extended filler episode of the popular Bleach anime series. None of the characters get any further development and the cast of new characters do not add much to the soup. Senna especially was no doubt written to be a spunky yet likable girl with a carefree outlook on life, but thanks to either the script or the overexaggerated acting of the seiyuu (Japanese voice actress), she comes across as quite an loud mouthed irritant with her "sad" back story feeling forced into place to milk a few tears from the audience. Thankfully the returning cast from the TV series all deliver some adequate performances that fit their character personalities. Everyone is their same old selves, flaws and all.

Despite having a movie sized budget, the animation still suffers from the same shortcomings that plague the TV series. Stiff character motion, flat backgrounds and frequent use of lazy looking animation short-cuts make this movie look even more like a glorified episode of the TV series. There are even a couple of scenes with very obvious "off-model" or disproportionate character art. Along with the overly bright cheery color scheme and minimally detailed artwork, the only "improvement" there is seems to be a greater usage of CGI for some backgrounds and special power effects.

Unless you are an existing fan of Bleach, this movie would fail to satisfy. As if the story were not confusing enough, No introductions or exposition is given hence newcomers would find it really difficult to watch this show and understand the various terms and Bleach lingo. As an anime movie, the production standards are sub-par and the story is plagued by some pacing issues. Top it off with one major cop-out ending(no it was not all a dream, but it is something close to that), and what you get is one major disappointment.

Basically, if you thought the TV series was good, "Bleach: Memories of Nobody" would not change your mind, but neither would it be increasing your impression about Bleach as a whole. If you thought the TV series was not up to expectations, this movie would only prove you right once more as you will find the same flaws here. A real treat for hardcore Bleach fanatics, and a real let down when compared to anime movies in general.

*****************************Review End******************

Go For it: If you loved the TV series and would thrill to a new adventure starring your favorite characters
Avoid it: If you like real anime movies that showcase the limitless potential of movie sized production values on level of writing and animation or if you have something against long shonen jump titles like Bleach.

Entertainment: C
Story: C-
Characters: B-
Animation: C
Art: B-
Voice work: B+
Replay Value: D+

"Cue dynamic shadows, hold that cool pose. And then let the fanboys drool"
Too bad this is just a still picture. Great art with zero actual animation

"Sweet honey stars! We're all frozen in place for like 10 whole seconds except for this flatly colored orange haired kid!" he lying on leaves or a flat paper pavement with leaves painted on it?

Ichigo: "Rukia, i don't care if you're suddenly 8 months pregnant, but there is something really strange about my fingers. Do they look infected to you?"
One of few obvious off-model character art.

Ichigo: "Though my kitchen fruit knife may be small, my blue LAZORS will out-glow your yellow lazors!"
One of the coolest combat scenes ever spoilt by choppy animation and lackluster artwork

"Argh! Orange computer generated weapon clash effects. They match that kid's hair!"
One example of the CGI(computer generation imaging) used for special effects in this movie.

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