Noob Reviews: Bleach (2018 live-action adaptation)
Updated: Jan 15, 2020
Please be advised that during the review, I have tried to avoid a lot of spoilers. However, there may still be a few included helping explain specific points.
What is Bleach?
That is a very loaded question and one that if you are into anime, you may already know the answer to. Originally released as a manga, adapted to anime and now adapted into live-action - Bleach sees us follow the adventures of Ichigo and Rukia in their duties as Soul Reapers. Soul Reapers who face an ongoing struggle to help whole spirits pass onto the Soul Society (these are good spirits). Whilst at the same time protecting said spirits and exorcising Hollows (impure spirits) who would otherwise devour them to increase their own powers.
I should just mention at this point, the Netflix film has many different languages to watch the film in, but I loved (and reviewed) the original Japanese with English subtitles.
Do you have a trailer to show us?
- Official Trailer -
Unfortunately, there are no official trailers on the Netflix YouTube channel; however, we do have the above courtesy of New Trailer Buzz. Check them out if you get a chance!
When did it come out?
Bleach was released in July 2018.
How long is the film?
In total (inclusive of credits) the film is one hour and forty-eight minutes long.
Can you give us an overview of the storyline?
The live-action film covers the initial meeting of Rukia (a psychopomp for the Soul Reapers who has little to no interest in humans) and Ichigo who is both strong with spiritual energy and who can also see spirits, whether they be whole spirits or Hollows. This supernatural ability is one that he has had ever since he was a child and saw his mother murdered by a Hollow right in front of him.
Begrudgingly when Rukia is badly injured by a Hollow, she is forced to make Ichigo a Soul Reaper by transferring some of her powers to him so that he may defend not only the two of them but his family. Unfortunately, because Ichigo is so strong in spiritual energy, he takes all of Rukia’s power and essentially makes her human.
Unable to return to the Soul Society. Unable to reclaim her powers (even though she tries) Rukia is eventually left with a single option until something can be worked out, she has to train Ichigo to fight Hollows in her stead and guide the wholes to the Soul Society in her place. That is until Rukia’s brother (Byakuya) sends Renji (a lieutenant Soul Reaper) to kill them both. Ichigo for having Rukia’s powers and Rukia for breaking the Soul Reaper Code.
There is, however, an alternative provided to the two when Ichigo and Byakuya eventually come face to face. If Ichigo were to kill the Grand Fisher, the oldest and most deadly of the Hollows, Byakuya might allow them to keep their lives.
Who are some of the actors and actresses in the film?
Hana Sugisaki (Rukia Kuchiki)
Masami Nagasawa (Masaki Kurosaki)
Miyavi (Byakuya Kuchiki)
Seiichi Tanabe (Kisuke Urahara)
Sota Fukushi (Ichigo Kurosaki)
Taichi Saotome (Renji Abarai)
Yōsuke Eguchi (Isshin Kurosaki)
How did you like the film?
I am admittedly a big Bleach fan and have watched all 16 seasons, read many a Bleach manga and really love the universe and story behind Bleach. The live-action adaptation, although an interesting one, I thought, was a bit of a letdown.
Don’t get me wrong there are pros and cons to the film in my opinion, and we will start with some advantages. The choreography, soundtrack, design and vibe to Bleach is fantastic. It captures the combat beautifully and has some excellent fight scenes along with exciting tales of self-discovery and development of relationships between characters. I especially love how Ichigo attempts to integrate Rukia into his class, home and life. Bringing her in and offering her friendship and stability when her powers are taken from her.
On the flip side though it does not really hold that true to the source material. I understand that the film had to be x duration or had x budget to work with but compared to the manga and even season one of the anime, it skips over quite large chunks of story and development both of the other formats have. It seems rushed in places, and if I am honest, towards the end of the film especially, you could just count this as a generic anime adaptation as opposed to specifically Bleach. The final fight between Ichigo and Grand Fisher is disappointing as is the one between Ichigo and Renji. We have a master swordsman (Renji) and fresh out of training montage Ichigo who has increased his powers to take on Grand Fisher. The fight just seems to fizzles. There is no pop, no bang, nothing to really make you pick a side and invest in a winner.
When researching a bit further into Bleach adaptations for the blog, it does appear there have been previous live-action adaptations in years gone, so I might track a few of them down to see if they are any good.
What overall rating would you give Bleach?
Overall I would give the film a rating of 3 out of 5 bananas.
As I said, there are pros and cons to this live-action adaptation. The advantages are going into this blind, with no previous knowledge of Bleach, it is fun, exciting and something new and exciting to watch. The con would be if you know much about Bleach, it could have been so much better. It’s still worth a look but don’t get your hopes up too much.
Thank you very much for checking out the review and if you are interested in Bleach and would like to check it out for yourself, to form your own opinion, you can check it out here.