Anime Film Review: Bleach the Movie 2: The DiamondDust Rebellion

Bleach the Movie 2: The DiamondDust Rebellion is the second film for the Bleach anime franchise. The film was directed by Noriyuki Abe, and it was released to Japanese theaters on December 22, 2007. VIZ Media holds the North American distribution rights for the film, and the company released it as a two-disc set on September 8, 2009.

Bleach the Movie 2: The DiamondDust Rebellion
Directed by: Noriyuki Abe
Written by: Michiko Yokote
Starring: Masakazu Morita, Fumiko Orikasa, Romi Park, and Akira Ishida
Run Time: 95 minutes
Rated: TV-14

The film has a strong focus on Toshiro Hitsugaya, the captain of the 10th Division. His division is sent to escort an artifact that’s known as the Ouin. Unfortunately, it’s stolen during its transport from Soul Society by a masked and unidentified Soul Reaper who is escorted by two mysterious Arrancar. During the attack, Hitsugaya gets into a confrontation with the masked Soul Reaper and appears to recognize him. During the battle, Hitsugaya abandons his post to pursue the masked Soul Reaper. The Soul Society accuses Hitsugaya of treason and orders his immediate capture. In addition, his squad is put under house arrest.

While Ichigo is out on patrol as a Soul Reaper, he accidentally finds Soi Fon conducting an investigation of the transport site. She tells Ichigo what’s going on before she leaves. After Soi Fon’s departure, Uryu meets up with Ichigo, and the two of them find Toshiro. When Hitsugaya awakens in Ichigo’s house, he abandons his Captain’s Robe. Ichigo finds Hitsugaya as he’s trying to sneak out, but the two are interrupted by the arrival of the two Arrancar. Hitsugaya makes his escape while Ichigo battles the Arrancar.

Hitsugaya discovers that the masked Soul Reaper has a connection to his past, and the connection they share leads up to the climax of the film. And the ultimate theme of this film has to do with what can happen when you have a problem that you’re unable to share with anyone. This theme comes through in what Hitsugaya does and in his connection with the masked Soul Reaper.

Before I comment on the movie itself, I wanted to talk about the title. After watching the film, my husband and I both wondered where the title, “The DiamondDust Rebellion” came from. My husband’s best guess is that “DiamondDust” refers to snow. However, he admitted that he had to do some mental gymnastics to come up with even that.

Now on to the film itself. Just like many other films based on Shonen Jump properties, the movie introduces characters and concepts that aren’t in the manga. Because these characters and concepts aren’t canon in the manga, the film has to end with “resetting the counter to zero” (i.e. having to have an ending that writes out the new characters and nullify any effects that the new concepts brought to the film).

Even though the masked Soul Reaper, Sojiro Kusaka, is a new character, his appearance brings about some character development for Hitsugaya. From what I’ve read, Tite Kubo created a one shot manga about Hitsugaya’s backstory that was published prior to the film’s release in order to promote the film. Unfortunately, it turns out the character of Sojiro didn’t appear in the one shot. So Hitsugaya’s backstory ends up being canon while Sojiro’s existence does not. Personally, I liked having Hitsugaya being the focus of the film because he’s one of my favorite Soul Reapers.

I thought the story in The DiamondDust Rebellion was rather solid. Also, the animation looked rather impressive. While it may not have been quite as good as the animation that appeared in Bleach the Movie: Memories of Nobody, the animation in this film still looks better than the animation that appears in the television series.

The DVD release of the film includes a booklet, which appears to be a reproduction of the booklet that would have been handed out at Japanese theaters to moviegoers; however, this booklet had been translated into English. This booklet includes a summary of the film, stills from the movie, interviews and statements from some of the Japanese voice actors, Tite Kubo, and the screenwriter. The lyrics for the ending theme, a bio of the band that performs it, and brief statements from the band members are included. At the back of the booklet are credits and information on some of the terms, characters, and worldviews that appear in the film. This is a very well-done booklet, and it’s very informative. This is definitely worth getting this DVD release for, especially if you’re a fan of Bleach.

When it comes to VIZ Media’s DVD release, the first disc contains the actual film, and a menu option labeled as, “Previews.” The “Previews” menu has options for “Trailers” and “Manga.” “Trailers” includes four minutes worth of trailers, while “Manga” contains four pages of advertisements for manga released by VIZ Media.

All of the actual bonus features are included on the second DVD in the set. The first is the “Making Bleach the Movie 2” featurette, which is comprised of five different sections; altogether, the five sections have a total runtime of roughly 37-and-a-half minutes. For this featurette, you can either watch it in one continuous piece, or choose which section of it you want to watch. All five sections have Japanese audio with English subtitles.

“At Studio Pierrot With the Director and Character Designer,” which has an interview with Noriyuki Abe and Masashi Kudoh. They talk a lot about the character of Sojiro Kusaka, and why they chose Hitsugaya to be the focus of the film.

“The T2 Studio – Photography and FX” feature interviews a couple of guys who talk about the animation and some of the themes and effects that were used in the film. “At Studio Wyeth With Background Artists” has two people talking about their feelings regarding the film and its themes before they talk about the actual backgrounds.

“Composing the Score with Shirou Sagisu” has Sagisu talking about the theme of the music in the film, writing and recording the music, the type of music used in the film, and he even touches on Ichigo’s music themes in Bleach. “Interview with Sambomaster” has the members of the band talk about being chosen to have a song of theirs used for a Shonen Jump film, they talk about growing up and reading Jump comics, as well as what they like in the film. Overall, this featurette was pretty good for what it is. In fact, I would have to say that it was probably a little better than the two featurettes that appeared on the DVD release for Bleach the Movie: Memories of Nobody.

There’s a “Production Art Gallery” that includes 36 pages of line art of the characters and locations. The last extra is “Original Japanese Promos,” which runs for five minutes and includes five promos. The first, third, fourth, and fifth promos have Japanese audio and no subtitles. The second promo, which has a lot of exclusive animation in it, has Japanese audio and includes English subtitles. I was so grateful that VIZ included the English subtitles on this particular promo, because I wouldn’t have understood what was being said or what exactly was going on. Of the five promos, I would have to say that the second one was definitely the best one.

If you’re a fan of Bleach, I think you’ll enjoy Bleach The Movie 2: The DiamondDust Rebellion and will want to add it to your anime collection if you don’t own it already. This release is especially worth it for Bleach fans to get a hold of the booklet that’s included.

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