Anime Film Review: Bleach the Movie: Hell Verse

Bleach the Movie: Hell Verse is the fourth film released for the Bleach franchise.

Bleach the Movie: Hell Verse
Directed by: Noriyuki Abe
Written by: Masahiro Okubo
Starring: Masakazu Morita, Fumiko Orikasa, Kentaro Ito, Noriaki Sugiyama, Tōru Furuya, and Kazuya Nakai
Run Time: 94 minutes
Rated: TV-14

The movie sees powerful masked spirits known as Sinners attacking Ichigo and his friends while they’re at school. Meanwhile, another group of the spirits goes to the Kurosaki Clinic. When Ichigo gets there, he finds that the spirits’ leader, Shuren, has attacked his sisters. A Sinner named Kokuto, who is not affiliated with the others, manages to rescue Karin; however, Shuren escapes and departs to Hell with Yuzu. Kokuto offers to assist Ichigo by showing him the route into Hell, and they are accompanied by Rukia, Renji, and Uryu. The film ultimately focuses on Ichigo and the others going through Hell and trying to rescue Yuzu, while dealing with unexpected surprises that await them there.

When it comes to Hell Verse, I thought that it relied too much on battle sequences and utilizing various shonen tropes, rather than making an attempt at trying to tell an actual story. Because of all the tropes being used, I found myself just having to go along with and accept what was presented in the story. Due to the lack of a strong story in the movie, I found it hard to remain interested and invested in what was going on. Also, the film relied on the audience having watched the prologue episode that appeared in the Bleach television anime series before watching the movie, because no time was spent on establishing why Rukia and Renji were in Karakura Town at the beginning; this explanation only appears in the prologue episode.

I also found myself feeling very confused near the beginning of the film, because two of the scenes were basically recreations of the first couple of scenes in the first episode of the Bleach television anime series. There were some slight changes made to the details of these scenes, but I could easily tell that the scenes were very similar. At first, I thought they were true recreations of those scenes, until I picked up on the slight changes in the details. To be honest, I don’t understand the point of doing this, especially for the first scene. At least with the second scene, it was establishing the fact that Ichigo’s father would be away from the clinic.

When it comes to the animation, I have to say that what I saw in Hell Verse was on the weaker side for a Bleach film. While it looked a little better than the animation used in the television episodes, it was still quite a step down from the animation in the first Bleach theatrical film. Also, I noticed at least a couple of instances where an attempt was made to utilize computer graphics, but the CG ultimately stood out way too much from everything else and was more of a distraction than an enhancement for the scenes it was used in.

After watching all four Bleach theatrical films, I have to say that Hell Verse was the weakest. There was an interesting concept going into it, but I felt that the film was a little too short to fully develop what little bit of actual story there was.

When it comes to the DVD release, the audio is available with the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and the English dub.

There were a total of three bonus features included on this release. The first is a “Production Art Gallery,” which includes 12 pictures; all of the pictures are in color. “Japanese Trailers” includes a total of two trailers for the film; unfortunately, no subtitles are included, so unless a viewer can understand Japanese, it’s impossible to tell what’s being said. The final extra is “More From VIZ,” and all this includes is the Neon Alley trailer that plays at the beginning of the disc when it first starts.

In the end, I can only truly recommend Bleach: Hell Verse to fans of the franchise who want to watch and/or own everything associated with Bleach. Those who consider themselves to be casual viewers can skip watching Hell Verse and not miss anything.

The reviewer checked out this item through the King County Library System

One comment

  1. Sunite · June 3, 2015

    Loved this movie, and awesome review!

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