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Bleach the Movie 3: Fade to Black (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 26, 2011 by  



For fans of “Bleach”, “Bleach the Movie 3: Fade to Black” is an interesting storyline that does take things back to Ichigo and Rukia, but also features quite a bit of surprises and plenty of action!  As the first of two films from Viz Media for its entry of anime on Blu-ray, this is an awesome Blu-ray release if you are a “Bleach” fan and one can only hope that Viz Media continues to release more “Bleach” on Blu-ray in the near future!

Image courtesy of Image courtesy of © Tite Kubo/Shueisha. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Bleach the Movie 3: Fade to Black

MOVIE RELEASE DATE: 2008

DURATION: 90 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, DTS-HD MA English 5.1 and Japanese 5.1, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Warner Bros./Viz Media

RATED: 13+

Release Date: November 15, 2011

Originally created by Kubotite

Directed by Noriyuki Abe

Screenplay by Masahiro Okubo, Natsuko Takahashi

Music by Shiro Sagisu

Character Design by Masashi Kudo

Art Director: Sawako Takagi

Director of Photography: Toshiyuki Fukushima

Producer: Ken Hagino, Mikihiko Fukazawa, Shunji Aoki

Anime Production: Studio Pierrot

Featuring the following voice talent:

Fumiko Orikasa/Michelle Ruff as Rukia Kuchiki

Masakazu Morita/Johnny Yong Bosch as Ichigo Kurosaki

Hiroki Yasumoto/Jamieson Price as Sado “Chad” Yasutora

Kentarou Itou/Wally Wingert as Abarai Renji

Masakazu Morita/Johnny Yong Bosch as Hollow Ichigo

Noriaki Sugiyama/Derek Stephen Prince as Ishida Uryuu

Satsuki Yukino/Wendee Lee as Shihouin Yoruichi (human form)

Shinichiro Miki/Michael Lindsay as Urahara Kisuke

Yuki Matsuoka/Stephanie Sheh as Inoue Orihime

Kaya Matsutani/Megan Hollingshead as Rangiku Matsumoto

Nobuyuki Hiyama/Vic Mignogna as Ikkaku Madarame

Jun Fukuyama/Brian Beacock as Yumichika Ayasegawa

Romi Paku/Steve Staley as Toshiro Hitsugaya

A mysterious figure has broken into Mayuri Kurotsuchi’s laboratory in the Seireitei. Rukia witnesses this catastrophe, and the intruders abduct Rukia as she feels something inside of her fade away.

Meanwhile, in the World of the Living, Ichigo and Kon experience a strange disturbance and head to Kisuke Urahara’s shop for some answers. When Kisuke informs them about the destruction of the Seireitei, the two set out for the Soul Society.

What awaits Ichigo in the devastated Seireitei, however, are Soul Reapers who seem to have lost all memory related to both him and Rukia. Ichigo must find out what happened to Rukia and try to save her before the two are forced to part ways forever!

[Note: I am reviewing a Blu-ray screener and will not be able to comment on packaging.]

In Dec. 2008, the third “Bleach” movie was released in theaters.

With an anime production by Studio Pierrot, the film is directed by Noriyuki Abe (“Bleach”, “Ninku”, “Ghost Stories”, “Flame of Recca”) and a screenplay by Masahiro Okubo (“Sugar Sugar Rune”, “Tantei Gakuen Q”) and Natsuko Takahashi (“Bleach”, “Prince of Tennis”, “School Rumble”).

The film would be more notable to fans as it would feature Kon taking part in the action and also Kisuke Urahara returning to the Soul Society.  Also, none of Ichigo’s friends from the world of the living appear in this film.

“Bleach the Movie 3: Fade to Black” begins with soul reaper/scientist Mayuri Kurotsuchi working in his laboratory.  He senses an intruder which slashes him with a scythe and immediately, he has forgotten his entire memory.  As his assistant Nemu goes to check on him, he thinks that Nemu is an intruder and doesn’t understand what is happening.

The mysterious intruder activates something inside the laboratory and Mayuri unleashes his Ashisogi Jizo.

The mechanism that was triggered immediately produces huge snakes which wreaks havoc in Seiretei and many of the Soul Reapers try to evacuate or fight it to no avail.  Meanwhile Rukia who sees this, tries to go to Seireitei, but a girl takes her and tells her that she will erase her existence.  A male attacker comes and slashes her with his scythe, which deals no damage but Rukia becomes unconscious.

Meanwhile, back in the world of the living, Kon is reading a note from Rukia but as Ichigo goes to check on the note…he doesn’t know who Rukia is, which surprises Kon.

When Ichigo goes to sleep, he has dreams of Rukia, sensing that she is in trouble.  He is able to remember Rukia once again and looks at the note and learns that Rukia has went back to the Soul Society.

Concerned that he has forgotten Rukia, he goes to visit Kisuke Urahara, who has also forgotten Rukia.  But Urahara wonders if forgetting Rukia is because of news that he has received that there is chaos in Seireitei.

Fearing the worse, Ichigo takes Kon with him to the Soul Society to find Rukia and when they arrive, Seireitei looks as if it was destroyed.  He sees a familiar face, Shuhei Hisagi and asks him what has happened to Rukia.  But the two who have taken Rukia unleash a snake on Ichigo, Shuhei and the soul reapers.

Ichigo is then confronted by Shuhei and the other soul reapers who have no idea who he is and begin attacking him.  Renji shows up and also tries to attack Ichigo and Ichigo does all he can to make him remember but is unsuccessful and escapes.  But what is troubling to the soul reapers captains is why does this mysterious guy (Ichigo) seem to talk to them as he knows him and he knows the area quite well?

Meanwhile, Rukia comes to her senses and realizes she is in Rukongai, where she grew up.  She is greeted by the two people (who kidnapped her) and they discuss the past and how Rukia was to name both of them but hasn’t done so.  Rukia remembers meeting the two when they were children and promising to name them.  But with no memories, she wonders what has happened all this time.

 

VIDEO:

“Bleach the Movie 3: Fade to Black” is presented in 1080p High Definition and “Bleach” looks fantastic on Blu-ray!  Granted, it helps that this is a film and not the TV series, as there is much more detail in the actual character designs, more emphasis on fluidity on the action sequences, especially during the “bankai” segments.  But this is what I enjoy about seeing the transition of popular TV series for film, a higher production and also the fact that animators have more time in production and quality of the animation and art backgrounds than the typical quick turn around that they are expected to do on a TV series.

Once again, I am reviewing from a screener Blu-ray disc but I didn’t notice compression artifacts or banding during my viewing of the film.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

For “Bleach the Movie 3: Fade to Black “, the menus don’t say if it’s a lossless track and since I am reviewing from a screener disc, I don’t have packaging that says what kind of audio is featured.  But according to the details that my receiver is providing and also testing on another Blu-ray player, the information provided for me is that the lossless audio is both DTS-HD MA 5.1 English and Japanese.

While I was watching the film, I was pretty impressed because it’s the best I have heard from a “Bleach” soundtrack.  I also noticed that there was a good amount of surround channel use with explosions and action sequences, during those battles, the sound was quite immersive at times.  And also moments of LFE.

But if anything, I’ve never heard “Bleach” sound this good and for the film to be on Blu-ray, I can only hope that Viz Media continues their plan to release more “Bleach” films in HD!

Subtitles are provided as English optional during the English soundtrack and also featured in the Japanese soundtrack of the film.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Bleach the Movie 3: Fade to Black” comes with the following special features:

  • Movie Trailers – Featuring the Japanese and English trailers for “Bleach the Movie 3: Fade to Black”.
  • Production Art Gallery  – Using your remote (or mouse and keyboard), you can cycle through various production art.
  • More from Viz Media

For any fans of anime series, especially those that have a long duration, you come to realize that the films are typically out of the canon of the series.  Did the story actually happen in the timeline?  Is it a one-shot story just created for the kids during the winter?  Who knows.

But will say that “Bleach” fans will come to find this series to be exciting, action-packed and also different in some ways than other films and the series itself, for the fact that Ichigo’s usual friends that accompany him to the Soul Society, are not in this series.  No Orihime, no Chad, no Uryuu…instead, we get Kon.

And this rather intriguing, because as we know…when it comes to the anime series, Kon is just the comedy character that shows up for a brief time and Ichigo rarely has the patience to deal with him.  But in this case, Ichigo accompanies Kon to the Soul Society.

But perhaps the most intriguing part of this film is the fact that no one remembers Ichigo and look at him as an intruder to the Soul Society and everyone tries to take him down.  And of course, by this time that the film was released, this Ichigo is quite powerful, even if he is a “substitute” soul reaper.

But in some way, one of the finest things about this film is that it is a return to basics.  And what I mean by that is, it’s about Ichigo and Rukia.  The way things were in the beginning and the way things will be played out in this film.  Two individuals have manipulated Rukia’s memories and she doesn’t not remember Ichigo.

So, for those who have been wanting a return to those simpler times of Ichigo and Rukia, this film does feature a storyline focusing on both individuals.

And of course, there is that surprise element of Kisuke Uruhara returning to the Soul Society.  We know he left…leaving his old-self behind and never returning as a Soul Reaper, but in this case, he returns to set things right with the damage caused by the two assailants.

While “Bleach the Movie 3: Fade to Black” doesn’t come with much special features, my review copy of the screener disc does feature very good PQ (which one would expect from a film) and lossless audio via DTS-HD MA (English and Japanese).

Overall, if you are a “Bleach” fan, more than likely you will be watching this film as it is part of the debut entry of Viz Media to anime on Blu-ray (the other release was the “Naruto Shippuden” film, “Bonds”).  It’s an exciting, action-packed film featuring plenty of characters and of course, an Ichigo and Rukia storyline that fans will definitely be entertained by.

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