Review by: Faith McAdams
Publisher: VIZ Media
MSRP: $29.98 US
Running Time: 90 minutes
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
That which glitters yet doesn’t quite sparkle.
Just like everyone in this office, I’m a Bleach fanatic that looks forward to anything Bleach related and was one of the first to get in line in the theater to see the first Bleach movie. While the first movie felt like a lengthy Bleach filler episode, it felt like a really good Bleach filler episode and I was actually quite satisfied with the result. So it’s no surprise that a second movie was in the making and yours truly was very excited to find it heading our way on a two-disc collection. Bleach The Movie 2: The Diamond Dust Rebellion shifts its attention in another direction and, while it lacks Memories of Nobody’s exciting and fun quality, this one is still able to give devoted fans a thrill.
The movie finds Squad 10 of the Thirteen Court Guard Squads, which is led by the diminutive and surprisingly young Captain Toshiro Hitsugaya, guarding a caravan carrying an important artifact belonging to the Royal Family. Suddenly, the caravan is under attack and as people start dying it is Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto that notices that Captain Hitsugaya is taken aback by the masked attacker that seems to know him. Then, without even saying a word, the respected Captain of Squad 10 rushes off after the attacker.
With the artifact, known as the Ouin, stolen and members of the Kido Corps slaughtered, the council believes that Toshiro Hitsugaya’s sudden disappearance can only mean that the young Captain has betrayed the Soul Society. Even with Rangiku coming to her Captain‘s defense, Head Captain Yamamoto orders that Squad 10 be disbanded for suspicion of treason and Captain Hitsugaya be arrested on sight. Meanwhile, in the world of the living, Ichigo Kurosaki discovers a barrier between both worlds and when he crosses over he receives a very unfriendly welcome by Soi Fon. Something is clearly wrong in the Soul Society.
When Ichigo comes back home he finds an injured Hitsugaya and takes him home only to find the young Captain to be deliriously calling out the name “Kusaka.” Even when the young Soul Reaper recovers from his injury, he dodges Ichigo’s questions and tries to push the Substitute Soul Reaper away so it becomes clear to Ichigo that this is a very personal matter Hitsugaya doesn’t even walk to talk about with him or anyone. Things become even more confusing to Ichigo when two twins arrive wielding the power of fire and ice. These attackers remind Ichigo of Vizards or maybe even Arancars and a fight breaks out … between Ichigo, the twins and Hitsugaya!
In the Soul Society, this are becoming even more confusing when Captain Shunsui Kyoraku is viciously attacked by the same masked assailant who just so happens to be wielding Captain Hitsugaya’s Zanpakuto Hyorinmaru. With this evidence, the Head Captain orders that Hitsgaya be executed instead of arrested. Why would Toshiro Hitsugaya do such a thing? As the young Captain fights former friends we come to find out who this Kusaka is and what connection does he have with Hitsugaya. As it turns out, the two use to be friends and considered very talented until they are both pitted against each another for a prize both of them wanted. As a result of the tragic event that unfolds, Hitsgaya carries around the guilt of what happened to Kusaka.
As Kusaka’s plan is revealed and the use of the Ouin is finally explained, Ichigo and the rest of the Soul Reapers finds themselves going up against a foe that has become powerful and corrupted by hatred. While he tries to pull Toshiro into his plan for revenge on the Seireitei, the man he thought was a friend finally turns on him as joins his fellow Soul Reapers to take on Kusaka once and for all in a battle that impressively brings just about every known Captain and Lieutenant. Sure, we’ve seen them all together before in The Rescue story arc of the series but never to this degree. It’s actually quite exciting to see Ichigo joining with the likes of Kenpachi Zaraki and Byakuya Kuchiki as equals.
The final battle is what will really stand out in this movie for that very reason and what makes it worth seeing for those who consider themselves just casual Bleach fans. We catch glimpses of some rarities such as Ikkaku’s Bankai or the mentioned Byakuya giving Ichigo encouragement to reach the enemy stronghold on his own as if he’s finally recognizing Ichigo as a force to be reckoned with as well as an ally. Sure, we don’t get to see much of Ichigo’s friends in this ones as we did in Memories of Nobody but it’s fun to see Ichigo carry out his duties as a Substitute Soul Reaper with the other Soul Reapers by his side.
Speaking of Ichigo, we get a much quieter Ichigo who doesn’t raise his voice like in the series or the last movie. He shares a part of his life with Toshiro in a scene near the end that convinces the young Captain to accept the help from his friends. He’s shared moments with Rukia Kuchiki before but this is the first time we get to see a side of Ichigo that’s not brash.
Would the movie had been different if they had chosen a different Soul Reaper? It definitely would have seeing as each Soul Reaper has his or her own personality even if we don’t get to see too deep into their soul in the series or manga. I do like Toshiro and think he’s a fleshed out character that does stand out … even though, sometimes, Rangiku does overshadow him in more ways.
The problem with The Diamond Dust Rebellion is that it does very little for Toshiro Hitsugaya seeing as Director Noriyuki Abe tries to cram in as much as possible in order to make the story true to the series. In short, it’s not a bad movie at all if you’re a dedicated Bleach fan but if you aren’t there’s not much that will draw you into the Soul Society storyline. Memories of Nobody is slightly better but if you’re into the series it is really one of those cases where you will find yourself liking it for all the reasons you love the series.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Ordered to protect an artifact with unknown magical properties, Captain Toshiro Hitsugaya is suspected of treason when he goes off to chase a mysterious attacker that steals the artifact. With an order for his capture and immediate execution, Ichigo and those closest to Hitsugaya try to discover who this mystery attacker is any he is targeting the Soul Society.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
Like the first movie, the animation quality is slightly better than what’s seen in your average Bleach episode and the series does look great. I could just imagine how good this movie would look on Blu-ray so how about it, VIZ?
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The original Japanese voices work for me but there’s just something about Johnny Yong Bosch that totally makes me feel Ichigo’s frustration, pain and determination. The score by Shirou Sagisu is amazing and we absolutely love “Hikari no Rock” by sambomaster.
The two-disc set comes with a Limited Edition booklet with art, interviews and a handy guide explaining most of the Bleach lore and Thirteen Court Guard Squad characters. The second disc is dedicated to the extras such as promotional trailers (including a cute promo featuring Kon) and interviews with the director, artists and composer of the film. We also get an interview with the band that performs the theme at the end of the movie.
While not as fun as the first Bleach movie, The Diamond Dust Rebellion is still a hardcore Bleach fans’ movie with a lot to like and even more so if you’re an admirer of Captain Hitsugaya. While most of the cast favorites are hardly much of a presence in this one, the movie manages to cram in a massive Soul Reaper battle and a memorable finale that shouldn’t be missed.