The first Bleach movie hits UK DVD courtesy of MangaUK.
Shounen anime film spin offs have become quite the ubiquitous cinematic event in Japan, with One Piece, Naruto and Bleach all churning out their own films each year, and as each subsequent production seems to get progressively cheaper and half-arsed, it’s nice to look back at one of the early titles in these series. In Bleach: Memories of Nobody a mysterious young soul reaper named Senna appears before Ichigo and Rukia with no recollection or seemingly affiliations with Soul Society, and at the same time a new dimension appears between Soul Society and the living world that is rapidly expanding, blurring the lines between the two existing worlds. Behind these occurrences is a long exiled clan led by the vengeful Ganryu, who appear to be seeking Senna as the key to creating an event that will tear apart the tenuous divide between heaven and earth.
Memories of Nobody follows the basic formula of these spin-offs: chuck in an over-powered clan of baddies and have the hero flung together with a pretty girl so they can establish a mildly suggestive special bond as he strives to protect her. In Bleach’s case this bond also brings Ichigo into conflict with Soul Society to deliver the series’ usual anti-establishment rhetoric, it’s all fairly uninspiring as far as the narrative goes. What does work is Noriyuki Abe’s direction, which is suitably pumped up from the TV series and takes a contemporary approach to the drama, filling it with appealing imagery. Of course the main point of these films is to deliver action sequences you can’t get away with on a TV budget, but because the original series creators aren’t commissioned to write these films, the fights inevitably lack substance or context. The action in Memories of Nobody isn’t too shabby really, a little routine but there’s enough razzmatazz on display, although it’s the drama and dynamic between Ichigo and Senna that really drives the film and elevates it above your average Shounen anime film.
The Disc: MangaUK present the film anamorphically in a slightly windowboxed ratio of 1.82:1 with a transfer that’s a little soft and suffers from NTSC>PAL issues, noticeable Edge Enhancements and mosquito noise, and the usual colour banding you find from anime films that have been “hazed up”. These niggles aside the image is quite pleasing, the colour scheme is suitably rich and vivid and nicely defined, whilst contrast and brightness levels are a touch high, but otherwise solid, and Mosquito Noise aside there are no other forms of compression noise.
Disappointingly, Manga have decided to drop the DD5.1 tracks from the R2j and R1 releases and only include DD2.0 sound options in Japanese or English. Saying that, the DD2.0 tracks do a decent job, dialogue is clear and crisp, bass is reasonably solid and the audio dynamics are decent – the soundstage is a little restrained though. There are no extra features of note either, simply trailers for other MangaUK releases.
It’s the end, but the moment has been prepared for…
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