Bleach: Unforgiven

bleach-unforgivenDespite Bleach’s many story telling problems, I enjoy its world. When I opened a review package from Viz Media, I was surprised to see Bleach: Unforgiven nestled among the books and manga. Bleach: Unforgiven is a double movie pack that includes Fade to Black and Hell Verse. As Bleach movies go, both movies are side stories to the main plot line. Hell Verse takes place after Ichigo’s fight with Ulquiorra.

Fade to Black involves a mysterious man and woman who capture Rukia and severs her memories. In the process, everyone except Kon and Ichigo forgets her. Ichigo senses the danger and enters the Soul Society to find her. However, he quickly learns all of the Soul Society has also forgotten about him. So he must fight the entire Soul Society (again) as he searches for Rukia.

Hell Verse opens with escapees from Hell capturing Ichigo’s sister, Yuzu. They bring take her to Hell to lure Ichigo into the depths. Their goal: to have him shatter the Gates of Hell and free them. Ichigo, Rukia, Renji, and Uryu join Ichigo along with the mysterious escapee Kokutō to free Yuzu.

Both movies have stellar production values. Bleach is known for its fight sequence, and neither movie disappoints. The camera angles and pacing used during the battles lends excitement. The smooth, detailed animations look excellent. However, the animation outside of the fight sequences is uneven. Some scenes are awash with detail and vibrant colors. Other scenes are drab and are closer to TV quality or worse. Fade to Black is guilty of this more than Hell Verse. Fade to Black interweaves flashbacks to Rukia’s past which recycle scenes from the TV series. Out of the two, Hell Verse has higher production values: better lighting, fluid animation, more camera work. But Fade to Black focuses more on story and less on action (at least as Bleach goes) than Hell Verse.

The DVD set’s cover art features a split graphic of both movies’ artwork. It’s serviceable, but not attractive if you want to display the cover in your collection. But if you are a Bleach fan and don’t already have these movies, Unforgiven offers them both at a good price. As the movies go, I found the enjoyable. They are thoroughly Bleach, so don’t expect any depth. Ichigo remains a hothead, and there is plenty of Tite Kubo style fanservice. Every character gets his or her 30 seconds of screen time in Fade to Black and fan favorites like Toshiro appear in Hell Verse. If only Tite Kubo would kill some of the characters.

Bleach: Unforgiven is available at Amazon.