Bleach: The Diamond Dust Rebellion (VIZ Media, NR)

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bleach2-header.jpgThe animation is sharp and stylish and there's no lack of either pageantry or action sequences.





Bleach: The Diamond Dust Rebellion is the second feature film in Tite Kubo's Bleach universe. Directed by Noriyuki Abe (who also directed the first Bleach movie) from a script by Hichiko Yokote and Masahiro Okubo, it's a worthy addition to the series and a huge improvement over Bleach: Memories of Nobody.

Click for a larger image.The McGuffin this time around is the Ouin or Royal Seal which is stolen from the Soul Society during transport. The 10th Squad of Court Guards was supposed to be providing security at the time so they're all confined to barracks and relieved of their swords until it's all sorted out. Toshiro Hitsugaya comes under suspicion of treason because he left his post during the battle; he was battling a mysterious assailant but no one of any authority knows this and pretty soon the whole Stealth Force is out for Toshiro's scalp. The rest of the script is involved with working out what really happened, clearing the good name of Toshiro and the 10th Squad, and filling in backstory for the characters and current conflict with flashbacks to childhood, schooldays at the Soul Reaper Academy and old scores which need settling.

The animation is sharp and stylish and there's no lack of either pageantry or action sequences, beginning with the pre-credit sequence in which the very impressive royal procession escorting the King's Seal is beset by unseen enemies whose weapons of choice are giant fireballs and electrical fields. The characters are psychologically complex enough to be interesting and there are several important female characters among the good guys, as well as two babes in school-girl skirts and scary helmets who are playing for the other side. The animators pull out all the stops for the final confrontation but that's exactly what you expect in this type of film.

Bleach: The Diamond Dust Rebellion comes with a generous package of extras including a 20-page color booklet tucked into the slipcase which has interviews with the creators, a guide to the characters and story (and believe me, you'll be glad for the clues!), lyrics to the theme song and detailed credits. The main DVD includes previews of Naruto Shippuden: The Movie, Bleach the Movie: Memories of Nobody, and several manga series. The bonus DVD includes a gallery of production art, five interviews with various creators who worked on the film (director, character designer, background artists, composer, etc.), and the Japanese promos for the film. | Sarah Boslaugh


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