Let’s get a headache.


Bleach is a (tasty beverage) live action adaptation of a popular anime/manga series (which I have neither seen nor read). If this film is any indication of the quality of the original—God help us.

I wasn’t aware that a film could be so bad that it would make you contemplate the internal darkness of humanity and realize all life is void and suffering. I can’t imagine many fans of the series are happy here as it seems this film’s creators decided to only focus on the worst stereotypes of anime to showcase here.

We follow Ichigo (Sota Fukushi), a young teenager who can see ghosts due to having a great soul pressure. What is soul pressure? Who knows? I imagine it is like constipation—and nothing in this film does anything to discredit such an asinine reading. Plot points are made up as they go and little to no care is done regarding worldbuilding. A major problem with the worldbuilding is that Ichigo is a whiny jackass who doesn’t care about learning anything about what is going on—so we as the audience don’t get to learn anything, either.

Anyway, Ichigo meets Rukia (Hana Sugisaki) when a monster (called a hollow) attacks his house. She gives Ichigo her power so he can fight the monster. Now he has reaper powers, and this is where at least a fun story could have developed. Watching Ichigo become a reaper while balancing high school would have been in the vein of Harry Potter, but no—fuck that! We have to add in a bunch of other crap—the reapers are pissed he has their powers, but he can’t give the powers back, and there are other groups who don’t like the reapers, but also don’t like hollows, and we also have to have a bunch of shoehorned high school garbage.

There are other characters, but they don’t matter. The female lead is reduced to a whining witness, we have the corny bad guy wearing a sleep mask, the other corny bad guy with a horrid hair-cut, the nerdy kid who is an alien (???), and the friend who has superhuman strength yet no one seems to care. I can’t remember any of their names nor their role in the story.

It is funny that this film so clearly wants to be Harry Potter but over-engineered the story with so much extra crap you would damn near need a cheat sheet to know what everything is. Worse than the complications are that none of it is interesting. What we end up with is a bunch of stupid gibberish that doesn’t make any sense. The reapers are supposedly out there to protect innocents but seem to really hate humans—for reasons.

Couple a nonsensical story with cringe-inducing acting, lackluster battles (though the monster designs are cool), terrible music and costumes, and you pretty much have a vision of this film. If all that isn’t bad enough for you, they could have easily cropped about thirty minutes of adolescent whining from the film and have zero impact on the story.

There are good stories told within the manga and anime circles. Bleach may be one of them, but this adaptation not only makes for a terrible film—it detracts from the entire genre. If this is someone’s first exposure to these stories, I imagine they will run away from it as fast as they can. Avoid this one.

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