– THEY DID BYAKUYA WRONG. OUT OF ALL THE WRONGS THEY COULD HAVE DONE THIS IS THE MOST UNFORGIVABLE.
What is the scion of house Kuchiki doing with the Mental Illness Haircut? What the heck is the earring for? He looks like a cosplayer! He doesn’t at any point come across as someone in a position of enormous responsibility trying to uphold the law against all his better feelings. HE MAKES A DEAL WITH RUKIA TO LET ICHIGO KILL GRAND FISHER AND THEN RENEGES ON IT. THAT’S SOMETHING THE CRAZY SCIENTIST GUY FROM SQUAD TEN WOULD DO!
Note look of icily suppressed rage. This is the look of someone who has laid it all on the line and Done Their Duty and now has to deal with someone else getting in the way.
– Not enough of the Karakura crew. The plot mostly focuses on the Grand Fisher, and then the threat to Rukia’s life due to Soul Society rules. The crew is introduced, but there just isn’t enough to make them real.
– THEY UPPED THE CHEESE IN THE CHEESY EIGHTIES-ROCK STYLE MUSIC. I can’t tell whether this is a good or a bad thing. I mean, seriously, the badass refrain is: “All you gotta do is drink all your milk.” No, seriously. No, seriously. I mean it. No, for real. No, I’m not kidding.
– For some reason, Orihime has black hair instead of red-blonde. Also, the movie appears to ship IchiRuki. Which is to be expected, but still is WRONG AND BAD.
– IN THE BACK, RENJI? REALLY? DICK MOVE.
– I am never going to stop being mad about the injustice they did to Byakuya. Why does he have the side of his head shaved? Why does he sound like a middle school teacher? Why is he making stupid deals which can’t possibly be fulfilled and breaking his word on them? Why is he not a terrifying figure of ice-cold moral absolutism?
Things they did unambiguously right:
– Isshin’s random violence against Ichigo is played correctly: unserious roughhousing with Dad, at less than full strength, because both parties have the emotional maturity of fourteen year olds.
– Isshin and the family in general is actually really good. “Karin on lunch duty. Yuzu on flowers and gifts. I’m on beer duty. (smug smile)”
– Renji was pretty good. In fact, Renji is excellent. It really is nice to see your favorite characters brought to life with good casting and writing. How did they get him so right and Byakuya so wrong?!
– Rukia was excellently cast. I never found her a compelling character in the manga, and failed to find her so here, either, but her actress turned in a good performance nevertheless.
– URAHARA! Urahara is perfect! He has only two scenes and that’s it! YOU COULDN’T EVEN HAVE THROWN A CAT IN IN THE BACKGROUND THERE?!
– The less than ten seconds we get of Soul Society was really well done.
– Rukia not knowing how to high five was perfect.
– The CGI looks uniformly quite good, to my eye at least. While the fights aren’t anything to write home about, they’re decently watchable.
– Chad and Orihime reacting to Ichigo and Grand Fisher was well done. IF ONLY THEY DEVOTED A LITTLE MORE TIME TO IT, EH?
– Actually the one-on-one swordfights are much better than the CGI monstrosities. Ichigo versus Renji was quite good, I thought.
– ….although it did seem like they did the Byakuya-Ichigo fight well, it goes on for about ten minutes after the first exchange. That’s nine minutes and fifty-eight seconds longer than it should have.
– Was the concept of the shikai explained at any point? Because I think that Renji busting out the shikai-Zabimaru would have been more meaningful if so. Eh, whatever.
This movie was just good enough to make me want to watch the sequel. WHICH THERE ISN’T ONE. DAMNIT!
RATED: after nearly ten years, I think I’m gonna go read the manga again….