Bleach: The Hell Verse tells the tale of the kidnap of Ichigo’s sister Yuzu by hell’s sinners, bringing her with them into the underworld. Her release is on the condition that Ichigo frees them from the chains which bind them to hell, or she’ll join them for good…
I’d go straight off and say it: You don’t necessarily need to make time for this if you don’t want to – you’re not missing much. The 4th Bleach movie is a bit of a disappointment, so you wouldn’t see much of praise within my review. Read on if you do wish to know why not to watch it; and if you already have, you might just agree with me. 😀
What’s new in this film that goes un-featured in the manga series is Tite Kubo’s intepretation of hell. So you could be excused for watching it just to see hell from the vision of the author. It’s a pretty morbid place, where sinners get sent to suffer for their actions, get eaten by its guardians, respawn and get eaten again.
It’s mentioned that the denizens of hell are given the power to fight (none of which you actually get to see), and given that you can’t die in hell (you get a rebirth of sorts from lava), you’ll just keep on fighting and get eaten, until you lose your will to fight, then you either become one with the image above, or a remnant of your former self running from the guardians forever.
Plot holes (and major spoilers):
My biggest peeve with the movie. One moment you tell the audience something, the next moment you throw a Deus Ex Machina or the like and those ‘laws’ mysteriously vanish. You could call it plot armor, but it actually goes beyond that. The two most glaring ones are listed below.
1. You can’t escape hell, but you can leave anytime you want to bring people from the human world to join you in hell as long as you have your identities concealed.
2. You become a permanent resident of hell once you’ve been chained to it, unless someone comes along to cut those chains loose, or you hang around in the human world long enough for them to mysteriously disappear (and hence returning you to the land of the living).
Quite simply, if you’re an affiliate of Ichigo’s (or Ichigo himself), these laws do not apply. In lieu of 1 and 2, the purpose of the gates of hell almost seems to only prevent the guardians of hell from entering the human world (as was what happened after it got blown open).
While it is nice seeing Ichigo back in a form we’ll unlikely see for a while to come, as well as being outfitted with a new costume and being all god-like, you’ll probably tire (or are already tired) of those one-hit-KO single slashes after seeing them being used so often.
In making the movie, they forgot an important thing that made Bleach great – its cast of characters with their diverse and flashy skills and abilities. Unlike the previous movies where most of the captains had air time, here the focus is largely on Ichigo, meaning you won’t be seeing most of the fan-favorites save for a cameo line or two.
What’s also missed is the battle choreography, where from what was once a splendid furry of attacks being exchanged you get instead a turn-based bombardment of skills from either side as well as that rather pathetic beam spamming from Ichigo’s final hollow form.
I’m know I’m pretty harsh with my review, because I’ve seen the previous movies and enjoyed them so much more, but I’m sure fans would easily be able find something to like about it. If you take it as a 3 episode long filler to the series, I’m pretty sure your perception would be much more positive. 😀