The second Bleach movie is getting it’s American release almost a year after the first. This time around the movie sticks it’s focus on a known character.
Does this two disk package hold the Bleach name up high? Or does Bleach The Movie 2: The DiamondDust Rebellion need a good bit of white out (ah, back to the bad jokes!) Let’s find out.
As always, we begin with the packaging. This time we get a slipcase, and one of the relatively new ‘eco friendly’ DVD cases. Less eco friendly, more cheaply made. Cutting a chunk of plastic out of the case likely doesn’t make it anymore ‘green’, and leads to having to use a softer hand dealing with the case. The disks are held firmly in the hubs, but not to hard. It can still take a bit of extra effort to get them out though, as you sorta want to try and be careful because of all the removed plastic. The coverart is a nice piece of art, but I think it probably has a few to many characters on it (I think in this case, when the movie is about the backstory of one character, showing 15 characters packed onto the cover is just to many.) The back cover is sort of weird. It has a small description of the film, a list of features and specs, a single cropped screenshot and giant text proclaiming the title of the movie (nearly half the back cover in fact.) Overall the packaging is a bit subpar compared to what we expect nowadays due to being a bit haphazard and busy as far as art goes, and using a case that will likely cause problems down the line.
The menu has a neat design to it, but the color choice makes the options a bit harder to read then I like. One thing I want to point out, the main screen of the menu doesn’t have Hitsugaya on it at all, despite him being the focus of the film. Not a bad menu, but some odd choices.
The film itself is quite honestly a mess. It starts like so many films, protecting an almighty MacGuffin. What does the MacGuffin do? Well no one knows, nor has anyone seen it, but it’s being protected. Of course, it gets stolen (as MacGuffins tend to.) Hitsugaya gives chase to try and recover it. Before you know it, he is branded a traitor, and his entire squad has been locked down in case they are in on it (although let’s be clear, we’ve been told once again, that the MacGuffin is quite dangerous, to the extent that this quickly put together lock down is very necessary.) I won’t explain the plot past that to avoid spoilers, but suffice it to say, it’s quite a boring film. Shonen films often have the problem of having to piggy back off new characters, with the inherent knowledge that no matter what happens in the film, everything must be neatly put back at the end. DiamondDust Rebellion tries to create an interesting story based around a popular character, and failed in every way. Suffice it to say characters learn lessons about friendship and defeat the villain, and every chess piece is back as it was when the film began. The only interesting things, to me at least, was there was a fight against a giant IceGhidorah (with one head), and when the big fight with IceGhidorah starts, the music sounds oddly like the Final Fantasy Seven boss fight theme. I wish I could say something more positive about the film, but I just found it quite terrible. The best thing I can say about the movie…. at least it isn’t to long.
Video quality is quite poor for this release. This is a theatrical feature released less than two years ago in Japan. Video this poor is inexcusable for a modern animated film. Video is constantly fuzzy, and often blurry. Animation is often off model, and it’s obvious many animation houses worked on the film, as character’s features change frame by frame (which is often the case for lower budget TV episodes of shonen shows, but shouldn’t happen with a film.) The only positive thing I can say about the video is that once in awhile you get a scene that looks nice, and the video is always watchable. The end credits are done via alternate angles for both English and Japanese language credits (the first time I can remember seeing alternate angles on a Viz disk.)
This set has four audio tracks. It has English and Japanese 2.0 Dolby, and English and Japanese 5.1 Dolby. The 2.0 tracks are 160k, a bit lower than the bitrates we generally expect for 2.0 audio on anime disks (and lower than the stereo menu audio), but it sounds decent. The 5.1 tracks sound terrible though. Each of these is given only 256k. This is the lowest I can personally remember seeing a 5.1 track done, and it certainly explains the 5.1 tracks being very weak. One other thing to mention, once again a sign/song sub track has not been provided, and the end credits song is not translated on the only subtitle stream on the disk.
The dub is exactly what you expect for Bleach at this point. Voices are done as well as they are for the TV show. The dub is one of the bright points of this disk. If you enjoy the Bleach dub, you won’t notice any differences or have any complaints here.
The set has a second disk with extras, and a booklet. The booklet is around 20 pages and contains screenshots, some film quotes, a few cast interviews and profiles and film credits. It also has one page of Bleach terms, with small tiles for minor information about the Guard Squads on the last page. Oddly, the booklet contains lyrics for the ending song… (if it was translated, why wasn’t it used in the subtitles?)
The second disk is an extras disk. It contains an art gallery which is filled with production art and sketches. It also has five minutes of trailers for the film, none of which are translated minus a small movie preview/teaser starring Kon. There is also a 37 minute behind the scenes feature made from a few smaller segments. For some reason, these are all hardsubbed. One thing to mention is the combined size of the movie disk, and the extras disk is quite a bit beneath what a dual layer disk would hold. The movie disk itself is dual layer, so it is a bit odd that there would be a single layer disk with extras. The only explanation is that it was done to say it was a two disk set.
Bleach the Movie 2: The DiamondDust Rebellion is a very poor film that get’s a very poor disk. It’s unfortunate a much loved franchise has gotten the shaft so easily. After watching the film it’s obvious to see why this one didn’t get a limited theatrical showing like the first film. Many of the choices made with the disk itself lend itself to making it look even worse. It’s likely the third Bleach film will come out in the USA next year, and I only hope when I crack that case open I find something much better.
Show: D+ (A poor movie that annoys more than it does anything correct. A few points are given for trying to do something with a well known character, but the movie just doesn’t work.)
Packaging: C- (The ‘green’ packaging is a bit cheaper feeling than normal cases. The back cover is odd in that half of it is just the title of the film.)
Video Quality: C- (It’s watchable, but it doesn’t show off or please. If it weren’t a relatively new film, I might have given it a higher score.)
Audio Quality: C- (Decent 2.0 tracks save the audio from getting a bad grade. Avoid the 5.1 tracks.)
English Dub: A- (Bleach dub fans know what they are getting.)
Extras: B- (A decent sized documentary, a few trailers, and a booklet. Considered giving it a grade less due to being a 2 disk set and not really delivering on that)
Overall (not an average): D+ (A bad disk of a bad film. Hardcore Bleach fans only. And if you don’t like Hitsugaya, even hardcore Bleach fans are warned to stay away.)
Gallery under ad. All caps are lossless PNGs taken in MPC-HC, feel free to request more. (Caps are sized 853×480 so as to display properly on computer monitors, they were modified to this resolution via Photoshop CS4 as MPC-HC takes screen captures at the resolution the video is stored on the disk.)
Bleach – © Tite Kubo/Shueisha, TV TOKYO, dentsu, Pierrot. Licensed by Viz Media. All Rights Reserved.