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Film / Bleach

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Ichigo Kurosaki, Substitute Shinigami

Bleach is a 2018 live action film based on the manga of the same name by Tite Kubo. Produced by Warner Bros. and directed by Shinsuke Sato, the film tells the story of Ichigo Kurosaki (Sota Fukushi) — an orange-haired Japanese teenager with the unusual ability to see spirits. Ichigo's already unusual life is turned upside-down when a young woman in a black kimono appears in his room, introducing herself as Rukia Kuchiki (Hana Sugisaki) — a Soul Reaper tasked with sending ghosts to the afterlife and slaying monstrous evil spirits called Hollows. When Ichigo's family is attacked by a Hollow, Rukia is injured and forced to transfer her powers to him, tasking him with fighting Hollows in her stead until he becomes powerful enough to survive returning her powers to her. However, Ichigo's activities draw the ire of Uryū Ishida (Ryo Yoshizawa) — the last surviving member of the Quincy, mystical archers antagonistic towards the Soul Reapers; and Rukia finds herself hunted by fellow Soul Reapers Renji Abarai (Taichi Saotome) and her elder brother Byakuya Kuchiki (Miyavi) for the crime of transferring her powers to a human.


A teaser trailer was released on February 21st, 2018 — and was praised by fans for its accurate rendition of the manga's first chapter. The film was released in Japan on July 20, 2018 and has been picked up by Netflix for a worldwide release on September 14, 2018.

Bleach contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • During the training montage, Ichigo tells Rukia that he wanted her to be his friend. It won't be the last time Ichigo's actor (Sota Fukushi) does that.
    • Speaking of, it isn't the first time Sota Fukushi and Ryo Yoshizawa had a Back-to-Back Badass moment.
  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: The movie basically asks "What if Bleach ended after its first arc?". As a result, the entirety of the story is seemingly wrapped up with Rukia returning to Soul Society and Ichigo having his memory of her wiped, although it can be debated if the final scene of him seemingly regaining said memories is just a slight alleviation to the Bittersweet Ending or a full blown Sequel Hook.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Ichigo, though he initially started out as Adaptational Wimp due to having poor control over his otherwise abnormally high spiritual energy and failing to kill the second Hollow he encounters. This trope kicks in when he manages to kill Grand Fisher, who was out of his league in the manga.
    • Fishbone, the Hollow that attacks Ichigo's family, has a telescopic neck and almost swallows Rukia whole when it tries to eat Ichigo. It also appeared to be charging a Cero to blast Rukia point-blank, though she interrupted its attack with a Sōkatsui.
    • Rukia is shown being highly adept at swordplay, which the manga implied was something she had only the bare minimum experience in.
    • Minor example, but Yuzu is able to see and hear ghosts and Hollows, while in the original, she could not.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change: Grand Fisher is given a backstory that differs from its manga self. In the manga it was a masculine Hollow with an unknown backstory other than that Soul Society had been hunting it for fifty years; but in the movie Rukia reveals that it was originally a young girl — whose form it uses as the default appearance of its lure.
  • Adaptational Curves: Inverted. Orihime doesn't have her Impossible Hourglass Figure from the manga, and while Chad is certainly tall enough, he still lacks his sculpted physique.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: The entire Kurosaki family (sans Isshin and Karin who were already dark-haired).
    • It's Played With for Ichigo. Given that a flashback shows him with black hair as a child, his current day hair is a darker shade of orange than its manga counterpart, and Sota Fukushi's black roots clearly are showing, it appears that Ichigo isn't a redhead in this continuity but actually has black hair and dyed it orange.
    • Masaki Kurosaki also has black hair in the aforementioned flashback rather than her brown hair from the manga, this leads credence to the above theory as Ichigo canonically got his hair color from his mother.
    • Yuzu also has plain dark hair instead of blonde as she and Karin are Identical Twins in this continuity.
    • Outside of the Kurosaki family, Orihime has darker, almost brown hair as opposed to the chestnut color of the manga.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance:
    • Byakuya and Renji are introduced much earlier than in the manga. Renji even confronts and tries to kill Ichigo midway through the movie, but is stopped by Uryū.
    • Orihime's feelings towards Ichigo weren't revealed until the Arrancar Arc, here, her very first scene has her stating to Tatsuki why she finds him attractive.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: Uryu is a lot more knowledgeable about spirits, including Soul Society, to the point where he's the one who reveals to Ichigo that Urahara used to be a Soul Reaper.
  • Adaptational Superpower Change:
    • In the manga, Rukia transfers her powers to Ichigo by stabbing him in the chest with her Zanpakuto. The same occurs in the movie, with the added wrinkle that it's possible for Ichigo to do the same to her to give her her powers back, which would have been incredibly useful in the manga's continuity. However, it requires a tremendous amount of Spiritual Pressure and doing it unprepared would instantly result in Ichigo's death. Ultimately, they pull it off at the end of the movie, despite Ichigo being on the brink of death.
    • Soul Reapers have the ability to become more powerful each time they defeat a Hollow, which is not present in the original.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: Grand Fisher looks much less cartoonish. Its fur resembles writhing plant tendrils and its mask is more alien.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Byakuya cornered Grand Fisher in Karakura Town and could have slain it any time he wanted to, yet leaves the dirty work to Ichigo, whose inexperience leads to a lengthy fight with lots of collateral damage. He then casually reneges on his deal with Ichigo and Rukia by trying to kill them.
    • Unlike the manga, where Renji injures Uryu because the latter challenged him, here Renji stabs him from behind with no provocation.
    • Soul Society is just a tad crueler this time around. Rukia is just charged with transferring her powers to a human, just like the manga, however Byakuya states it's possible for her to be pardoned if she kills Ichigo and even encourages her to do so as it would be seen as the right move in the Soul Society's eyes.
  • Adapted Out: An unfortunate consequence of trying to compress 8 volumes worth of manga into a less-than 2 hour-long movie is that a lot of the supporting cast had to be kicked to the curb.
    • Mizuiro is cut, leaving Keigo and Chad as Ichigo's sole school friends.
    • Orihime and Tatsuki's school friends; Michiru, Ryo, Mahana and Chizuru are cut.
    • Not only is Kon cut, but the entire concept of Mod Souls don't appear to exist in the movie continuity.
    • Shrieker and Yuuichi, the boy in the parakeet's body are left out as Chad's character arc is skipped over. This also results in his Abuelo being cut, alongside the story behind his coin necklace as well as the story behind why Ichigo calls him "Chad" in the first place.
    • Sora Inoue is gone as Orihime's character arc was also skipped over, which cuts out the story of her hairpins.
    • Don Kanonji is out, as the Demi-Hollow plot is skipped.
    • Souken Ishida is not even mentioned. As a result, Uryu holds a grudge against Soul Reapers because they wiped out his tribe, not because they murdered his grandfather.
    • Jinta, Ururu, Tessai, and Yoruichi do not appear, most likely due to Urahara being Demoted to Extra and the story not progressing to the Soul Society arc.
    • The bears in Rukia's illustrated explanation about Hollows and Pluses don't appear in the film.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: Byakuya catches Ichigo's sword with two fingers.
  • Big Bad: The Hollow known as Grand Fisher — a shaggy-furred creature with avian limbs — is the antagonist with the most impact on its plot, having been the one who killed Ichigo's mother when he was a child.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Byakuya defeats Ichigo with minimal effort and Rukia is taken into his custody. Rukia spares him the angst of losing a close friend by erasing his memory, letting Ichigo move on with his life. However, in her closing monologue she states he might regain his memories, which it's implied he does.
  • BFS: Ichigo's Zanpakuto takes the form of a broad-bladed katana as long as he is tall.
  • Blood Knight: In contrast to the mostly-stoic Byakuya, Renji is eager to fight and kill Ichigo, grinning and lolling his tongue out of his mouth more than a few times.
  • Book Ends: An early part of the film has Keigo telling tall tales of what happened to Ichigo to Orihime and Tatsuki after a Hollow incident only for Ichigo to interrupt them, follow by Rukia showing her notebook to Ichigo, telling him to meet her at the rooftop. The end of of the movie has a similar scene, with the difference that Rukia is absent.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: In the finale, Rukia tries to do this to Ichigo in order to save him from Byakuya, calling Ichigo a lowly human and saying that she's sick of living with him. Her being on the brink of tears undermines her credibility.
  • Bystander Syndrome: At first, Ichigo doesn't want to be a Substitute Soul Reaper, even after Rukia points out that if he doesn't do anything, a lot of people will be killed by Hollows, saying it has nothing to do with him and he'll only fight to protect his family. He ultimately finds he can't ignore it when he sees a little boy ghost being attacked by a Hollow.
  • Combat Tentacles: Grand Fisher can extend its fur into tentacles.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The film covers the first eight volumes of the manga — meaning that a lot of material is skipped or compressed to fit into its timeframe. Acidwire, Shrieker, Kon, Don Kanonji, and the Demi-Hollow are skipped over, and Grand Fisher takes the place of the Menos Grande during the duel between Ichigo and Uryū.
  • Cool Sword: The Soul Reapers wield mystical swords called Zanpakuto, each having its own name and unique abilities.
  • Creepy Child: In a flashback to Ichigo's childhood, Grand Fisher's lure takes the form of a young girl — its original form before it became a Hollow.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Rukia's kenjutsu training sessions with Ichigo initially amount to him flailing angrily at her while she effortlessly beats him.
    • In the final battle, Byakuya cuts Ichigo down three times with iaido slashes, though he picks himself up again each time until Rukia puts a stop to it.
  • Darker and Edgier: While the film has its fair share of comedic moments, it lacks the wackiness that the manga had. Urahara doesn't play The Gadfly, Isshin is a little more somber, and comic relief figures like Kon and Don Kanonji are completely absent.
  • Death by Adaptation: Grand Fisher is slain by Ichigo, instead of escaping and becoming an Arrancar.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Not only are Chad and Orihime's character arcs cut, they do not receive their powers or any form of spiritual awareness until the very end, where they're vaguely able to sense Ichigo battling Grand Fisher.
    • Urahara, the mysterious Famed In-Story Eccentric Mentor, is reduced to a bit-part. Even his Mysterious Past, which was slowly alluded to over the course of the series, is revealed in a throwaway line of dialogue.
  • Determinator: Ichigo gets the fight of his life from Grand Fisher, only to get an equally daunting fight from Renji. He then gets repeatedly curb-stomped by Byakuya and still refuses to admit defeat. It takes Rukia ordering him to back down to finally get Ichigo to stop fighting.
  • Energy Bow: The Quincy — of whom Uryū Ishida is the last known member — could manifest energy bows that fire arrows of light.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Ichigo's classmates see Rukia training him in swordsmanship so he'll be a stronger Soul Reaper. Chad assumes Rukia is teaching him to defend himself from the punks he beat up earlier, who had sworn they would be back with friends for revenge. Orihime sees them training and assumes they're in a relationship.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Renji throws a car at Ichigo which explodes on impact.
  • Eye Scream: Uryu shoots Grand Fisher in the eye with an arrow.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Ichigo and Ishida start off as rivals, but team up to fight Grand Fisher, and in the final scene greet each other with friendly smiles and more than a little confusion — their memories of having even met each other before having been erased.
  • Flynning: Ichigo is a novice at swordsmanship, so when Rukia tries to train him, he just flails his sword around and gets his butt kicked. He eventually gets more skilled and stops doing this in battle.
  • Gender Flip:
    • In the scene where Ichigo beats up some punks who knocked over an offering to a deceased kid, the ghost of the kid is a boy, when it was a girl in the anime and manga.
    • Grand Fisher was a girl when alive.
  • Greeting Gesture Confusion: Ichigo has to teach Rukia about the high-five.
  • Heroic Bystander: Ichigo and Grand Fisher's battle starts wrecking the city. Chad shields his friends from a sign that gets thrown at them, then he and Orihime lead all the stunned civilians to safety.
  • Iaijutsu Practitioner: Byakuya slashes Ichigo three times with this technique. Each time, Byakuya assumes Ichigo is dead, but to his amazement, Ichigo keeps getting up despite his injuries.
  • I Lied: Ichigo makes a deal with Byakuya and Renji that they will leave him and Rukia alone if he manages to kill Grand Fisher. Byakuya immediately reneges on the deal and orders Renji to kill them anyway.
  • In the Back: As Ichigo and Uryu celebrate defeating Grand Fisher, Renji impales Uryu from behind. He survives.
  • Level Grinding: Soul Reapers become more powerful when they defeat powerful Hollows. By defeating Grand Fisher, Ichigo will become strong enough to transfer Rukia's powers back to her.
  • Made of Iron: When Grand Fisher lobs a large metal sign at Ichigo, who was knocked into the eatery where his classmates were having lunch, Chad is completely uninjured after using his body to shield Orihime and his other classmates from it.
  • Missing Mom: Ichigo's mother was mysteriously killed trying to protect him as a child, imbuing him with the determination to protect his remaining family and friends.
  • Mistaken for Romance: Keigo and Orihime wrongly assume that Ichigo and Rukia are dating.
  • Mundane Afterlife: Soul Society is evocative of Edo-era Japan, with the samurai-like Soul Reapers ruling over the unruly slums of the Rukongai from the fortified city of Seireitei. A brief shot of it towards the 1/3 mark of the film hints towards Magitek, as there are several black towers marked with glowing purple kanji.
  • Mythology Gag: In the final battle, when Ichigo attacks Byakuya, the latter catches his sword between two fingers, much like Aizen did in the manga and anime.
  • Not What It Looks Like:
    • Keigo immediately assumes that Ichigo is dating Rukia, despite Tatsuki and Ichigo himself stating he was just showing her around.
    • When Orihime comes across Ichigo pinning Rukia to the ground,note  she awkwardly asks what they're up to before walking away.
      Ichigo: She completely misunderstands our relationship.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different:
    • Pluses/Wholes are the spirits of deceased people who remain in the World of the Living due to various regrets.
    • Hollows are the corrupted spirits that have succumbed to negative emotions, transforming into ravenous monsters.
    • Soul Reapers are psychopomps who inhabit the feudal Japanese Mundane Afterlife of Soul Society, tasked with hunting Hollows and sending Pluses to the afterlife.
  • Prehensile Hair: Grand Fisher can freely extend and manipulate its fur, using it to restrain prey.
  • Race Lift: Downplayed with Chad. While Chad was portrayed with a Mexican appearance in the anime and manga, he is played by a Japanese actor in this film. However, Chad was always established as half-Mexican and half-Japanese.
  • The Rival: As the self-proclaimed last Quincy — who had an antagonistic relationship with the Soul Reapers — Uryū Ishida takes an immediate dislike to Substitute Shinigami Ichigo Kurosaki.
  • Running Gag: Keigo dramatically stating that Ichigo was killed every time something bad happens, Orihime falling for it, and Ichigo showing up and remarking that he's still alive.
  • Sequel Hook: Shinsuke Sato has stated that he hopes to make a trilogy, with the second film adapting the Soul Society arc, and this film establishes set-ups for potential sequels. Byakuya tells Renji that the order to capture or kill Rukia came from "higher up", indicating that they're just The Heavy for the real Big Bad; Chad and Orihime begin to awaken their own supernatural abilities, sensing Ichigo's presence during his fight with Grand Fisher; and at the film's conclusion, Rukia is taken back to Soul Society to be punished for her "crimes," and erases Ichigo's memories of her. However, he finds the note she wrote in his textbook the day she came to his school, which seemingly restores his memories.
  • Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: Grand Fisher impersonates Masaki to stun Ichigo. Rukia snaps him out of it.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Isshin quips that Ichigo should bring the pretty young classmate who saved his life — Rukia — home and introduce her to the family.
    • Tatsuki is this for Ichigo and Orihime, even insisting Orihime make her move after she thinks Ichigo and Rukia have broken up.
  • Smug Smiler: Despite his frustration, Byakuya flashes a brief one over Ichigo's persistence.
  • Terrible Artist: Rukia's classic crappy drawings appear when she gives her explanations on Hollows. At least she admits her drawing of Grand Fisher doesn't look anything like the real deal.
  • Too Slow: Renji pulls a Flash Step on Ichigo and taunts him for being slow. In their rematch, Ichigo can better respond to his attacks and says Renji is slow. Then Byakuya pulls this on Ichigo.
  • Training Montage: To make Ichigo strong enough to survive giving her back her powers, Rukia puts him through an intense training regimen. Initially he refuses to comply, but after Byakuya and Renji show up and he discovers Grand Fisher killed his mother, he starts taking things a lot more seriously.
  • Throat Light: As Fishbone charges a Cero to fire at Rukia, the inside of its mouth glows blue-white.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Ishida gets impaled by Renji and is fine the next day. There was no prior indication that he had any sort of Healing Factor.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Ichigo defeats Renji by slicing his Zanpakuto in half. After the battle, Renji restores it off-screen.
  • Youkai: The film indicates that the Hollows were the inspiration for oni, jorōgumo, and other yōkai in Japanese mythology.
  • You Killed My Father: Ichigo begins his battle with Grand Fisher by screaming, "You killed my mother!"

Abandon your fear. Look forward. Move forward and never stop. You'll age if you pull back. You'll die if you hesitate.