In Case You Missed it 2019 #4

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 2 Cute Moment

Here we are at the end of week 4 and things couldn’t be hotter (both for the Winter anime season and the general weather in Australia). As always, here is my weekly round up of anime related content from the community and from my blog this week. Please send me a link if you find a post that you feel needs a shout out, I always love finding new content to read.

Posts from the Community

Ya Boy Jack has an interesting post this week about politics in anime. This one isn’t preaching but is more just looking at why everything is political and yet why that shouldn’t stop people from enjoying what they enjoy or being part of the anime community. Definitely one to check out this week.

LynLynSays takes a look at how Goblin Slayer addresses trauma, specifically in episode 9 with the Sword Maiden. There’s definitely spoilers for the episode if you haven’t watched it and are concerned about it, but it is a great look at one of the more grounded fears in Goblin Slayer and the idea of living with trauma.

Goblin Slayer Episode 9 Goblin Slayer and Sword Maiden

Sakura Sunrise has a review of the first couple in a series of short anime films by Bones that I’ve never even heard of but after reading this review I’m certainly going to try and find it to watch. Towa no Quon’s first two stories are reviewed here and while the review isn’t glowing this certainly made me interested in finding out more about these stories.

Arthifis is starting to run out his impressions posts for the season as episode 3’s are watched. Here we have his thoughts on Boogiepop wa Warawanai. If you are still picking a watch list or were waiting to see what was worth the effort, Arthifis is doing an excellent job of taste testing and I’m certain his season guide when he finishes it will be well worth the read.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 1 Boogiepop

LofZOdyssey reviewed Skeleton Bookseller Honda San from last season and looks at the context and pace of jokes as well as character designs and voice acting. For a brief review it hits the needed points and clearly they had fun with this anime. If you were curious about Honda San last season this one might be a post to check out.

Lyn Sheridan shares their thoughts on Conception with a series review. Conveniently this came out the same day as my own review of Conception and now I’m wondering who enjoyed the show less. If you want to know what went wrong with Conception check out the reviews.

Conception Episode 9 Itsuki mad at Mana

Irina gives us 5 life lessons learned from blogging. A fun little list of things to remember when blogging that can be applied to your everyday life. Who doesn’t like a post that makes them feel good about themselves and also potentially gives them a pointer they can use?

From Atelier Emily we have a nice breakdown of the use of camera in The Promised Neverland over the first three episodes. Yes there are some spoilers here if you’ve not started watching it, but for those who have it is a really great post to read to sink your teeth into just why it feels so nicely put together at times.

The Promised Neverland Episode 2 - Norman and Emma

PeregrinePrincess has another fantastic Natsume post, this week looking at Natori’s introduction and the relationship that forms between Natsume and Natori during Natori’s first appearance. It’s a really great discussion about the episode and the motives behind the characters though it does spoil the episode if you’ve never seen it and want to go in cold. Still, a definite read for Natsume fans and if you are just curious about what makes the show great this series of posts have been a pretty fantastic in highlighting why the series speaks to so many people.

Pick of the Week

There Goes My Kokoro managed to really get my attention this week when they revisited and finished Re:Zero but amazingly found Subaru still an unlikable idiot. The number of people who have told me I should go back and give that anime more time because it gets better is more or less uncountable at this point in time and yet no matter what the plot might do later, the main reason I’ve never made it beyond the double opening episode is a deep seated irritation with every single thing Subaru does. After reading this post I’m finally crossing Re:Zero off my watch list for good because clearly I will not like watching any more. This post does a great job of breaking down Subaru’s flaws as a character and even though I didn’t watch far this post really did speak to me.

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Karandi James
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Friday’s Feature: 3 Lessons To Be Learned From Bleach Movie Adaptation

Netflix Live Action Bleach

While it was less than a week ago that I watched this movie for the first time, despite having an incredibly hectic work week I forced a second watching. For a movie I wasn’t dreading the release of, but was fairly nervous about how it would end up looking, the Bleach live action movie that landed on Netflix certainly managed to get my attention. My review a few days ago was fairly glowing and I’m standing by that review even after a second watch through.

While I will admit the movie is hardly a modern masterpiece and a lot of the enjoyment came from being a fan of the franchise, what has been delivered by Bleach is perhaps the surest sign that writers and directors are starting to learn from the many failed adaptations of the past (or maybe they just lucked out this time). However, while there are certainly negative reviews to be found if you look for them, the majority of posts I’ve read covering this movie have been surprised in tone and largely positive of the choices made in adapting it.

I’m normally not one for scoring shows or movies, but I was curious how this was playing out on popular sites like IMBD and Rotten Tomatoes so decided to take a quick peek at the scores Bleach had compared to other recent adaptations.

The break-down looked more or less like this:

Bleach: IMBD = 6.8 Rotten Tomatoes = 84% liked it

Full Metal Alchemist: IMBD = 5.9  Rotten Tomatoes = 75% liked it

Death Note: IMBD = 4.6  Rotten Tomatoes = 24%

Death Note Live Action Movie

Now it may not be fair to compare them given audience expectations, fans of the franchise, and all the other factors that are going to play into the end result that really have nothing to do with the quality of the movie at all, but it seems like at least most people agree that the Bleach movie is all right and likewise most people seem to agree the Death Note movie missed its mark as an adaptation (I still think it is perfectly fine as a movie in its own right – not great but fine – however it isn’t Death Note as anyone knows it or wanted it).

So I started wondering what Bleach did that seemed to work in its favour as a live action adaptation compared to some other adaptations that have fared less well and I came up with a few points that worked in Bleach’s favour.

01: The amount of content chosen wasn’t too ambitious.

We get that when adapting an anime or manga into a movie the time is getting cut down. A lot of things have to go. And it is tempting to try to adapt a lot of content. It makes perfect sense. Fans want to see such and such a scene and will be disappointed if X gets cut out. Cram it in and just keep cramming. You have to appeal to everyone.

Well, no, you don’t. You have to make a decent movie. One with pacing and a clear narrative in its own right. You don’t have time to shove every single plot point that might ever exist into your story and you certainly don’t have time to give the vast cast that probably exists all their shining moment.

Where Bleach worked beautifully was it chose one arc to tell in its movie. A simple story with a beginning and an ending. Then it cut almost every superfluous point from the source material that didn’t help that arc progress out.

Bleach live action movie - Orihime
I’m fairly certain that people who have never read the source or watched the anime probably have no idea that Orihime is actually supposed to be important.

I say almost every point because there are certainly characters and ideas that exist only for the sake of allowing a sequel to be made and to make sense. But these are minimised and given the barest of attentions. Fans of Orihime or Chad will probably be appalled at the way the characters were side-lined and there are certainly entire swathes of characters who were just completely ditched from the story altogether. And Kon? Gone entirely and who can tell if that is ultimately a good choice or not because the idea of a live action plush lion wandering around with a perverted attitude kind of amuses me but somehow I’m just not sure it would have added anything of value to the movie here.

02: They weren’t slaves to the source material.

I actually argued in a feature I wrote after the Death Note movie that the biggest issue with it wasn’t that it changed the source material. No, the bigger issue was they didn’t commit to changing the source material and made changes but wouldn’t cut out particular points making a movie that ended up as an unsatisfying compromise between a new vision for Death Note and a slave to fan expectations.

In my Full Metal Alchemist review I pointed out that while the costume design was gloriously similar to the anime (and I assume the manga) the end result was a not-so-real feeling like the world was inhabited by very sophisticated cosplayers.

Fullmetal Alchemist Live Action - Edward

In both of these cases the movies were bogged down by trying to reproduce source material in a different medium and they didn’t pull it off. Ghost in the Shell also suffered from the need to recreate sequences that didn’t fit into the new context and while fans of the original may have squealed with delight at these overall they don’t make for a better movie unless they are well integrated.

Bleach didn’t suffer from this. As with the content selection where ruthless and sensible cuts and changes were made, with character designs and the world they undeniably created Bleach in a way that fans could recognise it but at the same time they weren’t laboriously simply trying to bring drawings to life. They seemed to really think about how to make the characters come to life without losing the sense of who they were. For the most part they largely succeeded with both character and world design.

03: They understood what makes Bleach popular.

I think this is where Death Note really lost its viewers. The anime is a slow build with some interesting mind games between two intelligent human beings who both like to keep their hands hidden until the last moment. The movie abandoned this atmosphere making Light far less intelligent and more brazen in his need to gather attention and L far less patient and contemplative. The end result was that a lot of fans felt like the core of what made Death Note had been ripped out and trampled on.

Bleach is a long running series (not the longest but certainly one where the episode count becomes daunting to newcomers) and it blends some fairly stupid slap-stick humour with some intense drama and action. The first season introduced Ichigo to a world of Hollows and Soul Reapers and a lot of it is spent balancing Ichigo’s everyday high school life with the new responsibilities thrust on him. That balance of normal and supernatural, some moments of light hearted humour, and some moments of life threatening danger is what draws a lot of fans into the world that is Bleach (okay, the soundtrack as well but the movie can’t have everything) and as much as later seasons of the show become increasingly bloated and filled with overly long fight sequences, season one is where the show’s heart is and where the core of the story is crafted.

Bleach Movie Training.jpg

The movie did an excellent job of replicating the supernatural side and that turmoil in Ichigo’s life as he’s forced from high schooler who can see ghosts into the role of a shinigami and there was enough humour and light hearted moments between Ichigo and Rukia during training montages for it not to become too much of a drama. The fight sequences were intense and there was definitely a sense of danger in them and while we missed out on Ichigo’s normally copious buckets of blood pouring from wounds, the movie once again favoured some sort of realism over staying slavishly true to the source.

Wrapping It Up

So, great choices in content, in how to adapt characters and settings, as well as capturing the spirit of the story even while making necessary changes seem to be helping Bleach stay a little ahead of the pack of recent anime movie adaptations. Does that mean Bleach made no mistakes? Of course not. There’s plenty that could still be improved upon. Still, I kind of feel like Bleach is my light at the end of the tunnel and the possibility that I won’t be defending anime movies with the ‘it could be worse’ statement into the future.

That said, my inquiring minds question that I’m answering tomorrow also focuses on Live Action adaptations so I’d love to know your thoughts on them and if you’ve seen the Bleach movie, what did you think?


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Nendoroid Bleach - Ichigo Kurosaki