Jigoku-hen or Hell Verse is the fourth movies for Bleach. I have no idea why I waited this long to watch this movie when I have the file on my computer since last two months. I feel slightly guilty towards Ichigo and Rukia. But hey, better late than never, right?
This movie was directed by the same director that did the other three movies, Noriyuki Abe but have different writers: Masahiro Okubo and Natsuko Takahashi. This movie is also sticking with Shiro Sagisu for the music score. I'm not complaining because he's good with what he does. I'm sure Daniel will agree with me on this one. The ending theme however is sang by T.M. Revolution which I know from watching Soul Eater. I first learned about the movie through the promotional chapter that was released around November last year titled Imaginary Number 01: The Unforgivens.
The movie starts with the Ulquiorra versus hollow Ichigo fight on top of the Hueco Mundo dome. I think I repeated that fight for at least 10 times before I proceed with the rest of the movie. It was just too fucking awesome that I couldn't get enough of it. This movie is off to a good start.
This movie reminds us a lot of the old Bleach. I mean, right after that awesome fight, it shows Ichigo normal routines as a teenage boy. It is just like episode/chapter 1 of Bleach which is just great in my opinion. We have seen too much unnecessary drama lately in both the anime and manga that I feel relieved they went back to the root with this one. Or sorta.
Ichigo was under surveillance by an unknown enemy, which I assumed was the guy we seen earlier that was made human by hell itself. But I was wrong. They were these mask men with exceptional fighting abilities who called themselves Sinners from Hell. Ishida, Chad, Renji and even Ichigo were having problem defeating them. They were definitely not your average villains. Apparently their power lies with their mask though. Once broken they will be taken by the Hell's Gate.
They were not only attacking Ichigo but wais a threat to his family as well. Gunjo and Shuren already have Karin and Yuzu in their custody. Their mission was to invite Ichigo back to hell since they have an "assignment" for him. As if it would be that easy. They would have succeeded at kidnapping both Yuzu and Karin if Kokuto didn't stopped them. Unfortunately though Yuzu was taken as a bargaining chip.
The Sinners wish was simple: they want to be released from hell so they wanted Ichigo to destroy the Hell's Gate. Looked like Ichigo didn't have much of a choice, huh?
Sinners still have their powers in order to keep them sane by holding on to their resentment or their memories, otherwise they would have been taken over by the guards. They would have been eaten, tortured and revived repeatedly until they are brain dead and pretty much heartless too.
I was surprised to find out that Kokuto was actually not the bad guy in this movie. No wonder I have seen a lot of shipping going on for him and Rukia heh. He has this nonchalant attitude that I can't help but take an instant liking for. Plus he was pretty mysterious (not to mention dubious) showing up like he owned the place and readily agreed to bring them to hell to save Yuzu. I have a feeling that he is actually the mastermind. Hmmm...
So Hell was not under Soul Society jurisdiction but they were under their surveillance. Shinigami are forbidden to intervene in anything that is related to Hell so I guess Renji and Rukia were breaking the rules for the sake of Yuzu and Ichigo.
Once inside Hell, the guards wasted no time chasing after them. I'm impressed that Rukia managed to keep up with the guys. Heh, that's my girl. In order to fight them, Ichigo had to use his Getsuga Tenshou but strangely his hollow mask appeared automatically when he did that and thus made his attack even more powerful. Ah I see... This was why Shuren wanted him to help them out.
The air inside the hell must have affected him. This will bring out his dormant power. Eventually he will be hollowfied completely. Shit just got more interesting y'all!
On the second level of hell, they were once again confronted by the Sinners who attacked them at Karakura Town (I lost my appetite when I see Taikon true form behind the cloak. That is just so fucking gross). Ichigo and his crew had trouble yet again taking care of them, even more so since they were stronger in hell than they were in human world. Since they were taking too long, Ichigo and Kokuto will move forward while Ishida, Rukia and Renji took care of those three fuglies. The original plan was for Rukia to follow them too but that fucktard Sinner had to interfere. Goddammit. Now I'm pissed.
There is a giant guard welcoming Ichigo and Kokuto at level three of hell. Kokuto saved Ichigo who in turn, saved him back. Since Kokuto was hurt, he wanted Ichigo to go save Yuzu alone and leave him. He also came clean as to why he was helping them. He became a Sinner because of his sister. Hmm, credible story indeed. He even asked Ichigo to free him from hell so he could be reborn and apologize to his sister. I must say, very well played Kokuto. I almost believe you.
I kept focusing on Ichigo but Ishida, Renji and Rukia done an exceptionally good job with the fighting. They definitely kept me entertain while Ichigo kept obsessing about saving Yuzu. This was why I love the shinigami (and Quincy) and thinks Bleach can't do without them. Just look at the recent arc Kubo made. It was too fucking stupid and incredibly boring without the Shinigami. Those Xcutioners can't even hold a candle next to these stupid Sinners. I missed seeing them using their full abilities to fight the enemy and Rukia pulled that same trick she did with Aoroniero back in Hueco Mundo. AWESOME.
And we are only halfway through the movie. Jeebus, look at how long this review is lol. tl;dr much?
However, just like Kokuto said, Sinners don't die in Hell. They will revived and all those hard work that Renji, Ishida and Rukia put up were for nothing.
And I took back my suspicious on Kokuto. It looked like he was seriously a good guy who caught up in a difficult situation and thus became a Sinner. He was having a hard time dealing with Shuren's three lackeys while Shuren himself has a face off with Ichigo. Kokuto even sacrificed himself to save Yuzu. This just forced Ichigo over the edge and as usual, he relied on his hollow power in the end which was playing right into Shuren's hand. Or so I thought. Shuren was underestimating Ichigo's powers too much and he was done for in just under a minute.
Wow... that was unimpressive -__-
But... JUST LIKE I PREDICTED KOKUTO FUCKING THREW HIS BLADE AT ICHIGO OUT OF NOWHERE! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA Twist upon twist, just like how I like it. Oh man, my pantsu is soaked.
Like I said earlier. Kokuto was the mastermind and he was just using Shuren and the others to lure Ichigo into Hell. Rukia, Ishida and Renji came just in time to be cut down by Kokuto. LOL I know this sounded pathetic but Ichigo needed a catalyst to make him hollowfied right? Once he saw Rukia's down and Yuzu was about to be thrown into the larva, he totally lost it and so Kokuto's wish was granted.
*sighs* Ichigo was so predictable. This is why the bad guys always used him. He never learned, did he? First with Aizen, then Ginjou now Kokuto. Oh well, it is his short-tempered-act-first-think-later attitude that makes me root for him in the first place. Besides, his power is really unmatched for when he is completely hollowfied and that just fucking turns me on >=3
I kinda felt sorry for Kokuto actually. He had no fucking idea what was in store for him. Sure, Ichigo managed to destroy Hell as he wanted but he had to pay a hefty price for it. Once Ichigo hollowfied, he was totally out of control. Thankfully Renji and Rukia came prepared. They reserved a spell that can take Ichigo back to the real world and used it on Ichigo when Kokuto had his last two chains to be destroyed. Heh Kokuto, you've been punk'd dude.
At the same time, Soul Society had took precaution when the Hell Gate was destroyed. They stopped the miasma from hell from over flowing to the real world by sending out the kido team. But they can't do a damn thing about Yuzu. Even Inoue was useless. Yuzu has been too long in Hell and has become one of the Sinner herself. The Old Fuck told Ichigo it was all his fault IN HIS FACE! The nerves of the fucker. I mean, I was sure they knew what was going on which was why they had the old fuck in the real world and so on. They could have done something to prevent this shit from going down but they did nothing. They weren't any better than the villains in my opinion. They have been using Ichigo from day one too >_>
The discrimination against hollows annoyed the fuck out of me. If the fucker fucking knew what will happen if Ichigo went berserk then why the fucking hell didn't he stop him? Jeebus I'm mad.
I am also worried that no one seems to bother about Renji, Ishida and Rukia who were still stuck in Hell. I can understand why Ichigo wasn't. He was too depressed to think about anything else right now but if he didn't do something then who will?
Byakuya, that's who! Though he didn't do anything much but told Ichigo that he should be aware of their attention for letting him escaped alone. While they were having a conversation
Obviously shinigami from Soul Society will not let him entered Hell again but he won't be Kurosaki Ichigo that I love if he would just listened and nodded his head at whatever people tells him to do. Thankfully he didn't have to waste his energy on them for they were busy dealing with the Hell's Will.
Kokuto was ready for round two when Ichigo's arrived and this time he has bad news. Rukia had been chained by hell while Ishida and Renji were waiting for their turn. The only way to save her now is to break the chain and to do that Ichigo had to hollowfied. He tried hard to defeat Kokuto without depending on his hollow powers but Kokuto was just too strong. Not only that but since it's Hell, it's easier for his hollow to take over his body. Well, you shouldn't underestimated Ichigo. His resolution usually was stronger than anything in this world. He managed to not relent to his hollow power and fucking transform into something else.
I know this is serious but it's like his 103934960th transformation in Bleach. It's hard to take it seriously.
Apparently even Hell was on Ichigo's side. The Guards fucking lent him their powers. In the end, Ichigo just wounded Kokuto while Hell did the rest of the work. There was no way Kokuto can escaped hell now.
And that was how Ichigo saved the fucking world yet again.
The animation wasn't as consistent as I wanted it to be but I shouldn't complain much because when it comes to the fight, it was amazing. The camera angles used for those shots were brilliant. It just makes you feel so "in the moment" if you know what I mean. Aside from that I think since this is a story about Hell, it kinda fall sort at portraying Hell which could be considered as a major failure. It was too cozy and lacking elements of torture, gruesomeness and plain out... well... Hell.
It wasn't as good as Fade to Black (that is by far the best Bleach movie out of the bunch). While Fade to Black colors were very bright and very details, this movie was a lot duller and wasn't as smooth. Hell, it was sort of a contrast between Ichigo vs Ulquiorra fight and the rest of the movie. You can tell the different almost on the get go. I sorta feel cheated to be honest
Unlike Fade to Black which was laced with hidden meanings, Hell Verse was pretty straight forward with the story that it wanna tell. It was fun but kinda monotonous towards the end. They should have used Shuren longer because he has so much potential to develop a more interesting ending. Jigoku-hen just doesn't have a climax in my opinion, unlike with Ichigo and Rukia in Fade to Black.
You know what would have been awesome? If Ichigo and Rukia stayed in Hell and becomes the King and Queen of that wretched place. Ichigo has that power to rule hell after all...
Hmm, I should probably stop comparing these two movies. I am biased with Fade to Black for obvious reason which is why I wished Kubo would have had a hand in this movie as well. But alas...
arts & animation 9/10
ps: there is one scene from this movie that I absolutely hate and if you know me well enough, you know exactly what scene I was talking about. Fuck that almost ruined this movie for me >=(
pss: I couldn't stop myself from from taking screencap after screencap. It would be a waste not to include them in this review so here they are looking as delectable as always.