Bleach: Memories of Nobody Displays the Franchise's Best Qualities – CBR – Comic Book Resources

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Despite its short run time, 2006’s Bleach: Memories of Nobody film reemphasizes why Bleach is such a beloved shonen anime franchise.
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War is a hugely anticipated upcoming anime, with longtime fans desperately awaiting its arrival with the Fall 2022 lineup. However, those new to Bleach might not understand why the series is so beloved. For those looking for something that shows off everything great about the sprawling franchise in one tight package, Bleach: Memories of Nobody is the perfect movie.
Bleach: Memories of Nobody originally hit screens in 2006. The first feature film based on the franchise, it is notable because it was not written by franchise creator Tite Kubo, but by Masashi Sogo and Natsuko Takahashi. This has led to fan debates about the movie's canonicity. However, while its status can be debated, none of its core elements deviate far from the accepted lore of the rest of the franchise. The animation was handled by Pierrot — which also worked on the TV version of the series, meaning the film retains the show's visual style.
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Bleach: Memories of Nobody sees protagonist Ichigo Kurosaki and his friend Rukia Kuchiki encounter a new type of soul called a Blank. They're baffled by this development, especially as these souls seem unusually hostile. However, when a new Soul Reaper called Senna arrives, they are even more confused — especially because Senna seems to dodge any question about herself or her past, throwing everyone into a mystery that could have massive ramifications for both the world and the Soul Society. This film also introduces a new location, the Valley of Screams, which presents a new twist on several concepts explored during the mainline Bleach series.
While this film is essentially a feature-length filler episode, Memories of Nobody shows off many of Bleach's best elements. First and foremost, the characters are expertly crafted and easy to connect with. While fans of the show will already know Ichigo and Rukia, even newbies will fall in love with them during this movie, as it does a great job of capturing why they're so likable. Even the new character Senna is mesmerizing and has a gripping arc with a fantastic payoff, showing just how good Bleach was at creating memorable characters.
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The 2006 film also shows off Bleach's intense and stylish action with several fight scenes scattered throughout — and all are beautifully choreographed and animated. In fact, Bleach: Memories of Nobody avoids a common issue that loads of shonen anime from this period fell into. It makes every move feel impactful and powerful, from the most basic sword swing to the most devastating supernatural ability, meaning viewers never know how a fight will end; any move could turn the tide.
Memories of Nobody displays how Bleach told interesting, easy-to-follow and emotional stories while also touching on more profound and complex themes. The concept behind the Valley of Screams and the Blanks is fascinating and touches on some interesting spiritual and philosophical concepts. However, the film doesn't get lost in these ideas, keeping the core plot accessible. It also handles its emotional beats well, leading to a few moments that will have fans holding back the tears. Impressively, none of these elements feel out of place or like an unearned tonal shift. One of Bleach's biggest strengths was its ability to balance action, characters, storylines and deeper themes while still feeling cohesive.
Bleach: Memories of Nobody isn't the best place for those new to the franchise as it doesn't explain the show's backstory. That said, it is a fantastic way for fans to remind themselves why Bleach is so beloved and how it turned many anime newbies into die-hard fans. For anyone looking to get hyped up before the release of Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War, Memories of Nobody is the perfect way to do it.
Jonathon Greenall has been writing for many years and has written for several websites, poetry collections, and short fiction collections. They’re also an analog game designer who has written and published several popular roleplaying games. A lifelong anime fan ever since their first exposures to Sailor Moon and Revolutionary Girl Utena, Jonathon loves talking about anime, from big hits to the weird and wonderful corners that are often overlooked.
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