A new teaser trailer for the live-action movie adaptation of Bleach has arrived. Originally a manga series by Tite Kubo, Bleach found international fame when it was turned into an anime, proving popular both domestically in Japan and abroad in the West. Before concluding in 2016, the franchise's success did begin to wane and as a result, the anime series has yet to fully adapt its source material. Nevertheless, the overall popularity of Bleach's characters and early arcs has endured.
Because of this, Warner Bros. Japan set about bringing Tite Kubo's world of Death Gods and Hollows into the medium of live-action and that venture is finally slated to hit screens in July this year. Directing the movie will be Shinsuke Sato and Sota Fukushi will star as lead protagonist, Ichigo Kurosaki. After a long period of silence, a poster and short teaser were unveiled last year, giving Bleach fans a first glimpse at the live-action incarnation of Ichigo, however the clip contained precious little footage of the actual movie.
A longer, and more revealing, trailer has now been released by Warner Bros. Japan and the clip will be very familiar to fans of the original Bleach anime and manga. Not only do fans get a first look at Rukia (played by Hana Sugisaki) but the bulk of the trailer acts as a faithful recreation of arguably the most memorable scene from Bleach's debut episode. The sequence sees Rukia caught by a CGI hollow and forced to transfer her Death God powers over to Ichigo by stabbing him in the chest. The ginger-haired teen is then able to effortlessly dispatch the oncoming enemy.
Bleach fans will no doubt appreciate the effort the trailer has put into delivering an authentic live-action replication of its source material and if the entire movie continues in a similar vein, the adaptation will certainly earn marks for faithfulness. Unnecessarily changing characters and story is a criticism often leveled at live-action anime adaptations, particularly those produced in the West.
With that said, the trailer may be criticized by some for its CGI work. Visual effects in Japanese movies are often not quite as seamless or believable as in Hollywood blockbusters and considering Bleach's villains are entirely computer-generated, some Western viewers may find the animated Hollows somewhat jarring. It should, however, be noted that the CGI on show in the Bleach trailer is nowhere near as ropey as the effects seen in other recent live-action anime adaptations.
As history has demonstrated on multiple occasions, transitioning a beloved anime and manga property to the big screen is generally a thankless task and one that, more often than not, fails to please the franchise's core fan-base. While this is certainly the case for Western productions such as Death Note and Dragonball: Evolution, Japanese movie studios have only had marginally more success in this area. It will be interesting to see whether Bleach proves to be that rarest of movies - an anime adaptation that pleases longtime fans while also attracting new ones - or just another poorly received misfire.
Bleach will premiere in Japan on July 20th 2018. No news yet on a possible international release.
Source: Warner Bros. Japan