Saturday, 3 March 2012

Attack From Behind: Movie 2 Review

The moment has arrived, and I must rise to the occasion. At long last, I seize the day and piss all over Movie 2.

But, you ask, how can a movie with the tagline "Execute Hitsugaya!" fail to pass muster!?

Simple: because such a plot requires Hitsugaya to show up, linger on the screen all angsty-like, and even talk a bunch.

It's no secret that Hitsugaya is the most popular character. The latest character poll is proof.

Everything about Hitsugaya (and for Hitsugaya "everything" means "his serious and easily frustrated demeanor that belies his moderately cute chibiness") screams MONEY to the execs, and that's why Hitsugaya makes them even wetter than Hitsugaya makes his fangirls. And that's saying something:

Toshiro is soooooooooo hot!!! Even as injured as he was he could still take on all of those luetenants and a captain! I mean wow!! If he should be tried 4 anything it would be him being sooo hot and amazing!! Love u long time toshiro!!!!!!


Much like Movie 4 after it, Diamondust Rebellion was promoted with a special chapter, which elucidated some of Hitsugaya's backstory, so let's dive right in (I managed to find it here). The first page appropriately encapsulates Hitsugaya's level of depth by being mostly empty space.

Every night, Hitsugaya dreams of a weird ominous voice calling out to him, described in the flowery poetic lilt Kubo usually reserves for volume poems.

Now we're talking

He and Himanori engage in their typical repartee, she greets him warmly and he blows her off like a pissant. Hey Hitsu, maybe all the other villagers aren't scared of you because of your latent power. Maybe you're just not fun to be around.

Yeah, I'm sure it's because of your "silver hair." You fucking moron.

Hinamori's already been excelling at the Shinigami Academy, visiting Hitsugaya less and less, and Granny's getting thinner. Eventually, while out shopping for a snack, he runs into Rangiku by--wait, see if you can guess. What's an extremely (extremely) tired gag in the world of shounen manga?

Not as bad as "WEIRD new transfer student, uh ohhhhhh!" but still pretty fucking bad.

 Then Hitsu finally meets the ice dragon that's been calling out to him, but he can't hear it when it tells him its name.

"I may not be the most badass dragon, but look at it this way: Most kids don't get even a single dragon."

Later, Rangiku tells him he needs to learn to tap into its power and become a shinigami, or else his Granny will keep wasting away due to his unconscious spiritual pressure.

In Soul Society, gravity is quite selective.

In the only bit of real tension, Hitsu feels he can't leave his Granny, but she tells him it's fine, go become a shinigami.

I'm pretty sure this is the most panels in a BLEACH page ever. Compared to the average output this is like a billion panels

Hitsugaya's had it pretty sweet, all things considered. He's stupidly strong from the get go (the chosen of a dragon spirit dude... I think), raised in literally the nicest area of Rukongai, and has wanted for pretty much nothing. You can't say his great anguish was his loneliness, he practically wanted to be alone. But that's not what gets me. What gets me is that Hitsugaya's characterization essentially amounts to, he's "icy" because of the ice dragon powers. I think that's why I hate him. It's just so goddamn lame. The whole arbitrary "ice powers, icy personality" nonsensical super-cliche bugs the fuck out of me.

Now, I may heap MASSIVE amounts of shit on this movie, but it actually does serve to deepen Hitsugaya a little. In flashbacks that punctuate the action at various points, we see that while Hitsugaya studied at the Shinigami Academy, he befriended another shinigami named Kusaka who (coincidentally? by that dream dragon's design?) ended up with the same sword release, Hyourinmaru. That means there are two Hyourinmaru, belonging to two different shinigami simultaneously. Interesting enough, and just like anything whatever that's different or unique, the higher-ups of Soul Society determine that they must squash it in the most cruel and unusual way possible. And I'm not joking or exaggerating when I say "the most cruel and unusual way possible."

After having watched this, you'll see why the refrain of this review will be, WHYYYYYYY

This ludicrous flashback alone is enough to ruin the movie. Twin zampakutou are so unheard of that even the particularly ancient and wise captains like Kyouraku and Ukitake (both of whom have double blades) have scarcely imagined they could exist. And yet the ban against the twin swords has been a law set in stone since time immemorial. So what, do the Central 46 have nothing better to do than legislate against the impossible, just in case it could happen? That's like writing a law against everyone in the country suddenly becoming gnomes.


LAW 70.547 corollary W

Forbidden also is the incidence of quintuplet and above swords, especially when such an incidence occurs in tandem with LAW 65.029, No soul may spontaneously transform into a tractor trailer upon pain of execution, and with LAW 67.900, No shinigami may poke a hole into the sun with a finger flick while wearing a sarong and a turban, upon pain of execution..

So, um, the obvious question. WHYYYYYYY

Why why why why why whyyyyyyy

We can definitely thank Aizen for killing those 46 outrageously stupid, downright evil lawmakers.

The idea that the twin swords are ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN, NOBODY QUESTION THIS is not only utterly idiotic, it's idiotically idiotic. But then this travesty of sense is compounded by fuck and shit what the goddamn seriously!? when they're ordered to DUEL TO THE DEATH--even when Hitsugaya offers to give Hyourinmaru up!! And then, and then! Midway through their tearful, desperate battle, the Central 46 decide, ahh, shit makes too much sense, let's just arbitrarily decide to have Kusaka killed by Stealth Ops gang slaughtering.

And I love how everyone balks when later Ichigo proposes that they just, refuse to follow orders. With a track record like Soul Society's, how could he even suggest such a no Yamamoto please don't incinerate us

Yes, yes, it's supposed to be ridiculous and unjust, but this is like five thick, creamy layers of fucked up.

The only justification given for this madness is when Zangetsu tells Ichigo that the Central 46's main obsession is maintaining balance, and that the death of one man is as nothing next to the preservation of entire worlds (how Zangetsu knows this information is anyone's guess). But WHY would anyone think two Hyourinmaru would be a problem on that scale? And it also doesn't even begin to explain why they wouldn't simply remove one of the two's swords (like Hitsugaya offered). Ichigo's lost his powers and regained them TWICE, it's not difficult at fucking all.

So, the main villain is Kusaka, back for vengeance. He's now wearing this mask, for no reason apart from looking mysterious. Or maybe he liked Hueco Mundo's fashion sense.

"It's only now I've realized this shroud doesn't go with this mask. How stupid I was!"

And he's got two loyal indenticalish Arrancar minions, for no reason apart from the movie needing secondary antagonists.

 Since when do Arrancar come in themes.

"Ying andYang." Fire and lightning. They're way too similar to gel with the idea that each Hollow spawns a unique appearance and power set intrinsic to itself. But hey, when there are so many damn Hollows bumming around in Hueco Mundo it makes you wonder whether shinigami ever do their damn jobs, I suppose it's quite possible there are two Arrancar that just happen to be so compatible aesthetically.

Or maybe I'm overthinking it. After all, Kusaka was brought back to life because he was showered in the light of an all-powerful artifact called the "Ouin," which never had any reason to shine its light on him and has been sealed away since forever.

And now that the Ouin is being transferred to another location by a very conspicuous and vulnerable royal procession (just like every ten years, those smart people), Kusaka's come to take it for a nice spot of INFINITE POWEEEEEER. By the way, Hitsugaya just happens to be the sole captain assigned to keep watch of the procession.

The thing that's really noticeable about the procession is this guy with the weird guitar. Is this a real thing? Please tell me it is!

That bastard Kusaka! He probably destroyed that guitar thing!

Well, after Hitsugaya decides to go on the lam and not tell anyone what he's up to, it's once again Ichigo that's got to sort shit out. He stumbles in on the carnage through a perception filter barrier (apparently it happened in the real world? Beats me, but if that's the case, did they just pick Karakura to troll Ichigo? lol).

"Note to self: next time, leave the strange barrier alone."

"Oh for fuck's--How is it that I've got every power up known to man, and I can still be considered to have shit luck!?"

Soi Fong tells Ichigo to fuck off, in accordance with her usual endearing self, and with a ninja-seal straight out of Naruto, Ichigo finds himself back in his own reality. Ishida arrives just in time to note it's begun to snow, and that it's special snow that means~

They really made sure the frame with Hitsu's ass had nice composition.

Jeez, talk about a coincidence. Furthermore, no explanation as to how Hitsugaya ended up like this.

So Ichigo takes him in to recuperate, knowing he's trying to evade Soul Society, but Hitsugaya, like the humorless turd he is, refuses to explain what's going on, understandably pissing Ichigo off.

"You've saved Soul Society just about a billion times now, Ichigo, but this hunt for an all-powerful hax artifact that endangers the core of reality doesn't concern you."

Is there any wonder why I entitled that particular screen grab "Shitsugaya"? Hitsu slips out in the middle of the night, but Ichigo accosts him on his behavior before he can leave. Hitsu goes so far as to cross blades with Ichigo before the twin Arrancars Ying and Yang launch their attack. Their vast repertoire of moves include FIREBALL, LIGHTNING BOLT, and FIRE COMBINED WITH LIGHTNING. Ichigo easily beats them (yes, even the LIGHTNING FIREBALL!) but faints, only to awaken to this:

You know, it kind of sucks to be Ichigo.

The gang convenes at Urahara's to talk about Hitsugaya's mysterious past, mysterious because he doesn't like to talk about it, because it's painful.

Orihime: He's very strong, isn't he?

Ichigo: No he's not! If the guy had any strength at all, then he wouldn't hurt the people that really care about him!

Thank you, Ichigo. You know, it's easy to sympathize with Ichigo's viewpoint a lot of the time.

Meanwhile, Hitsu is out walking all Moses-like through urban Japan, acting all oppressed and stuff. Here's a bunch of fun screen grabs!

"Yeah, I'm pretty boss at this. I slept right on the edge of a river, man."

 "Finally, we've got budget for this!

Hitsu, in the world of the living, you can walk on the air. Pro tip.

Before I can go any further, I should mention the little fact that because Hitsugaya went MIA, the entirety of Squad 10 is held in detention. Wait, Hitsugaya runs off alone, and all of Squad 10 gets quarantined!? How does that make a lick of goddamn sense, when the divisions of the THREE CAPTAINS THAT TURNED TRAITOR AND ARE ACTIVELY AMASSING A HALF-HOLLOW ARMY are operating unimpeded? This movie is so unbelievably retarded it's like Pauly Shore's wet dream, I swear to God.

You know what else is retarded? No one remembers Kusaka, not even people who should remember a prodigy at the Academy on the level of Hitsugaya who obtained an unprecedented twin sword. Kyouraku and Nanao visit the library, since their only lead is Hitsugaya's whispering "Kusaka" before he passed out and made it snow (lol). They discover he's dead, but Kyouraku recognizes something's not adding up! That's when Kusaka attacks Kyouraku using Hyourinmaru, framing it as an attack by Hitsugaya. You'd think at the very least Yamamoto would think twice about accepting that as incriminatory when he heard of the twin zampak incident.

Shortly thereafter, Hitsugaya is finally spotted in the world of the living.

I like how, until later, no one questions how it is Hitsugaya can both (a) get spotted in the world of the living, seriously injured, and (b) score a serious slash on a captain as powerful as Kyouraku and scarper off scot free--when that's a bloody fucking obvious flaw in the report. In any case, Yamamoto upgrades the order to capture Hitsu to the top priority, with the added order that he be executed on site. Apparently, that's an order that "can't be revoked."


You know what else I sarcastically like? Okay, so the answer Ichigo comes up with for the question "Why is Hitsu acting like such a prick? A bigger than usual prick, to clarify" is this: Ichigo himself went through a phase, after his mother died, wherein he tried to be strong by not sharing his emotions, but that only ended up hurting his loved ones in the end. Hitsugaya is going through the same thing he did!

Here's the problem with that line of reasoning, Ichigo: When you were "being strong" for your family, you didn't a) abandon them without a word, b) threaten to kill them when they accosted you, and c) the fate of all of reality didn't hang in the balance. YOU SHITHEAD.

Hitsugaya is trying so hard not to hurt anyone, which is why he's being a standoffish (occasionally violently so) fuckmuffin to his friend's faces. So as not to hurt him with his issues. His issues that might result in the entire world having to bow down to Kusaka the god-king.

When I said this movie did make Hitsugaya deeper, I didn't say it was in a good way, did I?

Moreover, there's the obvious objection to Ichigo's insight that HE'S STILL DOING THE SAME GODDAMN THING keeping his shinigami-ness a secret from his family.  In what way is that not "trying to be strong by not sharing his emotions," pray tell?

Kusaka and Ying and Yang attack Ichigo. The following video has both the initial Ying and Yang attack and the second one with Kusaka around to strut his stuff.

"So yeah, we gave Ying and Yang the ability to summon other Hollows to give the main cast something to do. In lieu of actual stuff."

So then Hitsugaya and Kusaka meet in an abandoned warehouse (is there any other kind?) and Kusaka shows off the Ouin's glorious power!

He also asks the salient question that's on everyone's minds, why would Hitsugaya continue to devote his life to defending an institution that was so obviously unjust, that killed his best friend? This is almost every BLEACH villain's background, sure, but Kusaka in particular got screwed pretty damn hard.

Anyway, Kusaka transports them to Soul Society, and then asks Hitsu to use his bankai to split the Ouin in two so he can activate its full power. Hitsu doesn't comply, choosing instead to fight Kusaka, to the confusion of all the Gotei 13 guys assembled on the hill. In any case, Kusaka says his bankai now suddenly suffices to slice open the Ouin, and so the next third of the movie is nothing but fighting, making my job quite easy.

That screen capture? That's Kusaka now. He's a stupid looking purple dragon, but hey, at least he's not Kusaka anymore.

"Ying, Yang, your purpose, scant as it was, is now fulfilled, your new purpose is as VILLAIN BAIT!! Om nom nom nom."

Remember how Ikkaku's not supposed to want anyone to see he has a bankai, even if he has to die? The filmmakers didn't.

As usual, Ichigo rounds off the movie by making excuses for the villain's dastardly deeds. "He just wanted to use his second chance at life to settle things with you! Oh, and he said he wanted to become King of Soul Society and tried to kill everyone, I'm going to ignore that because ______"

Wretched, and the worst of the movies AND the anime continuity story arcs by far. The plot is particularly insulting to our intelligences, and Hitsugaya came off even worse after all is said and done. Before he was just a cookie cutter twat of a character. Now he's a twat that jeopardized the fate of the world (sorry, WORLDS) because he couldn't be bothered to fill everyone in. And Soul Society came off even more horrible. Kusaka was another one of those villains who lacked much motivation for the shit he did in this movie (what was the point of all that stuff before he activated the Ouin? He wanted to drive Hitsugaya away from Soul Society? But... Hitsugaya already did that!)

However, it is an enjoyable watch if you're keen to mock and make fun of what you're watching. And of course, WHYYYY will be rolling off your tongue quite a bit.

Please, as always, comment away.

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