* * C
Fade to Black, the third movie based on the Bleach manga and anime, was released in Japanese theatres in 2008. It is available with an English dub, which was released late in 2011. The film is not based on the manga, but uses the characters. While watchable, neither the writing nor the animation is close in quality to the manga and the anime. The story, like the filler arcs in the animation, is completely throw away, with no character development occurring, and largely seems like a chance to relive old battles from the early arcs of the manga.
Mild Spoilers Ahead
The premise of the film is that a mysterious young couple hijack one of Mayuri Kurotsuchi’s experiments and uses it to wreck havoc in the Seireitei. They erase Rukia’s memory and the memory of her in everyone else — it’s as if she has been erased from existence — then kidnap her. Ichigo dreams about her, awakening his memory of her, and goes to the Soul Society to find her. When he arrives, no one remembers him, since Rukia made him a soul reaper in the first place, and they treat him as a hostile intruder. Meanwhile, Rukia’s kidnappers vow to keep her at all cost, even if it means killing all the soul reapers.