Memories of Nobody, from director Noriyuki Abe, is the first film adaptation of the long-running Bleach anime, based on the manga by Tite Kubo. Shiningami Rukia, and substitute-shinigami Ichigo, battle outlaws, samurai style, to save a vivacious spirit-entity. Although the film involves an offshoot storyline, it includes many of the characters from the original anime. A classically intricate plotline, and lots of magical samurai action infuse this anime with light and shade. However, the dubbing is a serious detraction.
On discovery of strange uncommunicative spirits in Karakura Town, Ichigo and Rukia meet shinigami Senna, an unknown to the shinigami Soul Society. Senna powerfully disperses the spirits in Karakura. However Rukia is suspicious and leaves Ichigo to keep an eye on Senna to check on the powers witnessed with Soul Society. Ichigo learns Senna is unsure about who she is, and about how she became a shinigami. Soul Society reveals to Rukia the strange spirits dispersed by Senna are ‘Blanks’ which come from a between-world called ‘The Valley of Screams.’ They exist because they have no memories. The Society recognises Senna is the embodiment of the memories from these ‘Blanks’ and that the strong attraction of the memory-less ‘Blanks’ to Senna could cause instability in the in-between dimension of ‘The Valley of Screams’. Senna is captured by members of an outlawed family, who want to use her to destroy the Spiritual and Real Worlds by collapsing the between-world. Ichigo follows Senna and the outlaws into ‘The Valley of Screams’, and he, along with other shinigami, fight to save her and stop the collapse of the dimension.
The main drawback of Memories of Nobody is its dubbing with voices and intonation that do not reflect the individuality and motivation observed in the Japanese-speaking characters. Whilst the voices are not offensively grating in diction, as those heard in the dubbed version of Naruto, the majority of male characters all sound alike in this film, Ichigo being the exception. The subtitled version is thus a better watch, if you don’t mind reading moderately descriptive prose, and is much more evocative in terms of character voice intonation. The story itself is creative, and thought-provoking in terms of the questions it raises about identity and legacy.