Bleach: Fade to Black – Movie 3
Bleach: Fade to Black, I Call Your Name, is the third film, scheduled to be released in Japan on December 13, 2008. This film’s screenplay was written by Natsuko Takahashi, who is a screenwriter for the anime series. The official film website gives the tagline of “Sayonara, Rukia”.
Kon has become one of the main characters in the movie. Also during the trailer is Kisuke Urahara seen in his shinigami captains robes. According to an interview with Tite Kubo, he has been very involved with the scripting of this movie and hopes that “it will be remembered in your hearts.” He also states that the movie ties in to the main manga storyline.
The movie parallels earlier scenes involving Ichigo and Rukia, and explores their relationship.
Mayuri Kurotsuchi is in his laboratory when he is attacked by a mysterious scythe-like object. He suddenly loses control and involuntarily hits his control board. This triggers a huge explosion of reiatsu which envelops the Seireitei in a cocoon. As Kenpachi Zaraki rushes to see what happened, the reiatsu explodes, destroying the Seireitei. Additionally, this explosion sends the shinigami into a state of amnesia, causing them to forget about the existence of Ichigo and Rukia.
Rukia, watching the destruction of the Seireitei, is shocked. A similar scythe hurtles towards her, and she feels something inside her disappear. Her heart and memories have been stolen. Meanwhile, Ichigo senses danger. He realizes that he had temporarily forgotten about Rukia’s existence. Kon has another coded letter from Rukia (similar to the one given to Ichigo just before she leaves to be executed in Soul Society).
Ichigo and Kon then go to Kisuke Urahara’s store, only to discover that Urahara, too, has completely forgotten Rukia. However, he does say that a part of Seireitei was destroyed and that it may be related. Ichigo says that Rukia is “a precious nakama,” causing Urahara to smirk. He opens a gate to transport Ichigo and Kon to Soul Society.
Rukia finds herself in a small cabin in Inuzuri. A twin sister and brother are beside her, calling her name and jumping towards her. When she questions who they are, they say she promised to give them names some time ago and ask her to tell them their names. Rukia tries to remember, and then finally recalls having taken care of the twins in the very cabin she was in. However, she could not remember the names she had chosen. Not remembering her time as a shinigami, she asks them what she was doing. They tell her that she had been sleeping for a very long time.
Meanwhile, Ichigo has entered Soul Society. Many shinigami (including Renji Abarai, seeing him accidentally release his Vizard form, proceed to attack him. Inside Byakuya’s mansion, Ichigo finds Byakuya Kuchiki looking at the picture of his wife Hisana Kuchiki. He tells him that Hisana was raised in the 78th district of West Rukongai (Inuzuri), and Ichigo thanks him and then leaves. Ichigo is able to detect Rukia by her smell and runs to the cabin.
Rukia is on the roof of the cabin, looking over at her friends’ graves. As Ichigo arrives, Rukia asks him, “Who are you? I don’t know you.” Ichigo was shocked, replying, “It’s me! Ichigo! Don’t tell me you don’t remember!” Rukia tried to remember Ichigo, but just before her memory returned, she started to have a headache and was taken away by the twins. In the cabin, she asks the sister if she had actually been awake and not sleeping. The sister said she did not know for sure. Rukia felt that she was about to remember something, and held her head, panting in agony. She then collapsed and was transported by the twins.
Ichigo appears to be in a bad mood as he sits elsewhere. Kon asks Ichigo if he is sad that Rukia has forgotten him, and is responded by Ichigo striking him. He then says that Ichigo is connected to Rukia, simply by being the one shinigami who didn’t forget her. Then he leaves, and Ichigo, still thinking, pulls out Rukia’s letter. He has a flashback in which Rukia is writing a letter, which she refuses to let him see, claiming it was a “surprise for later.”
He then is fighting again, against Tōshirō Hitsugaya, Ikkaku Madarame, and Yumichika Ayasegawa. Hitsugaya is about to deal the final blow when Renji intervenes, saying that his soul feels that Ichigo is not the enemy. Ichigo calls his name, but Renji is angered, saying “Don’t call me by my first name!” However, Ichigo continues to call him by “Renji.” Several captains enter to fight Ichigo and Renji. However, Urahara enters with Yoruichi Shihōin. He tells Ichigo and Renji to leave and save Rukia.
Rukia then wakes up to find the twins working in Mayuri’s lab. They tell her that they plan to destroy those that try to take Rukia from them. They ask her why she wants to protect the shinigami. Suddenly, the wall is broken down, revealing Ichigo and Renji. Ichigo asks her to remember, saying that the Rukia he remembers would never lose herself in such a way.
The siblings are disturbed by this and try to convince Rukia to leave him. Instead, she asks him to repeat his name. Rukia is suddenly able to remember her attempted execution, and chokes out Ichigo’s name. The sister declares that she would never forgive Ichigo for trying to steal away Rukia, and that she, her brother, and Rukia would become one. The three are suddenly combined, resulting in Dark Rukia. Renji deals with other enemies so that Ichigo can do what he needs to for “that woman.”
Rushing to Dark Rukia, Ichigo is forced to fight her. He doesn’t swing his sword to attack, instead simply evading her attacks. He calls for her to remember, Dark Rukia says that she will erase her memories of him, thus destroying their bond. Ichigo retorts by saying that because he still remembers Rukia, their bond cannot be broken. Dark Rukia is almost ready to cut off Ichigo’s head, when Byakuya uses his kidō to stop the move. He and Renji say that Rukia is turning into a hollow and that they must destroy her.
Ichigo says again that he is bonded with Rukia, to which Byakuya replies that he can do as he wishes. He steps out, breaking the kidō. Dark Rukia tries to attack Ichigo again, but he says that it is his turn to give her his power. He thrusts his zanpakutō into her, and she transforms into a shinigami, immediately collapsing into his arms. He hugs her with one arm as Byakuya and the other shinigami appear to be regaining their memories.
Finally, Rukia is able to move again and brushes Ichigo’s hand away from her face. He greets her, saying, “Yo,” before she turns to the injured twins. She goes to see them. As they complain that they don’t have anyone but Rukia, she consoles them, saying that they have each other and naming them Homari and Shizuku. The two lose consciousness and die, leaving Rukia crying and calling their names.
In the final scene of the movie, Rukia is on top of a hill, looking at a letter given to her by the twins. Ichigo enters. Rukia asks him if he was going home, to which he replies yes. She says that he saved him, and he tells her that it was her that saved him first. Ichigo suggests that perhaps they were connected before they even met, and that their bond was based on that connection as well as their memories. He bids her farewell, calling her “shinigami,” to which she replies, “It’s not shinigami…It’s Rukia Kuchiki.”