I just saw Cartoon Network's premiere of the Bleach Movie: Memories of Nobody. It was a really sweet movie with a surprisingly epic scope. See, it must be hard constructing these types of movies - as they are essentially intruding a separate plot-line into an already on-going series. Being adapted by Manga, episodes of Bleach don't have many Ending Episodes, as one episode usually leads into the next. This causes some continuity errors - I for the life of me can't figure out where this story would fit. (The same can be said for all of the Dragon Ball Z movies, which simply gave up trying to squeeze in between seasons.)
Anyway, essentially these movies have to have a containable plot - with no long lasting repercussions on the regular series. So it becomes an easy plot device to introduce one-time characters and one-time villains, allowing the story to stand on it's own and not inferrer with the TV show. This movie introduces us to Senna - a mysterious young girl who Ichigo befriends and helps. It turns out she's a collection of memories of lost souls (called Blanks), and ultimately she has to disappear back into the void she came from - and fade from Ichigo's mind. I found it a very nice and sweet ending, and gave the movie a lot of depth. The movie makes you not want to forget Senna, even though the other characters do.
The scope of the film was also good - as a huge disaster is going to destroy both the World of the Living and the Soul Society. New elements are added to the concept of the Soul Society, and the Cycle of Rebirth. The idea of Blanks, Souls without memories, bought up a lot of memories of Kingdom Hearts 2, which had the concept of the Heartless and Nobodies, somewhat similar to Hollows and Blanks. The story begins to slowly involve many of the head Captains of the 13 Court Guard Squad - and eventually culminates in a huge battle.
What also struck me about this movie is how much better the Animation was. Anime series, while always spectacular to Western Audiences with their level of detail and animation - are still non the less restricted by cost. The difference can be seen between this movie and the regular series, as Japan is more deeply detailed - with backgrounds showing the glow of the street lights, the setting sun, the people moving about, and the increased movement of all the characters. It really was beautiful animation.
All in all it was a great showcase of everything Bleach is about. I still don't know where it would fit between seasons, but I'll definitely remember this movie.
Here the Japanese Trailer for the Bleach Movie