Bleach: The DiamondDust Rebellion (2007)

A treasure is stolen, the prime suspect is one of the Captains of Soul Society, and with him disappearing after the theft, all fingers must point to him as being the culprit. But there is more to this event, something hidden in Soul Society’s dirty past, and Ichigo as per usual is going to be dragged into the thick of it to try and clear Hitsugaya’s name before the assassination squad can do their job!

For some reason I tend to enjoy the Bleach movies more than what I enjoy the Naruto movies, despite not having been a part of either franchise for quite a couple of years now (seriously, just too long, both of them!). DiamondDust Rebellion, the second Bleach movie, follows this trend once again for me, delivering a suitably epic standalone film that doesn’t feel like filler, contains loads of action and fantastical, over the top fight sequences, and contains a decent story with just the right amount of mystery and intrigue to keep you hooked.

The animation is fluid, loads of detailed backgrounds, and as to be expected, the Bleach silliness is still present and accounted for. Similarly the voice acting and music score are top notch, making for a great movie that any Bleach, or anime fan for that matter, should enjoy!

Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail (2010)

Having thoroughly enjoyed the dark, thought-provoking and action-packed Black Lagoon series, it was pleasing to stumble across the follow-up OVA, which takes an already excellent and quite dark tale down even more a disturbed and twisted alley.

Events have driven the unstoppable killer maid Roberta over the edge, and now on a quest for revenge, she has thrown away everything (including both her humanity and sanity) and will stop at nothing to achieve her goals. This threatens to destabilize everything and it is up to Rock to come up with a plan to rectify the situation before a combination the Americans, Moscow Hotel, and Colombians mess up everything!

The blood-soaked story feels even darker than previous tales and it is quite disturbing to see how Roberta has devolved into nothing more than a mindless killing machine. On top of this we are given non-stop action, driven by clever machinations that make for a very dark and very intriguing watch, with a suitable satisfying but not completely ending that you expect from a Black Lagoon tale.

The animation is of the same quality as the television series, which quite frankly is a good thing because that animation was fantastically lit, detailed and very fluid and well choreographed.

All of this wrapped in some great voice acting and musical backdrop makes for a polished, bloody and very entertaining extension to the Black Lagoon franchise.

Marvel Anime: Wolverine (2011)

Logan and Mariko were forcefully separated years ago, but she has now finally resurfaced again in Japan. Shingen, her master swordsman, yakuza boss of a father is about to forcefully marry her off to a criminal leader in the state of Madripoor, in exchange for an expanded base of operations. Needless to say, this does not make for a very happy Wolverine, and more importantly, means a trip to Tokyo, claws ready for action!

For some unearthly reason, Madhouse gets the design for Wolverine all wrong for this outing. They get it right in the Marvel Anime: X-Men project, but completely wrong in the Marvel Anime: Wolverine project. I don’t know why, but it does take some time to get over this tall, lean, very Japanese incarnation. However, the character of Logan is spot on, and once you do get over his not so great appearance, you’ll find a fantastic action-packed story that takes you on a very twisty downhill of a adventure with a very big (and pretty over the top) ending. It is in truth a great Wolverine tale, and certainly worth the watch.

Outside of Wolverine’s appearance, the animation for Wolverine is actually pretty great, with great character designs and plenty of fluid action sequences to sit back and enjoy. Backgrounds are detailed and the colours vibrant, suiting the pace of the tale perfectly.

Similarly, a great vocal cast adds the necessary depth to the already great visuals, all wrapped up in a fantastic pulse pounding soundtrack.

It is a fun and enjoyable Wolverine romp, even with the spots that are taken just a little too over the top in terms of the action sequences (annoying, I know), making it a decent watch for any fans of action-packed anime titles.