Nanao announces “Seireitei International Film Festival” to celebrate the release of Bleach Movie 4 to capitalize on the theatre-going trend. Ichigo walks around Sereitei as the movies are being filmed. He meets Komamura, Unohana, and Isane who tell him that Squad 4 and 7 are making a drama about animals saving humans. Unohana cows Ichigo into being an actor for them, though he is skeptical about the costumes. Squad 12 is producing a special effects film, and Squad 11 is making an action movie featuring Kenpachi cutting things down. He wants to fight Ichigo, but Unohana makes him back down. After Ichigo finally finishes, he meets Ukitake, Kyoraku, and Nano. Kyoraku wanted to make a x-rated film but was blocked by Nanao, and Ukitake is being filmed by Sentaro and Kiyone who are making a documentary about him.
Ichigo then goes with Renji and meets Rukia dressed in a maid uniform for their movie, “Battle Maid Cop”. Matsumoto plays the villain from space, Ichigo as Rukia’s savior, Byakuya for special effects, and Ishida, Inoue, and Chad come to help. In the movie, Matsumoto captures Rukia and controls Ishida and Inoue. When Ichigo comes to save her, Chad uses El Directo, and Byakuya uses kido and Senbozakura for Inoue’s attack, which “defeats” Ichigo. Rukia then breaks free and “knocks out” Chad and Inoue, forcing Matsumoto to retreat.
As they prepare for the next scene at the Sokyoku, Ichigo complains about the lack of plot and poor dialogue and the preciseness of Byakuya’s attacks. He wants to quit, but Rukia’s speech causes him to change his mind. However, they are discovered filming there without a permit and have to escape. Renji and Byakuya both use their bankais and they bust out, incorporating it into the actual movie as well.
This was a fairly quirky tongue-in-cheek filler episode. Like the manga this week, it’s a special episode coinciding with the release of the new Bleach movie next week. There are some references to real life events, such as the recessions and movies and it features many of the squads are producing their own films for the festival, such as Kenpachi’s snuff film and Unohana’s animal flick. The calm and gentle Unohana’s aura (enough to subdue even Kenpachi) is a recurring gag.
The bulk of the episode focused on Renji and his movie’s shameless capitalizing on the maid fad. Of course the quality of their movie is very low in general; there’s the overdramatic acting, cheesy dialogue, and on-the-fly plot development. It was funny hearing “Number One” playing when Ichigo comes out, which was obviously also over the top. Most humor comes from the references and overacting and irony, such as Rukia’s emotional speech about the “pursuit of reality”. As usual, only Ichigo in his right mind (perhaps because he is the only one getting picked on) in his role is the straight man. Byakuya especially seems to want to hurt Ichigo; even though he claims its for the sake of realism and gives a bunch of bullshit about honor, I suspect he does have a grudge against Ichigo for kicking his ass back in the SS arc.
The whole movie production process was just a huge mess, though they go the Suzumiya Haruhi route to make it barely coherent: “We’re just going to cut and paste and edit everything”. I was surprised they were actually filming the whole escape scene, but in the end it turns out pretty exciting. However, it is ironic since they (along with Kenpachi) actually caused more damage for the film festival, which was intended to recoup some of the losses incurred by destruction caused by fights. As the preview narration revealed, prize money for film festival went to repairs instead, defeating its purpose entirely. On the whole, this filler episode wasn’t terrible as fillers go but it wasn’t that interesting either and I would have preferred seeing an animated version of the hell arc manga chapter.