Of all the characters in the popular manga/anime "Bleach," Toshiro Hitsugaya is amongst the most popular.
And he even got his own movie: "Bleach Movie 2: The Diamond Dust Rebellion," a beautifully animated anime that takes the ice-slinging child genius into an encounter with his own past (along with Ichigo and the others, of course). It has some basic canon flaws (since when can Ichigo fly?) but the storyline and animation are truly lovely.
While the Ouin is being transported, the procession is attacked and robbed -- and Hitsugaya unexpectedly takes off. Being an old fart who loves to blame people, Yamamoto puts the entire division under house arrest.
Meanwhile, Ichigo shelters an exhausted, badly-injured Hitsugaya -- only to have the boy-captain run away after one night, after muttering something about "Kusaka." His friends start sniffing around for evidence of this Kusaka, while the wounded Hitsugaya is tottering around Karakura -- and an execution order has been put on his head.
Then Captain Kyoraku is nearly killed by Hyorinmaru, at the same time that Hitsugaya was fighting Kira and Hisagi. During a battle with the mysterious Kusaka, Ichigo realizes who he is and why the Soul Society tried to kill him -- and how much power the Ouin his given him. Now Hitsugaya is determined to stop Kusaka, but Ichigo is determined that he won't be the only one to fight...
Perhaps the biggest problem with "The Diamond Dust Rebellion" is that it plays fast-and-loose with some of "Bleach's" canon, such as the idea that two people can have the same zanpakuto's spirit.
But if that can be overlooked, then "The Diamond Dust Rebellion" is a pretty brilliant piece of work -- more focused and intense than the first "Bleach" movie, and beautifully animated. The animation is precise, detailed and smooth, and everything is bathed in pale frosty light and wintry clouds, augmented by explosions of ice and blasts of mist and snow.
And it has plenty of amazing action sequences (a moonlit fight at a shrine) and some lovely visuals (the ornate cloud-borne procession in the first scene), right up to a spectacular climactic fight between Kusaka and all the most powerful Soul Reapers. Fortunately to keep things from becoming too grim, the writers also included a bit of comic relief -- namely Renji's method of "resuscitating" an unconscious Ichigo. Let's just say it doesn't involve mouth to mouth.
Obviously Hitsugaya gets the most development in this movie -- he's always been an icy loner, but here we get a glimpse of his past losses and a lone friendship. And once more, he tries to take on all the responsibility so others will be spared. Thankfully, the flashbacks are oblique enough that at first we don't realize what he's doing, or why.
Ichigo comes in a close second, since he's had that lone-wolf/tough guy act in the past, and it seems pretty natural that he'd want to help out someone who has the same emotional problems. But a lot of other characters get little spurts of attention -- the kindly Ukitake, shrewd Kyoraku, his uptight lieutenant Nanao (who loses her cool after he's injured), rough-edged Renji, and many others.
Even the villain is well done, since you can see how he ended up so bitter and vengeful -- although his little sidekicks are basically cannon fodder.
"Bleach Movie 2: The Diamond Dust Rebellion" is a far smoother ride than the previous "Bleach" movie, with brilliant animation and a stunning ride into Hitsugaya's clouded past.