Review by: Edward Zacharias
Publisher: VIZ Media
MSRP: $69.97 US
Running Time: 550 minutes
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
The Spiritual Pressure is strong in this one.
Willing to risk everything to save the girl that had given him a power greater than he ever imagined, Ichigo Kurosaki (along with Chad, Uryu, Orihime and Yoruichi) has come a long way to reach Rukia Kuchiki. Having faced Soul Reaper Lieutenants and even a Captain like Kenpachi Zaraki, Ichigo finally reaches Rukia only to be confronted by the very man that nearly killed him back in the world of the living. Bleach, Season Three Box Set, covers The Rescue story arc that will not fail to surprise Bleach fans.
Season Three covers episodes 42 to 63 as a badly injured Ichigo – with the aid of Ms. Orochi – steps in for the fallen Ganju. The opponent is Rukia’s own brother, Byakuya Kuchiki, who attacks are still too overwhelmingly powerful even though Ichigo has gotten a lot faster. Before the battle would turn into another bloodbath, Yoruichi pulls Ichigo out while displaying her lightning fast moves. She promises Byakuya that in three days Ichgo will return with enough power to go against him fairly.
While Ichigo trains to gain the ability locked within his Zanpaku-to (called Bankai), Orihime and Uryu try to reach Ichigo disguised as Soul Reapers. While they do manage to fool a few Soul Reapers along the way, a hidden foe that introduces himself as Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi, President and founder of the Research and Development Institute. Knowing that Orihime doesn’t have it in her to fight, Uryu faces the Soul Reaper only to find out an ugly secret about the cruel Captain who has dissected a Quincy familiar to Uryu. The battle, one many unforgettable moments in this season, will change Uryu Ishida’s life that will echo in other future episodes.
As the intruders are finally captured, the Soul Reapers find themselves in the middle of the supposed murder of Captain Sosuke Aizen. It is Momo Hinamori who is determined to find and punish the murder with the help of a letter that Aizen left her on the night he died. At the same moment she confronts a suspect she never thought would be capable of killing her Captain, the seemingly sinister Gin Ichimaru is on the move and his intentions are becoming clearer. What was Aizen warning Momo about in his letter and what does Rukia’s execution have to do with it? It is the young Captain Hitsugaya.
Meanwhile, as Rukia’s execution is pushed ahead 24 hours, Ichigo’s friends find themselves being aided by the most unlikely people … all the Soul Reapers Ichigo had defeated. This includes Kenpachi, who wants to help the intruders in order to fight Ichigo again under friendlier terms. Surprisingly enough, another familiar former opponent joins Ichigo in his Bankai training. As more than a few Soul Reapers begin to believe that Rukia’s execution is wrong, there are confrontations aplenty as Captains battle Captains and even old man Yamamoto gets into a massive fight.
The best moment comes during the final episodes of the season as Ichigo finally does show up on the day of the execution when the mystery of Aizen’s fate is finally revealed. Ichigo fight Byakuya in one of the best fights of the season when suddenly the Soul Reapers learn of the threat that is connected to Rukia. Suddenly, Soul Reapers and Ichigo turn their attention on the real enemy
Last season we learned a bit about a few Soul Reapers like Renji Abarai whose childhood loyalty to Rukia causes him to risk his life to save his friend. In this season, we learn a little more about the other Soul Reapers, which – personally speaking – is one of the things I love most about Tite Kubo. To Kubo-sensei, even characters that might seem insignificant has their moment to shine and become more than just cardboard cutouts. We get a peek into Momo’s early days as a student as well as Soifon who was Yoruichi’s personal guard. In a great episode, we also get a deeper look into Rukia’s life as her Lieutenant dies before her very eyes.
The Season Three Box Set of Bleach reaches an exciting point in The Rescue story arc that makes this part one of the more riveting moments in the series. As the rescue itself takes a sharp detour, the story focuses its attention on a mystery that – once it becomes revealed – is genuinely shocking. If you’re wondering why this show is so popular, pick this box set up and see why.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
The race to save Rukia from being executed continues as the others face off against powerful Soul Reaper Captains and Ichigo trains with Yoruichi to learn how to release his Zanpaku-to’s Bankai. Meanwhile, a handful of Soul Reapers begin to piece together the mystery behind Captain Aizen’s murder only to find out the ugly truth that is connected to the day of Rukia’s execution when Ichigo and Renji fight Byakuya Kuchiki.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
The episodes are presented in their uncut format and they still look great on DVD so this is really the way to watch the series, Bleach fans. This is good news seeing as the animation in this series is some of the best and the action sequences really stand out.
AUDIO QUALITY: A+
Once again, the original Japanese voice actors are at the top of their game and you just have to love all the energy that Johnny Yong Bosch and the rest of the English dub cast provides. The music is still just as exciting as it was in the first two seasons and the ending tune, “Happy People,” is kind of a catchy tune but we love “Life” a lot better.
There’s production art on every disc as well as the same previews for VIZ Media anime and manga but the real treat here is the cute “Kon’s U.S. Tour” as Kon heads to New York City, San Francisco and San Diego to promote the first Bleach Movie as well as Tite Kubo’s visit to San Diego Comic Con 2008. There’s also a Behind the Scenes of Bleach featurette with interviews.
What started out as a rescue mission into the lion’s den has become a conspiracy within the Soul Society itself as Ichigo and his friends become wrapped up in a plot that threatens the Soul Reapers in the exciting Season Three Box Set of Bleach. Impressive battles are fought, friendships are formed and the ending is something you will not see coming. This is a season of Bleach that’s too good to pass up.