Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: VIZ Media
MSRP: $49.95 US
Running Time: 300 minutes
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
The final battle against the Bounts is also one of Ichigo’s finest moments.
The Bount story arc certainly proved that the Bleach series not only knows how to make good filler episodes but that they can also be entertaining, compelling and loads of fun to watch. Season Four of Bleach managed to start off good enough but Part Two is not only a fitting end but a thrilling 12-episodes that will keep Bleach fans thrilled to be along for the ride.
A lot happened in Part One of this fourth season as Ichigo Kurosaki and his friends find themselves going up against a new kind of foe that makes vampires look like complete posers. Led by a Bount named Kariya, the rest follow their leader draining the spirit energy of the living so, naturally, Ichigo has to stop them. Of course, their presence has also gotten the attention of the Soul Society that already sent the likes of Renji Abarai, Rukia Kuchiki and even a non-combatant such as Hanataro Yamada.
In Part Two, however, the Bounts are gathering their forces to finally put a stop to those who stand in their way. With Ichigo and his friends preparing themselves in the safety of Uruhara’s store and Uryu mourning the death of the female Bount named Yoshino who he befriended, the Soul Society continues its investigation of the Bounts.
Meanwhile, Uruhara thinks its best to prepare for another assault so everyone – with the exception of Uryu – pairs up. Since Ichigo has the aid of the Mod Soul named Lirin, he attempts to find a way to track the Bounts. In a cute and comical episodes, the three Mod Souls (as well as Kon) set up some homemade traps in Ichigo’s house that all seem to backfire.
Unfortunately, the Bounts strike first using a created scourge of giant mosquito-like creatures called Bittos that drain the souls out of the living and deliver the liquefied soul essence in vials that make up their bodies. One of their victims is Ichigo’s friend Keigo Asano. It becomes clear to Ichigo that he must hurry or his friend will die but the Bounts send Go Koga and his dangerous doll that now seems twice as deadly as before. The truth is that all of Kariya’s followers drank the liquefied human soul extract and gained the benefits of more power.
On the other side of Karakura Town, however, Orihime, Rukia and Noba go up against a female Bount named Yoshi who is equally super powered but the real threat comes from her companion – Mabashi – who uses a doll that spiritually drills itself into Rukia and turning her into a human puppet for the Bount to control. In a great scene, Orihime gathers what strength and power she can muster and uses it to save Rukia.
In the meantime, Chad, Renji and Uruhara’s little employee – Ururu – fight the elderly Bount who unleashes a strange ability that has him manipulate wood and turn it into a massive wooden whale that swallows up Ururu. Thankfully, Rangiku Matsumoto shows up to lend a hand and the Soul Society sends other Soul Reapers that finally get some time to show their stuff like Lieutenants Izura Kira and Shuhei Hisagi.
With everyone locked in battle, we do get another glimpse of Kariya and Go Koga’s past that reveal the secrets of their dolls. The flashback reveals a young Bount that Go once mentored who was so determined to create a doll that he goes about it without supervision and – as a result – ends up suffering a fate that affects both Go and Kariya.
In the final act, however, the Soul Society discovers that an intruder has entered as Ichigo and his companions discover Kariya’s true intentions as he finally faces off against him in an ultimate battle. Even Uryu joins the final battle as he makes use of a Quincy accessory to help his friends and avenge the death of Yoshino.
Part Two of Season Four of Bleach might not end this filler story arc but it is still a satisfyingly entertaining chapter true to the series. There’s not only a good dose of action, drama and comedy but the story actually makes for a memorable 12-episodes well worth watching. There’s no doubt why this series has such a loyal following even when they stray off the main story.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
The real battle against the Bounts is just beginning as Ichigo and his friends as well as the Soul Society prepare for the worst. However, when the enemy unleashes a new weapon on the World of the Living. As Ichigo and Soul Reaper alike come face-to-face with the deadly Bounts, Kariya’s true intentions are finally revealed as he takes the fight to the most unexpected place.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
No matter how good it looked on TV, the best way to watch Bleach is on DVD and the episodes certainly look great that way. Plus, the episodes include the short but funny “
AUDIO QUALITY: A+
Once again, the voice acting is great if you prefer the English dub voices or the original Japanese cast that are even more amazing. The music is still good and so is the opening and closing theme songs, especially “Tonight Tonight Tonight” by Beat Crusaders.
Each disc contains some great Production Art still as well as the clean opening and closing theme songs as well but the real juicy stuff comes with the last disc that includes the bonus Behind the Scenes of Bleach extra. The behind the scenes feature includes interviews with voice actors Troy Baker (Kariya), Sam Regal (Ichinose), Richard Epcar (Koga) and Julie Ann Taylor (Lirin) just to name a few.
With the finale to this excellent filler story arc coming up, Part Two of Season Four of Bleach is still a satisfying collection of episodes thanks to great storytelling and villains that aren’t just dreamt up to waste time before the series got back to business. Overall, it’s been a great story and this last part is just too good to pass up.
Review copy provided by VIZ Media