Bleach, DVD Set Six – DVD Review

 

Review by: Faith McAdams

Publisher: VIZ Media
MSRP: $49.95 US
Running Time: 300 minutes
Genre: Action
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

This is the beginning of Aizen’s war on the Soul Reapers.

As much as I thought the Bount story arc served as actually a good distraction from the main story, it ran a little too long and a big part of me wanted the story to get back to business. Oh but good things come to those who wait and DVD Set Six of Bleach finds us going straight to the main story and boy does things get interesting very quickly as the story will have you on the edge of your seat.

If that sounded like an exaggeration then I don’t blame you but once things get rolling in this series you know it gets going in a big way. After having finished their business in the Soul Society when Ichigo and his friends helped the Soul Reapers stop the Bounts, the quartet returns to the World of the Living and back to their daily lives. It seems everyone – especially Keigo Asano – finds it strange that Ichigo, Orihime, Chad and Uryu are always together now.

All seems normal when their teacher announces a new transfer student who happens to be a strange guy named Shinji Hirako who somehow knows Ichigo’s name even though they weren’t properly introduced. While Ichigo goes about his Substitute Soul Reaper duties, Shinji attacks Ichigo with a zanpakuto of his own. In fact, Shinji reveals he has a Hollow mask as well that is much like the one Ichigo possesses. You see, Shinji reveals that he is a Visored … a Soul Reaper that crossed over. He also wants Ichigo to join the Visored army.

Meanwhile, Grand Fisher makes a his grand return and not only has he changed physically but he is after Ichigo. With Ichigo out and Kon in his physical body, Grand Fisher chases Kon and is about to get killed when the other Mod Souls come to his rescue but the one who steps in and actually slays Grand Fisher once and for all is a Soul Reaper whose identity will surprise Bleach fans. Speaking of surprises, Uryu finds himself being aided by somebody he knows that is actually a Quincy and this person tell him that he has the power to get Uryu his powers back … for a price.

As Ichigo refuses to join the Visored army, he begins wrestling with his Hollow self that threatens to take over Ichigo completely until there is nothing left of his true self. While Ichigo is wrestling with that, people around him are beginning to show signs of learning the truth about Ichigo and Hollows. Not only does Ichigo’s siter, Karin, confront him about Soul Reapers but now Keigo Asano and Tatsuki Arisawa can see Hollows as well.

Then things get even more interesting when two Arrancars crash land in a park in the World of the Living in search of Ichigo. They are the brutish Yammy and the calm and dangerous Ulquiorra who – unfortunately – take their anger out on Chad and Orihime who are the first to arrive. Ichigo clashes with them but he’s no match for their power but, thankfully, he gets help from none other than Urahara and Yoruichi (who, in one scene, can certainly chow down).

It becomes clear that Ichigo and his friends aren’t enough so the Soul Society sends a number of Soul Reapers to lend a hand. In fact, one of the highlights of this part is seeing the likes of Captain Hitsugaya, Rangiku, Ikkaku, Yumichika and Renji all dressed up in the school uniform. Better yet, this also marks the official return of Rukia Kuchiki. In one of the best moments, Rukia is the one who knocks some sense into Ichigo and actually inspires him to act like his usual self. This is something that Orihime sees and suddenly – and almost out of character – makes Orihime jealous of Rukia’s effect on Ichigo.

As Captain Hitsugaya fills Ichigo in on the Arrancar problem, the Captain suspect that Aizen has stepped things up and is setting his plan in motion to rule over everything by sending out his Vasto Lordes. Not wasting anytime, Aizen does send out five Arrancars that are led by a Vasto Lordes named Grimmjow.

Karakura Town becomes a battlefield as individual Soul Reapers take on the various numbered Arrancars and, as a few Arrancars begin to fall (one by Rukia herself who reveals that she’s back in a big way), the big guns show that they have power greater than any of the Soul Reapers can imagine. It is Ichigo and Rukia who experience this firsthand as they go up against Grimmjow.

As I said, it’s some pretty exciting stuff with plenty of amazing battles, surprising developments and a promise of more conflicts with the Arrancar threat. Really, it’s everything you can ask for in a Bleach anime release. However, despite its great episodes, this DVD set crams said episodes in three DVDs in packaging that slices the season in parts. VIZ Media can’t really say that this was done to save money because the price retail price remains the same. You’re actually getting less episodes for the same price.

Still, DVD Set Six of Bleach gets back to the main story in the most exciting way possible as this story not only gets more interesting but more intense. As Aizen finally makes his move and some surprising developments arise, this is the start of a season that is sure to keep surprising us. Yes, I’m not crazy about the way the episodes are presented but this shouldn’t stop Bleach fans from buying this one right away.

DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: A-
Back from the Soul Society, Ichigo and his friends find themselves back in school as life seems to get back to normal. When a strange transfer student joins their class, however, Ichigo finds out that this young man just happens to be just like him. Meanwhile, Aizen sends forth his Arrancar soldiers to the World of the Living as Ichigo and some familiar Soul Reapers that include Rukia face off against them.

VIDEO QUALITY: A
I keep saying this but it’s true … Bleach looks amazing on DVD and that’s a god thing since the fight scenes are always wonderfully flashy in this series and there are plenty in this set.

AUDIO QUALITY: A+
The music in this series has always been a highlight and we still adore “Rolling Star” as an opening tune and love “Sakurabi Yuri” by Mia Hoshimura as a closing theme song. However, “Alones” by Aqua Timez is nothing short of epic. On top of that, the original Japanese voice cast is awesome but I would like to take this space to say how awesome Vic Mignogna is as Ikkaku Madarame.

EXTRAS: B-
The Bleach Villains feature is an excellent touch for those who want to catch up on the various enemies that Ichigo and the rest of the Soul Reapers including clips of them at their very bad. There are also trailers but the real travesty is no clean opening just the textless closing theme song.

OVERALL: B+
Bleach gets back to business with the sixth DVD set of the series and the events that transpire in these few episodes are nothing short of riveting and action-packed. In short, it is everything Bleach fans love about the series. Just about the only negative is the packaging that gives us less for the same price. Other than that, Bleach fans shouldn’t be without this one.

Review copy provided by VIZ Media

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