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Bleach: DVD Set Eight – Original and Uncut (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

May 17, 2011 by  



With “Bleach: DVD Set Seven” featured more filler episodes, finally the series gets back to speed as Aizen and the Arrancars make their move.  But this time, Ichigo’s training pays off and he becomes a more powerful, albeit for only eleven seconds.  Another action-packed DVD set that will entertain “Bleach” fans, “Bleach: DVD Set Eight – Original and Uncut” is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © Tite Kubo/Shueisha, TV Tokyo, Dentsu, Pierrot. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Bleach: DVD Set Eight – Original and Uncut

DURATION: Episodes 134-145 (300 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, Bilingual Japanese & English, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: VIZ Media

RATED: 13+

Release Date: March 22, 2011

Originally created by Kubotite

Directed by Noriyuki Abe

Music by Shiro Sagisu

Character Design by Masashi Kudo

Art Director: Natsuko Suzuki, Sawako Takagi

Anime Production by TV Tokyo, Dentsu, Studio Pierrot

Featuring the following voice talent:

Fumiko Orikasa/Michelle Ruff as Rukia Kuchiki

Masakazu Morita/Johnny Yong Bosch as Ichigo Kurosaki

Hiroki Yasumoto/Jamieson Price as Sado “Chad” Yasutora

Kentarou Itou/Wally Wingert as Abarai Renji

Masakazu Morita/Johnny Yong Bosch as Hollow Ichigo

Noriaki Sugiyama/Derek Stephen Prince as Ishida Uryuu

Satsuki Yukino/Wendee Lee as Shihouin Yoruichi (human form)

Shinichiro Miki/Michael Lindsay as Urahara Kisuke

Yuki Matsuoka/Stephanie Sheh as Inoue Orihime

Kaya Matsutani/Megan Hollingshead as Rangiku Matsumoto

Nobuyuki Hiyama/Vic Mignogna as Ikkaku Madarame

Jun Fukuyama/Brian Beacock as Yumichika Ayasegawa

Romi Paku/Steve Staley as Toshiro Hitsugaya

The Head Captain orders Mayuri Kurotsuchi to simplify the procedures to perform Gentei Kaijo, a restriction release for the Spiritual Pressure of the Advance Troops while in the World of the Living. Kon, lonely and bored due to Rukia’s and Orihime’s absence, decides to pay a visit to Rangiku. Trouble is brewing in Las Noches, Aizen’s palace in the Hollow realm, Hueco Mundo. One of the Arrancars, Patras, rebels against Aizen and tries to steal the Hogyoku.

“Bleach” is one of those titles, alongside “Naruto” and “Dragon Ball Z” that has managed to capture the attention of anime fans and continues to reinvent itself with new sagas and characters. Created in 2001 by mangaka Tite Kubo, the manga has been published on Weekly Shonen Jump and the animated series has been airing on Japanese television since 2004.

The series has manged to grow its fandom worldwide, especially in the US as the series has aired on television on the Cartoon Network and the various video games for the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP have also been popular among the fans as well.

The manga series revolves around teenager Ichigo Kurosaki, who has the ability to see Soul Reapers (a military group that escorts the souls of the dead) and in this case, Ichigo has seen a female Soul Reaper named Rukia Kuchiki. One day, a hollow (a monster that was once a human soul) has come to attack and when Rukia was injured, she transferred her spirit pressure to Ichigo in order for him to fight the hollow.

The first part of the series focuses on Ichigo and Rukia’s friendship as somehow nearly all her spirit pressure had been transferred to Ichigo and stripping away her soul reaper power and thus Ichigo now has the power to take on the hollows while Rukia helps guide him through the battles with her knowledge. As Rukia temporarily lives with Ichigo, the two together battle hollows.

The second part of the series deals with Rukia’s superiors finding out that Rukia has committed an illegal act by transferring her power to a human and the punishment is by death and featured Ichigo and friends going to the world of the Soul Society to rescue Rukia.

The third part of the series (season 4) deals with a new enemy known as the Bount, a race of humans that consume human souls to extend their lives but are also quite powerful and they also utilize dolls (like a soul reapers zanpakuto) as deadly weapons and would continue on to season 5.

In season six, we are introduced to the Visoreds, a group of ex-Soul Reapers who have crossed over into the realm of the Hollows. We learn that Captain Sosuke Aizen, the traitor has created an army of Hollows with Soul Reaper powers called Arrancars and now a few captains and lieutenants of the Soul Society must stay on Earth and disguise themselves as normal humans in order to protect the Earth from the Arrancars. Meanwhile, Ichigo Kurosaki must deal with his vicious hollow side that wants to come out and take over.

In season seven With Ichigo’s hollow trying to take over, the only people can help him are the Visoreds, but are they willing to help him? Meanwhile, members of the Soul Society try to get used to life in Japan and also prepare for any attacks from the Arrancars.

Now here we are with the eighth DVD set for “Bleach” and this time around Ichigo’s training to control his hollow starts to pay off and Aizen makes his move with the Arrancars.  It’s an all out war as the Soul Reapers and Ichigo and friends prepare for their upcoming battle!

The main characters of “Bleach” are:

  • Ichigo Kurosaki – The main protagonist. A teenager who becomes a substitute soul reaper after absorbing Rukia’s powers. Accepting his new powers and wanting to protect everyone around him. Ichiro manages to grow in power with every battle he gets involved in.
  • Rukia Kuchiki – A Soul Reaper who transferred her spiritual power to Ichigo.
  • Orihime Inoue – A longtime classmate of Ichigo who is very caring and manages to develop her spiritual awareness and after her brother is killed by a hollow, she has managed to grow in power which is tied to a hairpin that her brother had given her.
  • Yasutora “Chad” Sado – A friend of Ichigo and very quiet. Developed a sense of seeing hollows and eventually gaining a power of strength and a right arm that is literally a weapon to fight against hollows.
  • Uryu Ishida – A classmate of Ichigo and a descendant of a priest group that hunted hollows known as Quincy. Earlier on, Uryu was a rival of Ichigo due to his hatred towards the Soul Reapers and eventually becomes friends with him.
  • Kon – A modsoul who’s life soul is put into a stuffed lion. When Ichigo is a Soul Reaper, Kon takes over Ichigo’s body, so no one including Ichigo’s family knows that Ichiro is actually not there. Mostly a comedy-driven character known for his perverseness and always complaining about something.
  • Kisuke Urahara – Owner of the Urahara shop and a former captain of the 12th Division in the Soul Society. He caught Aizen converting Soul Reapers to Visoreds but before he can save them, Aizen framed him for the crimes and Urahara fled to the real world.
  • Yoruichi Shihoin – An old friend of Kisuke Urahara who can turn into a black cat. She is the former captain of the 2nd Division and former Commander in Chief of the Secret Mobile Corps.

For “Bleach” DVD Set Eight”, the following Soul Reapers star in this latest volume:

  • Renji Abarai – Liutenant of the 6th Division in the Gotei 13 under Captain Byakuya Kuchiki. Cares deeply for Rukia Kuchiki and is recruited by Kisuke Urahara to help train Yasutora Sado.
  • Toshiro Hitsugaya – Captain of the 10th Division and the youngest captain in the history of the Soul Society. Because of his young age and height, on Earth he is mistaken to be a grade schooler.
  • Rangiku Matsumoto – Lieutenant of the 10th Division, the well-endowed, carefree lieutenant who loves shopping and drinking.
  • Ikkaku Madarame – The 3rd Seat of the 11th Division who loves to battle and known for his bald head.
  • Yumichika Ayasegawa – The 5th Seat of the 11th Division. He can’t stand things that are “ugly”.

Here is a basic spoilerless summary of each episode included on the three DVD’s of “Bleach: DVD Set Eight – Original and Uncut”:

Note: In Japan, this set features season 7 in Japan.

DISC 1

  • EPISODE 134 – Twelfth division Soul Reaper Rin Tsubokura and Hanatarō Yamada accompanies soul reaper Yumichika Ayasegawa who must help the soul of a chef.
  • EPISODE 135 – Kon helps a girl named Miyuki from drowning and now she thinks her stuffed animal has comed to life.
  • EPISODE 136 – In Hueco Mundo, an arrancar named Patros and his two subordinates steal the Orb of Distortion and kill Espada Ulquiorra Cifer in the process.
  • EPISODE 137 – We learn that the Espada Ulquiorra Cifer’s death was staged and Aizen planned for the Orb of Distortion to be stolen.

DISC 2

  • EPISODE 138 – In Hueco Mundo, Aizen creates the arrancar Wonderweiss Margera with the Orb of Distortion and Ichigo learns to use his hollow mask for eleven seconds.
  • EPISODE 139 – Ichigo vs. Grimmjow, meanwhile Ulquiorra attacks Orihime.
  • EPISODE 140 – Hitsugaya vs. Luppi and Grimmjow vs. Shinji.
  • EPISODE 141 – Orihime confesses her love to someone.

DISC 3:

  • EPISODE 142 – Everyone realizes that Orihime is gone and now Ichigo turns to Irahara for help.
  • EPISODE 143 – Aizen wants Orihime to display her power and revive Grimmjow.
  • EPISODE 144 – In Hueco Mundo, Ichigo, Chad, and Uryū take on the Arrancar’s Demora and Iceringer.
  • EPISODE 145 – Ichigo spots a hollow going after a child in the desert.

 

VIDEO:

If there is one thing that I’ve always enjoyed about “Bleach” is that for a TV series that is cranked out in Japan, the TV series features a good amount of detail in the background art. The series tends to really showcase quite a bit of locations and thus, not always reusing scenes.

Also, the character designs, despite not always being detailed, is shown great care by character designer Masashi Kudo who definitely respects the original illustrations of Tite Kubo. Some closeups are really well done and there is a good amount of focus on the actual animation during the battle sequences.

For a TV series, especially knowing how in Japan, many of these studios tend to crank them out because they have other deadlines taking on other series, “Bleach” especially for season 4, continues to look very good.

As for picture quality, of course on DVD, you are going to see some banding and edge enhancement but for the most part, picture quality is very good.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Bleach” is presented in stereo English and Japanese. Both dialogue tracks are clear and understandable. For those with a modern receiver may want to set their setting to stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Bleach: DVD Set Eight – Original and Uncut” comes with the following special features:

DISC 1

  • Production Art – Using your remote, you can cycle through “Bleach” production art.
  • Clean Ending – The clean ending theme.
  • Omake – (3:15) The ending omake for episodes 134-137
  • Sneak Peek – Sneek peak of VIZ related anime series on DVD.
  • Manga Preview – A short preview of “Bleach” on manga.

DISC 2

  • Production Art – Using your remote, you can cycle through “Bleach” production art.
  • Clean Ending – The clean ending theme.
  • Omake – (3:15) The ending omake for episodes 138-141.
  • Sneak Peek – Sneek peak of VIZ related anime series on DVD.
  • Manga Preview – A short preview of “Bleach” on manga.

DISC 3

  • Production Art – Using your remote, you can cycle through “Bleach” production art.
  • Clean Ending – The clean ending theme.
  • Omake – (9:43) The ending omake from episodes 142-145.
  • Sneak Peek – Sneek peak of VIZ related anime series on DVD.
  • Manga Preview – A short preview of “Bleach” on manga.

EXTRA:

“Bleach: DVD Set Eight – Original and Uncut” comes with a slip over cover case.

Like many people who were hooked on the Cartoon Network Saturday night block with “Naruto” and other Shonen Jump-related anime series, “Bleach” was almost like a Saturday night ritual. And it was not just anime fans as I remember watching an NFL radio interview with a football player from the Dallas Cowboys who even said it was his Saturday night before a big game.

The series delivered when it came to action and cool characters and season 1-3 were quite explosive and exciting to watch. But when the fourth season came and The Bount storyline came into play, although the action was still there, it was almost a step back compared to the “us against the world” (or us against the Soul Reapers) storyline that made “Bleach” so exciting to watch.

With “Bleach: DVD Set Eight – Original and Uncut”, the series similar to the “Naruto” series has caught up to the manga series to quickly and like “Naruto”, we get a few of the filler episodes which dominated “DVD Set Seven”.  But fortunately, by episode 136, the main saga regarding Aizen and the Arrancars has begun!  Also, with this latest volume, we know that Ichigo has been training for awhile with the visoreds in order to control his hollow and sure enough, this latest volume shows him at least being able to control it for eleven seconds and with that great amount of power, eleven seconds can be enough time.

But this time around, Ichigo and friends take on some powerful Arrancars and just when you think that Ichigo has the upperhand, someone close to him is kidnapped.

So, the good news is that the DVD set and Viz Media’s manga releases  are now closer in proximity and by next volume, we will be introduced to new characters as this fight against the Arrancars continue.

Aside from the two filler episodes (which were fun to watch since there are only two), for those who have been waiting for Aizen to make his move, now can be happy that the Arrancar storyline has now started to pick up with “Bleach: DVD Set Eight – Original and Uncut”.

 

Overall, if you are a big fan of “Bleach”, another recommended DVD set for your collection!

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