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

December 15, 2011 by  



With the eleventh DVD set of “Bleach”, the storyline steps away from the Arrancar storyline with two stories which feature a new captain for the third division and Ichigo and friends trying to protect a young princess from being assassinated.  A good balance of humor and action, for those who have stuck with the series for the long haul, will definitely enjoy “Bleach DVD Set Eleven – Original and Uncut”.

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

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

DURATION: Episodes 168-179 (276 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: VIZ Media

RATED: 13+

Release Date: December 13, 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

Ichigo and Rukia take responsibility for looking after Rurichiyo, a girl of noble birth who one day appears in the World of the Living. She and her two bodyguards transfer into Ichigo’s class at school, and Rukia decides to show her how to have fun. But the fun stops when Rurichiyo disappears and then a group of assassins arrives and challenges Ichigo and his friends to a fight!

“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 series focused 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.

Throughout the series, Ichigo continues to get stronger, as does his friends Chad, Orihime, Uraharu and each develop significant skills to fight against the hollows and the powerful Arrancar.

While the last volumes have focused on the battle with the Arrancars, this time around, “Bleach DVD Set Eleven” (also known as Season 9 in Japan), the season is broken up into two stories.  The first story features the Third Division meeting their new captain, Shusuke Amagai and Amagai trying to win the trust of his new squad.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Ichigo and friends meet a young princess of the Soul Society nobility named Lurichiyo Kasumioji and her Soul Reaper assistants Ryusei “Kenryu” Kenzaki and Ruzaburo “Enryu” Enkogawa who move next door to Ichigo’s home.  They hope that Ichigo, Rukia and friends will be able to protect Lurichiyo from assassins, while she tries to maintain a normal life not knowing the threats that are being made against her.

For Ichigo, having to watch over a spoiled princess and having to deal with her bossy protectors is more than he needs in his life right now.  Especially when they bring out so many hollows and leave them to Ichigo and friends to fight them all.

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.

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

Note: In Japan, this set features season 9 in Japan.

DISC 1

  • EPISODE 168 – The third division’s new captain, Shusuke Amagai is announced and Makoto Kibune as his third seat, but they are not well-received by the squad.
  • EPISODE 169 – Ichigo meets Lurichiyo Kasumioji and her Soul Reaper assistants.
  • EPISODE 170 – Ichigo triest o find out why Kenryu and Enryu and the princess are in the real world and an assassination attempt is made on the young princess.
  • EPISODE 171 – Ichigo and Rukia take Lurichiyo to have a meal at Ichigo’s home.

DISC 2

  • EPISODE 172 – Amagai tries to buld trust with the third division.
  • EPISODE 173 – Kumoi orders Hanza to kill the young princess.
  • EPISODE 174 – Kumoi eliminates the remaining clan members to grow his power.  And Lurichiyo’s fiance, Shu Kannogi, becomes head of the clan.
  • EPISODE 175 – Kumoi works to have Lurichiyo, Ichigo and friends killed.

DISC 3:

  • EPISODE 176 – Rukia vs. Jinnai Doko.  Chad vs. Genba.
  • EPISODE 177 – Rukia vs. Jinnai Doko part 2.  Uryu vs. Kuzuryu.
  • EPISODE 178 – Ichigo is sealed in a different dimension and is forced to relive his mother’s death.
  • EPISODE 179 –  Amagai continues to try to win the respect of the Thirteen Court Guard Squads.

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” 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 Eleven – Original and Uncut” comes with the following special features:

DISC 1

  • Production Art – Using your remote, you can view “Bleach” production art.
  • Clean Ending – The clean ending theme.
  • Omake – The ending omake for episodes 168-171.
  • 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 view “Bleach” production art.
  • Clean Ending – The clean ending theme.
  • Omake – The ending omake for episodes 172-175.
  • 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 view “Bleach” production art.
  • Clean Ending – The clean ending theme.
  • Omake – The ending omake from episodes 176-179.
  • Sneak Peek – Sneek peak of VIZ related anime series on DVD.
  • Manga Preview – A short preview of “Bleach” on manga.

While “Bleach DVD Set Eleven – Original and Uncut” may be a filler volume, fortunately we have connected episodes and two action-packed storylines that keep “Bleach” fans interested.

Usually after a major arc and in order for an anime series to not surpass the manga artist’s original storyline, filler episodes are needed to give enough time between an anime and manga series.  For Shonen Jump series such as “Bleach” and “Naruto”, these filler episodes happen quite often.  And for both series, one reason why their filler episodes work is because of their vast characters they can tap into and build a storyline around them.

And in the cast of “Bleach”, there are so many soul reapers they can literally tap into and in this case, lieutenant Izuru Kira and the third squad and the introduction of Captain Shusuke Amagai make up part of the storyline, while the rest focuses on Ichigo and friends trying to protect a young princess named Lurichiyo.

While the storyline may seem simplistic, by the latter episodes on this eleventh volume, you realize that things are getting bit deeper in the storyline as Lurichiyo, Ichigo and friends are now being targeted for death.

And for me, it’s great to have Ichigo and friends back in the world of the living and seeing old friends back again.

While “Bleach DVD Set Eleven – Original and Uncut” are filler episodes, you do get a lot of fun moments and also plenty of action.  But this volume is definitely setting the course for a more intense battle between Ichigo and friends and the assassins.

Overall, if you are a “Bleach” fan and are dedicated to the series for the long haul, then this eleventh DVD set will surely entertain you!






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