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

October 16, 2011 by  



With “Bleach: DVD Set Nine”, Ichigo and friends search for Orihime meanwhile meeting an Arrancar named Nel.  Meanwhile, Rukia takes on an opponent who she is very familiar with.  Another action-packed, hilarious and exciting volume of “Bleach”!

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

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

DURATION: Episodes 146-156 (275 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: VIZ Media

RATED: 13+

Release Date: June 21, 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

In the perpetual night and white sand world of Hueco Mundo, Ichigo and the others fight their way to Las Noches, the stronghold of former Soul Reaper captain Sosuke Aizen, where Orihime is being held. In the depths of Las Noches, Rukia encounters Espada Number Nine, Aaroniero Arruruerie, who removes his mask to reveal a very familiar face – could he really be former Squad Three Lieutenant Kaien Shiba?

“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 Nine”, the following Soul Reapers star in this latest volume:

  • Renji Abarai – Lieutenant 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 Nine – Original and Uncut”:

Note: In Japan, this set features season 7 and season 8 in Japan.

DISC 1

  • EPISODE 146 – While Ichigo, Chad and Urahara are walking towards Las Noches, they run into a young hollow named Nel and her friends but they are quickly attacked by Lunuganga.
  • EPISODE 147 – Lunuganga attacks the group and Rukia is separated from the group and is lost in the Forest of Menos.
  • EPISODE 148 – Soul reaper Ashido tries to help Rukia get back to her friends.
  • EPISODE 149 – The group are attacked by adjuchas.

DISC 2

  • EPISODE 150 – Orihime tries to destroy the Orb of Distortion.
  • EPISODE 151 – Ichigo vs. Privaron Espada Dordonii Alessandro Del Socacchio
  • EPISODE 152 – The battle between Ichigo vs. Privaron Espada Dordonii Alessandro Del Socacchio continues.
  • EPISODE 153 – Rukia vs. Espada, Aaroniero Arruruerie but also finds out his true identity.

DISC 3:

  • EPISODE 154 – Rukia learns the true identity of Aaroniero.
  • EPISODE 155 – Rukia vs. Kaien.
  • EPISODE 156 – Uryū vs. Cirucci.

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 Nine – 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 146-149.
  • 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 150-153.
  • 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 154-156.
  • Sneak Peek – Sneek peak of VIZ related anime series on DVD.
  • Manga Preview – A short preview of “Bleach” on manga.

EXTRA:

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

The Hueco Mundo arc continues with another action-packed and hilarious volume with the introduction of one of the popular characters of the “Bleach” series, Nel!

When it comes to “Bleach”, there are not many hollows that get a lot of recognition, but one that has received quite a bit of fandom (and many cosplaying her) is Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck, or Nel Tu, the small, childlike Arrancar who happens to be the #3 Espada (the top ranked Arrancar in Sosuke Aizen’s army of Hollow-Shinagami).

While this volume features the introduction of the childlike character (which fans would get to see her real true form later in the series) and if anything, these episodes show how Nel would become good friends with Ichigo.  The beginning of the series is quite humorous as we are introduced to her three goofy Hollow friends Pesche Guatiche, Dondochakka Birstanne, and Bawabawa.  But the series takes a turn for a more serious storyline as we see Ichigo and friends taking on various enemies during their travel to Las Noches.

If anything, this volume does bring things back to Ichigo and Rukia as both individuals have their plate full of taking on various enemies.  Rukia’s opponent is a bit more personal, while for Ichigo, for he and his friends, it’s all about saving Orihime from Aizen’s army.

But also, for Orihime fans, we find out what happens to her when she is captured by Aizen’s group and in order to survive, helps heal Grimmjow, but Orihime feels that in order to help her friends, it is best to work with the Arrancar’s for now.

Overall, this is an action-packed season of “Bleach”, containing both “The Hueco Mundo Arc” (Season seven in Japan) and the “Arrancar: The Fierce Fight Arc” (Season eight in Japan) and the battle with the Arrancar’s is possibly the longest storyline I have seen with an enemy for an anime series (in fact, it extends to season 14).

So, for those looking for a resolution to the Aizen/Arrancars, it’s not going to happen anytime soon.  This is one adventure and battle that fans will need to stick with for another 150 episodes.

But for those who are “Bleach” fans, I’m sure they will be keeping up with the series regardless, but for those who are wanting to see where Nel makes her introduction, “Bleach DVD Set Nine” is the one you definitely want!

Once again, these episodes are action-packed, hilarious and continues the excitement of the “Bleach” anime series.  “Bleach DVD Set Nine – Original and Uncut” is definitely recommended for “Bleach” fans!

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