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

March 30, 2011 by  



In this latest box set of “Bleach”, Ichigo deals with his inner hollow with the help of the visoreds and a storyline featuring the soul reapers staying in reality on Earth protecting people from the arrancars.  Although many episodes are fillers, these filler episodes were tolerable and fun to watch.  If you enjoy “Bleach”, DVD Set Seven is still worth checking out!

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

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

DURATION: Episodes 122-133 (300 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: VIZ Media

RATED: 13+

Release Date: February 16, 2010

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

While Captain Hitsugaya’s advance Soul Reaper troops adjust to life in the World of the Living, Ichigo and his friends undergo extensive training to prepare for the battle with the Arrancars. Ichigo is determined to learn to control his inner Hollow, but the Visoreds he goes to for help are just as determined for him to release it. Then, when Soul Reaper Rangiku saves a young soul from a Mock Arrancar, the extent of Sosuke Aizen’s grand scheme is slowly revealed.

“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.

And here we are with “Bleach: DVD Set Seven – Original and Uncut” featuring episodes 122-133.  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.

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 Seven”, the following storylines concentrate on these Soul Reapers:

  • 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 Seven – Original and Uncut”:

Note: In Japan, this set features season 6 and 7.  Episode 132 begins season 7 in Japan.

DISC 1

  • EPISODE 122 – Ichigo searches for the Visoreds as his inner hollow has become too powerful to control.
  • EPISODE 123 – The Visoreds will only help Ichigo if he can beat Hiyori.
  • EPISODE 124 – Ichigo takes on his inner hollow
  • EPISODE 125 – The continuing of Ichigo vs. his inner hollow.

DISC 2

  • EPISODE 126 – Ichigo trains with Hyori, Chad trains with Renji, meanwhile Orihime looks for Ichigo.
  • EPISODE 127 – Orihime deals with her sadness after Urahara tells her that she should not fight in battle.
  • EPISODE 128 – Rangiku protects the spirit of a child that is about to become attacked by an arrancar.
  • EPISODE 129 – Rangiku and Shota discover the source of the music that brings the arrancar.

DISC 3:

  • EPISODE 130 – The arrancer is revealed to be able to disguise itself as the human souls it devoured.
  • EPISODE 131 – The fate of of Yui is revealed.
  • EPISODE 132 – Ichigo’s sister Karin meets Toshiro Hitsugaya and she wants him to take part in soccer tournament.
  • EPISODE 133 – Keigo Asano’s sister asks Ikkaku Madarame to help train kendo students at his school.

 

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

DISC 1

  • Production Art – Using your remote, you can cycle through “Bleach” production art.
  • Manga Preview – A short preview of “Bleach” on manga.
  • Clean Ending – The clean ending theme.
  • Sneak Peek – Sneek peak of VIZ related anime series on DVD.

DISC 2

  • Production Art – Using your remote, you can cycle through “Bleach” production art.
  • Manga Preview – A short preview of “Bleach” on manga.
  • Clean Ending – The clean ending theme.
  • Sneak Peek – Sneek peak of VIZ related anime series on DVD.

DISC 3

  • Kon Test – A Kon multiple choice test.
  • Production Art – Using your remote, you can cycle through “Bleach” production art.
  • Omake – (9:43) A collection of all the omake animation (from episodes 122-133) that is featured at the end of each episode.
  • Manga Preview – A short preview of “Bleach” on manga.
  • Clean Ending – The clean ending theme.
  • Sneak Peek – Sneek peak of VIZ related anime series on DVD.

EXTRA:

“Bleach: DVD Set Seven – 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 Seven – Original and Uncut”, the series similar to the “Naruto” series has caught up to the manga series to quickly and like “Naruto”, you get quite a bit of filler episodes included in the series.  Which is usually a bad thing but in the case of “Bleach”, it may be a good thing.

The cool thing about this latest release is the fact that we finally see how Ichigo deals with his inner hollow. We know that hollow is quite wicked but at the same time, very powerful, so it was a given that he would need to control that hollow and sure enough, a lot is focused on the training and him learning from the visoreds.

But it’s those remaining episodes that fans will like or dislike and those are the filler episodes that feature the soul society and not the primary characters that people are usually used to seeing.  But in the case of “Bleach”, that might be a good thing.  In “Bleach”, there are so many soul reapers in the soul society and because the series is primarily focused on Ichigo and his friends, there are rarely any episodes that showcase these characters in battle.  And in “Bleach”, with so many characters, there are only so many things you can do and so many characters you can focus on.

For “Naruto”, the filler episodes typically have characters joining with Naruto on a mission, where in “Bleach”, the writers went to work on storylines featuring  a few of the soul reapers from the 10th and 11th division and create storylines around those characters and because they must get used to living on the real world, the writers found a way to showcase them adapting to the world.  From Toshiro Hitsugaya feeling uncomfortable in the real world especially due to his size and how he looks quite young, Rangiku and her shopping habits and Ikkaku living at the Asano household and somehow being pulled into doing things for Asano’s sister.  Also, this allows for the writers to focus on storyline that involve Ichigo’s family members and high school friends and most of all, the soul reapers having to take on the arrancars.

So, I found the “Bleach” fillers much more tolerable than the “Naruto” fillers in the fact that these soul reapers were given their own storyline without having to rely on Ichigo or his friends to be part of those battles.  While I enjoyed that, I’m sure those who may dislike the fact that Ichigo and friends barely show up during those filler episodes.

If anything, I do enjoy the series and I enjoy the many characters featured in “Bleach” and I look forward to seeing how the arrancar storyline develops.

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






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