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

April 1, 2013 by  



While Studio Pierrot gives the war between Soul Reapers and Arrancars a break in order to give manga artist Tite Kubo to finish up the series, a new story arc will be featured.  In “Bleach DVD Set Sixteen – Original and Uncut”, the Zanpakuto has rebelled against their Soul Reaper masters by taking a human form and declaring war.  Can Ichigo and the Soul Reapers find a way to defeat their zanpakuto or find a weakness?  Find out in the original and uncut episodes of “Bleach DVD Set Sixteen”!

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

DVD TITLE: Bleach DVD Set Sixteen – Original and Uncut

DURATION: Episodes 230-242 (320 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: VIZ Media

RATED: 13+

Release Date: March 12, 2013

Originally created by Tite Kubo

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

A mysterious man has given physical form to the Zanpakuto of all captains and lieutenants of the Thirteen Court Guard Squads. Newly liberated, the Zanpakuto wreak havoc upon the Soul Society and their former masters. Can Ichigo and the Thirteen Court Guard Squads rein them in before it’s too late? More importantly, are they ready to uncover the truth, lies, and deceit that await them?

Contains episodes 230-242.

What would happen if the zanpakuto of Soul Reapers rebelled against their masters?

In the Seireitei, a mysterious man appears before the Soul Reapers.  Captains and lieutenants of the Gotei 13 are shocked that they are unable to use their zanpakuto and the mysterious man named Muramasa delivers a message.  The Soul Reaper zanpakuto has renounced them and are now declaring war!

“Bleach DVD Set Sixteen” is the beginning of Season 13 (Note: Japanese continuity) and features episodes 230-242.

So, what is “Bleach”?

“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.

It’s important to note that because of how quickly the animated series has caught up with the manga series, the ongoing arc between the war between Soul Reapers and the Arrancars have temporarily put on hiatus to allow Tite Kubo to finish the chapters of the manga series.  So, Studio Pierrot created an alternative story arc titled “Zanpakuto: The Alternate Tale arc” (Zanpakuto Ibun Hen).  Episode 230 was aired on  TV Tokyo on July 28, 2009 and ended on April 6, 2010.  As the US airdate was shown in 2011-2012.

This new storyline not featured in the manga series featured an announcement by a mysterious individual named Muramasa that the Soul Reapers no longer have access to their zanpakuto.  In fact, their zanpakuto have now assumed human-like forms and have renounced them and is declaring war.

Ichigo and Yoriuchi go to the Soul Society to help them.

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.
  • Renji Abarai – Lt. of the 6th Division in the Gotei 13 under Captain Byakuya Kuchiki. Known to be cocky about his skills, Renji cares deeply for Rukia and thus the reason why he is seen with Ichigo and friends.
  • Byakuya Kuchiki – 28th head of the Kuchiki Clan and Captain of 6th Division in the Gotei 13. Stepbrother of Rukia.
  • Toshiro Hitsugaya – Captain of the 10th Division in the Gotei 13.
  • Rangiku Matsumoto – Lieutenant of the 10th Division of the Gotei 13.

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 softness, banding and edge enhancement but for the most part, picture quality is very good on DVD.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

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

  • Production Art – Using your remote, you can view “Bleach” production art.
  • Clean Ending – The clean ending theme.
  • Omake – The ending omake for episodes 218-229.

For those who have followed “Bleach” or even “Naruto”, some have become accustomed to watching many filler episodes as the anime series quickly catches up with the current manga storyline.

Back in the ’90s, it was common for anime series to stop production and come back years later, in order to coordinate the anime series to the original manga series.  But sometimes you run into anime series that are created at the same time a manga series is in production and the writers give an ending which may be different from what was featured in the manga (which people have seen with “Fullmetal Alchemist” and “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” or the “Hellsing” and “Hellsing Ultimate” anime series).

But with these popular anime series such as “Bleach”, writers have effectively created new storyline arcs that would last nearly a year, and in this case, taking a break from the Soul Reaper vs. Arrancar war and transitioning to the”Zanpakuto: The Alternate Tale Arc”.  Typically, fans who have not read the manga series wouldn’t mind, while those who do, prefer to watch the canon-based storylines.

Having watched many “Bleach” filler episodes or alternate story arcs, so far the writers have been pretty good in creating original storylines and with the release of “Bleach DVD Set Sixteen – Original and Uncut”, we get the first part of season 13 which aired in Japan.

And it’s one of the most intriguing arc’s because it deals with the zanpakuto becoming human and going to war against the Soul Reapers.  From Rukia’s Sode no Shirayuki attacking her and even Muramasa trying to extract Zangetsu to fight against Ichigo.  So, for this arc, we get to see Ichigo fighting against his Zanpakuto, Zangetsu and also against Muramasa.  We also see Renji going against Zabimaru.

If anything, it’s quite fascinating to see the forms of each Zanpakuto but seeing how Muramasa can manipulate them.  Meanwhile, has Byakuya gone traitor?

Overall, “Bleach DVD Set Sixteen – Original and Uncut” is another action-packed volume of “Bleach”.  Yes, the sudden hiatus of episodes not having to deal with the Soul Reapers vs. Arrancars and taking viewers out of the flow and rhythm of the storyline is unfortunate.  But in this case, if you enjoy Bleach, there has to be enough buffer between what Tito Kubo has in the manga series and what is presented in the anime series.  So, that means, a filler arc but an arc that tries to utilize as many characters featured in the series as possible.  But also an arc that has the potential to be exciting and action-packed.

If you are a “Bleach” fan and love the humor and action of the series, “Bleach DVD Set Sixteen – Original and Uncut” is worth checking out!

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