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

April 16, 2012 by  



Another action-packed volume of “Bleach”, featuring the conclusion of the Captain Amagai (season nine) storyline, “Bleach DVD Set Twelve – Original and Uncut” also includes the first four episodes of season 10 which reveals the true form of Arrancar Nel.  If you are a “Bleach” fan, this action-packed volume is worth watching!

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

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

DURATION: Episodes 180-193 (326 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: VIZ Media

RATED: 13+

Release Date: March 13, 2012

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 wake of their battle with Kumoi’s assassins, Ichigo and Rukia follow Rurichiyo to the Soul Society to face the royal Kasumiohji Clan and stop Rurichiyo’s sham wedding. They manage to win the new captain of Squad Three, Shusuke Amagai, to their side, but finding Rurichiyo will be no easy task with all Thirteen Court Guard Squads after them!

Contains episodes 180-193.

The Soul Reapers must decide whether or not to pursue Ichigo Kurasaki and Rukia Kuchiki who are now wanted by the Soul Society.  As Soul Reapers are split to their loyalty to their job and their friendship to Ichigo and Rukia, will they try to stop them?

“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, with the anime writers needing to time things with the manga release from Tite Kubo, before continuing the Arrancar storyline, for the anime series, we are given a satisfying 9th filler season that introduces new characters and a storyline about Third Division Captain Shusuke Amagai before continuing with the Arrancar storyline (season 10).

Volume 12 is a continuation of  the events which took place in the last volume, “Bleach DVD Set Eleven” (also known as Season 9 in Japan), the season introduced us to 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 Rurichiyo 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 Rurichiyo 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.

In “Bleach DVD Set Twelve”, Ichigo and Rukia have discovered a plot by Kumoi and the Kasumiohji Clan to kidnap Rurichiyo and that the marriage is a sham.  Because the Kasumiohji Clan is a clan that is literally “off-limits” to the Soul Society but their job is to make sure the wedding takes place, when Ichigo and Rukia try to stop the sham wedding they get themselves into major trouble as Ichigo has made a major violation and now Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto, leader of the Soul Society has no choice but to send various divisions in capturing Ichigo and Rukia.

But those who know Ichigo know that if he was trying to stop a wedding, he doesn’t do it for the fun of it.  There must be a reason why he would do something lie this.  This leads to a split between those who know Ichigo and those who don’t to fight each other as Renji Abarai of the Sixth Division and Tetsuzaemon Iba of Seventh Division and Shuhei Hisagi of Ninth Division and Ikkaku Madarame of Eleventh Division fight against each other.

Meanwhile, Izuru Kira of Third Division has suspicions towards Third Division member, Makoto Kibune.   Having told his new captain Shusuke Amagai, Amagai decides to pursue after Ichigo and Rukia.

While “Bleach DVD Set Twelve” concludes the ninth season, we are also presented with the first four episodes of season 10 of “Bleach” as the Arrancar storyline from season 8 is continued as Uruhara and Renji take on Espada Szayel Aporro Granz, while a captured Orihime watches as Ichigo takes on Nnoltra Gilga, in which Ichigo can not even scratch him.

Meanwhile, Nnoltra who looks as Ichigo as a weak fighter turns his attention to Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck and as he tries to kill her, Ichigo does all he can to protect her.  But unbeknown to Ichigo, there is more to little Nel than meets the eye!

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.
  • Shusuke Amagai – The Captain of the 3rd Division, he has a secret plan that will be revealed in season nine of “Bleach”.
  • Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck – A young girl Arrancar that accompanies Ichigo and is constantly protected by him.  But there is more to Nel than meets the eye.

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 Twelve – 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 180-183.
  • 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 184-187.
  • 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 188-193.
  • Sneak Peek – Sneek peak of VIZ related anime series on DVD.
  • Manga Preview – A short preview of “Bleach” on manga.

While “Bleach DVD Set Twelve – Original and Uncut” may be a filler volume, fortunately the filler episode is actually quite intriguing as we see Soul Reapers divided in terms of their order to capture Ichigo and Rukia.  Those who know Ichigo and Rukia, know the two are incapable of committing a crime and whatever they are wanted for, there must be a reason for it.  While others who are dedicated to their jobs, know they must capture them…friend or foe.

But while these are filler episodes, fortunately the storyline especially involving Third Division Captain Amagai is rather intriguing, fans of “Bleach” have been wanting the continuation of the Arrancar storyline from season 8 and this volume includes the first four volumes of season 10 and this involves the character of Nel and the big reveal including her true identity.

Without spoiling too much of the first four episodes of season 10, there is no denying the popularity of Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck in her true form and suffice to say the popularity of this character can be seen at various anime conventions as many have cosplayed her character.

Needless to say, it was very smart of Viz Media to include these four episodes with this volume, because for Nel fans, this DVD volume is the one to get as it introduces viewers to her true form.

So, there is a lot going on, in terms of actions and the number of characters featured in “Bleach DVD Set Twelve” and the writers knew that if they were going to take on filler episodes, they needed to make it as exciting as possible and what best than to bring out many of the Soul Reapers from the Soul Society and show deception (once again) in the ranks!  But also for fans to see more of soul reaper Izuru Kira and the head man himself, leader Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto of First Division.

I know when it comes to longer series, there a fans who just don’t like filler episodes.  “Bleach” and “Naruto” are two series that have quite a bit of them as the anime series tends to catch up with the manga series and while certain series go on hiatus or writers come up with a whole new storyline different from the manga, for “Bleach”, writers have focused on new stories but instead of a new individual storyline for each episode, the writers have come up with a season revolving around a new captain of Third Division who has his own secrets unbeknown to the Soul Society and also a wedding that involves a mystery clan that the Soul Society has no jurisdiction and must keep away from their grounds.  And last, you do get the first four episodes of season 10 and the important episode involving the character Nel.

Overall, “Bleach DVD Set Twelve – Original and Uncut” is another action-packed and enjoyable volume for “Bleach” fans.  While those who choose to follow the storylines that are featured only in the manga, may not be interested in the filler episodes, the good news is that the Arrancar storyline (first four of season 10) is included with this set.  So, for those who have been waiting for the continuation of the Arrancar storyline since season 8, will definitely be interested in this latest volume.

Check it out!






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