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Bleach DVD Set Twenty: Original & Uncut (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

June 21, 2014 by  



bleach-20

The Soul Reapers vs. the Arrancars and it’s a battle to the death! Aizen, Gin Ichimaru and Kaname Tosen make their move in “Bleach DVD Set Twenty – Original and Uncut”! Recommended!

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

DVD TITLE: Bleach DVD Set Twenty – Original and Uncut

DURATION: Episodes 280-291 (282 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: VIZ Media

RATED: 13+

Release Date: March 18, 2014

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

The Soul Reapers form an uneasy alliance with the Visoreds, and the battle against the Espadas resumes. Barragan, the former ruler of Hueco Mundo who was displaced by Aizen, appears to be defeated by the combined efforts of Hachigen and Soi Fon until they discover him forcing open Hachigen’s Shiju Saimon barrier.

Later, Ichigo is troubled that he can’t seem to use his Hollowfication to full effect. And with the ultimate battle with Aizen looming, he’ll need every ounce of power!

The epic battle between the Soul Reapers and Aizen’s Espadas continues in “Bleach DVD Set Twenty: Original and Uncut”!

For many episodes, we have seen the Soul Reapers take on the Espadas/Arrancars.  Both have suffered tragedy and extreme casualties.    But when Aizen arrives with Gin Ichimaru and Kaname Tosen, will they aid the Espadas?

And for the Soul Reapers, what happens when Shinji Hirako arrives with the Visoreds.  Will the Visoreds who don’t care for the Soul Reapers want to help them out in the battle?

Meanwhile, #0 Espada, Yammy Llargo…the most powerful, huge Espada who has already hurt Renji, Rukia is left to fight against him.  But out of nowhere, she gets some help from a familiar face!

Meanwhile, Shinji Hirako having seen his friend Hiyori Sarugaki cut down, prepares for his battle against Aizen.  Meanwhile, Kaname Tosen takes on Seventh Division Captain Sajin Komamura and Ninth Division’s Shuhei Hisagi.

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).

With volume 19 of “Bleach”, it’s Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Ulquiorra Cifer. A powerful Arrancar with a second stage, not many know of the extent of his true power but Ulquiorra will do whatever he can to destroy Ichigo. But no matter what happens, Ichigo is determined to never give up.

And now, the fight between the Soul Reapers and Espadas continue, but this time around, things are not looking so good for the Soul Reapers as they take on the most powerful Espadas, who may be more powerful than they had expected.

And here we are with the 20th volume of “Bleach DVD: Original & Uncut”.

Aizen, Ichimaru and Tosen make their appearance during the battle between the Soul Reapers vs. Espadas.  As Captain Hitsugaya takes on Halibel, Soi Fon and Marechiyo Omaeda take on Barragan and Shunsui Kyoraku and Jushiro Ukitake take on Stark.

But just when you think the Espadas are going to win, the Visoreds have come to join forces with the Soul Reapers.  An uneasy alliance.  But who will become the victor of this battle?

With Ichigo having defeated Ulquiorra, he rushes to help out his friends.  With Rukia in a difficult battle with the #0 Espada, will Ichigo be able to save Rukia from getting killed by Yammy?  Meanwhile, Captain Komamura and Shuhei Hisagi take on their former friend Kaname Tosen.  But Tosen has a surprise for his former friends!

And with Aizen sizing his competition for battle, Shinji knows believes that the only person that can defeat Aizen is Ichigo, but with Ichigo out helping Rukia, does Shinji Hirako have any chance of fighting against Aizen by himself?

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

  • Clean Opening and Ending – The clean opening and ending themes.
  • Omake – The ending omake for episodes 280-291.

With another action-packed DVD volume of “Bleach”, episodes 280-291 are quite fascinating as we finally get to see Kenpachi Zaraki fight in battle, but also for a long time coming, we finally get to see Kaname Tosen in action.  A former Soul Reaper who has chosen the path to follow Aizen,what’s interesting is seeing Shuhei Hisagi going against his former leader, Tosen but also seeing Sajin Komamura taking on his former friend.

We also have seen the tide go back and forth between the Soul Reapers and Espadas. Both sides suffering from major casualties and now the battle continues in its last legs as now the battle shifts back to the Soul Reapers vs. Espadas and to tell you the truth, seeing Aizen and friends and the Visored’s appearance definitely made things even more interesting.  How would these two forces impact the battles as Captain Hitsugaya takes on Halibel, Soi Fon and Marechiyo Omaeda take on Barragan and Shunsui Kyoraku and Jushiro Ukitake take on Stark.  And what about the killer Lilinette?

And as for the battle between Shunsui Kyoraku and Jushiro Ukitake vs. Stark, they get some help from Love Aikawa and Rojuro Otoribashi.  And Mashiro Kuna goes to take on the sadistic Espada child Lilinette.

As for Captain Hisugaya’s battle with Haibel, let’s just say that you have to read to see what happens.   Shocking twist!

And let’s just say the body count continues to grow with this latest volume as it concludes the battle between the Soul Reapers vs. Espadas but transitions to a much more futile battle.

It’s a battle to the death as the body count continues to grow in this latest volume of “Bleach” as two characters die.  But who lives and who dies?

Meanwhile, we start to see how much Ichigo’s powers have grown and his friends see a new, more powerful Ichigo.  But at what cost is it to him, having all this power?

So, for me, the highlight of this volume, now that the Espadas are out of the way, we are going to see more of Aizen, Gin Ichimaru and Kaname Tosen.  And with this volume, it begins with Captain Komamura and Hisagi engaged in battle with Tosen to the death.

This buildup leading to the battle with Aizen, Ichimaru and Tosen has been a very long time for “Bleach” fans.  And it took a long time just to get to this point since the three defected from the Soul Society, so for those who have been patient to wait this long for this battle.

And suffice to say, Tite Kubo has a number of twists coming along the way.  For manga readers, for the most part, there are some additional storyline not featured in the manga and we get to see more backgrounds in regards to characters and also the violence is toned down a little.  But for those who have enjoyed the anime series, you’ll still find these episodes exciting and captivating.

If you are a fan of “Bleach” and stood with this anime series from the very beginning or have followed the anime/manga series for a very long time , “Bleach DVD Set Twenty: Original and Uncut” is exciting and definitely worth owning!

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