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

January 19, 2015 by  



bleach-23

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-Three: Original and Uncut” features a new storyline not featured on the manga series and no doubt will entertain “Bleach” fans!  The series does manage to connect things quite well after the Aizen battle but for the most part, each episode features quite a bit of action and an interesting storyline and if you are a fan of “Bleach” the animated series, then definitely give this latest DVD a try!

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

DVD TITLE: Bleach DVD Set Twenty-Three – Original and Uncut

DURATION: Episodes 317-329 (307 Minutes)

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

COMPANY: VIZ Media

RATED: 13+

Release Date: December 16, 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

With Aizen’s defeat, peace has returned to the both the Soul Society and the World of the Living. But soon reports begin to surface of Soul Reapers going missing in the Precipice World, and Ichigo is a prime suspect. He and Rukia go on the run from the 13 Court Guard Squads, while in the World of the Living, Kon finds an unconscious girl lying in the street. When Ichigo and Rukia find out more about the girl, Nozomi, they realize their world, as well as the Soul Society, is in danger, and the Soul Reapers pursuing them and Nozomi are actually imposters known as Reigai, who have switched places with the missing Soul Reapers!

With the downfall of Aizen, all things should be peaceful in the Soul Society.

But strange events have taken place in the Soul Society as numerous Soul Reapers have disappeared without a trace.  Ichigo Kurosaki and friends investigate the phenomenon and must prepare for whoever may be responsible, despite losing his powers during his previous battle with Aizen.

Find out what happens in “Bleach DVD Set Twenty-Three” which features season 15 (episodes 317-329)!

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, in order to give Tite Kubo enough time to continue the storyline on the manga series, an original storyline was crafted for the 15th season of “Bleach”.

For this season, Ichigo and friends must find out why numerous Soul Reapers are disappearing without a trace in the Soul Society.  Who is responsible?

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-Three – 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-Three – 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 317-329.

As the fight against Aizen had come to an end, while the manga series in Japan was continuing slowly, the writers needed to come up with original episodes for the 15th season to give Tite Kubo some time to work on his manga series.

And the result was this new storyline about Soul Reapers suddenly disappearing from the Soul Society.  As a weakened Ichigo (due to his battle with Aizen) and his friends investigate the phenomena, they are attacked by Renji and Ikkaku.  Fortunately, Yoriuchi comes to their aid but explains that the Soul Reapers are being replaced secretly by Reigai, which houses the spiritual essence of Soul Reapers and thus functioning like a Gigai.

To make things much more challenging, the reigan contains near-perfect copies of a Soul Reaper’s memories, personalities and behaviors.

But who is responsible for this?

And suffice to say, there are fans who will enjoy this new storyline that was created for the series and those who have followed the manga series and will feel this season was all-filler.

But this is a common ongoing situation with “Bleach” as the anime series is catching up to the manga series very quickly and the only way to give Tite Kubo enough time to craft more stories is to let him do what he has to do for the next seven months, while writers can focus on this new storyline.

In some ways, while these episodes were never featured in the manga series, writers were able to craft episodes that take place right after the Aizen conflict but also focus on stories of a weakened Ichigo.  And his struggles of losing his power after fighting Aizen.

So, for now, one can expect DVD set 23-25 to focus on the Gotei 13 Invading Army Arc before getting back to episodes that reflect what is happening in the manga.

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-Three: Original and Uncut” features a new storyline not featured on the manga series and no doubt will entertain “Bleach” fans!  The series does manage to connect things quite well after the Aizen battle but for the most part, each episode features quite a bit of action and an interesting storyline and if you are a fan of “Bleach” the animated series, then definitely give this latest DVD a try!

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