There are several anime shows that are just fun to
watch. They might not be as deep or as
dramatic as the some of the biggest anime titles, but they are the
you pop in a DVD, hit 'play', and the next thing you know you've sat
or 5 episodes and are yearning for the next one. Bleach
is one of those fun, light shows, and fans of the action series will
pick up Bleach Season Three: The Rescue. In
this collection of 22 episodes, Ichigo and his friends continue their
of the Soul Society in order to rescue Rukia who is scheduled for
execution. With some exciting battles
along with a fair amount of character development this set is another
Background: Ichigo Kurosaki is not your average
kid. Sure, he goes to high school like other kids his age, and he
his father out at the medical clinic that his family runs, but Ichigo
something most people can't: He can see ghosts. It isn't
freaky; it's just something that he's learned to live with.
One day he spots a girl, Rukia Kuchiki, that he assumes is a
ghost, but she isn't. She's a 'Soul Reaper', someone who helps
people pass on to the other side. In addition to that, Soul
Hollows, spirits that weren't been able to pass on and have
into monsters who feed on people's souls.
While talking to Ichigo, Rukia is attacked by a Hollow and
wounded badly. Knowing that Ichigo won't stand a chance
evil monster, she transfers some of her power to the young man.
that's what she tries to do. For some reason he absorbs all of
power. With his new-found abilities he's able to easily defeat
Hollow, but afterwards he's not able to give Rukia her powers
her powers Rukia isn't able to return home either, to the Soul
So it's up Ichigo to do her job and hunt down Hollows before they can
Over the course of the first season Ichigo discovers some of
his friends have special abilities too, like Orihime Inoue who can
six small spirits that each has a different ability and that live in
is a tall muscular kid Ichigo's age who looks intimidating but is meek
in temperament but can channel great power. Then there's Ishida,
studious person who is secretly a Quincy,
a race of priest who also hunt hollow and have a deep hatred of Soul
Season Two centers around what happens to Rukia. When
she gave her powers to Ichigo, Rukia was
actually breaking the law. Eventually
other Soul Reapers show up and
take her back to the Soul Society where she is sentenced to be executed. Ichigo and his friends aren't about to take
that lying down, and so they find a way to cross over and invade the
Season Three: Things weren't looking good at the end of
two, with most of Ichigo's group ending up captured and/or wounded. But not everyone in the Soul Society agrees
with the decision to execute Rukia, and with there are questions about
sentence keeps being pushed forward.
Some parties speculate that there is something else going on
scenes and that Rukia is just a pawn in a much bigger game.
Among the main supporting characters, Ishida goes through
the most drastic changes in this season.
He encounters Makizō Aramaki, the captain of Division Eleven who
unique poison to paralyze the young Quincy. Though
he's able to overcome that handicap,
Aramaki is too powerful to defeat, and the Captain is looking forward
capturing Ishida in order to use him as a subject of despicable
Instead of risking capture, Ishida takes off his sanrei
glove, an act that greatly increases his powers, but at a terrible cost: after the battle is finished Ishida will no
longer have the powers of a Quincy.
The treatment of Rukia has also caused the Soul Society to
fracture. Among the 13 divisions of
soldiers that guard the city, several start to fight each other. Tensions that have been buried for over a
century come to a boil and the various guards taking sides. Even if Rukia is rescued, the Soul Reapers
may never be the same.
This was another fun season. It was filled with
exciting fights, some very interesting abilities that keeps the show
a good dollop of humor. This is a show
aimed at younger boys and so there are a lot of fancy battles, but
broken up by episodes that focus on a character's background or
leave the main narrative to look at what's happening someplace else. These never feel like fillers, just the
they often advance the plot more than the main sequence episodes, and
to flesh out the Bleach Universe.
I won't give away the ending, but suffice to say that this
season does wrap up this story line in a most satisfactory way. The last 4 or 5 episodes are the best in the
season and answer most of the questions that viewers will have. They could have easily dragged this story
line on a lot longer, but I'm really glad that they wrapped it up. It's nice to close a plot every once in a
These next five volumes of the series, containing 22 episodes, come in
'book' style case with a page for each DVD. The book itself is
an attractive slipcase. Inside the front cover is a pocket that
The set comes with the original Japanese audio track as well as an
both in stereo. I alternated between the two every episode for
couple of discs, and finally settled on the Japanese track which was
just a tad
more natural sounding. The English actors did a good job, and
breathe live into the animated characters. While the show would
enhanced by a multi-track audio option (especially during the fight
Menos Grande), the stereo audio was fine. There was a little use
the soundstage, though not as much as I was expecting.
There are optional English subtitles, though they don't translate signs
written text, which was a bit irritating at times.
This show is presented with a full frame image, which looks pretty
The colors are nice and strong and the blacks are solid. There
little banding in some scenes, and there was a bit more aliasing than I
remember in previous collections.
Otherwise the picture looks fine.
Each of these five discs comes with a series of production sketches and
opening or closing. The final DVD also has a featurette, Kon's U.S. Tour. For this the
creators had a guy dress up in a Kon outfit and attend the previews of
first Bleach movie in New York and LA. Nothing
that really excited me, but it could
have been worse.
This was the best season of Bleach so far. The
characters really came into their own, the
action was fun, and the story was excellent.
If you enjoy shonen anime, this set is a must-buy.