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DVD Review

DVD cover

Series 3 - Part 1


Starring (voice): Fumiko Orikasa, Masakazu Morita, Hiroki Yasumoto and Kentarou Itou
Manga Entertainment
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 12
Available 23 March 2009

To anyone in the street, Ichigo Kurosaki appears to be a normal fifteen-year-old. But Ichigo has a secret... he can interact with the dead. Although an unusual ability, it does not affect his normal life until he meets Rukia Kuckiki, an emissary of the Soul Society and a Soul Reaper. During one fateful confrontation Rukia transfers some of her power into Ichigo, the transference turns him into a full Soul Reaper. For this transgression Rukia has been returned to the realm of the Soul Society to face condemnation and death. Ichigo believes in a life for a life so determines, with his friends, to rescue Rukia, but are they up to the job...?

Bleach: Series 3 - Part 1, and Ichigo’s quest to rescue Rukia from the Soul Society is taking on epic proportions of incompetence. This box set opens with episode forty-two and Ichigo and friends are no nearer to rescuing poor Rukia, at this rate she will have died of either old age or sheer boredom before they reach her. This may seem unfair, having set up the world of the Soul Reapers, Bleach has produced one engaging fight sequence after another and then another - often stretching over three or four episodes. It's a bit formulaic, but then if you’re a fan of the show here is another slice of heaven.

The first disc does introduce us to two interesting characters. Ichigo has disappeared to practice for his next big fight with Byakuya Kuchiki - well you wouldn’t want to get into these things without proper preparation. It would seem that the Soul Reapers are not the only game in town when Uryu Ishida, the last of the Quincy turns up to go head to head with the Captain of Squad 12, Mayuri Kuotsuchi - a despicable villain who thinks nothing of harming his own people to win a fight. Apart from small asides, the majority of the disc is taken up with this battle, and whilst I may moan about repetition I know a good fight when I see one.

Disc two and three are very bitty affairs, jumping between Ichigo practicing, Rukia slowly heading towards execution (this part of the story just reminds me of Dr Evil's son who thought it was a good idea just to shoot people rather than some torturous drawn out plan) we also dip in and out of various characters memories and make slow progress on the murder of Captain Aizen. And, in case you thought the writers had all gone mad and concentrated on the story, there are lots of fights.

Set up hasn’t changed from the last box set, with options for either English or Japanese 2.0 stereo with subtitles. The sound remains clear and dynamic. The 4:3 picture is bright, flashy and pin sharp. Disc one holds episodes forty-two to forty-five and has some production artwork and a textless closing as extras, disc two holds episodes forty-six t forty-nine with even more production artwork and another textless closing. The last disc in the set has episodes fifty to fifty-three with yet more production artwork and the last textless closing sequence.

Let’s face it if you’ve bought the previous series you’re gonna buy this one, it does what it does but at least it does it well.


Charles Packer

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