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DVD Review

DVD cover

Series 4 - Part 1


Starring (voice): Fumiko Orikasa, Masakazu Morita, Hiroki Yasumoto and Kentarou Itou
Manga Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 26 October 2009

Okay, so Bleach (2006) reaches its fourth season. For anyone confused about the numbering they just carried on through the various seasons, so season four starts with episode sixty-four. This current two disc set contains eight episodes from sixty-four to seventy-one.

Having survived and even triumphed in the Soul Society, episode 64: New School Term, Renji has come to the Material World sees Ichigo Kurosaki return to both his normal life and his school, but his past is never far away as the arrival of Soul Reaper Lieutenant Renji Abarai in his home town of Karakura. Although Ichigo tries to pass him off as his cousin, things do not look like they are ever going to return to normal, especially when Orihime starts having strange dreams. In the following three episodes - 65, 66, 67 - Ichigo finds himself on the receiving end of a very strange game, when a stranger calls to say that the missing Orihime will return home, only the person who turns up is an imposter. What follows is a battle of wits between Ichigo and his unknown tormentor.

Disc two opens with episode 68: True Identity of the Devil, the Secret Which is Revealed, which will disappoint fans as an ending to this particular story arc. Let's just say it’s up there with Bobby Ewing turing up in the shower - lots of investment buy the audience a bit of a flat dénouement. With that out of the way the story shifts, in the last three episodes on disc two - eps 69, 70, 71 - to hunting down the Bount, which turns out to be a poor excuse for a number of fight scenes.

Overall the new season does hold out some promise, but after the epic story told in the first three seasons there is a feeling that the show is just treading water while it decides which direction it wants to move in. So, not bad, but then these are the sort of mini arc stories which we have seen so much of in other shows. This is about the point which that other long running show, Naruto, started to run out of steam. It will be interesting to see if Bleach will follow the same fate of a good show kept alive beyond its natural time. Only the next thirty or so shows will tell.

Both discs have good clean prints and audio options for either English or Japanese 2.0 stereo with optional English subtitles. The extras on disc one are limited to some production art and a textless closing sequence. Extras on disc two are the same plus some trailers.


Charles Packer

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