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DVD Review

DVD cover

Series 5 - Part 1


Starring (voice): Fumiko Orikasa, Masakazu Morita, Hiroki Yasumoto and Kentarou Itou
Manga Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 30 August 2010

Ichigo Kurosaki, having gained the powers of a Soul Reaper, returned to Earth a changed boy. Not only can he see spirits, but now he has the skill to combat them. A chance encounter leads him to discover another menace, the Bounts - a half human hybrid intent on domination. Having run into them on Earth Ichigo follows them to the Souls Society to stop their invasion of that realm...

Bleach: Series 5 - Part 1 (2006) continues the story from last season with the Bount invasion. Once again, like last season, this story is not an adaptation from the manga but an original created to fill the time whilst the anime caught up with new stories. Part 1 is presented as a two disc set. Both discs are presented in their original aspect ratio with either an English or Japanese soundtrack, plus another with subtitles.

The arc had started well last season, even if some of the ideas were a little too generic, unfortunately the beginning of season five descends into that dark pit of ‘fight of the week’ or in some cases 'weeks' with a few covering two to three episodes with little else happening. This is not helped by the plot device which sees the Soul Society so full of reishi, that even if they are defeated they can use this as a reset button and off they go again.

As per normal, Bleach just has a continuation of its numbering system so season five kicks off with episode ninety-two. Disc 1 contains episodes ninety-two to ninety-five. The first episode is a preamble with the Soul Society trying to determine what to do about the invasion, their answer is to kill everybody, next episode and Ichigo and co., arrive just in time as Rukia Kuchiki is about to be attacked by the Bount Yoshi This starts a protracted battle, from which she is finally rescued by captain Byakuya Kuchiki, who sends her off to heal her wounds. The Bounts gain aid from the disaffected population and the first disc ends with the possibility of civil war and a battle between Byakuya and Kariya.

Disc one has a small amount of extras in the form of some production art and the textless closing sequence. The extras are the same for both discs.

Disc two contains episodes ninety-six to ninety-nine and the fight continues from the previous disc. Episode ninety-seven and at last were starting to learn a little more about the Bounts origins and their hatred of the Soul Society, when they meet Yoshino, a Soul Reaper who created them during some experiments to create eternal life. It seems the Soul Society disliked her creations so much that they condemned them all to death. So the Bounts, rejected children with mummy and daddy issues, come back to kick some butt. Wasn’t that the plot of a Star Trek movie and not a very good one either? The second disc ends with the Bounts finally entering the Sereitei, which kicks off another round of fights.

So, not a great start to season five. The story only really starts to pick up in the middle only to degenerate back into an endless fight. Hopefully the second half of the season will be richer in story, but I’m not holding my breath.


Charles Packer

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