Click here to return to the main site.

DVD Review

Series 1 - Part 2


Starring (voice): Fumiko Orikasa, Masakazu Morita, Hiroki Yasumoto and Kentarou Itou
Manga Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 25 February 2008

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, but unexpectedly the transference turns him into a full Soul Reaper...

There is no doubting Bleach’s success in Japan. The show has been running since 2004 and continues to be made. By the end of February 2008 (when this DVD is released) they will have made in excess of 160 shows, plus a couple of OVA’s, two feature films, the usual collection of computer games, trading cards and, god love them, even a rock musical - I’d have paid good money to see that one. So, if you plan to collect Bleach be warned: with this release we are only up to episode twenty, so you have an extremely long way to go.

This box set contains episodes thirteen to twenty which concluded Bleach’s first main story arc.

Episode thirteen and one of the things you have to realise is that the first arc is all about setting up the characters and the world they inhabit. Only in later arcs do we get to see the world of the Soul Society, therefore a lot of these stories revolve around Ichigo fighting the Hollows who turn up to steal souls. So, oddly enough, in episode thirteen a Hollow appears who shoots seeds into people's heads to control them. Of course the Hollow is defeated; otherwise this would be a very short series.

Episode fourteen, and you know what, Ichigo and Uryu finally face off, whilst above them the Hollows are gathering in a rift. Uryu declares himself the last of the Quincy, a kind of Soul Reaper who killed Hollows rather than banishing them. The problem with this plan is that it would have destroyed the balance between the world of the living and the dead, bringing about an apocalypse. Uryu and Ichigo join forces to defeat the Hollows.

Episode fifteen, and it is the following day, and a story which concentrates on Kon, the odd looking animal, though is really a break in the action to firm up the relationship between the various characters before the arc comes to its end.

Episode sixteen is a continuation of the last episode, with Rukia on the run from the two Soul Reapers who turned up at the end of the previous episode. Renji, the Soul Reaper, attacks her wanting to know the name of the human who took all her powers. With Rukia’s new found feelings for Ichigo she refuses to tell him what he wants to know and fights him to stop him finding Ichigo. After finding Kon and Rukia’s goodbye note, Ichigo goes in search of Rukia, just in time to save her, but he has seriously underestimated the power of a fully equipped Soul Reaper.

So we are on to the second disc in the set which opens with episode seventeen. Ichigo is seriously outmatched by Renji who proceeds to try to kill him, however, although Rukia intervenes Ichigo continues to fight. In the end he looses the fight, apparently dies, though of course is saved and Rukia returns to her own people to face justice, but Ichigo vows to get her back.

Episode eighteen and now things start to get a bit interesting. Ichigo appears to be the only person who remembers that Rukia existed until he meets up with Orihime. Meanwhile, in the soul Reaper world, Rukia is preparing to be put to death for her transgressions. Ichigo starts his preparations to get her back by agreeing to train for a month, with Urahara, before he goes after her. This is the first hint of what will become the next story arc: Ichigo’s quest into the Soul Society to rescue Rukai. So now Ichigo must finish his training at the hands of Urahara, the Soul Reaper turned shop keeper.

Episode nineteen and although Ichigo has Rukia’s power he cannot really control it. In order to do this he must find the power which lurks within him. The only way to do this is for Ichigo to get so close to death that he almost becomes a Hollow, if at that point he cannot become a Soul Reaper then they will kill him. In Episode twenty Ichigo proves that he can control his own soul slayer by defeating Urahara. Now he is ready to travel to the Souls Society to rescue Rukia.

Although it has quite a good mix it is still disappointing that an action show only comes in English or Japanese, with subtitles. The extras on disc one are okay, with the inclusion of a textless closing sequence; some production art; and five trailers, mostly for other shows. On disc two you get more production art; and another textless closing sequence.

After a while you can see why the show was, and is, so popular. It’s not just the animation, which remains high quality throughout, but also the plot which refuses to descend into monster of the week pap. With the new story arc just about to begin the show can only go from strength to strength, defiantly one to collect. The only thing that continues to disappoint is the lack of any meaty extras.


Charles Packer

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£11.98 (
£14.99 (
£11.99 (
£13.97 (
£14.93 (
£13.93 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.