Now that would be radical, making the last 286 episodes all a dream.
What They Say
Ichigo wakes up to find himself in the middle of a desert. Sitting next to a confused Ichigo are Uryu, Orihime, and Chad, all dressed in an Arabian style. Introducing themselves as 'Urio,' 'Ori Mei,' and 'Chaido,' the three explain that they are in search of a treasure called the 'Snow Crystal.'
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With things getting very close to catching up with the manga, the Bleach anime gets to slow down a bit again, which is really awkward since the series finally start simulcasting just a couple of months ago. It probably doesn't help to get all these people excited about the show and seeing it pretty much live only to say, hey, let's watch a lot of stuff that doesn't have much to do with the main storylines that you've been enjoying. But regardless, new Bleach is new Bleach and if you like the characters you may find some fun with the odd stories that get pulled out to give things a little more time to play out.
Bleach lets us see Ichigo waking up from a knock to the head only to discover he's in the middle of the desert (where's Jim Morrison when you need him) and he's around a campfire with Ushida, Orihime and Chad. Only they're going by the names Urio, Ori Mei and Chaido and they're wondering what's up with Chigo since he's acting so strange. As it turns out, this group is something of a bunch of desert thieves and they've come up with a new plan for a palace they want to get something out of. Ichigo goes along with the whole thing, realizing something is definitely screwy but not entirely sure if he's just dreaming it all or it's some sort of manipulation, as he sees familiar things and people in a new light. It is amusing, I will admit, to see a magic lamp that looks like Kon and having Ichigo rub it furiously.
A tiny Rukia as the genie takes the cake though. At least she's in a new outfit? There's a whole plot about the gang acquiring the Snow Crystal, but by about the halfway mark of the episode it's pretty hard to maintain interest in the episode. They do start bringing in other characters and make some gags about what's happened earlier in the series, such as how Rukia broke some laws for the Lamp Society so she's going to be executed, mainly revolving around the wishes she granted for Ichigo. There is some amusement in it because it kind of paints past events in an even sillier light since you can see that just tweaking it a little makes it goofy. As it goes on, with more of an Aladdin flair added with each step, other characters show up and you get some amusement with it depending on which ones are your favorite, but overall there's not a lot of here, here.
Filler material can be so very hit or miss and this one will definitely divide people, especially those that hate filler entirely. That said, there are some very comical moments because they really do just make fun of what's come before. Encapsulating the first sixty odd episodes into one dream sequence works surprisingly well and some of the gags are priceless. Having Rukia ready for execution and the flaming phoenix is actually a tiny flaming pigeon that's pecking her forehead is spot on. Bringing in Ambassador Seaweed and then tweaking that left me laughing because of the absurdity of it. The ending takes things to its pop music roots, but again, things like this can help paint the main series itself in a bad light, but it's a matter of how seriously you take it. This isn't great filler but it's not the worst either. But it is a time filler and that's just plain bothersome.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.