Bleach Vol. #04 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A

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  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Bleach

Bleach Vol. #04

By Bryce Coulter     June 18, 2007
Release Date: May 29, 2007

Bleach Vol. #04
© Viz Media

What They Say
With hordes of soul-eating Hollows descending on the human world, Soul Reaper Ichigo and his rival Uryu have their hands more than full! A Hollow that can control humans attacks the school, and in the struggle to save her friends, Ichigo's classmate Orihime discovers her own unique spiritual powers.

The Review!
"The name is Ichigo. I'm the one who's going to beat your ass. How's it going?' ... "So I've got a big one huh? I've never had anything else to compare it to."

For this viewing session, we only listened to the English dub of Bleach. The stereo mix for this series is nicely expansive as it makes good use of directionality throughout the program both for action and dialogue effects. The sound quality is excellent. The dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback on either language track.

Originally airing in 2004, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Bleach's transfer is very clean is good looking release. All of the colors appear very solid. Cross coloration is absent and aliasing is almost nonexistent. On rare occasions there is just a small bit of noticeable background noise, but nothing to be concerned about.

The fourth volume of Bleach has an illustration of Orihime in her school uniform in a somewhat suggestive, yet panicked appearance. The white background draws attention to the silver foil used in the domestic version of the series logo. Chad's image with his big beefy arm is featured on the back side. The back side layout provides the series name in the Arial font in silver along with the volume and episode numbers. The standard brief Viz summary of the volume is also contained here along with a few shots from the show along with the standard technical information about the DVD. The insert for this volume contains a black piece with the title from the back cover on it along with chapter stops. A nice little extra inclusion is a sticker sheet that has the front cover and four smaller stickers for each episode number.

As with the previous volumes, the cool menu design remains consistent. The blocking movements are used again from the opening sequence to showcase various scenes from episodes 13-16. Again, all of this is kept to an all black background with visuals that slide in and out along with lines of color all set to a brief bit of instrumental music from the show. The navigation strip is along the bottom that has very quick access to the submenus. As in previous volumes, Viz continues to not show the English subtitles for the opening music when watching the show in English, which is a pain. To view the subtitles, one has to watch the show in Japanese with the subtitles turned on.

The same types of extras featured in the previous volumes are also featured in this collection. A selection of production art covers the basics of characters. We also get a clean version of the closing sequence.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Episode 13 continues the insane contest that Uryu initiated with Ichigo. Ichigo finds himself running throughout the city attempting to find his family in an attempt to keep them out of danger. Once Kon finds Ichigo and tells them that his sisters are safe, Ichigo runs to find the trouble maker that began this fiasco.

While Orihime's and her friends are continuing to clean up after the Hollow attack, she spots the Hollow responsible. A sense of fear about what that monster may be makes her attempt to get everyone out of harms way. Her attempts fail, and Orihime finds herself face to face with a Hollow that uses others as a means to her end. The Hollow sends out seeds that take over the bodies of its victims. Orihime finds herself being attacked by her classmates, and the one who is typically protected by others finds herself turning into the protector. When faced with eminent danger, Orihime true strength comes through, and she then tells the Hollow that she 'picked the wrong person (her friend Tatske) to hurt.'

As Orihime confronts the Hollow, she notices fairy-like beings flying around her. The beings then introduce themselves as the essence of her spirit power. The six beings reject and reverse events that occur in the world. The Shun-shun rika, or the Six Princess Flowers are the powers from inside her soul. They can form a protecting shield, heal others and kill Hollows. Which they prove by protecting Orihime from further seed attacks, healing Tatske and eliminating the Hollow.

After defeating the Hollow, Orihime faints from fatigue, and the Six Princess Flowers return to their resting form as hair pins. Hat and clogs then appears on the scene. One of his staff is carrying none other than Chad. Chad and Orihime then wake to find themselves in Hat and Clog's establishment. Hat and Clogs then explains the reason for their power, and challenge them regarding what decision they now need to make.

In a funny side story, Karin brings her father to the park where Chad was hurt. They find that he isn't there, and her father surmises that Karin was only attempting to get attention from him. After doing a WWF shirt burst, he tells Karin to "come over and give her hunky dad a hug' (at least he didn't tell her to smell his 'real man smell' like Charles told to Renton to do in Eureka Seven). Karin did what I would have, she punched him.

At the end of the episode, the adversaries are finally gathered together. By this time, Uryu's gut is telling him something bigger is brewing. The number of Hollows gathering far outweighs the small amount of bait he used. Something doesn't add up, but he has no idea what is to come.
The Hollow competition continues physically and verbally in episode 15. Ichigo confronts Uryu regarding his attitude. Ichigo tells Uryu that he would rather have an outright fight between the two of them instead of seeing who can kill the most Hollows. Ryukia then gives Ichigo the 411 on the possible reason for Uryu's hatred toward soul reapers. The Quincy population was eliminated by the Soul Society because the soul balance was fluctuating. The disharmony between the living world and Soul Society would have caused the Apocalypse. Ryukia explained that Quincys do not cleanse Hollows and send them to Soul Society. They destroy them.

Ichigo again confronts Uruyo with his new knowledge. Uryu responds that that was ancient history, and it didn't matter to him. What caused Uryu's anger was the murder of his sensei. Uryu's tells Ichigo that his sensei was attacked by five Hollows at once. His sensei was under constant surveillance by the Soul Society, but no one came to help until it was too late. Surrounded by enemies, Ichigo tells Uryu to shut up. Ichigo points out the hypocracy of Uryu's statement, and tells him that 'We are two enemies that need to fight back to back'. The adversaries come to understand each other's reason for wanting to eliminate Hollows in the world, and to some level of respect for each other. The two eliminate more and more Hollows, but continue to find themselves overwhelmed. Things go from bad to worse as Uryu spots the emerging Meno's Grande.

As Ichigo and Uryu surrounded and gazing at the enormous new threat, Urahara and his friends show up. The 'small fry' are quickly defeated by team Urahara, and Uryu and Ichigo are sent to deal with the 'big guy'. After several tries, Ichigo finally takes matters in hand. He produces a blow that harms the giant Hollow, and the Menos Grande retreats.

In the next episode, we find Kon has become accessorized by Ichigo's sisters, and thus feels violated. Kon decides to run away, and venture out on a mission to find the ladies. On his journey he spies two of Orihime's friends. Kon dreams of being picked up and lying in the comfort of 'soft pillows', but his dreams are dashed. As one of the girls steps square on his face, Kon cries out. Soon Kon finds himself running for his life. Kon tries again and again to find love and 'comfort' only to end up torn and abused.

Rukia is found to be pensive throughout the episode. She seems to be in a melancholy, but at the same time savoring the time she has with her new friends. Rukia is very aware that she doesn't belong and leaves school with a sense of finality. She attempts to tell Ichigo something from her heart, but is interrupted as a remorseful Kon returns from his adventures. Penance for the lion is being transformed into a stuffed animal version of Marie Antoinette.

A mysterious black cat visits Hat and Clogs. Yorichi has come back with important news. At the same time, the strange cat is itself news. It is none other than Hat and Clogs' best friend. Rukia decides to act on her impulse, and she too runs away. She leaves Ichigo's home only to be spied by two mysterious soul reapers that have a definite agenda with her.

In the final episode, we find Rukia still attempting to run away, but by doing so she is found. Rukia is running from her memories of the last two months as much as she is trying to keep those she has come to know from harm. She struggles to bring herself back to the proper state of mind as a soul reaper. Rukia is startled out of her reverie by a loud familiar voice. Two familiar Shinigami have come to return her to the Soul Society and to whatever fate may await her. For now, she finds herself accused of growing lax, becoming human, and giving her powers away. Rukia finds herself about to be killed when Uryu happens by on a night-time walk.

Uryu attempts to defend Rukia, but soon finds himself gravely wounded. Uryu is then about to be killed by the soul reaper, but the final blow is again interrupted. This time it is by a giant zanpakutou, Ichigo's zanpakutou. The soul reaper again asks for an introduction. Ichigo repies "The name is Ichigo, I'm the one whose going to beat your ass, how's it going?' The soul reaper then comments on the size of Ichigo's zanpacto. Ichigo responds with "So I've got a big one huh... I've never had anything else to compare it to." The soul reaper puts two and two together and figures out that Ichigo is the one who has taken Rukia's powers. As they then fight, Ichigo learns that there may more to being a soul reaper than just killing a few Hollows. The stranger soon has the best of Ichigo. As Ichigo falls to his knees, the scene fades with the be continued. Will Ichigo, Rukia, and Uryu die where they are?

In Summary:
In episodes 13-16, the drama continues in the world of the living. The battle for defeating the most Hollows rages on throughout the city. Ichigo's main purpose continues to be to protect his family, unaware of ripple effect his powers have had. The friends surrounding Ichigo are transformed by his power, and discovering their own abilities. The feud between the Quincy and new soul reaper comes to an end, but a greater threat is looming that may destroy all. Will the rivals survive the fight with the Hollows? Will they become aware of the greater threat that continually haunts Rukia day after day?

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Closing,Production Gallery,Bleach Stickers

Review Equipment
Hitachi 62VS69 62" UltraVision LCD Projection HDTV, XBOX 360 DVD player, XBOX 360 Component HDAV Cable with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.


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jnager 3/13/2012 5:30:13 PM

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