Is Rukia really free?
What They Say
While trying to evade the pursuing Soul Reapers and rescue Rukia, Orihime and Uryu are confronted by the captain of Squad 12, the despicable Mayuri Kurotsuchi, who plans on using them as guinea pigs for his experiments!
Meanwhile, Yoruichi has revealed her true form to the astonishment of Ichigo and the others, and must use all her tricks and skills to keep her fellow intruders from losing everything they've fought for.
Contains episodes 42-45.
As usual, we listened to Bleach in its original language of Japanese. We also sampled the English track, which does a fairly good job of keeping up with standard set by the Japanese cast. In listening to both language tracks we didn't have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Again, the transfer for Bleach does not disappoint in its original full frame aspect ratio. Bleach’s transfer is consistently clean and pleasing to watch. All of the colors appear very solid and exhibit great vibrancy. 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.
For this collection we are treated to a new boxart color variation for what is now called “The Rescue”. Volumes 11continues to feature the silver foil front cover design. In addition, the spine of the case and the volume number is now colored in blue. The same logo and text layout appears as it did in the previous volumes. A spread-armed and bandaged Ichigo is featured on the front cover along with his zanpakutou. The backside of the case contains the usual series name displayed 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. The standard technical information about the DVD is provided at the bottom. The insert for this volume, like the previous volumes, is a black piece with the title from the back cover on it along with chapter stops. The inside jacket has now changed to a white background with the black soul society graphic. A nice little extra inclusion is a sticker sheet that has the front cover and four smaller stickers for each episode number.
As with previous volumes, the same cool menu design is used in this release. The blocking movements are used again from the opening sequence to showcase various scenes from episodes 42-45. 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 the 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.
Again, as in previous volumes, the same types of extras are featured. A selection of production art for some of the characters is also available. We also get a clean version of the closing sequence. The manga preview contained in this volume is mainly an advertisement for Viz’s other manga titles.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers).
Episodes 42-45 take a short change of pace as time is spent on Ichigo’s training and character development for the supporting cast, namely Orhime, Uryu, and the sinister captain of Squad 12, Mayuri Kurotsuchi. Oh, and it wouldn’t be Bleach unless there were a few monologues here and there that offered us a few more pieces of plot development to chew on as there appears to be something really sinister going on within the confines of the Soul Society.
One thing that makes Bleach so great is its vast cast of characters and story development. However, it can be a bit frustrating if you don’t have a good memory. The revolving door of cast members can sometimes leave your head spinning.
Episode 42 opens with Renji confined to his hospital bed. His zanpakutou awakens him and urges him to resume the fight with Ichigo. Surprisingly, Renji adamantly states that Ichigo is not the one he should be fighting, but someone else. I wonder who that could be.
At the end of volume 10, Ichigo narrowly defeats Kenpachi and barely makes it to the tower to rescue Rukia. Byakuya is now standing in the way, and you know Ichigo is going to try to take him on. A monologing of sorts takes place between Ichigo and Byakuya. When the discussion comes to a head, Yoruichi steps in to stop it. Boy, does she have a history. I’m sure more will be revealed in time. For now Yoruichi outwits Byakuya immobilizes Ichigo and whisks him away from the fight. She puts Byakuya in his place and taunts him by stating that Ichigo will be stronger than him in 3 days time. Byakuya sulks off leaving the whole scene.
In attempt to reach Rukia’s cell, Orihime and Uryu disguise themselves as Soul Reapers. They are soon discovered by members of Squad 12 who try to help them reach Rukia. Uryu quickly realizes that it is a trap set up by Squad 12's Captain Kurotsuchi. Quick to state his hatred towards the Quincies, Captain Kurotsuchi challenges Uryu to a fight. Uryu forces a member of Squad 11 to take Orihime away from the fight. Orhime wants to fight, but Uryu knows that Kurotusuchi is more interested in her than a mere Quincy. As their fight progresses, Kurotsuchi's actions and words become increasingly more provocative and infuriating to Uryu.
Uryu has taken it upon himself to avenge the humiliation of Soken Ishida, his Quincy master and grandfather, by continuing to relentlessly battle Captain Kurotsuchi. Uryu draws upon all of the lessons he has learned, and powers he has skillfully obtained. This amazing display leads Kurotsuchi to decide that rather than kill Uryu, he wishes to capture him and study his distinctive powers.
Meanwhile, Yoruichi begins to train Ichigo about the next level of power that can be released from his zanpaku-to, the bankai. Ichigo’s zanpaku-to, Zangetsu, agrees to train Ichigo by setting out a difficult challenges for him.
Will Ichigo master Zangetsu’s powers, or will he find himself cut to ribbon’s by the power that Captain Kurotsuchi holds? What of Uryu and the rest of team Ichigo?
With all the other subplots within these episodes, one has to wonder if Rukia was really saved…
One can’t complain that Bleach is not full of plot twists. Bleach never fails to entertain, but it can sometimes throw you off as the plot and subplots make some major shifts. With no real conclusion to Rukia’s rescue, one has to wonder if the whole team will have to be saved by someone sympathetic to their cause within the Soul Society. This volume answers some questions and reveals more plot, but like any good shonen anime, it leaves you with a whole new list of questions yet to be answered. Here’s looking to Volume 12!
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Closing, Production Artwork
Hitachi 62VS69 62" UltraVision LCD Projection HDTV, Samsung BDP-1000 Blu-ray Player with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.