Bleach Vol. #17 - Mania.com



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Info:

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

Bleach Vol. #17

The stage continues to be set

By Bryce Coulter     July 22, 2009
Release Date: June 16, 2009


Bleach Vol. #17
© Viz Media

The second DVD of the Bount arc continues on…

What They Say
A powerful new enemy has appeared in Karakura Town. Known as Bounts, these creatures suck the souls from humans. Rukia, Yoruichi, and Soi Fon are sent from the Soul Society to investigate, and Urahara enlists the help of three mod souls to assist Ichigo and friends in preventing the deadly attacks.

Contains episodes 68-71

The Review!
Audio:
We listened to this collection using the English dub as we have become fans of the English cast.  They continue to do an excellent job of portraying the characters as set forth by the original Japanese voice cast.  Being more of a English dub fan, in general, we find it harder to go back to listening to the Japanese voice cast.  As usual, the audio is clean and clear.  The overall soundtrack does a great job of using the multiple channels on my new Samsung soundbar.  In all, still a great audio dub.

Video:
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. 

Packaging:
For this collection we are treated to the boxart color variation for “The Bount”.  Volume 17 continues to feature the silver foil front cover design.  In addition, the spine of the case and the volume number is now colored in skyblue.  The same logo and text layout appears as it did in the previous volumes.  The mysterious, yet resourceful Mr Hat-and-Clogs (Kisuke Urahara) is featured on the front cover holding his cane while peering from beneath the brim of his hat.  The backside of the case contains the usual series name displayed in a silvery skyblue color 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 continues to use the white background with the black soul reaper icon.  The insert for this collection lists the episode numbers as well as the “The Bount” written in kanji. The DVD label uses the skyblue color and features the text “Once one enters soul society and is enlightened by the order, eyes cannot be closed, ears cannot be blocked…”  This is also clearly found on the back of the insert, which is a lot easier to read.

Menu:
As with previous volumes, the same cool menu design is used in this release.  The blocking movements are used again from to showcase various scenes from episodes 68-71.  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.  The title menu for Bleach has to be one of the coolest menus that I have reviewed.

Extras:
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 68 – 71 find Ichigo and friends (Orihime Inoue, Soul Reaper Lieutenant Renji Abarai, and Uryū Ishida) continuing the challenges set before them by the mysterious and cloy mod souls, Kurdo, Noba, and the endearing Lirin.  The tasks appear impossible, but the team continues to battle through.  The final battle begins after the team gets sucked into a giant doorway.  Their task is to free Yasutora "Chad" Sado before he dies from suffocation in a Chad-sized hour glass.  The fighting becomes serious, but then at the last moment Chad is freed from his prison by the mod-souls themselves.  Tired of the sport, Ichigo calls out Hat and Clog’s (aka Kisuke Urahara’s) bluff.  Sure enough, the whole situation was a ruse meant to improve the team in not only it’s fighting abilities but understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses.  Unfortunately their current weaknesses are serious.  They include Ichigo’s inability to use his Banki, and Uryu’s loss of his powers. It appears that his absence of abilities may play a significant role in the future.  Despite these issues, Hat and Clogs begs for the team’s aide once again.  Of course they acquiesce.  With the end of their happy lesson comes the end of the mod soul mini arc.  Why learn about these somewhat annoying mod souls anyway, you ask?  They herald the coming of a much more intense arc and darker gang of baddies to come. 

The new evil is introduced while team Ichigo was running their training exercises.   Yorichi and Soi Fon are conducting reconnaissance for the soul society.  They are trying to find the source of a new reishi (ectoplasm) that has appeared, and it seems that they have found the source within the Bount themselves.  The Bount appear to be much like vampires, but instead of taking blood from their victims they take their souls.  The Bount are presented as a mysterious group with undefined ties to the soul society.  Even the older members of the soul society don’t know about them, and what records that existed appear to be destroyed or are too classified for even captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi.

The team gets involved with the Bount after Hat and Clogs assigns one of the mod souls to each of them.  The mod souls are specially designed to sense the Bount and will work with each member.  The mod souls are then placed in stuffed animals by the different team members, and Kon has a fit.  He now has competition, in his eyes, especially for Orahime’s affection.  This makes for some great slapstick fun with Kon!

The group doesn’t have to wait long for the Bount appear.  The mod souls immediately sense them.  Ichigo and the gang are split up as they take on two of the Bount.  Ichigo finds himself between a wall and firey foe when a significant female friend of his shows up in the nick of time to save him.  This scene was great as it shows how Ichigo can’t always be the lone wolf.  You can’t help but want to cheer on Rukia a she kicks some butt for the first time in a long while.

As the volume closes, we get better glimpse at who the Bount really are.  Their relationships are complex.  The woman in the group, Yoshino Sma, seems to be in continual trouble.  The other man in the group, Ry Udagawa, is no more than a lacky to his superior, a very cold, calculating and intelligent individual, Jin Kariya.  Uryu learns this first hand as Yoshino reveals Jin’s true nature and purpose.  It appears that she has had enough of this charade and wants nothing more than to destroy Jin. 

The arc’s complex beginning sets the foundation for a potentially a well-written, suspenseful plot that doesn’t fully reveal itself until the very end.  This arc really shouldn’t be labeled as filler when the quality is so good, so far.  What will become of the team, and the woman who dares to step out of line?  Find out next time as the Bount arc bounds forward!

Summary
The Bount arc of Bleach is beginning to set the stage as the actors take their place.  The mod souls are a mere distraction for our heroes as more is revealed about the Bount.  However, it seems that inner workings of the Soul Society know more about the Bount than initially revealed.  The underlying questions still remain, what are the Bount’s purpose and who is Jin Kariya?  Recommended.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment

Samsung UN40B6000V 40” LED HDTV, Sony PlayStation 3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Samsung HT-WS1R/XAA 2.1home theater Sound Bar Speaker System with Wireless Subwoofer

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