Bleach Vol. #18 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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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. #18

All About Uryu

By Bryce Coulter     August 19, 2009
Release Date: July 14, 2009


Bleach Vol. #18
© Viz Media

The plot begins to take shape with lots of Uryu action.

What They Say
The Bounts target Uryu and bring him before their leader, the megalomaniacal Kariya, despite all efforts to stop them. Kariya's goal is to gain the unique powers of a Quincy and use them for his own diabolical purpose. Members of both the Soul Society and the world of the living gather for a fierce face-off with the Bounts!

Contains episodes 72-75.

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 18 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.  Uryu is featured on the front in his school uniform.  His pose appears as if he is pulling a very long bandage off.  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 72-75.  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 continues to be one the best menus 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). 
For many episodes Uryu has been pretty much a bystander with some screen time here and there.  This collection of episodes focuses on Uryu and his relationship with Yoshino.  Since Uryu is pretty much powerless, having lost his Quincy powers, it is nice to have a change of pace as the spotlight is placed on him even though it is in a non-fighting role.

Ichigo, Chad, Orihime, Ryukia and Kenji go the hospital to keep an eye on Uryu at the hospital. For some reason, the Bount are continuing to attempt to capture Uryu.  The group is keeping a close eye out, but within these episodes we discover that the dolls controlled by the Bount are very diverse in the mediums they use.  The Bount that come after Uryu in the hospital can control water.  Ichigo and company find themselves attempting to escape the hospital only to find themselves surrounded outside due to a rain shower.  They must continue the fight with the two Bounts, Hou and Ban to the bitter end.  These episodes are action oriented mix of hospital horror stories, and the payoff of the team work training from Bount sensing mod-souls. 

We continue to learn more about the Bount within these episodes.  Not only are their dolls diverse in appears, they also appear to take on more elemental forms of powers, such as fire, water, wind and metals.  We also gain more insight regarding their background and current leader.  The Bount have lived for many years; even the ‘boys’ that fought Ichigo and gang were most likely ancient.  After Uryu is basically rescued by Yoshino, she reveals a lot about the leader, Jin, and their past together.  She has been alive for hundreds of years, used to be in a long term relationship with Jin.  But she came to eventually realize that Jin was a cold, hard-hearted, manipulative and narcissistic being.  She feels that the only course of action that is right at this point is to destroy him.  She also informs Uryu that his Quincy powers could be revived.  On that note, they have company, and they end up captured by a Bount named Koga and brought back to the Bount mansion.  Jin has plans for Uryu, and had sent out his group in search of him. 

One of the individuals following Jin leads to an interesting backstory about Kenny.  Any story about Kenpachi has to be good, and this one shows the beginnings of his leadership.  A former member of the 11th division, and soul reaper, Ichinose, is now a follower of Jin.  He was there when Kenny fought and killed the former division leader, and he never recognized Kenpachi’s authority.  It’s hard to imagine Kenpachi letting that slide without some blood, but he was actually very diplomatic and compassionate to Ichinose.  You know that there will have to be a reunion at some point. 

The mod souls finally track Uryu to Jin’s mansion attempt a rescue.  The crew runs into more Bount then they had anticipated, and some of them have pretty creepy dolls.  Flying eyeballs are not cool in my book.  Fighting and ninja illusion techniques galore ensue across the mansion.  Will the gang survive the Bount home turf?  You’ll have to tune in next time to see.

Summary
This collection of episodes has a heavy focus on Uryu as his relationship with the mysterious Yoshino unfolds.  Her life story reveals a lot about the Bounts, but why is she sharing all of this with Uryu? The true nature of the Bounts is not completely unknown as there is more revealed about their nature as the Soul Society begins to follow their actions more closely.  You know things are serious when Kenpachi is involved and is itching for a fight.  The mystery about Jin Kariya is beginning to surface as he is a Bount with a purpose. Its only a matter of time before this all comes to a head.  The pacing for these episodes seems to be about right, leaving me with a yearning for more!
   
Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Closing, Production Gallery

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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