Bleach Vol. #21 - 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: All Region DVD
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 29.92
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Bleach

Bleach Vol. #21

Bleach Vol. #21 DVD Review

By Bryce Coulter     December 09, 2009
Release Date: October 20, 2009


Bleach Vol. #21
© Viz Media

Things are about to get serious as the Bounts kickup a notch.

What They Say
Rukia becomes possessed by a doll placed in her chest by one of the Bounts and attacks her friends! Orihime desperately tries to protect herself and the others without harming her dear friend. But when Rukia's full Soul Reaper powers are drawn out in the battle, Orihime must make a painful choice.

Contains episodes 84-87.

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.  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 20 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.  Izuru Kira, Lieutenant of the 3rd Division, is featured on the front.  The soft spoken and introspective Soul Reaper is depicted in a more powerful, yet subdued pose with his his zanpakutÅ.  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 84-87.  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:
The Bount arc continues to intensify.  The dolls used by the Bount are very diverse, but it seems that they all have some connection with elements of nature in some manner.  Mabashi is not an exception. The Bount that once held out against drinking the souls of humans, is now drunk with the power Jin forced on him.  He takes over Yoshi’s fight against Rukia, Orihime and Claude with more success.  His doll, Rizu, takes on the trio, and at first it seems as though the team may do well.  That thought is short lived. Mabashi and Rizu ‘power up.’  The doll then enters and takes over Rukia’s body in a type of possession.  Rizu then forces Rukia to turn on her team with blast after blast.  Orihime again has to deal with a conflicted conscience.  Does she hurt her friend or allow her friend’s possessed body to kill her?  Is it me or do they play the whiny school girl card one a bit too much here? I like seeing Orihime’s ‘spirits’ in action again, but I don’t like the typecast she gets stuck in.     

Meanwhile…back to Ichigo’s situation.  Kira Izuru is now in control of the scene, and I like him more now he is no longer under the shadow of Gin.  He is paired against Daruku, and the doll has finally met her match.  Ichigo tries to take out Koga while his doll is struggling, and ends up on the ground again.  Koga decides to cut his losses and withdrawal.  Haunting memories of Kane in the form of Ichigo seem to be the tipping point for Koga.  This brutal but philosophical Bount tells Ichigo and Kira that there is “no shame’ in valuing life as he departs.  As Koga leaves, Ichigo launches into action to save Keigo’s life by taking him to Urahara’s shop of wares and wonders. 

As Ichigo’s fight ends, the fight between Mabashi and Inoue heats up.  As Mabashi, through Rukia appears to have an upper hand, in steps Hisagi Shuuhei.  Once again another lieutenant that was directly hurt by Aizen’s group, this time Captain Kaname Tosen, comes to bat for our team. Hisagi is pretty pragmatic.  His first reaction is just to kill Rukia. Rukia regains control of herself for a moment and tells Inoue to attack her. Inoue finally gets some balls and decides to take on Rukia. She does it in the softhearted way that only Inoue can.  She uses her shield to approach Rukia, hugs her and subsequently heals her by removing Rizu (definitely chick power). Hisagi acts quickly, but the former soul reaper, Ichinose, arrives on the scene and takes away an unconscious Mabashi.

Meanwhile, my favorite battle is between Chad, Nova, Uryru, and Rangiku and the Vincent price wannabe, Sawatari (the old Bount).  Rangiku cracks me up.  She is excited to be in the world of the living so she can do what every self-respecting girl can do, shop!  While she’s contemplating this she stumbles on Chad, Nova, and Uryru facing the new, old Bount.  When faced with a challenge, Rangiku quickly becomes all business.  It’s a good thing too.  Vincent’s, uh, Sawatari’s doll, Baura, is a giant creature that looks like a sperm whale made of rock.  The behemoth of a doll moves between dimensions, and consumes what it drags into its dimensional mouth.   Rangiku realizes this just before her zanpaktou, Haineko, gets consumed.   Rangiku believes it is time to get serious.  She has the area around the team frozen and the souls protected.  Then it’s game on.  Chad and Uryru really get to shine as they try to take down the old dude.  Unfortunately, in the midst of fighting, Ururu gets swallowed by Baura, and she is without her grenade launcher. Drat!   This leads to the best part of the whole DVD in my humble opinion.  Not that I really wanted Sawatari to be any older or more disturbing.  The first plan the group tries is generated by Nova.  He devises a plan to use his ability to transfer Baura to a different dimension.  At first, it seems to work, but much to our chargrin, Baura then explodes out of Nova’s gigai’s chest.  The group ends up running again, but they devise a plan to basically find Baura and then literally knock Uryru out of him.  To enact the plan, Nova has to embrace Rangiku.  Okay…what a set up, and of all things Nova is ‘shy’.  Nova decides to doff his gigai and hold on to Rangiku’s arm in his stuffed doll form.  The pair successfully join spiritual powers, locate Baura and get their last attempt at freeing Uryru. Will the plan work, or will Ururu become fish, no, whale bait?  You’ll have to watch the last bit to find out, and see how many times Rangiku can make Nova blush.  Too much fun!

Summary
The Bount cronies are dishing out what appears to be their most offensive stance yet.  Ichigo and the gang are between are rock and a hard place.  However, it helps to have friends in high places or better yet, the Seireitei.  Rangiku and Izuru show up from the Soul Society in the nick of time to hel turn the tide against the Bounts.  The tension builds as this story arc is gearing up for a big climax that looks to be very interesting. 

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Closing, Production Artwork

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