Bleach Vol. #22 - Mania.com



DVD Review

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. #22

Bleach Vol. #22 DVD Review

By Bryce Coulter     January 06, 2010
Release Date: November 17, 2009


Bleach Vol. #22
© Viz Media

It’s time to break on through to the other side as the Bounts make way to the Soul Society

What They Say
Rangiku Matsumoto and several other Soul Reapers arrive to help in the battle against the evil Bounts. Entering the cave hideout, they soon discover they've stumbled into a trap! Just in time to back up their comrades, Ichigo faces the Bount leader Kariya and must summon his bankai if he is to survive, while Uryu must rediscover his lost powers as well.

Contains episodes 88-91.

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 22 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.  Maki Ichinose, former Lieutenant of the 11th Division, now turned Bount sympathizer is featured on the front.  The somewhat emotionless and traitorous Soul Reaper is depicted as cold and somewhat hollow looking while holding his zanpakutĹ.  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 “It’s revenge… for the Bount were created… By the Soul Society”.

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 88-91.  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 saga continues.  After the conclusion of the first wave of fighting, Urahara’s store becomes the gang’s meeting place as well as its triage compound.  The team is pretty beat up, and some wounds, such as Rukia’s attack on her soul, were deeper than others.  Even though their bodies have had wear and tear, several members are now more determined than ever to take care of the Bount issue, especially Renji. 

Meanwhile, back in the Soul Society the invader continues to be researched.  Suspicions arise regarding another traitor in the ranks.  After the recent events with Aizen, it’s not unreasonable to jump to conclusions. 

While the administrators are dealing with the home front, Rangiku, Hisagi, Kira and Yumichika are sent to take the fight to the Bount’s own turf.  They go to the Bount’s hideout, an enormous underground labyrinth of caves. The Bount just get creepier and creepier.  Their home has as much ambiance as a long forgotten tomb.  In the words of Ayasegawa, it definitely ‘lacks in beauty.’  I think Ayasegawa actually understated it this time!  Kira, Hisagi, Matsumoto and Ayasegawa attempt to be stealth, but their actions have already been anticipated.  As they enter the cave further, they run into some trouble with Ugaki and his doll Geselle.  I know these lieutenants can really kick butt.  It is somewhat incongruous with their skills that they are taken so off guard.  Geselle’s strange, spirit-like form fits the shadowed darkness of the cave very well.  After the dust has cleared, we are lead to believe that one Bount is able to overcome some of the elite of the soul society.  

While the lieutenants were in the cave, another lieutenant, Nemu, approaches Ishida at his training location.  Since they fought before, Ishida is suspicious.  To confirm his fears, she attacks him. Her aggression actually serves to confirm that Ishida has lost his powers.  She stops and asks him if he wants his abilities back. What a set-up. Knock someone on their butt when they are physically and emotionally down, then ask them if they want ‘help or power’.  Well, duh!  That’s rhetorical, and Ishida’s response is predictable. 

Back to the Bount cave, Rangiku.  Ichigo and the others don’t seem to be aware that the band of lieutenants has gone on before them to fight the Bount.  They now enter the cave as well.  They encounter the same issues as the previous team and find themselves with their backs against the cave wall, literally.  Just when you think all is lost, and our team will bite the dust as well, up from the cave they arose, the vice-captains to overcome the foes!  They’re wounded but ready to get a little pay back!

As the rest of the team and vice-captains battle on, Ichigo and Renji move forward into the depths of the cave.  They come upon a severly wounded Yumichika, and Ugaki attacks again with Gesell.  It is then that we finally get to see Gesell’s true form.  Renji decides to take on this Bount by himself using his ban-kai.  Strange enough, at this moment, Ugaki receives a message from Jin.  Jin tells him to basically make it short, because of something about Ishida.  Hmmm, how does he know what is going on with Ishida?  At this point in the battle, Renji’s on game.  He attacks Gesell and is able to take out the Bount and his doll.  All I can say is…good riddance! 

As Renji is fighting, Ichigo finally finds the rest of the Bount as they are standing before a gateway of sorts. Ichigo, as always, is ready to take them all on.  In response to his challenge, Jin decides that it’s his turn to stretch his legs and experience his new powers.  Jin’s powers are incredible, and Ichigo is quickly turning into another pile of red pulp.  Because Jin is absolutely confident he is going to win (being the narcissist that he is), he begins to monologue and tell Ichigo the evil master plan.  Jin fills Ichigo on the whole mysterious back story we’ve all be itching to know. 

After Ichigo wraps the situation around his head, he’s pretty pissed off.  This and his near fatal state leads to an ‘other-dimensional’ chat session and epiphany with Zankestu.  As an aside, have you ever noticed that when Ichigo is up against a wall, he ends up chatting with Zangestu standing on the ‘wall’ of a building?  That’s just an interesting observation.  Anywho, Ichigo achieves his long-awaited ban-kai in the world of the living.  Will Ichigo’s ban-kai be enough to deal with Jin, let alone the array of other Bount at hand?  What is the mystery gate going to do for the Bount, and will they take yet another fateful step closer to the destruction of the Soul Society?  Enjoy watching the outcome of this one, and don’t be surprised if you are left with more questions than answers. 

Summary:
The conclusion of the first half of the Bount arc is finally here.  Everything is going according to Jin’s master plan.  As always, any evil mastermind has a master plan that suckers the heroes into doing their bidding as you will witness firsthand at the conclusion of this collection.  The ultimate goal is to get to the Soul Society and that is what Jin has planned.  Knowing our heroes will bounce back, what is Jin’s real plan with the Soul Society?  This collection reveals, yet, another big piece of the mysterious Bount puzzle that will make you anxious for more.  This story arc still keeps me hooked and wanting more!

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

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