Bleach Vol. #29 - Mania.com



DVD Review

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 and Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 24.92
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Bleach

Bleach Vol. #29

Bleach Vol. #29 DVD Review

By Bryce Coulter     August 24, 2010
Release Date: June 22, 2010


Bleach Vol. #29
© Viz Media

Its time for Ikkaku Madarame to unleash his Bankai!

What They Say
The streets of Karakura Town become the scene of a fierce battle between Soul Reapers and the Arrancars. Ikkaku Madarame faces off against the Arrancar Edrad, who dodges his wild attacks, forcing him to release his Bankai, which he has long kept secret. And Captain Hitsugaya struggles against the Arrancar Shawlong, who reveals to him the existence of far more powerful Arrancars called the Espada.

Contains episodes 118-121.

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:
Volume 29 follows the previous Arrancar boxart theme. The Arrancar is prominently displayed along the spine as was done with other single disc collections. The front of the case features the smug looking and sinister Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez. This dude is pure evil and the expression on his face is anything but evil looking. The backside of the case contains the usual series name displayed on a white background 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. There is no insert for this volume. Upon opening the case you will immediately notice that the case design is base on the new eco-friendly DVD case. The disc itself features a matching white label with the Bleach logo. The text printed on the disc contains a few quotes that summarize the events of the collection. 
 
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 118-121.  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. 

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:
At the end of the last collection, we saw Ichigo being manhandled by  Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez while the rest of the Soul Reapers took on their respective Arrancar opponents. One fight that started out as your regular run-of-the-mill fight takes on a new angle as we pick up with the fight between Ikkaku Madarame and Edrad Liones. Fans of Ikkaku are going to love this collection as the first two episodes tend to focus on him and his back-story. You will get updates on each of the other fights going on, but Ikkaku definitely gets the limelight.
 
One thing that was interesting is the Arrancar’s chivalrous code of honor as they are about to unleash the death blow (or what they think is the final blow) in each of the fights that take place. Their behavior is a bit predictable and formulaic, but provides the viewer with a different perspective for background related content. We also get to learn a bit more about the mysterious hierarchy of the Arrancar.
 
Going back to Ikkaku, his fight really takes off as he unleashes his zanpaktou, Hozukimaru. After his zanpaktou is released, he immediately follows up with his Bankai. Upon releasing his Bankai, we get to see Ikkaku wielding several large blades that he identifies as RyĆ«mon Hozukimaru. You have to love the meat cleavers, sorry, blades. Ikkaku has a crazed look in his eye that is very reminiscent of Kenny (Kenpachi Zaraki).   The collection really shines at this point. It finally gives us more background story on how the 11th Division came into its present form. We actually get to see Ikkaku, Kenny, and Yumichika before they were Soul Reapers. Their first meeting was happenstance that nearly left Ikkaku dead. We get the impression that Kenny is all but unstoppable long before becoming captain. Ikkaku forms a pact with himself, like Renji has with Byakuya. His goal is to surpass Kenny even if that means serving under him. We also get further insight into what makes Ikkaku tick as a younger Renji subjects himself to the tutelage of Ikkaku’s fighting style. 
 
The end of the second episode goes out with a bang as Ikkaku reveals how lucky he is in narrowly escaping death a second time (the first was with Kenny). Yumichika, always at Ikkaku’s side, is there to help his comrade in yet another great time of need. At Yumichika’s side is Keigo Asano, one of Ichigo’s classmates, who has seen and witnessed the entire fight. Obviously, he has the ability to see it all. How this will come into play later on will be definitely be interesting.
 
The second half of this collection focuses on the fights that are taking place with Captain Hitsugaya, Renji, and Rangiku. Their defeat is imminent as Rangiku lays on the ground knocked out while Renji and Captain Hitsugaya are nearly at their limits. Renji gets a little help and life-saving time from the Mod Souls along with Ururu and Jinta. Hitsugaya holds on long enough to finally get the go ahead from Rangiku that the Soul Society has lifted the limit of the powers, thus allowing them unleash a big can of you know what!
 
At the conclusion of this collection we are left with a lot more information about the Arrancar and the mysterious number designations. The number of each Arrancar is assigned according to their birth order. However, this does not apply to the Arrancar numbered 1 through 10 because those are ranked according to fighting ability. Numbers 1 through 10 have the designation of Espada. Unfortunately for Ichigo, he is facing one of the 10, Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez. Gimmjow is an Espada and he is mopping the floor with Ichigo! Will Ichigo and Rukia survive their encounter with one of the 10 Espada or will their story have a quick end?
 
Summary
Ikkaku Madarame fans rejoice! Bleach 29 delves into some very much needed backstory on one of the most understated Soul Reapers. It’s about time that one of supporting cast get some screen time and this collection delivers it in spades. As a fan of Kenpachi Zaraki and Division 11, this was a great collection to geek out about. We learn more about the Arrancar, their hierarchy, and the uber powerful Espada. Grimmjow Jagerjaquez is one bad mother. How can Ichigo get out of this one? I’m definitely look forward to how this will play out in the next collection.
 
Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment

Samsung UN46B6000VF 120Hz LED HDTV, Samsung HT-WS1R/XAA 2.1 Channel Soundbar Speaker System with Wireless Subwoofer, and Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p

 

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