Bleach Vol. #27 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Its Hollows, Arrancars, Vizards, and Soul Reapers, oh my! And they are all coming to Karakura Town.
What They Say
It's back to high school and Hollow slaying for Ichigo Kurosaki, who is now officially recognized as a Substitute Soul Reaper by the Soul Society. On the day he returns to Karakura First High School, Ichigo meets an unusual new student named Shinji Hirako, who seems to know abut him and his inner Hollow. When a massive amount of spiritual pressure approaches Karakura Town, Isshin and Kisuke worry that someone is attempting to build an army of Arrancars - Hollows with the power of Soul Reapers.
Contains episodes 110-113.
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.
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.
Volume 27 is set to a white boxart theme. The Arrancar is prominently displayed along the spine as was done with other single disc collections. The front of the case features Ulquiorra Cifer. His stoic and expressionless look is as mysterious as the poses depicted here on the front. The front cover image is based on a three quarter perspective that is similar to the earlier releases. 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 uses a smaller font and is much easier to read.
The print on the disc appears to be more of a summary of the main events for the 4 episodes. A title is prominently placed at the top “The father’s identities unmasked.” The text beneath the title states “Isshin appears just in time to save Ichigo’s body from a notorious Hollow. Ryugen saves Uryu from wandering Menos using his secretive powers. Powers passed down through the generations are hereby revealed.” While this is a nice change of pace, the text appears to be a bit to scrunched together.
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 110-113. 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.
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.
Enter the Arrancar, the much awaited story arc begins! This story arc begins very mysteriously in typical Bleach fashion. Ichigo is back at school, but things will never be as they once were. The effects of Ichigo’s power are being felt by many unbeknownst to him. The first case is Tatsuki. She has been able to see Ichigo in his soul reaper form for some time, but in the beginning of this new arc her awareness is brought to the edge of Ichigo’s ken. Tatsuki is able to see Ichigo’s substitute soul reaper badge, and points it out to him. Unfortunately, as usual, Ichigo overlooks the important ‘small’ things for the big things, like Hollows.
Other changes at school soon follow, such as the introduction of new cast members, such as Hirako Shinji. This rather mysterious, arrogant and irritating individual is now a classmate to Ichigo, et al. He looks like a maniacal ad for Dutch Boy paint, but is much more colorful, indeed. Ichigo discovers this himself as he goes after yet another Hollow. Shinji attacks Ichigo as a means of introduction. He then goes on to inform Ichigo that his identity is not that of a Soul Reaper, but a Vizard, a Hollowfied Soul Reaper. Shinji invites Ichigo to join their group. Ichigo responds in the only way you would expect “hell no.” Despite Ichigo’s abrupt response, Shinji doesn’t seem like the type to back away from a challenge.
Meanwhile, problems are afoot. Kon is in Ichigo’s body. That is problem enough. Kon personifies the more typical nature of a teen age guy. He only wants to be buried in the ‘warm soft pillows’ of, well, any girl he can, but preferably Rukia. Right now he is running away from a Hollow by the name of Grand Fisher. The Grand fisher is now amped up as an imperfect/pseudo-Arrancar. The Hollow catches up with Kon only to be stopped by none other than Isshin Kurosaki, Ichigo’s goofy Dad. Ichigo’s dad isn’t goofy anymore. He’s all business, and he knows what he wants. He’s going to kill the Grand Fisher as revenge for taking the life of his late wife.
At this point we also get glimpse into an interesting back story. Uruhara pops in after Isshin completes his task. We find that Isshin has been in the world of the living for 20 years. No other information is giving on how that happened, but we now know that Ichigo’s Dad was a captain of the soul society. Urahara and Isshin begin to discuss the Arrancar setting the direction of the upcoming plot about Aizen. As part of this conversation, they mention the Vizard contacted Ichigo, and speculate that they are preparing for battle. Just as the Soul Society is. We now know that Ichigo has a lot of power for a number of reasons.
Kon’s plight and intervention from an unlikely source would be drama enough, but Ishida is also being pursued by a Hollow. He isn’t fairing well either. Ishida finds himself without power or any help to overcome the situation. He finds himself facing death, to be dealt an even scarier prospect, being rescued by his father, Ryuuken. Speaking of arrogant new characters, Ryuuken is cold and calculating. Ishida’s personality quickly comes into perspective, as well as his reason for calling his father by his first name. This father also has secrets that he’s kept hidden, and these secrets could help Ishida gain his powers again. The price for this ‘gift’ is high. It is to no longer associate with the Soul Reapers.
Ichigo’s interaction with Shinji is unfortunately far from over. Shinji tells Ichigo that he is already a Vizard, like it or not. He also believes that Ichigo’s inner Hollow will devour him. He tells Ichigo that he will destroy everything he loves. Due to the rapid growth of his inner Hollow Ichigo will eventually go nuts, but he, Shinji, is able to help him control it. Orohime sees the exchange between the two and wants to know what is going on. She confronts Shinji with Chad. The two meet him with Sarugaki Hiyori, and ask what they want with Ichigo. Before they get an answer, Shinji carries off Hiyori so she doesn’t kill them.
Orohime and Chad don’t have long to ponder Shinji’s actions. More Arrancar arrive in Karakura town. These two appear to be far more powerful than the pseudo Arrancar like the Grand Fisher. They immediately kill numerous by-standers, and Tatsuki finds herself facing possible death as well. What will become of her? Will Chad and Orohime be able to save her, or will they all end up as a light snack? Find out in the next installment!
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Closing, Production Artwork Gallery
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
Mania Grade: B
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
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2