Bleach Vol. #06 (

By:Bryce Coulter
Review Date: Friday, October 19, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What They Say
Guided by the mysterious talking cat Yoruichi, Ichigo and school friends Orihime, Chad and Uryu make the dangerous crossing over to the Soul Society. They land on the outskirts of the Seireitei, the place where the Soul Reapers live. To succeed in their mission to save Rukia from execution, they must defeat the giant gatekeeper and find some way into the walled city. But it's not going to be easy!

The Review!
It’s time to kick it into high gear. Ichigo and the gang are headed to the Soul Society to save Rukia.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. We also sampled the English track, which does a fairly good job of keeping up with standard set by the Japanese cast. In listening to both language tracks, we didn't have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally airing in 2004, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Bleach’s transfer is very clean is good looking release. All of the colors appear very solid. Cross coloration is absent and aliasing is almost nonexistent. On rare occasions there is just a small bit of noticeable background noise, but nothing to be concerned about.

The sixth volume of Bleach has an illustration of Ichigo looking over his shoulder as he is grasping his zanpokutou. This case takes on a new design as the front cover is primarily covered with a silver foil look. The spine of the case has changed to red and uses the same logo and text layout as in previous volumes. The backside of the case contains the usual series name displayed in silver 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. A nice little extra inclusion is a sticker sheet that has the front cover and four smaller stickers for each episode number.

As with previous volumes, the same cool menu design is used again in volume 3. The blocking movements are used again from the opening sequence to showcase various scenes from episodes 21-24. 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. As in the previous volumes, Viz continues to not show the English subtitles for the opening music when watching the show in English, which is a pain. To view the subtitles, one has to watch the show in Japanese with the subtitles turned on.

Again, as in previous volumes, the same types of extras are featured. A selection of production art covers the basics of characters. 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).
Episode 21 plunges you right into the thick of things as Yoruichi leads the ragtag crew through to the Soul Society. The time is right for the gang to slip through unnoticed, but not without danger. The Senkai gate, in which they are traveling, is due for maintenance by a machine that is very much like a freight train. Everyone succumbs to their own solution for breaking through to the other side. Yoruichi’s plan, just don’t look back and keep going, sounds ridiculous as the train-like machine continues to gain ground. However, Yoruichi’s wisdom and experience proves true as everyone crosses into the Soul Society. There’s something said about the wisdom of a black cat…

Upon their arrival, the team immediately comes to the realization that the Soul Society doesn’t appear all that different from that of their homeworld. The cultural surroundings are quite similar in that there’s definitely a class system that clearly defines the privileged and non-privileged. This cannot be more evident as the gang surveys the situation and discovers a huge wall that separates Seireitei, the Soul Reapers’ home base, from everyone else. Small pockets of cities and towns lie outside the perimeter Seireitei. The people on the outside seem content enough, but many are still searching for the loved ones that preceded their arrival. The spirit that dwelled in the parrot that Chad rescued earlier appears as a young boy and immediately runs to him as Yourichi leads the gang through town. It’s a happy reunion of sorts, but sad in that the young boy has not found any of his family members. This is a common thread that is shared by all who live in this area of the Soul Society. To cope with the disillusion of finding family and peace, many towns’ people choose to adopt or create foster families. I really hope the afterlife is not as gloomy as it is portrayed here. What a bummer!

This volume of Bleach brings in a slug of new characters of which I am certain will spin off into new story arcs. Rukia’s plight is further explained as more is revealed about her sentencing. We witness a side Abari Renji that is rather interesting in that it is almost like he is trying to do everything he can to help Rukia from being sentenced to death. It leaves one wondering if it is related to a previous relationship he had with Rukia or if it’s a love interest on his part. Only time will tell what beholds this subplot. Many of the squad captains and their lieutenants are introduced. Some of these guys are downright scary in both behavior and appearance. It appears as if all is not quite harmonious within the ranks of the Soul Reapers. The unrest has to do with the actions of Ichimaru Gin. Something smells funny…

The primary focus of this collection is based upon gaining entrance into the Soul Reaper lair. Finding their way to the gate entrance seems all too easy for Ichigo and company. The entrance appears unguarded at first, but is actually guarded by the Herculean giant, Jidanbou. In the 300 years that legendary Jidanbou has guarded the gate, the gate had never been breached. A massively destructive fight takes place with Ichigo defeating the giant. As team Ichigo approaches the gate Ichimaru Gin, 3rd division captain appears. Ichimaru raises his head to look at them, and smiles in his usual, creepy way. Access denied!!!

This volume rounds out with Yourichi taking the gang to seek out Kuukaku. Everyone is surprised to know that Kuukaku is a she instead of he, a rather well endowed she. Kuukaku is an expert in fireworks and she has a plan. Her plan is to launch everyone over the protective bubble that surrounds Seireitei. The plan seems quite simple, but it requires that the team gains a new technique that is rather difficult for Ichigo to master. On top of that. Kuukau just so happens to be the big sister of Ganju. Ganju hates Soul Reapers and tries his hardest to best Ichigo in everything. The stupid humor is back as Ichigo finds a new rival. This leads to some funny moments as Ganju is now the new Kon, who is there to antagonize Ichigo.

Breaking on through to other side has opened a new can of worms for team Ichigo. Rukia’s sentencing, the unsettlement within the Soul Reaper captains, and team Ichigo’s delayed rescue plans adds a whole new twist to the story. With no hollows around, one has to wonder when they will appear again. And, what’s up with Ichimaru Gin? Some questions are answered and many more are presented. I am anxious to see what is next…

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Closing,Production Gallery

Review Equipment
Hitachi 62VS69 62" UltraVision LCD Projection HDTV, XBOX 360 DVD player, XBOX 360 HDMI Cable with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.

Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: A
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 24.98
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Bleach