Bleach Vol. #08 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, February 22, 2008
Release Date: Tuesday, January 15, 2008
What They Say
Ichigo and his comrades are chased from one end of the Seireitei to another while fending off the furious attacks of the Soul Reapers that guard the city from intruders. When he and Ganju capture a meek member of Squad 4, they are shown a secret way into the white tower where Rukia is being held prisoner. But at the steps of the fortress, an old nemesis, Renji Abarai, appears, and a rematch pits Ichigo against the spirit energy of a powerful lieutenant.
Contains episodes 29-32.
Breakthrough! The Deathgods' Encompassing Net...and boy does it get tight!!
As usual, we listened to Bleach 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.
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. On rare occasions there is just a small bit of noticeable background noise, but nothing to be concerned about.
Following the style change from the sixth volume, volume 8 features the new front cover design that is primarily covered with a silver foil appearance. The color change, of course corresponds, to the The Entry story arc. In addition, the spine of the case is also colored in red. The same logo and text layout appears as it did in the previous volumes. A very bloody and beaten-up Renji Abarai is featured on the front cover. 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 in this release. The blocking movements are used again from the opening sequence to showcase various scenes from episodes 29-32. 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).
Again, Viz has done a decent job of pacing the episodes for each collection by leaving the viewer with a high level of suspense, which doesn’t resolve until the next volume begins. I would prefer to have more episodes per volume, but the level of action, overall, has worked out rather nicely.
We last left Ichigo and the gang in a free-for-all that spans across a significant part of Seireitei. After having successfully penetrated the soul shield that surrounds Seieitei, the team is abruptly split up. However, their mission has one purpose and that purpose is to save Rukia.
More attention is paid to Orhime and Ishida in the first episode as they battle, yet another giant soul reaper, Jiroubou. Ishida clearly sees through Jiroubou’s tactics as he is solely focused on attacking Orihime. Ishida taunts Jiroubou as the fight progresses. A new form of self-confidence emerges from Ishida as he toys with Jiroubou. The bow and arrows that form from his glove easily allow him to defeat Jiroubou. Quincys fight by collecting the spirit energy around them. The glove Ishida wears amplifies his ability to collect spirit energy.
Easily defeating Jiroubou, Ishida severs the points responsible for generating spirit power. Rather than killing Jiroubou, Ishida has sentenced him to a life of humility and disgrace as his spirit power will be zero. Jiroubou will no longer be a Shinigami. Seeing Ishida’s resolve inspires Orihime to push herself further so she can contribute to the team’s efforts. A very much deserved amount of time is spent here to establish the characters.
Meanwhile Ganju and Ichigo finally meet, by chance, and run into a dead end, yet again. This time they run into the members of the 11th Division. Outnumbered, Ichigo and Ganju try to kidnap Hanatarou, an innocent bystander to the fray. His Division specializes in relief and supplies and is often considered to be the laughing stock of the 13 Divisions that protect Seireitei. This leads to a very humorous discussion that would otherwise end Ganju and Ichigo’s romp. As the 11th Division charges, a huge wall appear with a bright flash. Chad makes a shock-and-awe entrance, thus creating a means of escape for Ichigo, Ganju, and Hanatarou.
Chad finally get some action here as the 11th Division-ers demand to know what’s up with his clothes, if he did that to the wall, and if he’s friends with “those two”. Now, fully focused on Chad, the 11th Division leader states that he should not expect to leave here alive, as they will crush him in less than 5 minutes. Chad apologizes, saying that he cannot meet that expectation as he clenches his fist and walks over to them, his arm seemingly on fire. Chad says it won’t even take 5 minutes: all he needs is two.
The freakish looking Myuri, 12th Division Squad Captain, attempts to interrogate Ikkaku regarding Ichigo. Ikkaku was defeated by Ichigo and now is in the hospital. Ikkaku will not spill even one bean, telling only Zaraki and Yachiru what he knows. Myuri attempts to kill him, but Zaraki intervenes and runs him off. There appears to be some sort of jealousy or plot that is yet to reveal itself within the ranks of the Divisions. One has to wonder if there will be an eventual split amongst the ranks.
Ganju, Ishida, and Hanatarou navigate via the sewer tunnels of Seireitei to locate Rukia. It just so happens that Hanatarou knows the way and is sympathetic to their plight in saving Rukia. However, Zaraki is methodically looking for Ichigo and his patience is wearing thin as he reflects on Ichimaru and Ikkaku’s defeats. Yachiru continues to ride on his back, happy as a clam, reassuring Zaraki that he will find Ichigo. They make for a really interesting pair as the show progresses.
Ichigo, Ganju and Hanatarou make their way through the tunnels. Hanatarou shares his experiences with Rukia while he was cleaning her cell. Emerging at the closest exit to the Shrine of Penitence, Ichigo abruptly runs into Abarai Renji, who is apparently waiting for him. Renji is supposedly 5 times stronger and is resolute in the promise that he made, to kill the man who took Rukia’s powers. Renji and Ichigo fight with a fierceness that has never been seen in an prior episode.. They literally beat each other to a bloody pulp. Renji and Ichigo’s purpose is the same, to save Rukia. However, their methods and allegiances are exactly the opposite. This makes for a bitter sweet rivalry that can only result in one winner. The final episode focuses on the Renji reminiscing about his childhood, growing up outside the Seireitei, his relationship with Rukia, and his more recent experiences as a Shinigami.
Now well within the confines of the Seireitei, team Ichigo is trying to fight its way to Rukia. Establishing their bearings, each person continues to push forward with a sense of purpose and a sense of each others’ movements. Ichigo doesn’t care how many captains or lieutenants that he must fight, he won’t rest until he saves Rukia. Will the gang eventually reunite? Can Rukia hang on long enough? I can’t wait until the next volume as the plot hangs in the balance.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Closing,Production Gallery,Bleach Stickers
Hitachi 62VS69 62" UltraVision LCD Projection HDTV, Samsung BDP-1000 Blu-ray Player 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
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2