Bleach Vol. #10 (Mania.com)

By:Bryce Coulter
Review Date: Friday, May 30, 2008
Release Date: Tuesday, May 20, 2008



What They Say
At the top of the great staircase of the White Tower where Rukia is being held, Ichigo faces down fearsome Captain Zaraki of Squad 11. The desperate battle pushes Ichigo to the point that the spirit of his sword comes to him to help him gain access to the depths of his spiritual pressure. If he can do that, he might just survive another day in the Soul Society.

Meanwhile, Chad has run into a wall in the form of Captain Kyoraku of Squad 8, whose laid-back style masks the extraordinary power of an elite Soul Reaper captain!

Contains episodes 37-40.

The Review!
Rukia is free at a last?

Audio:
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.

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. On rare occasions there is just a small bit of noticeable background noise, but nothing to be concerned about.

Packaging:
Following the style of the previous "The Entry" DVD volumes, volume 10 features the silver foil front cover design. 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 bloodied looking Rukia holding her zanpakutou is featured on the front cover while 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.

Menu:
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 37-40. 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.

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: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers).
In episodes 37-40 you will get your fill of fight scene monologues, flashbacks, back-stories and blood. The battle to save Ruiki continues. Although the comrades are separated, they individually strive towards that one goal.

In the first episode, the plot focuses on Chad as he continues to blast through the maze of walls. Most shinigami go flying, but the 3rd seat of 8th division, Enjouji Tatsufusa, now remains. Despite Tatsufusa's confidence and display of swordwork, Chad defeats him with one punch. Acknowledging his own strength in being able to easily KO an upper-level shinigami, Chad knows that he owes it to Yoruichi's training.

As Chad continues on, flower petals begin filling the air and his next challenger, Shunsui lands gracefully on the ground before him. Chad meets this new challenger with silence as the flowers continue cascade. The theatrics of falling flowers turn into a comedy as the cascade turns into a heap being dumped on the captain by his lieutenant, Nanao. I found myself appreciating Nanao's sentiments and Chad's attitude when he tells Shunsui Kyoraku that he doesn't have time for the entertainment. Chad doesn't want to fight Shunsui if it is possible, and Shunsui doesn't want to have to fight either. Shunsui then further attempts to avoid doing so by trying to convince Chad to join him in a drink, or to give up. At this point I'm having childhood flashbacks of Mac 'n' Tosh, the Goofy Gophers. Mac: 'After you.' Tosh: 'Oh, no, no, after you!' Chad's response is to launch an attack, which Shunsui easily deflects with one hand.

Chad continues to try to defeat this opponent but quickly realizes that he is outmatched. Shunsui has the 'upper hand' in more than one way. Shunsui, although reluctant to fight Chad, comes to the conclusion that it would be rude to try to persuade him to give up. Shunsui resigns to drawing his twin zanpakutou and Chad once again charges.

While charging toward Shunsui, Chad has a flashback that gives more insight to his relationship with Ichigo and a good deal of his past. This includes the significance of the cherished coin always found around his neck. With Ichigo's promise and his abuelo's words resounding in his mind, he completes his last attack on the 8th division captain. The attack itself is devastating, yet Shunsui still manages to dodge it, slicing Chad with his zanpakutou. Shunsui murmurs, "I'm sorry." before Chad, and his necklace, fall to the ground.

Ichigo is still running from Kenpachi. While he's still run, run, running away, I start hearing Always on the Run by Lenny Kravitz as background music to the scene before me. Ichigo is trying to think through any possible strategy, but he is scared. Kenpachi gave him a free chance to cut him, but in his attempt, Ichigo only ended up hurting himself. While he continues to evade Kenpachi, he suddenly feels Chad's reiatsu leave. Ichigo searches for any signs of life from Chad, and senses a small flame of spiritual energy still there. This event gives Ichigo new resolve to fight. When Kenpachi next arrives, Ichigo attacks and delivers a blow that draws blood! Kenpachi seems quite pleased at this, as is his lieutenant, Yachiru.

Ichigo and Kenpachi continue to fight, monologue and fight. In the midst of fighting, Ichigo asks why Kenpachi hasn't released his zanpakutou. Kenpachi responds that his sword is already unsealed. Ichigo is relieved, but that is short lived. Kenpachi has been holding back. He attacks again, and his zanpakutou then easily cuts through Zangetsu and Ichigo. Zangetsu splits in two and Ichigo collapses. After a short eulogy, Kenpachi turns to leave. Ichigo's determination has not died, though, and nor has Zangetsu.

Ichigo finds himself confronted by Zangetsu. He simply asks Ichigo if he want to fight, win, or live? Ichigo announces he only wants to win. Ichigo then finds himself in an altered reality, fighting himself. In the midst of the battle against his 'evil twin' he realizes that he, like Kenpachi, doesn't commune with his zanpakutou. Ichigo calls on Zangetsu to help him and to ask for forgiveness.

With his return to the 'real' world, Ichigo experiences Zangetus' released power and his profuse bleeding stops. Ichigo attacks with daunting speed, cutting Kenpachi's shoulders badly and pushing him back. The battle begins again, but the more cuts Kenpachi recieves, the more crazy with bloodlust he becomes.

The battle finally concludes when Ichigo and Kenpachi go against each other with their full force. Both Ichigo and Kenpachi suddenly stop after the exchange in the classic post strike pose. A steady flow of blood is already pouring from Ichigo's chest where Kenpachi's sword stabbed him. Ichigo murmurs, "I'm sorry, everyone..." before falling to the ground. As Kenpachi stands over Ichigo's fallen body, blood bursts from his own shoulder. He says, "What the hell's with 'I'm sorry, everyone'? It's your victory, stupid." Kenpachi's sword breaks in two, and Kenpachi collapses to the ground beside Ichigo.

Even in victory, has Ichigo and his team failed? Will Rukia be saved? Will the battle between Ichigo and Kenpachi continue (please no!)? You'll just have to wait for the release of Bleach episodes 41 to 45 to find out (cue dramatic music)!

Summary:
The plot thickens and the pace picks back up as the team continues to hammer away through the town trying to find and save Rukia. In these episodes, the focus of the plot rests on the shoulders of Chad and Ichigo. These two find themselves challenged to the fiber of their beings in epic battles. Who will win, and who will even be able to walk away when so much blood is let?

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

Review Equipment
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
MSRP: 24.99
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Bleach