Review

by Carl Kimlinger, Dec 19th 2008

Bleach

DVD 13

Synopsis:
Bleach DVD 13
Kon is in hell. Every day Ichigo's sister Yuzu dresses him in handmade dresses, stitches him to other stuffed animals, and generally abuses and humiliates him. He manages to escape, but is immediately captured by a visiting Don Kanonji, who enlists him as the Karakura Heroes' mascot. Things get ugly for Kon but fast. Back at the Soul Society, Ichigo's Bankai training continues, but Renji's has finished. As he heads out to rescue Rukia, Captain Zaraki Kenpachi teams up with Orihime to find Ichigo and ends up accidentally rescuing all of her imprisoned comrades. It's an act that sits ill with blind Captain Tosen and basket-headed Captain Komamura, who rather foolishly decide to teach him a lesson. While the captains clash, Renji runs smack into Byakuya Kuchiki, the last possible person he wants to see, and Rukia encounters mocking Captain Gin Ichimaru on her way to the execution grounds.
Review:

Bleach long ago reached the point where its four-episode discs were sadly inadequate. This is deep marathoning territory, where subplots intertwine and extend over dozens of episodes, where fights are measured in hours rather than minutes, and where four episodes provide only a taste of a story-arc's propulsive charms.

It isn't that the series is sagging; on the contrary, with the down-time of volume twelve behind it, it is visibly accelerating. Rukia's execution is imminent, Ichigo's training is wrapping up, and the captains are girding themselves for epic bloodshed. All along the way there are moments where the series' polished blend of stylish violence, wacked humor, and nearly fetishistic coolness shine: Kenpachi's and Renji's episodes keep the sword-flashing, one-upping action flowing thick, showcasing Kenpachi's sociopathic charms and Renji's painful determination while elsewhere Orihime lays on the adorable cuteness and Gin Ichimaru metes out some sadistic psychological torture. The problem is that the series' stride is so long that three episodes (not counting the Don Kanonji fluff) is only enough to prime the pump before the disc cuts off, leaving one unfulfilled and itching for more. It's a frustrating arrangement, leaving the series stuttering forward when it should be barreling head-on.

Nitpicking Viz's release schedule may seem petty, but frankly there's little else to discuss. The Kanonji episode is chockablock with the K-ON! abuse and general weirdness that Bleach fans have come to expect from the comic side-stories, while the other three episodes are exactly the kind of razor-honed genre fare that the series has always purveyed. Any viewer who has made it thus far knows exactly what to expect, whether it be from the visuals or the plot. Will Rukia be driven into a corner before Ichigo's last-minute arrival? Of course. Will the action sequences be shot through with shaggy energy, squealing electric guitars and uber-cool characters with uber-cool clothes in uber-cool poses? Without a doubt. Will anyone care? So long as the captains are spraying metal shards like lacerating curtains of steel, summoning giant blades from the abyss and punching each other through walls, absolutely not.

The further into the series it gets, the better Viz's dub seems to grow. David Lodge's Kenpachi is actually a hair more frightening than his Japanese counterpart, and Michelle Ruff gets Rukia's ugly little confrontation with Gin so right that its plain painful. While the script generally keeps the fine balance of fidelity and fluidity that the series has maintained for ages now, K-ON! and Kanonji are given plenty of room to fool around in, resulting in a priceless freewheeling rapport. In many ways, a superior experience to the Japanese.

A sheet of stickers, clean version of the new closer (a fine ballad by YUI), and some production artwork are the only extras that count this volume.

The thirteenth volume returns Bleach to its main story, delivering exactly what one expects—brutal sword fights peppered with moments so cool that they chill right to the bone, humor that actually makes you laugh, and predictably winding tensions as the arc approaches its climax—it isn't going to make or break any fan's Bleach experience, it's merely one more step, albeit a fun one, on the way to the episodes that will. As such it may behoove first-timers as well as misers to hold out for the season box set, when they can marathon this arc the way they're supposed to. Unless, of course, you just have to have that groovy sticker sheet.

Grade:
Production Info:
Overall (dub) : B+
Overall (sub) : B
Story : B
Animation : B
Art : B+
Music : B+

+ The main plot kicks back into gear with plenty of captain vs. captain action.
Only three piddling episodes of it before the disc ends.

Director:Noriyuki Abe
Series Composition:
Tsuyoshi Kida
Kento Shimoyama
Masashi Sogo
Script:
Kazuyuki Fudeyasu
Miho Imamura
Mio Imamura
Rika Nakase
Masahiro Okubo
Masao Ookubo
Taketo Shimoyama
Masashi Sogo
Natsuko Takahashi
Michiko Yokote
Genki Yoshimura
Storyboard:
Noriyuki Abe
Masami Anno
Kiyomu Fukuda
Yasuyuki Honda
Masashi Ishihama
Satoshi Ishino
Masahiko Komino
Chiaki Kon
Junya Koshiba
Masashi Kudo
Hotaka Kuramoto
Tadahito Matsubayashi
Yuzuru Mitsui
Kazunori Mizuno
Takehiro Nakayama
Yasuto Nishikata
Hiroaki Nishimura
Tetsuto Saitoo
Ogura Shirakawa
Yoshifumi Sueda
Hideki Tachibana
Yuzuru Tachikawa
Hiroki Takagi
Shinichi Tokairin
Shigeru Ueda
Atsushi Wakabayashi
Hideyo Yamamoto
Episode Director:
Noriyuki Abe
Kiyomu Fukuda
Shigeki Hatakeyama
Tetsuo Ichimura
Akane Inoue
Akira Iwanaga
Takushi Kimura
Chiaki Kon
Junya Koshiba
Masashi Kudo
Hotaka Kuramoto
Keizou Kusakawa
Tadahito Matsubayashi
Nobufumi Matsuda
Yuzuru Mitsui
Kazunori Mizuno
Geisei Morita
Yasuto Nishikata
Hiroaki Nishimura
Kazuo Nogami
Mitsutaka Noshitani
Rokou Ogiwara
Yukio Okazaki
Kazuma Satō
Kazunobu Shimizu
Ogura Shirakawa
Yuzuru Tachikawa
Hiroki Takagi
Shigeru Ueda
Takeshi Yamaguchi
Mitsue Yamazaki
Unit Director:
Masashi Kudo
Shingo Ogiso
Yuzuru Tachikawa
Music:Shiro Sagisu
Original creator:Tite Kubo
Character Design:Masashi Kudo
Art Director:
Natsuko Suzuki
Sawako Takagi
Art:
Tsuyoshi Fukumoto
Masaya Hamaguchi
Yuki Kasahara
Hideaki Kudo
Katsusuke Okamura
Mayu Shirai
Sawako Takagi
Shinobu Takahashi
Mayu Usui
Norihiko Yokomatsu
Animation Director:
MANASITA
Eiki Arasato
Eri Baba
Bum-Chul Chang
Manabu Fukazawa
Akihiro Fukui
Yeong-Hun Han
Shin Jae Ick
Hiroaki Imaki
Masashi Ishihama
Tomomi Ishikawa
Nobuyuki Iwai
Akio Kawamura
Gi Nam Kim
Hyon Ok Kim
Yong Sik Kim
Seiji Kishimoto
Ryo Kobayashi
Yukari Kobayashi
Makoto Koga
Masahiko Komino
Atsushi Komori
Mitsuki Kosaka
Fumiaki Kouta
Tsuguyuki Kubo
Masashi Kudo
Manabu Kurihara
Shinichi Kurita
Boo Hee Lee
Shuji Maruyama
Shuuji Miyazaki
Minoru Morita
Yuji Moriyama
Shingo Ogiso
Masaya Onishi
Shigetsune Ōsawa
Hye-Ran Park
In-Hee Park
Jong Jun Park
Sanae Shimada
Makoto Shimojima
Natsuko Suzuki
Shinichi Suzuki
Yoko Suzuki
Kei Takeuchi
Yukari Takeuchi
Seiki Tanaka
Miyuki Ueda
Tomomi Umemura
Masaru Yamada
Asuka Yamaguchi
Osamu Yamamoto
Yoshimitsu Yamashita
Naoki Yamauchi
Teruhiko Yamazaki
Takeshi Yoshioka
Director of Photography:Toshiyuki Fukushima
Producer:
Shunji Aoki
Ken Hagino
Kyoko Kobayashi
Mai Nagai
Yutaka Sugiyama
Jun Takibuchi
Yukio Yoshimura

Full encyclopedia details about
Bleach (TV)

Release information about
Bleach (DVD 13)

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