The 2nd Dimension

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Viewing Journal: Bleach (episodes 121-143)

Series Overview
TV Broadcast Info
DVD Info

Overall = B
Story = B
Video = B-
Audio = C+


As quickly as the battle between the Soul Reapers and Arrancars began, it comes to an end. Having learned that Aizen and the Arrancars are planning initiate a large-scale attack on the world of the living, the Soul Society orders the Soul Reapers to begin preparing for the battle. In the meantime, Ichigo meets up with the Vizards in order to learn to control his Hollow-side, and Chad and Uryu go through their own training. To the Soul Reapers' surprise the Arrancars attack early and again leave unexpectedly, but not before convincing Orihime to come with them back to the world of the Hollows...
I've been following this series for a while now; so I thought this might be a good time to look back and see if the show is still as good as it was when it began. When I started watching Bleach, I loved it for its character development; balance of action, comedy, and drama; and the way that the characters would analyze each others' fighting styles. So how does this season compare to the first?

To start, in these episodes we do learn more about the different characters. Specifically we learn that the Soul Reapers have some kind of limit on their power when they are in the world of the living, which they then are able to remove provided they get the proper permissions. Then we have the bald Ikkaku Madarame, who reveals that he really isn't allowed to use his bankai because it's too powerful (or something like that). There isn't quite the exploration of characters' backgrounds as there has been in previous episodes, but at least there's some degree of character development.

As for the battles, they can be intense as each character reveals new fighting techniques and increases their levels of power, but there isn't as much analysis of technique and strategy as there was in earlier episodes. This is disappointing because as much as I like to see intense fighting, seeing the mental side of the battle makes them more engrossing.

Although there is still action, comedy, and drama in this show; it isn't as balanced as it was when the show started. Now an entire episode might be dedicated to either action, comedy, or drama, but you don't see all of them all together as much. I was even getting worrie because for a good while there was a lot of action but not a lot of drama. But then the whole part about Orihime getting kidnapped came up and totally got me excited about the show again.

For the filler episodes there was some good and some bad episodes. The first filler arc dealing with the brother trying to save his sister from the Arrancar was dull. But then there is a series of stand-alone episodes that ended up being the best filler yet. They are more character-focused and if you don't like the story in one, you don't have to deal with it for more that one episode. The final filler story about the rebel Arrancars surprised me because I originally through it was part of the regular storyline. The character designs and quality of the story had me convinced and it wasn't until I looked it up online that I realized it was filler.

On a final note, I'll say that Ichigo's dad does show up as his Soul Reaper self near the end of this collection of episodes. I know I said in my last review that I was wondering what ever happened to him, so I thought I'd mention that.

So overall this is a nice mix of episode of varying quality, and includes both filler and regular episodes. Even though it isn't as good as the first season, the last few episodes re-ignited my excitement for the series. Hopefully the next set of episodes can justify that excitement.

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