The 2nd Dimension

Monday, July 18, 2011

Viewing Journal: Bleach (episodes 168-189)

Series Overview
Watch It Now
DVD Info

Overall= D-
Story = D-
Video = C
Audio = C

The main story arc is put on pause as Ichigo and crew are back in Karakura town fighting hollows and generally following life as normal. Then Ichigo runs into a noble girl for whom he reluctantly agrees to become a bodyguard. Meanwhile, Captain Aizen's replacement appears in the Soul Society; but with his wanten and seemingly incompetent ways, will he be able to earn the respect of his Soul Reaper squad?
God help me but I have the hardest time staying awake for Bleach these days. And it's no wonder given that this latest batch of episodes is another extended filler arc. This one doesn't even try to fit in with the rest of the series because it totally ignores anything that is happening in the regular storyline and goes back to before Ichigo left the Soul Society.

There are two storylines in this arc that eventually converge. The first has to do with a new Captain named Amagai who arrives to take the place of Aizen who, if you've been following along, ran off to the world of the Hollows and became the main villain of the show many, many episodes ago. The other part of the story has to do with a noble girl named Rurichiyo who is on the run from some bad guys and ends up running into Ichigo. Ichigo, through a combination of convoluted conversation and sheer force plot necessity, then agrees to become her body guard.

The new characters seemed at least somewhat interesting at first until you realize that they are little more than stereotypical anime cliches. The new captain is one of those anime character types who looks like a lazy moron but actually turns out to be pretty powerful—like a somewhat duller version of that one captain with the pink robe and the hat, Kyoraku. He brings along with him the smooth-talking, arrogant, and slightly gayish-seeming (or maybe that's just the pink glasses) Kibune, who acts as the third seed in the squad. The girl noble Rurichiyo is the annoying brat, and her bodyguards (other than Ichigo) Kenryuu and Enryuu are mostly worthless as protectors and even more worthless as the comic relief they are meant to be.

This filler is at least better than the Bount story arc because it had the familiar characters and setting. And even though it's not phenomenal story and puts the main continuity on hold, it at least fits in with the concepts introduced in rest of the show.

But it suffers from the same things that plague all filler story arcs: that it hesitates to develop either the setting or the main characters too much for fear that it will contradict something that happens later in the regular series story. Power levels don't increase, and characters aren't challenged. Say what you will about the Shonen Power Creep (ie, characters gradually getting more and more powerful), but it certainly makes you anticipate future events in a story. I still maintain that what needs to happen is that the story should focus even more on the new characters and their development and increase in power levels, but for some reason that development never happens. I mean, as cliche as the Shonen power creep may be, it should would be nice to see more of it in this show.

I could go into the art and music, but what's the point? For one it's pretty much the same, but for another I just don't notice it anymore.

I know that I keep threatening to stop watching this show, but it's one of those things where I like the idea of watching at least one anime consistently. It's the only long-running anime that I watch. And even if it's a literal snoozer, I can't help but enjoy the comfort that comes with watching at least one thing consistently. Who knows? Maybe it'll improve one day. Of course, optimistic hope can only take this show so far...

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