This volume of 'Bleach' takes a break from the Hueco Mundo arc and the story proper to tell the story of Shûsuke Amagai, the newly appointed Captain of Squad 3. Meanwhile back in the World of the Living, Ichigo and Rukia are forced to look after Rurichiyo Kasumiouji, a young noble from the Soul Society who is under threat from people trying to take control of her noble house.
This volume of the 'Bleach' anime contains episodes 168 to 178 of the series and is the first to be released in association with Kazé UK. While the general quality of the release is good, the episodes all lack the next episode preview and omake that they should have. According to Kazé UK's Twitter account this was due to a tight schedule forcing them to use the TV version rather than the DVD version in order to get it released on time but personally I would have preferred the delay so that they could have got things right.
As for the episodes themselves, the animation and voice acting on the English dub are both reasonable, and probably slightly better than some of the previous filler arcs in places. As for the storyline itself, it is relatively good as far as fillers go but can be somewhat silly and slow in some places. The episodes here focus mostly on Rurichiyo and her political trouble with only a few episodes focusing on Shûsuke Amagai but the ending of the volume indicates the two stories will begin to merge in future episodes.
Other than the lack of omake and the incredibly poor timing of this non-canon filler (caused by the anime catching up to the manga and there not being any good place to slow things down) this was reasonable and probably deserves around three and a half to four stars.
on 27 May 2012
I know it's not actually available on dvd yet but my sister and I still SCREAMED when we realised it was going to be released so soon! We've watched the Japanese and English version already, but we still want the dvd so we can watch it over and over and over again in leisure. I'M BUYING IT!!! And if you're a Bleach fan - so should you!