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Bleach Series 3 Complete Box Set [DVD]
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The day of Rukia's execution draws ever closer, and to save her, Ichigo and his loyal comrades must navigate the madness of a Soul Society on the brink of collapse. Ichigo and Renji face the most difficult training of their Soul Reaper careers as they struggle to achieve bankai, without which they have no hope against the most powerful captain of the Seireitei--Byakuya Kuchiki. While all the players converge at the site of Rukia's imminent execution, in the background, a group of Soul Reapers slowly uncover an unimaginable betrayal at the hands of one of their own--a betrayal that will shake the Soul Society to its very core.
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Unfortunately, it's not going to be that easy. "Bleach: The Rescue" kicks everything about this brilliant anime up a notch -- lots of blood, sword-fights, a fiery climax at the execution grounds, and some amazing character development. But the best part is that the treacherous conspiracy merely hinted at in prior episodes, which sparks a minor civil war within the Seireitei.
Yoruichi starts the badly-wounded Ichigo on a special new training regimen -- to rescue Rukia, he must achieve achieve bankai (the ultimate release of a zanpakuto) in three days. In the meantime, Uryu has encountered the most horrendous of Soul Reapers, who is responsible for the death of a loved one, and Captain Hitsugaya is confronted by an old friend who tries to kill him -- accusing him of murdering Captain Aizen.
But the chaos really starts when Rukia's execution day rolls around: mass murder is revealed, captains turn against one another, and Renji fights a devastating battle against the implacable Byakuya. Ichigo appears on the execution hill with devastating new power -- intent on rescuing Rukia and defeating her brother once and for all. But when he seems to be losing, a horrific new change comes over him.
And in the meantime, the conspiracy that's ripping apart the Soul Reapers is revealed -- the identify of the Big Bad and his sidekicks, the reason he wants Rukia dead, and how many people he'll coldly destroy to get what he wants.
"Bleach: The Rescue" is a turning point for the entire series -- everything before it has built to this point, and everything in the future will spring from it. For an action anime, it is also quite heavy on the plot as it sets up the Big Bad: faked murders, real murders, conspiracies, hypnotic tricks, betrayals, a clever triple-cross perpetrated by Gin Ichimaru, and Urahara's hidden motive in helping Rukia.
There's also lots of brilliantly explosive action using ice dragons, black fire, razor-sharp cherry blossoms, exploding Soul Reapers, a giant bone-snake, and a firebird the size of a submarine. The action only serves to underscore the tension that is building throughout the entire season, until it explodes on Sokyoku Hill. It's also got solid dialogue, some quiet moments for Ichigo's pals (hanging out in prison) and some flashbacks to Renji, Rukia, Kira and Momo's days at the Academy.
Fortunately, all this dark stuff is speckled with funny moments like Ichigo's relaxation in a healing spring ("I AM GOING TO DROWN YOU!"), and an entire episode in which the characters unwind and recover after the events of "the rescue."
Our Hero really shows his stuff in this season -- Ichigo puts his life on the line to reach an incredible level of spiritual power, and rescue Rukia no matter what happens. Too bad he turns out to have a freaky dark side (and Johnny Yong Bosch has a brilliant demon cackle). And Uryu inadvertently gets to the bottom of his grandfather's death, and goes to devastating lengths to get revenge for what happened to him.
But most of the characters get to shine in this, although Chad and Orihime are somewhat neglected: the Yoruichi-obsessed Soi Fon, the kindly Ukitake and his best buddy Kyoraku, the happily hyperaggressive Zaraki, boy-genius Hitsugaya, and the fusty and arrogant Head Captain Yamamoto (among many others). We also learn how far Renji will go for Rukia, as well as the true reason why Byakuya has been so cold and seemingly cruel.
"Bleach: The Rescue" is a brilliant arc of action-packed, tightly-wound anime, with a shocking twist at the core of the story. Definitely a must-see -- especially for everything that comes later.
If you have been following the Bleach seasons so far then this latest release is essential as it is the most crucial and important section of the story so far. Series 3 ends on the perfect note of giving a satisfying finale to the rescue story arc, while at the same time, setting the series up for some major story arcs in the future. Unfortunately, after this series, Bleach goes into a long run of filler episodes (episodes that were not taken from the original source manga, therefore they are original material which 'usually' inferior to the non-filler segments of the show), but this brilliant season should keep you entertained for a bit.
The one minor technicality about Bleach (that I've mentioned in other reviews) is the sheer number of soul reaper characters. While they all contribute to making the series as good as it is, it can take a while to get used to them all, what with their similar black robes and long Japanese names. And the Zanpakto's are just as bad! I've never been good with names but when some of them are barely pronounceable tongue twisters, it can be a pain to keep up with them. While this is only a minor issue, it could put some people off the series(Like myself...initially). But all I ask is that you bear with it and you will gradually get used to them.
As per usual, the animation continues to be of a high standard and the music is incredibly catchy and well suited to the series. I particularly like the new opening and ending themes which appear in this boxset. Unfortunately, the special features are once again sparse with the only extras being textless closing animations, stills galleries and trailers. Once again, you can watch the show in either English or Japanese (with subtitles). Personally I think both language tracks are superb and have seen all 3 available seasons in both.
So if you enjoyed previous installments of Bleach, what are you waiting for? You need to order this set as it is more of the great Bleach entertainment that can be enjoyed over and over again. A truly excelent third season; Let's just hope the filler episodes to come are just as, or even half as entertaining as this cracking boxset.
Of course what would Bleach be without great battles and a sense of humour to go with the well thought through storyline.
So in this season you find all the things great about Bleach and you get to understand what is behind all of the happenings of the first ark so far.
The sound is great and though it does not have many special features (apart from artwork and some trailers) the DVD menues are easy to understand and navigate through. I like the English Dub as much as the Japanese version with subtitles and you can't say that for all anime out there. They really put some effort into it.
I loved it and I hope you will enjoy it too!
As with the earlier series the animation is excellent and the story is gripping, though you do have to pay attention to understand it.
I can strongly recommend this box set.