Monday, 25 June 2012

Bleach Series 8 Part 2
Released By: Manga Entertainment
Rating: 15
Running Time: 292 Mins
Audio: English and Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1
Release Date: 14/05/2012
Reviewed By: Sandra Scholes

All the characters are now facing their enemies; Chad is at the point of losing, and Ichigo has the awful feeling he might be right, while Rukia is faced with the clear image of her old master Kaien Shiba, but in Espada clothing. She thinks it is strange for him to be in that garb, but when he shows her he is still the same man he was before he died so tragically before, she feels she actually trusts him. This for her is her biggest mistake. When he tells her all about his Espada abilities, she starts to shrink away from him, but he gives away the fact he has Kaien's memories and looking for a time when he can take Lord Aizen down. he is actually an Espada, formerly the Hollow that killed Kaien's wife, and later him, taking over his body, and trying to lure Rukia into a false sense of security. Once Aaroniero shows his true form, she is more worried about Kaien's soul, and the thought of freeing him from being a part of an evil Espada.

Most of the first episode is about Rukia finding she can't raise her sword against Aaroniero/Kaien and the rest is her recalling past events when she was a new recruit at Soul Reaper Academy before she went on to be under Lieutenant Kaien and Captain Ukitake. She remembers all that he told her. This is a far cry from what Kaien looked like when he was alive. Here he is, Aaroniero, a cruel, mad Espada who wields a trident like Neptune and cackles inanely. Rukia can't take much more, and has to act, but will what she feels for Kaien be enough?

Bleach is at the point where other Espada are being featured; Nnoitra fights Chad, and Renji struggles with the flamboyantly pink Szayel Apporo Grantz whose power is even stronger than Aaroniero's. Szayel isn't just an Espada, he has a rather sinister role in the series, and is the by product of another entity viewers will think enhances the story. Renji doesn't enjoy his fight, even if he tries to hide how he is failing in front of him, not when Szayel has already told him he has already assessed his capabilities in battle and can easily beat him, even when he uses his bankai. Szayel proves to be a witty and insane foe for Renji and makes him work harder than his previous enemy. Ichigo is up against an Espada he has not met before back in the world of the living when viewers thought Ichigo could never be defeated, along comes an Espada who has the potential to prove them wrong. Ulquiorra doesn't see his worth, and, before he can cause more trouble for Lord Aizen, he tries to get rid of him not realizing just how powerful he really is. Throughout these episodes each character finds themselves having to fight for their lives even though the Espada are the most likely to win being Aizen's pawns. Jealousy is a strong emotion in part two, after Loly and Menoly torment Orihime. Her healing them after Grimmjow Jaegerjaques intervenes and shows them the error of their ways, makes Orihime look like she is better than they are for not bearing a grudge.

This box set features Grimmjow again, after their meeting in Karakura Town, he wants to fight Ichigo again to prove who is the better fighter. Grimmjow is the sort of Espada who doesn't bask in the glory of Aizen's power; he is more intelligent than that. All he is interested in is fighting the best Soul Reaper around, and his mind is so set on Ichigo that he shows his own blood thirst in the process. he can sense his power and his wide grin shows his dark sense of humour. He is one of the only Espada who seems to have a mind of his won, and runs on his own instinct. As the other Espada would think about their actions, and what Aizen might do to them, he shrugs his shoulders if caught out and doesn't give a damn.

On the second disc the viewer will be able to feel the raw power of Ichigo and Grimmjow's battle, but Ichigo doesn't take into account that Orihime is so scared of him when he wears the Hollow mask. The reason for this is it reminds her of her awful encounter with her hollowfied brother several years before. One of the interesting things on this disc is Grimmjow's back story. In his early life he starts out as a Hollow and eats his way up the evolutionary ladder rankings to become the best fighter - and now he doesn't like to lose to anyone, not even Ichigo. Life on the desolate plane of Hueco Mundo is as lonely and harsh as it looks, and in a way it is easy to understand why the Arrancars and Espada are the way they are.

These episodes are full of action and enjoyment, and disc two also marks a break in the story arc, as Series 9 part 1 will feature a new arc, and an old captain for Squad Three.

Bonus Material: Art Gallery and Clean Opening and Closing.

Verdict: Bleach is a superb anime not to be missed.

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