Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Bleach Series 9 Part 1
Released By: Manga Entertainment
Rating: 12
Running Time: 900 Mins
Audio: English & Japanese DD 2.0
Release Date: Out 2/7/2012
Reviewed By: Sandra Scholes

The previous series left us with Ichigo having defeated the other Arrancars and rescued Orihime, and continues with that part of the arc, however, now it is time to concentrate on a new arc about a new captain which we have not been previously introduced to in the series. Shusuke Amagai is to take over Gin Ichimaru's post as Squad Three Captain, and no one knows what to make of him. As there are three posts to be filled, only Squads nine and five are still needing captains. The officers of Squad Three are unhappy with the appearance of a new captain, and voice their troubles.

Shusuke on the other hand has been on a long assignment concerning the suppression of Hollows, and is probably as daunted as they are with his new role. When he introduces himself to the other Squad Three members, Amagai also drops another bombshell on them - he has brought his own lieutenant with him; the bespectacled Makoto Kibune who seems a little stiff at first and a little unusual. As the squad is so against having a new captain, Lieutenant Matsumoto has the best solution - why not bring, out the sake, and have a big booze up, inviting Captain Amagai as the guest of honour. She thinks it's going to work, but Isuru isn't so sure.

As the Soul Society are undergoing changes, and Squad Three are getting used to their new captain, Ichigo and his friends are also having to get used to their situation when Ichigo comes across a princess, and her assistants who have gone through the senkai mon to escape their troubles. Rurichiyo Kasumiohji is the princess who has moved into Karakura Town next door to Ichigo's dad's place, and he can't be any more annoyed at her and her assistants being there.

Instead of just the one story running through these new episodes, there are two, one serious, the other a lot more comical. It is great to see that Ichigo's dad still on form as his goofy self, even in the intro. In one scene he jumps through a window and comes to dinner with glass shards sticking out of him, and he's also witty too: "sticks and stones may break my bones, but but I'm gonna break yours if you keep this up" and the ever funnier, "Ooh, the glass stuck in my butt just went deeper!" And if it isn't Isshin that's annoying him, it's Keigo Asano running at him at school every two minutes that puts him on edge too.

It is amazing to think that this is filler, the writers have gone to the trouble of creating a decent story around the main characters. Shusuke Amagai, and Rurichiyo Kasumiohji's lineage. While Shusuke is settling in, Lady Rurichiyo can't leave her new house under strict orders from her aides. The reason seems obvious when Ichigo and Rukia found an assassin trying to enter their new house. It is easy to feel for Rurichiyo as she can't talk to anyone, or go anywhere without her aides around her. The problem being that Rurichiyo likes talking to Ichigo, so that complicates things when they are trying to keep their situation private from outsiders. There is a similar problem with Shusuke , Kira can't understand why he is being so relaxed as a new captain when a captain's job is to his squad, and as such is very important. Shusuke responds to his worries by telling him that he wants his men to trust him and look up to him as Gin Ichimaru, their former captain betrayed them, and he doesn't want his men to think he will do the same.

This new arc is a change from the normal arc with Aizen, Gin and Tozen and his numerous Arrancar. It has introduced several new characters, and new story lines that keep the interest. And as Shusuke's lieutenant isn't what he seems, the story is doubly exciting.

Bonus Material: Opening Song and Ending Song.

Verdict: Bleach excels at being one of the best anime around.

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