Wednesday, 2 October 2013


Bleach Series 12 Part 1
Released By: Manga Entertainment
Rating: 12
Running Time: 300 Mins
Audio: English & Japanese DD 5.1
Release Date: 28/10/2013
Reviewed By: Sandra Scholes

In a break from the normal arc where the captains and lieutenants of the Soul Society are battling it out with the Espada and Arrancars of Aizen's army, the Zanpakuto have all started to turn strange, but why is that?

Zanpakuto: The Alternative Tale is the title for this arc that tells the story of how the captains and lieutenants had trouble with their zanpakuto. First Captain Toushiro notices his Hyoronimaru disappear after summonding him, then Rangiku's Haineko doesn't respond to her when she tries to summon her while Captain Kuchiki feels a change in Senbonsakura when he uses him to spar against Renji.

A man called Muramasa makes his presence known to the Soul Reapers and his plot to release the zanpakuto from their bond with them is next, but it still remains to be seen as to why he wants to do this. Is he planning to rule over the Soul Reapers, or does he have some other plan in mind?

Other than during Ichigo's training with Urahara, we haven't learned a lot about the zanpakuto the Soul Reapers use. According to the beginning of each episode, the Soul Reaper forms a bond with the zanpakuto by learning its name and harnessing the power within it. The zanpakuto is born with the Soul Reaper and dies with him or her. What is interesting to see in the episode is Byakuya's fight with Senbonzakura, his zanpakuto. From series two we were used to hearing Byakuya boast of his fighting expertise against Ichigo and Renji, now, later on, his own zanpakuto has turned on him and without the use of his zanpakuto, he is left fighting for his life.

This arc's antagonist is called Muramasa, and he is the usual flamboyant foe like Aizen and Jin Kariya with his white hollow like outfit and obi, purple cravat and long talons for nails. He is an unusual figure who seems to be confident in his actions and ways, but he has a weakness you only find out later on in the second disc.

As the zanpakuto have rebelled Byakuya, Rukia and Ichigo are having to fight to get their zanpakuto to see reason. So far, Rukia has succeeded but at a great cost. Muramasa also hides a terrible secret as to who and what he is from his past, but he's not about to let the Soul Reapers find out. The zanpakutos aren't what anyone would expect them to be. Renji's is a large breasted woman with a boy called Snake on a long chain. When fused together, these two become the baboon cannon when he releases his bankai. His zanpakuto don't seem to get on with each other, or at least that is what they would  have you believe. Hisagi has a problem with Kazeshini who sees his master as weak, but to get back at him, he says he doesn't like him either.

List of characters, zanpakuto and appearances they take on.

Lt. Matsumoto (Haineko) Fur covered girl with cat ears and long cat tail.
Capt. Soifon (Suzumebachi) Glowing wasp girl with huge sting arm.
Lt. Renji (Zabimaru) Girl with boy on a long chain.
Capt. Toushiro (Hyorinmaru) Tall man with an X mark between his eyes.
Lt. Ikkaku (Hozukimaru) Huge man with long red hair and a white robe around his waist.
Lt. Omaeda (Gegetsuburi) His is an identical twin.
Capt. Mayuri (Ashisogijizo) A bright coloured butterfly with a child's face.
Lt Hisagi (Kazeshini) Black wraith like male with twin sickles on a chain.
Capt. Komamura (Tenken) A huge male with fire flaring from his nostrils.
Lt.Yumichika (Fuji kujaku)  A turbanned flamboyant male with wings.
Capt. Kuchiki (Senbonzakura) A samurai with a fang-toothed mask and a flower symbol on his forehead. Without the mask he looks like his master.
Lt. Kuchiki (Sode no Shirayuki) White haired woman dressed in a white robe with a blue star jewel in her hair.
Capt. Kyoraku (Katen Kyokotsu) Large breasted woman with a skull headdress and a skull gown.
Capt. Ukitake (Sogyo no Kotowari) Twin boys with tall caps.
Lt. Hinamori (Tobiume) Woman carrying a bolus with two huge bells on it.
Lt. Kira (Wabisuke) A man carrying a house on his back as well as a heavy ball.

There are various things on these two discs that make it a great choice for anime viewing. The menu is easy to use, the image on the background screen is tasteful, and when an episode takes a break, it shows a sword associated with a certain character, and it means that is who is due to be on next. The enjoyment comes from the separeate battles they have with their zanpakuto when they havse beaten them. Renji and Ichigo have faced up to their zanpakuto and disciplined them shaking them out of Muramasa's grasp. Just as Naruto is going up against Pain in the series, the Soul Reapers have to fight with their zanpakutos if they want to use their swords again and the awful reality of Captain Kuchiki's dissapearance with Senbonzakura. The animateion quality is as good as ever and there's enough humor and passionatge battles to keep you entertained whether you're a young adult of older.

Bonus Material: Opening and Closing Animations and Production Art Gallery.

Verdict: It's time for the zanpakuto to rise up - the age of the Soul Reaper is at an end - watch this now - you'll miss out on a great anime!

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