Anime DVD Review: Bleach DVD Set Nine

Bleach DVD Set Nine is a three disc set that contains 11 episodes. The first two discs in the set have four episodes and bonus features, while the third disc has three episodes and bonus features. The episodes on these discs can be watched either with the English dub or with the original Japanese audio and English subtitles.

Bleach DVD Set Nine
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Format: DVD
Release Date: June 21, 2011

This set picks up exactly where Set Eight ended off, with Ichigo, Chad, and Uryu in a desert in Hueco Mundo and trying to reach Los Noches and seeing a human girl being chased by three Hollows. At the beginning of this set, we learn the human girl is actually an arrancar named Nelliel Tu Oderschbank, and that the three Hollows are her “brothers” Pesche Guatiche and Dondochakka Bilstin and their pet, Bawabawa. A Hollow named Runuganga, which is made of sand, attacks the group, and they are saved by Renji and Rukia. Unfortunately, Runuganga appears before they can reach Los Noches, and they sink beneath the sands. When this happens, Rukia is separated from the others.

They end up in the Forest of Menos, which is inhabited by Hollows. Rukia runs into a group of Hollows and tries to fight them, but is rescued by a Soul Reaper named Ashido. As Ashido takes Rukia back to her friends, they have to fight against Adjuchas. Other Adjuchas take Nel and her friends hostage. Ichigo and the others rescue Nel and her friends, and Ashido gets Rukia reunited with them. As Achido tries to lead them out, an attack by an Adjucha collapses the passageway. Ashido fights with the Adjuchas as Ichigo and the others return to the surface.

The group makes it into Los Noches, and the group splits up to explore the five different passageways. Ichigo tells Nel and her friends to stay behind, but Nel has other ideas. She ends up being separated from Pesche and Dondochakka. Ichigo, Chad, Uryu, Renji, and Rukia each encounter Privaron Espada (former Espada who have been demoted and now have three-digit numbers). In Rukia’s case, the Privaron Espada that she encounters takes on has the face of Kaien Shiba, the former lieutenant of the 13th division that she killed.

Orihime also makes a brief appearance during these episodes, and it appears that she;s blindly following Aizen. However, we learn that she’s pretending and that she’s trying to figure out a way to destroy the Orb of Distortion.

So far, I have to say that I’m not entirely impressed with Nel and her friends. In the episodes on this set, they don’t seem to truly be adding much except offering occasional bits of comic relief. I’m hoping that as the arc progresses that these characters will serve a more important role and truly have a reason for being included in the story.

When I saw the artwork on the box, I assumed that Orihime would be appearing a bit in the 11 episodes included in this set. I was a little disappointed to discover that she just appears briefly in one or two episodes, and that’s it. Overall, Rukia had a bigger role to play in these episodes, so it really seems like Rukia should’ve been featured on the box art instead of Orihime.

These episodes also help to establish and explain more about Hueco Mundo, the arrancar, and the Espada. With how important these elements have become in the series, I’m glad to see more about them. I’m looking forward to seeing how this story arc will progress, and I’m rooting for Orihime to succeed in her plan to stop Aizen.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, I have to say that I was disappointed to discover that the omake that appeared at the end of each episode was cut from the episodes in this set and are only viewable by watching the “Omake” bonus feature on each disc. To me, it makes the “Original and Uncut” label included on this disc misleading, because cutting the omake out means they’ve made a change to the episodes from how they originally aired in Japan.

Each disc has Production Art, which is line art of the characters and locations that appear in these episodes. The first disc has 12 pages of art, the second disc has six pages, and the third disc has 13 pages. Each disc also has a “Clean Ending” option in the bonus features. The first and second discs have one clean ending, while the third disc has a clean version of both of the endings that appeared in this set.

Each disc also has omake, the exact same “sneak peeks” appear on all three discs, and the “Manga Preview” on each disc has the same four pages of advertisements for VIZ Media’s manga releases.

If you’re a Bleach fan, then you need to get a hold of this set in order to have the episodes that start the new story arc in your anime home video library.

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