Anime DVD Review: Bleach DVD Set 12

Bleach DVD Set 12 is a three disc set that contains 14 episodes. The first disc in the set includes four episodes and bonus features, while the other two discs include five 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 12
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Format: DVD
Release Date: March 13, 2012

The first 10 episodes in this set are the “filler” arc that focuses on Shusuke Amagi and Rurichiyo Kasumioji. In these episodes, Rurichiyo reveals that she knew that Kumoi has been trying to assassinate her. She escapes into Soul Society with the intention of participating in her marriage to Shu in order to keep Kumoi in line. But when Ichigo, Rukia, Kenryu and Enryu crash the ceremony, they discover the Rurichiyo at the wedding is an imposter. But before they can prove anything, the four of them become wanted by Soul Society and are being pursued by Soi Fong. Ichigo and Rukia befriend Shu, and he convinces them to take him as a hostage in order to escape and search for the real Rurichiyo.

Meanwhile, Kira voices his suspicions about Kibune to Amagai. Amagai is skeptical, but he tells Kira to continue observing Kibune. This leads to Kira finding an imprisoned Rurichiyo and being attacked by both assassins and Kibune himself. But in the end, Kibune is consumed by the power of his bakoto. But before this arc comes to an end, there’s a surprising twist that involves Amagai and leads into an epic battle between him and Ichigo. Although I have to say that near the end of the battle, I was feeling as if Amagai was becoming way overpowered simply to extend the story out a little longer.

Phew! I’m glad that this arc finally ended. I have to admit that I didn’t care for it for the most part, especially since I never really came to care about Rurichiyo as a character. For the majority of the arc I found her to be rather annoying. But on the upside, I was glad to see the Amagai’s running gag of not being able to drink alcohol disappeared in this set. I never found the gag to be funny and it overstayed its welcome on Bleach DVD Set 11. But when all is said and done, this will probably end up being a more forgettable filler arc than the Bount filler arc had been.

The final four episodes in the set return to the canon storyline. When the first episode of the canon arc started, I was dismayed to discover that there was no explanation for how we returned to this spot from the filler. However, I discovered that the omake at the end of Episode 189 focused on the fact that the series was returning to the canon storyline. Unfortunately, since the omake now only appear as a bonus feature, this really hurt the transition between Episodes 189 and 190.

Episode 190 was almost exclusively a recap episode in order to remind the audience what had happened to lead up to the point where the canon arc ended before jumping into the filler. The beginning of Episode 191 also has some recap, but this episode starts to move the story forward. Between Episodes 191 and 193, there’s a focus on the battle with Szayel Aporro as well as on the battle between Ichigo and Nnoitra. During Ichigo’s battle, Nel ends up revealing a secret: that she’s the former Third Espada and that she can return to an adult form.

Well, these episodes finally turn Nel into an important character. Prior to this point, she was simply annoying. However, I don’t think there’s anything that can help Pesche and Dondochakka improve as characters. I honestly believe that Kubo created them to serve as comic relief for this particular story arc, but I don’t find either character to be funny. Instead, they’re simply annoying and I wish they’d go away.

The twist with Nel was interesting, and it gives Ichigo an ally that can help him fight against the Espada. Outside of this development, though, not a whole lot truly happened to move this story arc along in the final four episodes that were included in this set.

After making it through 22 episodes of a filler arc, I’m happy and relieved to see this set finally return to the canon storyline from the Bleach manga. About the only good thing about thing about the filler arc is the fact that I didn’t have to put up with Pesche and Dondochakka for a little while.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, the omake continue to be cut off from the end of the episodes and only appear as part of the “Omake” special feature that appears on each disc. I still hope this will be rectified in one of the future DVD box sets for Bleach.

The main menu on each disc in this set is also silent again. The Naruto Shippuden box sets made a similar change to their menus, but this change ended up not lasting very long. I hope this holds true for these Bleach DVD box sets. Seeing action taking place on the menu without any audio can be rather disconcerting to me as a viewer.

Each disc has Production Art, which is line art of the characters and locations that appear in these episodes. The first disc has 11 pages of art, the second disc has 12 pages, and the third disc has 11 pages. Each disc also has a “Clean Ending” option in the bonus features.

Each disc also has omake, as well as “sneak peeks.” There are three trailers in the “sneak peeks” on each disc, and the same three appear on each one.

If you’re a Bleach fan, then you need to get a hold of this set in order to have all of the episodes of the series in your anime home video collection.

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