Anime DVD Review: Bleach DVD Set 16

Bleach DVD Set 16 includes Episodes 230-242 of the series on three DVDs. Audio options include the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and the English dub.

Bleach DVD Set 16
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Format: DVD
Release Date: March 12, 2013

Set 16 starts into the arc referred to as Zanpakuto: The Alternate Tale, which consists of anime exclusive material. Unfortunately, the canon storyline was stopped just as another battle between Ichigo and Ulquiorra begins in Hueco Mundo in order to include this filler arc that runs for 36 episodes.

This particular arc sees the zanpakuto, the Soul Reapers’ swords, assuming human form and declaring war against their wielders. They are led by a mysterious man named Muramasa, who is a former zanpakuto. Unfortunately, I have a hard time buying this particular story, especially when the Soul Reapers and the zanpakuto seem to not recognize each other. Early on in the series, when Ichigo met Zangetsu in his human form, it seemed like meeting the human form of the sword was a rather common thing for Soul Reapers to experience. If the Soul Reapers and the swords in their human form had met previously, how come they don’t recognize each other now? I’m willing to give a pass to Toshiro and his zanpakuto, though, since it was blatantly stated that when his sword became human, he had lost his memory. Ichigo and Zangetsu didn’t have this issue, which also seems to contradict what the other Soul Reapers were experiencing.

But with the zanpakuto taking on human form and going on a rampage in the Soul Society, chaos ensues. Genryusai is captured and sealed away, Byakuya disappears, and there’s quite a bit of damage. Rukia manages to escape to the World of the Living, where she finds Ichigo. After learning that Byakuya has disappeared, a wounded Rukia returns to the Soul Society. Ichigo goes after her, and finds himself embroiled in the war with the zanpakuto.

There are several battles that take place throughout these episodes where some of the Soul Reapers find themselves going up against their own zanpakuto. They discover that if a Soul Reaper can defeat their zanpakuto in battle, the sword will return to its master. At most, only two or three of the Soul Reapers manage to regain their zanpakuto before the end of this box set.

Filler story arcs aren’t always bad, but this one runs way too long. Not only that, I have a hard time caring about what’s going on due to the fact that the writer(s) for this filler seemed to completely ignore a fact that was established in the canon material. To me, this is a sign of lazy writing. I also think that this is insulting to the audience to expect them to forget such a major detail from the manga.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, the omake are still cut off from the end of the episodes and only appear as part of the “Omake” feature that’s included on each disc. Unfortunately, the omake included in this set really weren’t that funny or amusing. In fact, these were probably the weakest omake I’ve seen for Bleach up to this point. And the main menu on each disc continues to be silent, which I find to be rather annoying because of my dislike for silent DVD menus.

Each disc includes Production Art, which range from 11-14 pages on each disc. Most of the production art is line art of the characters that appear in these episodes. However, there is some color art that’s been mixed in with the regular line art.

Each disc also includes a “Clean Ending” option in the bonus features. All three discs include the same ending theme, since the same theme appeared on each episode included in this set.

If you’re a Bleach fan and want to have all the episodes of the series in your anime home video collection, then you need to get a hold of this set. Unfortunately, it’s filled with episodes from a filler arc that may not be very enjoyable, so keep this in mind if you decide to purchase a copy of Bleach DVD Set 16.

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