Anime DVD Review: Bleach DVD Set 17

Bleach DVD Set 17 includes Episodes 243-255 of the series on three DVDs. Audio options include the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and the English dub.

Bleach DVD Set 17
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Format: DVD
Release Date: June 11, 2013

Set 17 continues the Zanpakuto: The Alternate Tale story arc, which sees the Soul Reapers’ swords assuming human form and declaring war against their wielders. They are led by a former Zanpakuto named Muramasa.

The first three episodes in the set focus on continuing the battles between the Soul Reapers and the Zanpakuto in their human forms. Unfortunately, the battles in these episodes tended to jump around rather quickly between several characters, so no one’s battles seemed to progress much at first. This made for some rather boring viewing.

The story starts picking up again when Ukitake, Kyoraku, Kenpachi, Yoruichi, and Ichigo go on a mission to rescue Yamamoto. The rescue attempt forces Ichigo to come face-to-face with Muramasa and fight with him. During this section, it’s revealed that Muramasa’s goal is to destroy Karakura Town and to free his owner, Koga Kuchiki, from a seal. With the story moving its focus to Karakura Town, this allows Uryu, Chad, and Orihime to become involved with this story arc. This was a welcome change at first, but became frustrating when Orihime healed Muramasa. By healing him, this made it so the story had to continue for a while longer.

Since Koga Kuchiki is a character created specifically for this anime filler arc, two episodes are devoted to providing some background on him before the seal placed on him is broken. But after the seal is broken, things don’t go as planned for Muramasa. And it also turns out that Koga has something to do with why Byakuya betrayed the Soul Reapers. As was already being shown with this revelation, the “resetting to zero” of this filler arc was already starting. By this, I mean that the writers were using the standard trick of shonen anime of removing the effects of the actions that have taken place during this filler arc in order to return things to being what they were like in the canon material before the anime took a break with filler.

But one of the most frustrating things that happened with this “resetting to zero” is that the other Soul Reapers suddenly appear in Karakura Town with their zanpakuto in human form working alongside them. Instead of seeing how the Soul Reapers got their swords back, we just got a very brief explanation of what happened. Whatever happened to “show, don’t tell”?

The final episode in this set brings this particular story to a close, and everything seems to be “set back to zero” again. However, the preview for the next episode seems to indicate that another filler story with zanpakuto is about to begin.

In the end, I wasn’t very satisfied with this particular filler story, because the whole premise behind this arc just didn’t ring true with what has already been established in the canon material. In a lot of ways, it felt like a really bad fan fiction story that someone wrote for Bleach. Of what I’ve seen of the series up to this point, I can safely say that this particular story arc has been my least favorite part.

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” feature that’s included on each disc. The omake on this set were a rather mixed bag. While there were still a number of them that just weren’t funny, I at least laughed at a small handful of them. This is more than I can say for the omake that appeared on the previous set.

Each disc includes Production Art, which range from 7-19 pages on each disc. Most of the production art is line art of the characters that appear in these episodes, with only a very small amount of color art included.

Each disc also includes a “Clean Ending” option in the bonus features. All three discs have 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 to watch, so keep this in mind if you decide to purchase a copy of Bleach DVD Set 17.

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