Anime DVD Review: Bleach DVD Set 18

Bleach DVD Set 18 includes Episodes 256-267 of the series on two DVDs. Audio options include the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and the English dub.

Bleach DVD Set 18
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Format: DVD
Release Date: September 10, 2013

The first 10 episodes in Set 18 continue the Zanpakuto: The Alternate Tale story arc, and these episodes show what happens after the fall of Muramasa. The final two episodes in the set finally return to canon material from the Bleach manga.

The first 10 episodes introduce the Sword Beasts, which are the zanpakuto of Soul Reapers who have died. The zanpakuto didn’t die with their respective Soul Reapers, so they are lost and start going on rampages. These episodes see the Soul Reapers and their zanpakuto in their materialized human form taking on these various Sword Beasts. Each of these episodes is a stand-alone story. While there were one or two stories in this filler arc that were interesting, the vast majority of them were rather stupid.

The final episode of the Zanpakuto: The Alternate Tale made it clear through various dialogue cues that the episode would end with everything resetting to zero. The fact that a super Sword Beast that absorbs the spiritual energies of other zanpakuto and causing them to turn back into swords also helped cement the idea of this being the final filler episode in this set. The frustrating thing about this episode is that the zanpakuto talk about this super Sword Beast like they’ve known all about him for a while, yet this episode was the first time this particular Sword Beast was mentioned or referenced.

And while it was great to finally return to canon material in this set, the first of these two episodes was simply a recap of the various battles that had taken place between the previous filler arc and the Zanpakuto: The Alternate Tale arc. And the final episode in the set does a short recap of the very end of the previous canon episode before finally progressing the story arc forward. So while I was grateful to finally return to the canon storyline, I was also disappointed at just how little that story progressed before Set 18 came to an end.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, the omake are still being 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 rather mixed when it came to how humorous they were. Some were amusing, while others just seemed to fall flat.

Each disc also has Production Art as a bonus feature, which include either eight or nine pages. Most of the production art is line art of the characters that appear in these episodes, with a few pages that also included occasional color art.

Each disc also has a “Clean Ending” option in the bonus features. The first disc includes the textless version of the first ending theme that appears on Set 18, while the second disc includes textless versions for both ending themes that appear on that disc.

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 still primarily filled with filler material and only includes a couple of canon story episodes that don’t progress the main storyline very much. But if you want to have all of the episodes that feature canon material, then you need to get a hold of Bleach DVD Set 18.

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