Anime DVD Review: Bleach DVD Set 20

Bleach DVD Set 20 includes Episodes 280-291 of the series on two DVDs. Audio options include the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and the English dub.

Bleach DVD Set 20
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Format: DVD
Release Date: March 18, 2014

Almost all of the episodes in Bleach DVD Set 20 focus on the canon storyline from the manga source material. The exception is Episode 287, which retells the events from the first 60 episodes or so. The difference is that the characters we know from Bleach have been placed into an Arabian Nights setting. This episode was created and thrown into the middle of the canon storyline to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Bleach manga, but I failed to see how this truly connected to the manga. Overall, I thought this episode was pointless and was painful to watch. Not only that, it was irritating that this was thrown into the middle of a major story arc.

Outside of this, the episodes in this set primarily focused on the battles taking place in the fake Karakura Town. The Visoreds who arrived right near the end of the previous box set team up with some of the Soul Reapers in order to take down the three remaining Espada. Of these battles, the most interesting was the one with Halibel. There’s a surprise twist as to how she is ultimately defeated, and the audience is also treated to some backstory for Halibel before she is completely defeated. While some back story was also provided for Stark, it wasn’t as interesting as Halibel’s was.

But after the Espada are defeated, there’s still Aizen, Jin, and Tosen to deal with. Jin manages to impale Hiyori, but she isn’t killed. Instead, she is slowly dying from the blood loss, with her only hope of survival being someone with healing powers to arrive and help. Hisagi and Komamura also have a battle with Tosen, which includes backstory for how Komamura and Tosen met and why Tosen joined the Soul Society. For the most part, both Komamura and Tosen had primarily been more in the background or just kind of “there” in the story, so it was nice to see these characters get some attention and development. But I had to feel bad for Komamura when Tosen activated his release form and could see. One of the first things that Tosen says to Komamura upon seeing him for the first time is that Komamura is uglier than he had imagined. That taunt had to hurt, at least a little.

Ichigo also becomes important to the action when he returns to where Renji, Chad, and Rukia had been battling with the powered-up Yammy in Hueco Mundo. Ichigo tries to go against Yammy, but he only manages to cut Yammy slightly. But Byakuya, Kenpachi, Mayuri, Nemu, Unohana, and Isane arrive, with Kenpachi more than ready to take on Yammy by himself. As soon as Kenpachi showed up, I knew we would be in for an epic battle since Kenpachi loves fighting so much and doesn’t back down.

Mayuri creates a Garganta, which is used to send Ichigo and Unohana to the fake Karakura Town. Unohana seems to think she understands why Mayuri wanted to send Ichigo to help out there after remembering something that had happened with Aizen in the past. Unfortunately, they don’t make it to the fake Karakura Town before this set ends. The stage definitely seems to be getting set up for Ichigo to be the one to save the day. I think it’s safe to say that Ichigo will pair up with Shinji to battle Aizen, but I’m not sure who would be battling against Jin. However it goes, it’s obvious that this story arc is building and is getting closer to reaching its conclusion.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, the omake continue to be cut off from the end of the episodes and are collected together in the “Omake” feature that’s included on each disc. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any of these omake to be amusing.

I was actually surprised to discover that there was no production art included in the extras on either disc in the set. This had been such a standard bonus feature in the Bleach DVD sets prior to this point.

There’s a clean opening and clean ending included on both discs, and it’s the same opening and closing due to the fact that neither song changed over the course of these 12 episodes.

“More From VIZ Media” includes the exact same trailers that appear at the beginning of each disc when it first starts up. It felt like this was done simply to make less work for putting the bonus features together.

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 Bleach DVD Set 20. The only real drawback to this particular set is the fact that it includes the Arabian Nights-themed retelling of the first story arc. Fortunately, it’s just the one episode, and a viewer can easily skip it if they want to in order to continue with the canon storyline.

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