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Bleach: Complete Series 2 Box Set

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Along with Naruto, another Shoen Jump series has gained notoriety for becoming ridiculously popular. As well as being incredibly popular, it’s also one of the longer anime series at the moment. That series is known as Bleach, and it has continued to capture the imaginations of slightly older viewers than Naruto, this has meant that some of the merchandising hasn’t be quite the same as Naruto; however this hasn’t lessened the popularity of the show in the UK.

Bleach has been so popular that there are now two versions floating around the world, the cut version removes some of the violence and the blood from the show, and the uncut version, that as the name suggest, maintains the shows original content. There have been two releases of the first series of Bleach, the cut and uncut version and Manga Entertainment have now released the second uncut series.

The protagonist: Ichigo Kurosaki is not a normal child. He does the normal things that children do, go to school, helps out where he can with his parents; however, Ichigo “can see dead people”. This isn’t something that scares him, as he’s learnt to deal with it. In the first series he spots a girl called Rukia Kuchiki and assumes that she is a ghost. This assumption turns out to be incorrect and Rukia is actually a Soul Reaper – someone who helps people pass onto the other side.

They’re also duty bound to battle against the Hollows, who are spirits that have been unable to pass on and have become monsters that feed on the souls of people. Whilst the pair are talking Rukia is attacked by a Hollow and is badly injured. The Hollow then turns on Ichigo, fortunately Rukia transfers some of her powers to Ichigo to fight the Hollow off; however, this goes wrong and for some reason he takes all of her power. He easily fights off the Hollow but is unable to return Rukia’s powers to her.

A variety of characters appear in the first series and many of them will have their own special abilities like summoning six small spirits that live in hairpins and power channelling. He also encounters enemies such as Ishidia, who unbeknown to the team is actually a Quincy, which is a race of priest who has a deep hatred of Soul Reapers.

The opening to series two shows Rukia being arrested and taken back to the Soul Society, as it’s illegal to give a human Soul Reaper powers. This would be fine, but the sentence for this crime is execution, and although she warns Ichigo not to try and get her, he along with the team try their best at getting her released.

To do this they have to get to the Soul Society, which means crossing dimensions and passing through huge walls and gates that are each protected by various guards. Of course they go for this option and an onslaught of fighting scenes occur keeping Bleach fans happy. There’s not a great deal of filler episodes, although some of the battle scenes are a little on the lengthy side. There are a few episodes that don’t follow the usual formula, and these are a welcome addition as they explain a little more of the story and allow the fight scenes to gather momentum.

Unlike a lot of Manga releases recently this had stereo audio in both the English and the Japanese soundtracks. The voice cast is the standard fare for this sort of show, and it’s of a decent quality in both the English and the Japanese language. The subtitles are also well presented; although signs and Japanese text isn’t translated which may irritate some fans.

The animation quality is pretty solid. The colours are defined and strong and at all times the characters are distinct from the background. There’s not a great deal of effects used, and the background scenes are good but not great. There’s a clean opening and closing as well as a few other extras, which make the DVD, go that bit further.

Final Score

7

There are more battle scenes than in the first series; however, this series does push the storyline along and is a must for fans of Bleach.