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Bleach Season 8 #1 PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Tuesday, 13 March 2012 00:00
BleachThe mission to bring Orihime back from Hueco Mundo continues. With fighting. Lots and lots of fighting. And not an awful lot of Orihime, to be honest...

Eight episodes, and a bunch of set-piece battles for us to switch between - Ichigo vs Dordonii, where Dordonii is taking a certain pleasure out of trying to force Ichigo to use his full abilities (note to the bad guys: if someone's going easy on you, use the opportunity to finish them off. Goading them into thoroughly whipping your arse is never a good plan); Rukia vs Aaroniero, who turns out to be a former Soul Society member that she was very acquainted with - which of course makes having to fight him that little bit tricker; Ishida vs Cirucci, where Cirucci seems to have underestimated Ishida's abilities; and Chad vs Gantenbainne, which sees Chad finally work out how to use the full power of his own abilities - although that may still not be enough to save him. While there's a certain amount of switching between battles going on, essentially this release is devoting two episodes to each battle, which each play out in fairly typical Bleach fashion.

"Typical Bleach fashion", of course, involves breaking up each battle with lots of exposition, taunting, and details explanations of what's just happened and what's going to happen next. It's that way of doing things that's the thing I probably like least about Bleach - which, given that it's essentially all about the fighting, is a bit of a drawback. I like the series best when it's dealing with actual plot or throwing a comedy filler episode at us (I'd even go so far as to say I miss Don Kanonji). Eight episodes of fighting, though, doesn't exactly inspire me.

It's doubly frustrating when there are things about this arc that do need some explaining - but no-one seems too interested in doing that, yet. Given that Orihime's the focus of all this action, she's also chronically underused, making just the one appearance (during Chad's battle 'arc'), and that's only so that the bad guys can come and gloat at her about how poorly her friends are doing at that point. I couldn't help but feel that opportunities to make the volume more entertaining, more than just about the fighting, were being passed over.

But then, I'm not a dedicated Bleach fan, and suspect people who are would get far more out of this volume than I did. They are, after all, the people the series is aimed at, and it's been fairly successful over the years in hitting the mark with them. The formula clearly works for the people the show is aimed at, and this volume doesn't do anything to break that flow - so if you're a long-time fan of the series, I'd be willing to bet this volume won't disappoint. Could definitely be better, though.

Rating - **