Review: Bleach Series 15 Part 1

Release Date
25/5/2015
Format
DVD
Publisher
Manga Entertainment
Certificate
15
Language / Subtitles
English, Japanese / English
Discs
3
Run Time
299 Minutes

‘The Invading Army’ is the aptly named series 15 of Bleach from Manga Entertainment – Aizen has been defeated and peace has once again returned to both the World of the Living and Soul Society. But Ichigo finds himself at the centre of a conspiracy, Soul Reapers are going missing in the Precipice World and he is the prime suspect. As Ichigo and Rukia escape from the 13 Court Guard Squads, Kon in the World of the Living happens upon as unconscious female, Nozomi Kujo. Nozomi is being pursued by Soul Reaper imposters known as Reigai and it quickly becomes clear that the World of the Living and Soul Society are in danger. Tasked with safeguarding Nozomi, Ichigo and friends have a hard battle on their hands with the Reigai, while in Soul Society the Reigai are invading the 13 Court Guard Squads!

In quite a stark contrast to the manga Kon and various other minor characters actually have a lot of screen time; this just maybe because of this story arc clearly being filler. This story arc however is rather interesting and has allowed for some dream match-ups in terms of fights, even getting to see characters’ fighting themselves is a nice bonus which could have only happened with a storyline of this nature.

As this release is DVD only and in an era of high definition I was surprised to find the visual quality holds up quite well even when blown up on a large television. There are issues however with quality in some of the Kon Theatre shorts at the end of each episode and a couple of instances where subtitles have appeared corrupted. The issue with subtitles would of course only affect those watching the Japanese language option and hopefully they would have been picked up and fixed before the upcoming release.

Bleach’s soundtrack, while it hasn’t changed much over the years, has always been one of my personal favourites with each track playing its part perfectly. Whether it be setting up the eerie atmosphere that’s always apparent in Bleach or the cheesing but awesome music that usually precedes Ichigo inevitably saving the day. The opening song ‘BLUE’ by ViViD is brilliant and a joy to listen to and watch as each episode starts.

Extras including on the set are your basic opening and ending videos with karaoke and trailers, spread across all three discs. Trailers for each disc are different and play automatically before the main menu.

Verdict
Overlooking the minor issues, that have hopefully been fixed for release and that this story arc is clearly filler, Bleach still continues to entertain with heart-pumping battle scenes and a conspiracy ridden storyline. Expect a series of dream match-ups that could have only come about with a storyline of this nature, that alone should be enough to entice any Bleach, because who doesn't want to see Kenpachi vs Kenpachi or Byakuya vs Hitsugaya.
6.5
ENJOYABLE