Bleach Season 11 DVD Review

Who is this new character? Find out in Bleach Season 11!
One of the longest running anime series in the world is back again with another complete series release courtesy of Manga Entertainment; Bleach Season 11 is upon us.

The set features episodes 213-229 and comprises of the episodes that make up the fifth part of The Arrancar story arc, subtitled Battle in Karakura. It begins by addressing something that every long running series suffers from, no matter what format it is in. That of plot holes.

More often than not these are caused by the main characters following a different storyline to that of the sub-characters. In this sense Bleach is no different from those series that have come before, or is it? Whilst on the surface the opening episodes of this set seem to be throwaway filler episodes, they actually are not. This is shown as the episodes begin to unfold and you see that the writers have used the filler formula to actually fill in a gap in the plot that they would otherwise not have addressed. What this in turn does is provide a more rounded story and as such leaves the viewer feeling that they do not have to rely on an odd throwaway line to explain a gapping plot hole.

With plot holes suitable filled and a new character created for fans to cosplay in the process, the next few episodes (216-226) focus on the battle between the thirteen court guard squads and Sōsuke Aizen’s army of Arrancars in a bid to save Karakura town from destruction.

4534570387_211db91abeThe episodes follow the plot structure that you would normal associate with Bleach and indeed other anime such as Naruto, in that they drag the battles out over more than one episode. As such they can get rather tedious, to the point that you find yourself wanting them to hurry along so that you can see how the story progresses. The reason this style is adopted though is due to the fact that Bleach has such a rich cast of characters. So in a bid to make sure that they are all adequately fleshed out, the writers have to make sure that we see enough of the events that shape them so we can bond with them, all the while feeling that they are complete characters. It also allows them to use the characters in other storylines later on and not have to worry about having to spend time on character development.

This aside the story for this part of the set is intense and certainly action driven. As such you do find yourself hooked and eager to find out who will win the war between these two factions.

The only letdown however is the sudden change to random filler episodes in the last three episodes of this set, with only one of the fillers following the aforementioned pattern of filling plot holes. The remaining two are just an uneccassary mixture of fan service (all I have to say is that one is a beach episode and uses the term “Boobie Buckets”, so you get the idea) and the odd comedy episode featuring two of the Soul Reapers. Whilst fun their placement in the episode order seems to be a little off as they have nothing to do with the overall story arc at all and cause the set to end on a whimper as opposed to the bang you would expect from season ending episodes.

Story aside the quality of the transfer and the English dubbing is the usual good quality that you would expect from a Manga release of the series. The set does not really contain much in the way of extras, other than the now standard choice of being able to watch the episodes in either sub or dub that is. But when you consider that you are getting 400 minutes worth of entertainment for your money, then you do feel that you can live without the odd featurette.

Overall this set is a mixed bag, as the episodes start off well and at times show some of the strong points that have made this series the success that it is, but towards the end the addition of the filler episodes at a key point in the plot only serves to annoy, eventually ruining the momentum built up throughout. That said this is still worth a purchase for fans of the franchise as it does contain episodes that are key to the ongoing story arc and as such missing out on them would leave the viewer lost when it comes to huge plot points and character development.

Bleach Season 11 is available courtesy of Manga Entertainment from September 11th on DVD here.

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