Bleach DVD Set 21 includes episodes 292-303 of the series on two DVDs. Audio options include the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and the English dub.
Bleach DVD Set 21
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Set 21 has nine episodes of the canon storyline and three filler episodes; however, one of the nine canon storyline episodes is an entire episode recounting the various battles Ichigo has had in the canon story. In addition, the subsequent episode spends roughly half of its runtime in this flashback about Ichigo as well. So in the end, there are really only seven-and-a-half episodes that truly progress the story in this set.
But a lot actually takes place in those seven-and-a-half episodes. There’s a major battle with Aizen that involves the vast majority of the characters currently on the battlefield, but Aizen manages to cut them all down. Yamamoto makes a major sacrifice during a battle, Ichigo and Gin end up battling it out, Ichigo learns something shocking about his father, Urahara and Yoruichi show up and join in the fight, and Aizen goes through a transformation. The canon material was actually the most enjoyable part of watching Bleach DVD Set 21, with the only exception being the episode-and-a-half of flashback. For the most part, it felt like the story was actually moving and wasn’t being stretched out.
Unfortunately, the canon storyline was broken up in this set to include filler material. The first time this happens is right when Urahara suddenly appears and attacks Aizen in the fake Karakura Town. Instead of continuing on with this fight, the series shifts to two filler episodes. The first filler was created to promote the fourth Bleach film, Hell Verse. The Soul Reapers are making films for a film festival to raise money to rebuild the Seireitei. It was supposed to be a light-hearted and comedic episode, but I didn’t find it to be that funny. Also, it was frustrating because there’s no way to tell where this episode could realistically fit into the series’ timeline, since many of the characters who appear in this episode are currently unconscious or are badly injured in the fight in the fake Karakura Town. This particular episode felt like a waste of time, and its inclusion frustrated me since it broke the flow of the canon storyline.
The second filler episode serves as a prologue for the Hell Verse film. I can’t really comment on how effective of a prologue it is, since I haven’t seen Hell Verse yet. However, of the three filler episodes included on this set, I’m the most forgiving of this particular one since it ties in with the Bleach film that was released at the time these episodes were being aired on Japanese television.
Bleach DVD Set 21 ends with a filler episode that’s set in the new year, and it’s split up into two stories. The first story sees some of the Soul Reapers playing a game of karuta that ends up going out of control when they start fighting with each other to get the right card. This story was meant to be humorous, but I didn’t find it to be funny; in fact, I thought it was rather stupid. In the second story, Orihime sees her friends celebrating the new year with their families and seems to be feeling alone. She runs into Rukia and Renji, and the three of them go to the Urahara Shop and join them for their celebration. This story had so much potential, especially with Orihime’s angle. Unfortunately, the story spent more time finding ways for Renji to become a “punching bag” and running the gag into the ground. I suspect that this episode aired right around New Year’s Day, but I just felt like it wasted time and kept the viewer away from the exciting canon storyline.
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. Overall, I thought the quality of the omake on this set was a little stronger than the ones I’d seen on the past couple of sets.
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. Even though this has been the case for the past set or two now, it still feels like somebody didn’t want to go to a lot of effort for this particular bonus feature.
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 21. The only real drawback to this set is the fact that there are a couple of ridiculous filler episodes included. However, if you skip those two episodes and focus on the canon material and the prologue for Hell Verse, then this set will probably be a little better of a viewing experience.
The reviewer checked out a copy of this item through the King County Library System