Bleach – episode 68-69

February 18, 2006 on 7:22 pm | In Bleach | Comments Off on Bleach – episode 68-69

“It’s okay to live.”
Plainly the best Bleach in a long while, as it wraps up the intensely lame “game” plot, justifies it, and then introduces a genuinely interesting looking story.

Spoilers: the conclusion of the Ririn arc and the set-up for the Bound arc

Ichigo figures out that Ririn and her merry band were actually seeds created by Urahara as a test of the team’s skills. With Yoruichi having found that an ancient class of super-humans known as the “bound” are active in Karakura, Urahara generously donates Ririn, Nova and Claude to Ichigo, Chad and Orihime respectively.
With these ex-“villains” now in stuffed animal forms, they team up with our heroes to find these soul sucking fiends!

If my summary of this episode sounded sarcastic, it wasn’t intentional. This is the first Bleach that one could legitimately use the phrase “kick arse” in relation to. That summary gives away the first half of the episode, which is spent rapping up Ririn. To make the transition easier, the animators even made Ririn less ugly than ever before, to the point that one could comfortably describe her as a standard issue anime cute girl.

The Bound are a fairly interesting idea, or at least they are due to the manner of their presentation; Yoruichi’s recount of their history is accompanied by some cool soul sucking animation, as well as shots of the Beatles and Aibo. Ichigo’s battle against the Bound woman has thus far been nothing shy of cool, and Chad and Orihime’s standard issue trap sauntering into has been executed just as one might expect.
I don’t care if a story presented in anime is something that has not been touched in the manga upon which it is based as long as the story is interesting. The set up for this story – the three mod souls – was lame “filler” (a word that I detest), but if the Bound story can keep up a level of interest, and this slight hint of tragedy it has going for it, I’ll be cool with it.

To the stuffed toys: I think Claude really lost out, and that Nova is really cool as the turtle tuxedo. Ririn’s stuffed bird toy is also very cool. I’ve come to accept these characters now, but the biggest flaw of this part of the story arc is that another “manipulative Urahara” set up was made. Ririn, Claude and Nova did some pretty suspect things – Claude posing as Orihime was a pretty bastardly thing to do – and were overall infuriating on many levels. On top of that, Urahara’s scheme was almost offensively contrived.
And, of course, if the false bodies that Urahara created for them were that strong, it seems a waste to permanently consign them to these toys. Finally, because they’re anime exclusive characters, they either have to disappear when this story concludes or become arbitrarily tossed into future arcs. I’m not sure if I like either of those options.

This Bleach was genuinely entertaining, with some nice speechifying on the part of Ichigo. If the rest of these made-up stories maintain this level of quality, I won’t have any problems at all.

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