Lesley Aeschliman

Anime Review: Bleach Set 26

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Bleach Set 26 contains episodes 355-366 of the series on two DVDs. Audio options include the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and the English dub.

Bleach Set 26

Bleach Set 26

English Publisher: VIZ Media
Format: DVD
Release Date: September 29, 2015

Set 26 contains the final episodes of the series, and it was disappointing to discover that it opens with a filler episode that focuses on New Year’s. The episode was split into two stories, and the first one was absolutely ridiculous and not very funny. The second story tried to make a point, but it wasn’t terribly convincing. It was especially frustrating that the whole point of it was to get Rukia ready to do a special family dance, with an emphasis on her not messing it up and disgracing the family. But when it’s time for her to do the dance, the audience never gets to see it.

Fortunately, the remaining 11 episodes are all composed of canon material from the manga. It was so fascinating to see the actions and fights progressing in a more realistic time frame, and the episodes generally only having a minimal amount of recap. This was such a change from the Hueco Mundo arc, where episodes got to the point where nearly half of them were recaps of the episode right before. There ended up being an unexpected twist that happened during the episodes in this final set, but Ichigo learns some truths and is able to power up in order to bring about the ending for this story arc that the audience would expect to see.

However, the ending of the final episode was rather unsatisfying. It’s basically Ichigo saying, “I’ll see you later,” to Rukia, and then he leaves. But since the anime was canceled while the manga was still ongoing, I guess they couldn’t really come up with any other way to end the series. But now that I’ve seen all of Bleach, I can see why the anime was ultimately canceled. Near the end, there ended up being a lot of pointless filler like the New Year’s episode at the beginning of this set. Also, it didn’t help that the Hueco Mundo arc kept getting interrupted for filler story arcs that would run for almost a year before returning to what was happening in Hueco Mundo.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, the omake are removed from the end of the episodes and collected together in the “Omake” feature that’s included on both discs. The omake for these final episodes just weren’t very good. There was an obvious decline in the animation quality, and it appeared that the animators knew the end of the series was coming and just didn’t care about trying to do quality work for the omake. I didn’t really find any of them to be terribly funny, either.

The bonus features on both discs have the same clean opening and clean ending, since there was only one opening animation and one closing animation that appeared on the episodes in this set. The opening and closing both have options for English subtitles and Romaji subtitles.

“More From VIZ Media” includes the exact same trailers that appear at the beginning of each disc before the menu loads. Not only that, but the trailers used for Bleach Set 26 are the exact same trailers that were used for the previous four sets, which comes across as laziness on VIZ Media’s part.

If you’re a Bleach fan, this set is a “must own” if you want to have all of the episodes that include canon material or want to have the complete series in your anime home video collection.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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