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Bleach: Vol. 13: The Rescue (Episodes 50-53)
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Television luminary Don Kanonji brings back Yuzu, Jinta, and Ururu as his Karakura Superheroes to revive his flagging show--with Kon serving as mascot! In the Soul Society, Rukia's execution is imminent. Luckily for Ichigo and his comrades, some of the Soul Reapers have taken their side and help break Chad, Ganju, and Uryû out of their prison cell. While Ichigo struggles to complete his bankai training, Renji emerges to rescue Rukia, but finds himself face to face with none other than Rukia's brother, Byakuya Kuchiki. Will Renji's bankai prove strong enough to defeat his own captain?
Contains episodes 50-53 (Bilingual, English & Japanese with optional subtitles)
As the third season of Bleach continues, director Noriyuke Abe shifts from farcical comedy to high adventure with the seemingly effortless grace of a gymnast sticking a dismount. TV star Don Kanonji finds Kon the stuffed lion wandering around and recruits the plushie, Ichigo's sisters, and Urahara's assistants Jinta and Ururu, for a campaign to boost his show's flagging ratings. This slapstick interlude offers a respite from the vicious battles raging in the land of the Soul Society. Chaos reigns in the armed compound of the Seireitei, as many of the captains and lieutenants join the teenagers from Earth in the effort to rescue Rukia. While Kenpachi and Renji take on their former comrades-in-arms, Yoruichi oversees Ichigo's struggles to achieve Bankai, the ultimate power over his Zanpak- tô sword. Despite exhaustion and wounds he's received from Zangetsu, the spirit of his sword, Ichigo continues to train with super-human determination. But time is running out: The morning of Rukia's execution is dawning, with her brother Byakuya and the reptilean Ichimaru stand ready to fight off any challengers. (Rated "Teen," suitable for ages 13 and older: violence, grotesque imagery) -- Charles Solomon
Top customer reviews
That basically sums up the thirteenth volume of the "Bleach" anime, which first pacifies us with an amusing little filler episode before hurtling into the beginning of the Soul Society's battle. Not only does it start up a rebellion in the Seireitei's ranks, but it also brings Renji's personal struggles with Rukia and her brother to a dramatic -- and bloody -- climax.
First: the reappearance of the entertaining-in-very-small-doses Don Kanonji, whose show has dropped in the ratings. His solution: reform the Karakura Superheroes and get a new mascot, who happens to be a certain lecherous stuffed lion. But Kon ends up running away as the craziness increases, and is kidnapped by an amorous Hollow. Can the Karakura Superheroes save the day -- and the ratings?
Then it's back to the Soul Society. On the day of Rukia's execution, Zaraki busts the fugitives out of prison and attempts to take them to the execution ground -- only to encounter Tosen and Komamura, who are determined to stop him. As Ikkaku and Yumichika square off against Tosen and Komamura's lieutenants, Zaraki delightedly begins fighting his fellow captains -- only to be trapped in Tosen's bankai, a realm with no sight or sound. But the "monster" is far cleverer than Tosen thought...
Meanwhile, Renji starts slashing his way toward the execution ground -- only to encounter Byakuya, who is determined that nothing will stop his sister's execution. After years of wanting to defeat Byakuya, Renji confidently uses his newly acquired bankai -- only to see the full extent of Byakuya's power, and his own devastating bankai.
After a lot of dancing around the impending execution and the conspiracy surroundingit, the whole Soul Society arc is finally reaching its climax. And it's a pretty explosive one -- there's a minor civil war brewing, complete with captains and lieutenants fighting one another and mass prison breaks. And oh irony, it's only gonna get worse from here -- especially since Ichigo has almost achieved bankai.
The first episode is pretty much non-stop goofiness, complete with a tornado, a stuffed-toy-molesting Hollow who has a thang for Kon, and lots of girly doll clothes. Alas, poor Kon.
But then it gets serious fast -- suddenly the focus switches to Zaraki's two-man duel, as well as the parallel fights with Ikkaku and Yumichika. There's still some goofiness -- Yachiru bites Ikkaku and headbutts Orihime -- but most of it is devoted to some nasty, extremely creative action scenes. Turns out that Tosen and Komamura have some very interesting bankais, and Yumichika's sword has a special ability of its own.
And the episode focusing on Renji is stunning both visually and in its storytelling. As the two men clash over whether or not Rukia will die, we're treated to a battle of thrashing giant skeletal serpents, flower petals and floating swords, as well as some heavy-duty sprays of blood and shattering blades. They also wreck several buildings in their battle, and its climax is heartbreakingly poignant as Renji is forced to face his own shortcomings.
Once again, Ichigo doesn't take center stage -- we get some glimpses of his bankai training, but not much more. More focus is centered on Zaraki, who proves to be far cleverer and more intelligent than the self-righteous Tosen gives him credit for, and Renji, whose determination drives him even to the point of death. And though Byakuya comes across as the bad guy, there's a brief hint of the person inside -- we see him speaking to a photo in his bedroom.
The thirteenth volume of "Bleach" kicks off with some pure comedy, but rapidly descends into earthshattering fights and a brewing rebellion. And things will only get more intense.