Everything is falling apart, Rukia is taken, Ichigo has been near mortally wounded by soul reapers and is in the fight of his life to regain his spirit energy, and in a month's time Rukia will be executed for her crimes. It's a bleak time to be a fan of Bleach these days. But not to worry, because I am here to dance my way through these episodes and continue to offer my review on the series 15 episodes at a time!
One of the important things that I have to keep telling myself, is that Bleach is one of those shows that will have a lot of ups and downs, and that like any good action adventure series of any length, it will explore the dark side of the villains as well as that of the heroes. It isn't any set rule that it has to be funny and charming all the damn time. Is it?
While there are still some great and entertaining moments to be had, of the things that I should point out is that there seems to be a Spirit Energy explosion in almost everyone as a result, or indirect result of Ichigo and Rukia being around them. Probably mostly due from Ichigo.
So, with this outpouring of power from nearly everyone; Ichigo and friends begin training for a mission to embark against the Soul Society, and bring Rukia back from her prison, and eventual execution. Ichigo is driven to recover her at all costs, and with the help of "Hat & Clogs" attains more power and control over his spirit energy, and with the assistance of his friends, they invade the Soul Society.
Now, I for one was expecting a lot more of the Soul Society when I first laid eyes on it, and I was just sure that it was some bristling metropolis filled with shimmery people, and Soul Reapers; but what I got was a land filled with average looking people, in fact it was one of those settings that reminded me of some turn of the century shogun state in Japan.
So It didn't take long before everyone of the rescuers ended up separated as soon as they arrived, and now our heroes are off in little bands, both looking for clues to Rukia's whereabouts, and having to face off against Soul Reapers, that seem more like a rabble of renegade assholes than anything remotely resembling something noble.
All in all, the time spent preparing for the journey to the Soul Society, and the time spent running around searching for Rukia is something of a challenge to get through, but I mean come on; what would any good shonen anime be if it didn't have epic amounts of getting nowhere in the middle of an epic arc?
I can say for a fact that there are some characters, like Chad, that I have grown to like a lot more, and some that have just crashed and burned in my opinion. I see no reason in the world, why Orihime needs to have Spirit Energy, let alone a group of tiny fairies that pop out and are commanded by her with an "I REJECT!" nonsense yell. I facepalm and groan every single time I hear "I REJECT!"...
I really wish one of the editors of the manga or even a producer of the anime, or hell someone in the ADR booth had REJECTED that load of garbage phrase.
Other than that, there are some conspiracies going on in the Soul Society, and some political intrigues that I hope get revealed later on, but for right now, I just hope that Rukia isn't too angry with Ichigo for coming after her, regardless of her telling him to stay put and die.