Anime Reporter delves back into the world of Bleach for Season 15 Part 02 (episodes 330-342). For a look at the first part of Season 15, you can find my review here.
Also, since we’re over 300 episodes in, I do acknowledge that this spoiler alert is redundant, but here I go putting it up anyway.
The last instalment of Bleach threw a few different elements into the mix. We saw that Ichigo had sustained some pretty lasting damage from his earlier battles and we know that he’s one day going to lose his spirit energy entirely. That said, he’s not about to go down without a serious fight. We were also introduced to a new character, Nozomi, who is revealed to be a mod-soul. A mod-soul for anyone who ignored my spoiler alert, or just forgot, is a substitute soul that can possess a body if a Soul Reaper needs to fight Hollows in spirit form without leaving their bodies unattended. Kon, the mischievous stuffed lion who occasionally walks around looking like Ichigo, is another prime example of a mod-soul.
Nozomi’s tied up in some pretty dark dealings however, whether she likes it or not, and it means some dark days for the Soul Society. A dangerous fanatic with a penchant for creating mod-souls starts turning the bodies of high-ranking Soul Reapers against their own people and the Soul Society seems to be in real danger of collapsing.
While Soul Reaper on Soul Reaper action isn’t exactly a new feature of the series, the action is excellent, with a nice balance of intensity and imagination. Where this collection really shines is in its character development and the strength of its characters. Kon receives a lot of the spotlight treatment and is given the chance to shine as a more vulnerable and human character than the comic relief he so often amounts to. There’s also the build up to a climactic stand-off to end all stand-offs. This is filled with plenty of references and appearances from characters dating all the way back to the earliest instalments of the series and really, by the time this fight kicks off, it starts to carry the emotional weight of a series finale.
The collection finishes at the very end of Season 15, with Season 16 still to come, but in many ways it feels like a fond goodbye to the series. We’ve yet to see where this anime has left to go, but there’s no denying the great story that’s already been told, the developments made and the characters that have grown and changed across the past 342 episodes.
Bleach Season 15 Part 02 is available on DVD from June 29th 2015 from Manga Entertainment. For more information on upcoming releases, check out the Manga UK Facebook page.
Character Development: 8.5
Nostalgia/Heartstring tugging: 8
83% – “Bleach-tacular… or some pun or something”. – Bleach Season 15 Part 02 ramps up both the action and the emotional stakes, delivering what in many ways feels like the finale to Bleach. Even though it isn’t… not quite yet.