Well, after technical difficulties galore, I am here with another review. So without any further delay, let's begin!
New Opening: Blue by Vivid
It's no Ranbu No Melody, but it's still pretty damn good. This opening was well animated, fast paced, and left me wanting more. This filler opening feels like a "Bleach" opening. Not that any of the filler openings were terrible, but they didn't quite feel like they belonged in Bleach. However, this opening reminded me a lot of D-tecnoLife, except this time the fights actually have the potential of HAPPENING! (Really they thought Chad VS Suì-Fēng would happen!!! Ah brings back memories!) Plus it looks like Kon will play a semi-important role (other than being Rukia's personal doormat...did you lion plushies are very absorbent)? The only thing I didn't like was no Orihime. This is the last arc for a while in the anime that all the Nakama will be together, how can she not be in it ?!?!? Well, the only logical reason I could come up with is that Orihime wouldn't actually be fighting too much (or at all) in this arc, and since this opening is fight oriented, it would make no sense for her to be there (Plus dealing with post-Hueco Mundo psychological stress, being on the front-lines would not be the smartest move at this point). To be fair though, Orihime has been highlight in many recent openings, and other characters who are not Orihime, Ichigo, and anyone from Hueco Mundo, have at the most have had only about 5 or 6 seconds of screen-time, so I can understand why Pierrot would give it more to the other characters than to Orihime. But, I still think it was kinda dumb though.
All I can say is that at the end of the episode I was like "aww it's over already NO FAIR!!!" This episode was a great way to start the new anime-only arc. Never before has a filler arc caught my attention in the first episode, not even in the Zanpakutō Unknown Tales arc. For the most part, the first episode in a Bleach filler starts out boring and at the end is "mildly" interesting, and I usually end up dropping it after a few episodes and I decide that I will wait for the dub on Adult Swim. But right away, this episode caught my attention, and in my opinion if the first episode of an arc of any series anime or otherwise starts strong, the whole arc will end strong. This episode had the ingredients for success. It had a fillet of mystery, a pinch of drama, and a dash of comedy. There were many things I loved about the episode. The main things I loved are the following:
Connect The Arc
I love how this arc doesn't act like Arrancar Arc never happened. I was very happy that the anime is emphasizing the Gin/Rangiku relationship, and that 100% bubbly Rangiku might not ever fully come back, but she is trying to get her life back together. I also like the bits with the Nakama discussing Ichigo's progressing power loss(which I still think it would have been better for Ichigo to have his appearance from season 1, but I like the idea that the more power he uses, the faster his powers will dissipate. It really adds drama for Ichigo in this arc, instead of Ichigo just randomly pulling out his Bankai when it really isn't even necessary every 10 minutes.), and referencing back to Aizen. This made the arc feel more "in place" so to speak, and despite the massive plot holes, you can kinda follow the whole logic of the thing. That I believe is one of the keys in order for this arc to remotely work at all.
Alas do my eyes deceive me, could Kon actually be contributing something significant to the plot??? Kon was actually pretty funny in this episode, especially with the new green-haired girl(which I believe she will become a favorite of mine) was just classic. The one time Kon wasn't trying to be a pervert, he got called on it! Plus Kon's dreams have finally come true, and if any of you don't know what his dream is...what show are you watching? This song perfectly sums up the moment(for the love of god could someone loop this to the clip from 317). I also love the fact we see a much more sensitive Kon than what we have seen in a while. If Kon is going to play a significant role in this arc(judging by the promo poster from TV Tokyo on their official Bleach site, I believe he is) it makes sense why he was featured a lot in some of the recent one-shot episodes. We haven't seen Kon in a while, and I think that what Pierrot did was a good way to re-introduce Kon to being a series regular. Even if Kon doesn't really do anything else of great importance in this arc, he did more for the plot in this episode than he has in the anime(and the manga for that matter) in the last five years.
New Ending: Aoi Tori (Blue Bird) by Fumika
I wasn't too crazy about the ending, it wasn't horrible, but after such great endings like Last Moment and Song For..., it was kind of a letdown. The song and the animation was very unoriginal, however there are some things I did like about it. I liked the fact that they had all of the Nakama's symbols (and Orihime was actually in the ending), and Mugestu Ichigo was drawn really well. I still think that Uryū being emphasized was a bit...odd, but hopefully it is because he will play an import role in future episodes.
This was an amazing start for a filler arc, and if Studio Pierrot can keep the episodes at this quality (and keep adding more Hell Chapter tracks thank you) for the entire arc, then I believe we are in for a real treat!
- Opening 8/10
- Ending 6/10
- Story 9/10
- Art/Animation 9/10
- Sound Effects 9/10
- Music 9/10
- Acting 8/10
- Omake 8/10
I give Bleach episode 317 a 8.3 out of 10. Remember to join me next Tuesday when I review Bleach episode 318, and join me on Saturday when I review Bleach 200 dubbed.