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Well this is it...for now (don't worry I will elaborate on that later), it's time for me to review a new episode of Bleach.
- I know a lot of you are sad that the anime is ending, but according to several Bleach staff members and throughout several times in the episode, the anime is going on undetermined hiatus, but is not ending. It has ended, but not ENDED. From what I am getting, Bleach is pulling an Inuyasha, and will return at some point in the not too distant future. I will get to how I felt about the ending a little bit later, but first I want to elaborate on some things.
- When I first heard about the news about Bleach's time-slot last month, many others myself included, believed that Bleach was not ending due to the timing. After watching today's episode, my opinion on where they are ending has changed. I believe Pierrot chose the perfect point to end the series (for the time being). In hindsight, despite the pretty much unanimous hatred of The Invading Army Arc (not going there) and how it ruined the end of the Arrancar arc, blah, blah, blah, if the anime had ended at Ichigo and Rukia saying goodbye, in my honest opinion, I don't think the anime would have ever come back. My reasoning for this is recently Bleach has had a major resurgence in popularity lately, in which it has stayed in the "Top 5" for several weeks, which did not exist the same time last year. With Bleach being in it's final story arc, it has rekindled interest in the series to the point where people would desire having an anime adaptation. When the anime airs on TV, it basically serves as an infomercial for the DVDs, as well as the manga and vice-versa. If there is not enough interest for the manga, there is not enough interest for the anime, and if there is not enough merchandising for the series, the series will be cancelled. The anime industry and manga publishers are in the business of making money and that is the bottom line. It doesn't matter what the fan-base feels or the quality of the story, if it makes tons of money then they will keep marketing it. Okay enough of that, on with my actual thoughts on the episode.
- There were several things that I did not like in the episode, specifically the change in Riruka's dialogue in the "crying scene." I don't buy that it's a pacing issue, because the pacing was pretty much exactly the same as it was in the manga, and if anything it would have added what, six seconds to the scene. When Riruka states that she "isn't crying," it really is the big emotional break for her character. We never saw her so vulnerable and able to be emotionally open to others, and when we saw her beginning to bawl her eyes out, it showed to us the readers that Riruka is not a horrible person. It wasn't the same crying from childhood flashbacks when she got upset if she didn't get her way, she was crying for the fact that essentially she lost her entire adopted family in one night. She felt more connected to the Fullbringers than she did to her actual biological family. What is different about Xcution from other small, organized groups in Bleach, is the fact that they never really tried to use each other, in comparison of what Aizen did as a Captain and as the Leader of the Espada. Sure you could make a similar case with the Visoreds, but they only came together through tragic circumstances and became a dysfunctional family as time went by, but Xcution was a family consisting of members with very tragic backgrounds. Sure, many of the Visoreds were close friends with each other before their hollowfication, but many also became friends knew each other, but did not really become friends until their exile. Xcution is special in the fact that complete strangers from different walks of life, came together and became a family. That being said, Riruka should have been crying more and that line exemplifies that sediment.
- While on the topic of Riruka, I thought Megumi did a fantastic job with Riruka. I like how she changed her tone with her and made her less whiney than when she first appeared (which as many of you know, I did not approve of). The scream as she jumps in front of Tsukishima is chilling, and she did a great job throughout this episode and her entire run as Riruka. Every one did a fantastic job, and I don't think there was one bad performance.
- Overall, I did not have any major problems with the animation other than a couple of scenes in Soul Society. Speaking of Soul Society, the only two problems I had was Yumichika's appearance, which to be fair was not Studio Pierrot's fault, because this was animated weeks before his new look debuted, and Tosen's Zanpakuto. There are two major problems with that. First, Tosen absorbed his Zanpakuto when his went into his resureccion. Second, a Zanpakuto dies with its Soul Reaper. In the strange chance Tosen's Zanpakuto regenerated (ala Grimmjow) after he came out of his resureccion, it still would have been destroyed after he died. I know Pierrot was trying to do a "full-circle" type of thing with the same scene happening after Tosen vacated his Captaincy and with Tosen and Komamura visiting the grave of Tosen's friend, and having Kensei by his side, but still major inconsistency.
- Now with the ending, it was good. It tied up any loose ends, but made you want more and made you feel like there was more. It felt complete, but not complete, and it was more "see-you soon" than "goodbye." My worry is that they would pull and Inuyasha with "everyone riding into the sunset on new adventures," and I would have been really infuriated if that happened. The ending felt peaceful, no "Saturday morning cartoon" troupes, it just felt like a brief goodbye.
Overall I felt the episode felt empty, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. In terms of the ending, it felt like a good clean ending.
- Story 9/10
- Art/Animation 9/10
- Sound Effects 10/10
- Music 10/10
- Acting 10/10
I give Bleach 366 a 9.6 out of 10. Join me Saturday when I review Bleach 247 dubbed, and check out SJA it comes out every Monday. Speaking of SJA, I am currently in a contest to win SJA for a year, so that I may use the much higher quality scans and information for the site. You can vote everyday until March 31, and here is the link 
Until Next Time! -- 16:22, March 27, 2012 (UTC)