Imma kill myself! I was halfway done and the stupid screen froze and went ERROR! on me! GRAWR! I'll go overkill... seriously.
Anyway, I can't believe I could write such a long title... seriously, it's like it never ends... Nevermind, here I am, with an Anime Special. And why? Because this week's episode IS special, for various reasons. So let's see where this goes, I've got some major brainstorming going on right now, so I'm going to let it flow.
So, as always, bad things first.
I'm in favor of keeping the manga pure. Mostly because when the animators try to make something different, they screw up. The Bount Arc, Amagai Arc, and Beast Swords Arc (parts of the Zanpakuto arc too, though I'll admit I liked most of it), as well as most filler fights and episodes, are good proof to it (and the first movie, Ulqui, was it terrible). So I was really befuddled at how different this episode was to the manga. It was almost completely out of track. I'll elaborate on the differences all throughout the entry.
The one that I found most bothersome was the one in the Kyoraku vs Starrk fight. Yes, the way Starrk fired his Cero. Might seem insignificant, but it's very important to my eyes. Firstly, it was unnecessary to fill up with Kyoraku luring Starrk into Cero'ing him. In the manga, Starrk shot the Cero out of annoyance because Kyoraku kept dodging, showing that while he doesn't want to fight initially, he did want to get straight to the point and stop fooling around once he was into it. Secondly, and most... troublesome of all, was the fact that he had to charge for the Cero. I thought what was special about it was that he didn't have to, so it was like a completely surprise attack. Add it to the fact that Kyoraku had asked him to Cero him, so he was already expecting it. Completely killed the magic.
Another thing that bothered me, though this is more about personal taste, was the drawing and animation of Harribel's La Gota. It is a minor techniqe, but out of all Harribel's techniques, it was the most stylish in design, it had a beautiful shape! In the anime though, it looks like she's spitting to Hitsugaya from her rapier/sword/weapon (whatever). It has no shape, it looks really randomly drawn. I don't see any love in that picture. It's like just a nothing splash of water. Like "it's a weak technique, nobody cares how it looks like", but Kubo did! He gave it an actual shape, it looks like a beautiful water arrow! So I hated that the looks they gave it in the anime were so lame.
That's it, I think. Weirdy, isn't it? I usually complain a lot more. But this episode had this little something that I kinda liked... so I'm going for the positive points.
The drawing improved EONS. Harribel looked really pretty here, especially compared to last week, which was ATROCIOUS. So cheers to the anime team for the improvement, it was totally necessary, and it definitely looks much better
As much as I prefer to stick to the manga, I actually liked this version of Harribel vs Toshiro much more. I feel the manga didn't handle Harribel the way she deserved and just Aizen'ed her (Aizen'ed: kill off/defeat any character with a flick of the wrist. Usually performed by Aizen. This feature is usually impossible to explain). They didn't give enough time to look into her potential, her abilities and her personality. She was just a pissed off lady that fired a lot of water. And she was hot. The anime gave her a much deeper insight. They actually gave a meaning to her "Sacrifice", and played with her connection to her Fraccion. They made her even more human and likeable. They also made her more powerful, that last Cascada attack was very striking and very significant. It really meant "sacrifice" for Hitsugaya, and it really showed how deadly her powers could be, something we quite couldn't see in the manga, since Hitsugaya kept dodging. I also felt there was much more feeling in this version, it was not just randomly throwing water and ice at each other, there was some meaning to it. I really liked it.
Lastly, the Flashback. I'm not all that sure about how I feel about it. Yes I was SUPER insulted when Harribel died without a Flashback. Because, seriously? The only Espada girl, and she's number 3, for Ulquiorra's sake, and she doesn't get a Flashback? (this is one of the multiple reasons that make me think Kubo is somehow sexist). So it was good that she got a Flashback, if you think of it from that perspective. The look she had in the Flashback was amazing, I liked it A LOT. On another hand, it still falls short, because all it shows is Harribel kneeling down to Aizen (the woman surrendering to the man, or am I thinking too much into it?), and it represents a lot of trouble. What was Harribel at the time? She didn't have a full mask so it's hard to believe she was a Hollow and her shape is too humanoid for an incomplete Arrancar. Get ready to get a wave of "OMU Harribel was Vasto Lorde!!" even if that Flashback says nothing to prove it. Oh dear, I wish the fandom got over VL's already. I'm almost sure Kubo forgot about them a long time ago.
I have a feeling like Kubo was unsatisfied with how he treated Harribel and tried to make it up to her with the anime. Or so I like to think, because this episode was actually very nice on the Harribel part, and it would be too risky from the animators to make such a drastical change to the story where they usually stick to every vignette as much as possible (though they seem to be failing at it lately coughRukiavsRudobonecough)
I'll be waiting for your comments and opinions on this episode, the last that Dattebayo will be subbing. I'd also like to hear suggestions of where to download Bleach from now on, I can't be waiting a whole week to watch them from CR. And I didn't like some little changes I heard they did (like changing Harribel's release command to "Hunt" instead of "attack" or "destroy"). So suggestions and recommendations on the matter will be well-received. I'll miss DB!!