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Feb 25, 2009, 6:07:59 PM2/25/09
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Talk about the Bleach anime fell by the wayside on Barbelith since
everybody caught up to the manga, but I'd still like to talk about it
here. Especially as the Turn Back The Pendulum storyline, the best
and most exciting Bleach has been in the last year in my opinion, is
now being aired. Three episodes in, how are we finding it?

I have mixed feelings about the decision to mingle the canon material
with new scenes in an evident attempt to pad out the adaptation and
make it last longer than the five or so episodes a straight
translation would have run. Things like Soifon's spying on Urahara,
the capture of the deserters, Urahara's stagey duel with Hiyori, and
the business with Hiyori's old classmate in the Maggots' Nest don't
really feel as though they add much to the story and fudge the pacing
and suspense which Kubo managed so well in the manga chapters.

That's the only downside, I stress; I'm absolutely loving every other
element of the adaptation, particularly with the latter half of
episode 208, which despite the added material really hit it for me for
the first time. The Maggots' Nest felt much more dungeon-like and
desperate than in the manga, and the confrontation with Mayuri had the
right Lecter-ish air - that climactic shot of his hideous teeth (as
iconic as Renji's tattoos or Inoue's hairclips) gave me a good old
super-villainy thrill. And I can forgive fillerism if it gives us a
line like 'Wanna see my tits, you pasty-faced alien?!' Have I
mentioned how much I love Hiyori?

After that I was out of my seat, what with Lil' Byakuya being teased
unmercifully by Yoruichi and losing his rag, the nostalgic tea-
drinking scene with Kaien and Ukitake (who was looking especially
fabulous incidentally) and the nasty debut of Gin-kun and his evil
godfather Sousuke. These days I'm falling into the camp of those who
thought Aizen should have kept the kindly glasses-wearing persona
after he took off for Hueco Mundo, as it's even more effective at
underlining his nefariousness than his current softly-softly overlord
act. But there's plenty more of Glasses!Aizen to come.

Next week: Lil' Shuuhei, Kensei and Mashiro. Yes!


Feb 26, 2009, 9:51:54 AM2/26/09
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Hiyori's classmate in the Maggot's Nest really detracted from some of
the manga's ambiguity.

In the manga you got the impression that Hiyori was mortified that
such a place could exist, and that Urahara was undermining her
certainties (as well as her rank) in order to secure her loyalty.
That's lost here, as she seems to approve of the Maggot's Nest and
continues to be antagonistic towards Urahara. At this point in the
comic she stops treating him like she treats Shinji. In the anime she
even hits him in front of Majuri. They're bad, bad choices because
they lose a lot of the complexity of what Urahara is doing there and
why he's taken her.

The additions have been almost uniformly terrible. 208 undermines the
complexity of the Hiyori/Urahara relationship. 207 filled out the
story with endless repetition of Hiyori's misgivings and a revelation
of his hand to hand abilities that detracts from the later reveal from
#-106. 206 spoiled the reveal that it was Urahara being promoted and
gave us endless Soi Fong guff (who really believes she'd question
Yoruichi to that extent?).

The comic was economical, bursting with characterisation and
incredibly well paced. The adapatation is unecessarily bloated by

Although when it sticks to the script it's a thing of beauty... the
latter half of 208 was superb apart from one Hiyori punch too many...


Feb 26, 2009, 12:50:34 PM2/26/09
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As somebody who hasn't been reading the manga those same things still
felt jarring and off to me, so it's nice to know some of the context
behind it. And really, that she punches him after such a reveal points
to the fact that he will allow it, which is really saying something
very different to what appears was originally intended. I do really
like hearing this stuff, these episodes have made me grin and go and
catch up on the actual Barbelith manga thread, but the comparisons are
also really interesting.

I've been pleasantly surprised by this story because I absent-mindedly
thought it was going to be more filler for a while, after the horrible
horrible "soccer tournament suicide etc", it took a while to dawn on
me that this wasn't going to be more of that static dealie, albeit in
flashback form. So when it turned out to involve all sorts of main
characters, revelations, and important info it was a lovely surprise
in a "hey wait, they wouldn't progress character or reveal anything in

Is Mayuri wearing a previous version of his mask in #208? I was kind
of wondering if we'd ever see that blue haired fellow without it
again. I'm sure we will - I thought it might be then - but I guess
without his otherworldly pasty-ness the scene would have played
completely different.

I actually think the thing I enjoyed most about #208 was the
incredibly nonchalant way they animated Urahara executing a kick when
the residents of the Maggots Nest attacked him; which is obviously
informed by how his character and art are in the manga but is a little
joy to see expressed in animated form.

I love Urahara but without his hat that middle part of his fringe -
right between his eyes! - is becoming more and more troublesome for
me. It also speaks of his whole demeanour but I dont half wanna lop it


Apr 1, 2009, 5:47:46 AM4/1/09
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Finally! Decent filler. Please give us this nonsense for half a year
so you can do decent adaptations again.

Bleach 213 = TEH ROXXOR!!!!ICHIBAN!


Apr 1, 2009, 2:31:35 PM4/1/09
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Yeah, that was awesome. And as a spinoff from some of the omake pages
(chapters 245, 254, 272 and 278, information I have just copied down
assiduously from someone on another forum), proof once again that the
only decent filler is canon filler.

OTOH, Urahara speaking French! Intentional QUALITY Hollow! Ururu's
SFX timing! Screentime for Tatsuki, Chizuru, Keigo and Don
Motherfuckin' Kanonj- uh, Karakura-Riser Spirit (still using his
legendary slow cannonball attack)! 1.5 more pleats than average! The
bunny-Arrancar and Castle Grayskull! Truly, enough silliness for a
six-month interlude.

Almost a shame we're straight into the four pillars battle with #215,
really. Still, I can't wait to see Charlotte Coolhorn.


Apr 8, 2009, 7:05:51 AM4/8/09
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214 is just as funny, if not funnier, than 213.

Kon's super-spirited "MY VOCATION!!!" had me in fits of giggles, the
intro-segment and recap were inspired, the real explanation for
Tatsuki's need to fight superbly punctured what could have been a
decidedly emo moment with some brilliant silliness, and Ishida's
explanations for the costumes went from strength to strength...
culminating in Chizuru's powers...

Oh good God. Chizuru's powers... and the Bunny Girl Arrancar... why
isn't every episode like this?

The very climax of the episode, with Urahara's closing comments, was
really nicely judged. Besides the Karin/Hitsugaya football match this
has been easily the best filler we've seen, and I'd kinda like all the
future filler to be set in an alternate universe based on this.


Apr 8, 2009, 9:22:59 AM4/8/09
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First person who can find me all the omake chapters wins TEH

I have found some, but not the ones you mention.


Apr 8, 2009, 7:04:23 PM4/8/09
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Relevant to your interests:-

I don't know about *all* of them, but this is all that have anything
to do with these two episodes. And yes, the segue into the Four
Pillars battle was inspired. I heart Tatsuki as ever before - she's
definitely bringing the fiery spirit of Gurren-Lagann back to Bleach.

Mizuiro was supposed to be Karakurizer Erotic, unless the translator
on that last page fudged the pronouns... the illo could be either him
or Chizuru, looking at it. There's way more mileage in Chizuru, of

Oh God... what's going to happen when Chizuru, Tatsuki, Orihime and
Nel all meet for the first time? Absolute Oestrogen Apocalypse!


Apr 9, 2009, 5:52:52 AM4/9/09
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I think the translator fudged the pronouns. The character description
is clearly for Chizuru, Mizuiro is much more circumspect when it comes
to his reputation as a ladies man.

Once again...


Razor Wind

Apr 9, 2009, 6:34:27 PM4/9/09
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Let me just add that seeing Ururu politely tearing her way through a
swathe of Hollows was awesome and a real flashback to when Hollows
were still a credible threat,Tatsuki was incredible ("stop being
scared of your allies!") and Chizuru? "Doggy Style!" Ahahahahhahhaaa.
Plus... <_< >_> is it wrong to suddenly have a thing for Chizuru in
that Pink Ranger outfit? :-D


Apr 22, 2009, 10:30:25 AM4/22/09
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#216: Pretty good. While the Omaeda comedy reaction sketch and
Barragan's opening attack on the pillars were a little drawn-out, the
initial confrontations between the pillar guardians and the Fraccion -
particularly Kira and Avirama, and Ayasegawa and Cuuuuulhoooourne~ -
were everything I was hoping for. Some great improvisation with the
dialogue translations from DB and all; I don't think I'll be seeing
the phrase 'you skanky twink' used in a shonen manga fight again in a

I'm not too happy with the new OP sequence - an average song, barely
any animation, and a dodgy school-uniform dance routine from Rukia,
Orihime and Rangiku - are ratings down or something? Notwithstanding
last week's pin-up in the manga, Kubo seldom uses his characters for
audience-pleasing titillation - at least, not much less than the
average comic artist - so it's a little annoying to see it in the
anime. But hey, skippable opening is skippable.

Razor Wind

May 2, 2009, 7:12:17 PM5/2/09
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217: Cuulhorne's release. That groin... thing. Never before have I
wanted to go blind so badly.


May 6, 2009, 4:59:41 AM5/6/09
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#218 is a blinder. Really fast-paced, and the way they depict Kira's
resourcefulness and melancholy is pitch perfect. Very hard to know
whether to be afraid of him or feel sorry for him... probably both.


Jun 23, 2009, 12:13:55 PM6/23/09
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I'm chewing on my nails looking at the Bleach (anime) episode wiki
What normally happens when they catch up like this?
Do the filler arcs just pop in or are they announced ahead of time?

Are there any anime arcs people are hoping for specifically?

Scott C.

Jun 23, 2009, 12:53:02 PM6/23/09
Rumor has it that the second half of this season, starting with 227, will be a filler arc about some sort of "Zanpaktou Rebellion."  Kubo has done some work on the plotting, and hopefully since this one is shorter than the other extended fillers it will be less painful.  I'm not really getting my hopes up though.

Promo ad and some translated info here:


Jun 23, 2009, 2:10:20 PM6/23/09
For the love of Rukia, REALLY?!?! We are not going into
Elric/Stormbringer land are we?

I hope the ringleader is Kenpachi's Zanpakuto who is a hilarious
insane old lemur in a pinstripe suit. Inspired by :

That said, you think it will return to the class war issue? Better
wages, more time off, health care, dignity, and less time sealed?
Maybe demanding some actual, you know, killing of people? I bet
Zabimaru would be all about wanting the body count racked up a bit

I hope Sode no Shirayuki is not an Ice Princess. Giantess would be
ok. Huge Ice Chappy would be best.


Jun 23, 2009, 7:02:17 PM6/23/09
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>Huge Ice Chappy

If this filler arc sucks they way they often do, couldn't we avoid the
grimdark for once and do more in the spirit of the Karakura Rangers?
Remember that one bit with Mayuri offering to retool everybody's
zanpakutous with a free 36DD bust measurement increase? That's what
I'm thinking.

If it's to be filler, we could have some what you might call non-
essential canon material filled in, stuff that doesn't necessarily
have to be expanded on or contradicted later for the story to still
make sense. Showing more of everybody's spirit animal... things...
seems like something that could go in that category. We haven't even
heard from Old Man Zangetsu or Zabimaru in years, after all.


Jun 24, 2009, 1:05:08 PM6/24/09
I wants to meet Benihime!

The Karakura Rangers were fantastic but I'm not sure I could manage
with an entire filler arc's worth of flufflite. I'd be down with
another past sneak peek like Isshin as a young shinigami falling for
Masaki...etc etc. I still say Urahara put him in one of those riatsu
suppressing gigai, is obv, no?


Jun 25, 2009, 2:36:47 PM6/25/09
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The filler is so not going to go near Isshin with a barge pole. He's
far too important to do anything with apart from duplicate what we've
already seen.

Nah, I'd like full on omake filler. Daft stuff, piss takes, paedo
captains, sunglass huts, learning guitar to impress Matsumoto type
stuff. All the silly stuff that the manga hasn't touched on much

Scott C.

Jun 25, 2009, 4:30:59 PM6/25/09

We may be (briefly) in luck in this respect - 227 looks like it will be a stand-alone episode, and the title for 228 is the extremely promising "Summer! Sea! Swimsuit Festival!!"  That's an omake title if I've ever seen one!


Jun 27, 2009, 7:48:07 PM6/27/09
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225: In other news, Rangiku's encounter with Allon was censored. It
now looks like she just got a nasty bruise. Now I have a legitimate
reason not to care about the anime.


Jul 9, 2009, 10:35:00 AM7/9/09
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This filler is both off putting and intriguing. I had a sort of 'Oh
revisiting origins again? You lazy bastards' moment but by the end I
was curious to see what develops. Am I picking up what's being put
down correctly is my next question...
Ultimately I don't mind spending time with characters I love but I'm
hoping for more character development rather than just here's the same
moment only from a different camera angle!

Swimsuit filler will be focused on fanservice and I'm ok with that.


Jul 13, 2009, 9:55:02 AM7/13/09
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I just read the manga the anime episode 227 matches up with, One Manga
lists it as 0.8 or 107.5.
It's nice to know it wasn't entirely random but a chance used to put
something KT wrote into the mix. Doesn't seem to do a lot to further
anything but I'm suspicious of that with this franchise. Do you think
instead of a filler arc will we get more one shots?


Jul 29, 2009, 10:51:45 AM7/29/09
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OMFR, episode 230 is full of kickass and greatness! Could we possibly
have a worthwhile filler arc on our hands? I loved the designs, the
general WTF of the normally savvy shinigami, and playing match-the-
released-zanpakutou (Richard, you were right, we should have made
bingo cards).

Is Kenpachi MIA because Yachiru is (and is his zanpakutou?) or because
he doesn't have one? Is the so far unnamed leader of the badness
Kenny's neglected zanpakutou? Hisagi's Kazeshini is a nasty one, eh? I
think from the end credits Kyōraku's Katen Kyōkotsu is the elegant
looking pirate geisha queen?

Beautiful thoughtful character designs so far. I feel like the writers/
designers are trying to do justice to this story. I am stupidly
excited for this filler. Yay for Haineko's sass!
Message has been deleted


Aug 1, 2009, 11:27:16 AM8/1/09
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The leader of the badness said he was called Muramasa IIRC - - which is the name of a famous
16th century Japanese swordsmith.

And also a very beautiful looking Wii game - - obv taking the
same influence. Had to look it up because I knew I'd heard it there
before and so thought it must have *some* sort of relevance. I did
think maybe they were just fans of the game...


Aug 19, 2009, 11:25:40 AM8/19/09
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Oh FUCK YEAH episode 233!

*spoilers below for those who haven't watched it yet*

I knew as soon as I spotted Kurotsuchi Mayuri with his natural hair
all unruly, plugged in, and eyes rolling that this was not Bount or
Tuning Fork level filler. When the hollowfication kicked in I was
jumping around in my seat shouting 'WHAT NOW MOFOS?!?!" (meaning
mostly Muramasa I suppose...)

I'm thinking the defection/removal of Zangetsu resulted in an
imbalance in Ichigo's internal power base? This is going to fun
places! I kinda love hollow Ichigo's sass.

Also loving the hanging about banter of the Zanpakutōs. Hoping Mayuri
gets more plot time unraveling the mystery because as much as he
creeps me out I find him so much fun.

What you think of it?


Sep 13, 2009, 12:01:34 PM9/13/09
So, yeah. Things are getting a little ridiculous - Ichigo is hard
enough to beat his own bankai when it's basically running as hard as
it can? Good times!

The interesting thing is, though, the little byplay between White
Ichigo and the Vaizard mask/weird reptile form. WI never confirms he's
the source of the reptile form or the mask, but he seems to
specifically want to avoid the vaizard mask being used, which seems
interesting to me. Also, the form Ichigo took this time was more like
the form he took when he was first becoming a Vaizard, with the rapid
regeneration, etc, than the \m/ viking form he had as an over 9000
power level move in the manga, recently.

Basically, whitey's avoidance of saying "yeah, that was me" and his
insistence on avoiding the mask makes me think that maybe there's
something else sitting around inside ichigo also. The cover to manga
289 has four faces on it, two of which are human/shinigami, and two
are whitey and, maybe, the horned hollow form.

... and I don't know where I'm going with this, except that it seems
like vaizard powers don't make hollow ichigo very happy, which is
interesting in and of itself.

2009/8/20 XK <>:


Oct 16, 2009, 11:20:45 AM10/16/09
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Em brought up some anime points in the manga thread and I'm bring my
responses over here.

"Fingers crossed Unohana turns out to pwn everyone although
surprisngly the anime won recently on that front with a great bit of
double teaming by Matsumoto and Momo against their zanpaktou." -Em

I did dig the contrasting sisterhood combo of Matsumoto and Hinamori
against their cat fight prone zanpaktou. I am not digging that none of
the female shingami have remastered their zanpaktou in single combat
though I'm aware neither did Hisagi. I'm wondering if a bankai level
relationship with one's zanpaktou is the prerequisite for then being
able to remaster it. That I would accept after Unohana gets hers back.
Though I doubt we would see her in the much anticipated combat reveal
in the filler arc.

I am deeply enjoying the development of Renji through his conflict
with Zabimaru and I heartily enjoyed their standing up to Senbonzakura
even if it resulted in all around ass kicking.

The nature of filler arc keeps me from being as freaked out over
Byakuya's destruction of Sode no Shirayuki as I would be otherwise. I
am enjoying his apparent defection and deep resolve to protect his
pride. This is complex conflict instead of them vs. us and yet
revisits some of the power imbalances I enjoyed in the early part of
the Bount Arc (that was way more crappy though).

How much cross fertilization is there between te anime and the manga
in the other direction? While battling Byakuya, Sode no Shirayuki
used a new dance White Lotus?

Oct 17, 2009, 8:41:17 PM10/17/09
"While battling Byakuya, Sode no Shirayuki used a new dance White Lotus?"

And I noticed that Renji used the same semi-automatic Shakkahō with Byakuya as he did with Zabimaru. I don't remember him ever doing that before; is that a new attack? And didn't Ichi get some kind of Getsuga Tenshō power-up as well? Will these abilities show up in future canon arcs?

I'm thinking Sode no Shirayuki staged her death, and that she's part of a conspiracy between herself, Senbonzakura, and Byakuya to lull Muramasa into a false sense of security before defeating him. Remember that she came very close to chucking the rebellion and going back to Rukia before Muramasa intervened. I did like that brief moment when it looked as though Senbonzakura was grieving over Sode no Shirayuki's broken pieces.

"I am not digging that none of the female shinigami have remastered their zanpaktou in single combat though I'm aware neither did Hisagi."

Hisagi didn't even capture his Zanpaktou, even with Kira's help. Remember, the story is still young, we've only seen three full remasterings (Hieneko and Tobiume are back at large) and those were by people who had pretty good rapport with their swords to begin with. We haven't seen Soifon's Zanpaktou battle yet, which should be interesting. And I still believe that if it weren't for Muramasa, Rukia would have been the first to get hers back. And it would have been through kindness and love, rather than through combat, which would have been pretty damn cool.

Scott C.

Oct 18, 2009, 5:00:19 AM10/18/09
I think Dattebayo recently changed their subtitling policy so they're now translating all the technique names into English.  The one Sode no Shirayuki used was definitely "hakuren", the same one she's always had.  

I get the feeling that the filler writers aren't too concerned with the minutiae of the series.  It should be a HUGE deal that Renji can suddenly use dozens of kido spells in a row without incantations, but I doubt we're meant to take it that he's actually improved.  Another example is the use of Menos Grande... judging by recent events in the manga, we're apparently supposed to think they're at least somewhat of a threat.  The recent bad-ass moment would not have been nearly impressive if we believe the last filler arc where unseated members of 3rd division had little trouble against them.

It also seems like the filler plots unravel pretty quickly (as much as one can apply logic to a shonen series).  I'm still not sure why Renji was unable to use shikai in the last episode, when he clearly had no problem before and also subdued Zabimaru since then!  Ichigo seems to be completely back to normal, and Byakuya was using Senbonzakura as well.  I guess it's not that big a deal, but it seems like they should have plenty of manga material to animate by now. There is so much stuff that I'm very anxious to see!


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