Seven Coloured Compass

Beneath the starry sky, we'll meet once again.

Bleach: Soul Society・The Sneak Entry arc

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Ichigo is going against the clock in a race to save Rukia… will he accomplish his mission?!

Bleach season 2 logo

Name: Bleach: Soul Society・The Sneak Entry arc (season 2)

Japanese Name: ブリーチ: 尸魂界・潜入篇

Air Date: March 1 2005 – July 19 2005

Studio: Pierrot+

Episodes: 21

PLOT

After the events of the first season, shinigami – Rukia Kuchiki – is sentenced to death in Soul Society after performing the illegal act of transferring her powers to Ichigo Kurosaki. In order to save Rukia from her impending death, Ichigo trains to regain his shinigami powers and rallies his friends. Thus begins a perilous journey into Soul Society. There will be difficulties and many strong enemies to overcome, but nonetheless, that will not stop Ichigo and crew from their mission!

Moving on to season 2! I’m honestly glad I got Ixion Saga DT out of the way… I was THAT close to actually jumping into the series and beating the crap out of Kon. He was probably the most annoying protagonist I’d ever seen, hands down. Even more annoying than Tamaki from Hiiro no Kakera! Who would have thought?! Imagine Tamaki, and then times that by ten… then you’d end up with Kon. I also had enough with the amount of testicle jokes this series had… I don’t even know how I managed to cope. Sexual innuendos are not my thing, so the likely answer would be EREC-SAMA’S PRESENCE!

First Impressions

Ichigo has regained his lost shinigami powers whilst Chad, Ishida and Orihime have trained. All that training with Urahara certainly paid off then! Together, they shall rescue Rukia from her fate! But first off, they have to fight the captain of the third division, Gin Ichimaru. Gin has white hair and his eyes are shut like slits… it’s kinda scary plus he strolls around with that creepy smile on his face. You know that one that screams SADIST. He looks exactly like Hazama from BlazBlue except with white hair… oh my days… the face, the hair, they’re uncannily alike. Sadist, masochistic or whatever Gin is, I don’t know. What I do know is that he looks insanely powerful, and his strength is unimaginable since he’s a captain. Don’t beat up Ichigo too much, m’okay? He is my main comic relief so I kinda do need him… speaking of Ichigo, he’s gotten even funnier than I thought he was. Did you change the way you do things or… ? Actually, if you put him together with Ishida… these two are a comedy duo. They’re so synchronized with their way of thinking, even though they can’t stand each other; it’s hilarious that I’m almost crying. Ah, Ichigo~ I do love you.

Entering Soul SocietyEntering Soul Society… let the mission begin!

I feel so pitiful for Rukia and Byakuya. They’re siblings and yet Byakuya can’t do anything to save his sister from execution, without going against the higher-ups of Soul Society. That would be treason! It doesn’t help that Rukia turned herself in to protect Ichigo… honey, I know you want him to live a normal life but he can’t because he followed you into Soul Society so he can save you! He wants you to be there, standing next to him (ಥ_ಥ)sorry, I’m sounding rather soppy now so I’ll just stop. In all honesty, I could hug these two right now; Byakuya is my baby and Rukia, I just plain love her! WHY DID YOU HAVE TO BE SO CRUEL FATE?! WHY DID YOU HAVE TO DO THIS TO THEM?! My tears won’t stop but I know Ichigo will save her in time! Ganbarou, Ichigo!

Orihime is still managing to wind me up. I’m ripping my hair out just watching her ( ಠ益ಠ ) she has these cool spiritual powers (summoning these pixie-like beings who defend, heal or attack enemies) and yet she’s still dependent on people to save her. At this point, the one who saves her most is Ishida (yes, I’m counting) and man, does he have some tricks up his sleeve. Independent training sure pays off; Ishida proves that.

Lieutenant Renji Abarai. He reminds me of Ichigo so much. They don’t bear much resemblance to each other but somehow, I can’t help but see it that way. Renji is a lieutenant of the sixth division, therefore he is Byakuya’s subordinate since the latter is the captain of that respective squad. Well, Renji and Rukia have a bit of history together, however that hasn’t been explained yet… I want to know how these two are connected. I think these two may have been childhood friends or something along those lines, but I am only presuming this as I haven’t read the manga yet. And we all know that I can’t afford to buy every single volume… as much as I want to start reading Bleach, my purse is weeping. I spent all my money on buying a lovely pair of flip-flops from UGG. Nice. My solution? Start reading scans on mangareader or other sites! Back to my original point, Renji is a character I want to see more in the series. He’s only been introduced recently but he intrigues me the most. I wonder why… he’s cocky and arrogant, yet he’s admirable for his determination to save Rukia. That’s it. It’s official, you are by far my favourite Renji.

Midway Impressions

How do these producers think up all these title screens? Oh creative minds, I worship your mighty brains! Each and every episode title screen is unique and of course, differentiate from each other so no two are the same. It’s clever and must have taken a lot of considerable time and effort to come up with new ideas. I’ve never really noticed this until now *facepalms* god Jimmy, you can be quite the idiot sometimes. You really can be. But I guess that’s what my friends love about me… I’m the fool of the group xD *ahem* so yeah, the producers and animators are really imaginative to come up with so many! They had to do this for over three hundred episodes… did they never have artists block?!

Studio Pierrot are whipping out the big guns now, huh? Lieutenants and captains are being introduced one after the other, and prove to be obstacles for Ichigo and crew as time runs out. Rukia’s execution date has been drawn closer and Ichigo needs to pick up the pace, otherwise it’s bye-bye Rukia! I know they’re going to make it in time, but the suspense keeps on building and I’m just a ball of nerves now. GAH, I CAN’T TAKE IT ANY MORE! On the plus side, Izuru Kira makes his appearance! Izuru Kira is the lieutenant of the third division captain, Gin Ichimaru. I’ve been looking forward to seeing you, Kira-kun~ why do you like this loner character Jimmy? Hoho, I shall let you in on a secret my friends… he’s voiced by Takahiro Sakurai. Yes! The man behind so many wonderful characters in our lives such as Yamato Kurosawa and Luka Crosszeria! I am happy. Very happy.

Izuru Kira vs MomoLieutenant vs. Lieutenant… Izuru Kira vs. Momo Hinamori.

The answer to all of my questions surrounding Renji are finally answered in episode 32! Renji and Rukia first met in the same district when they were young. Rukia saved Renji and his friends from being captured by an angry salesman (they stole his water LOL). From then onwards, Renji and Rukia became very close friends. One day, they meet a shinigami from their district and the idea of becoming shinigamis was planted in their minds. When all their other friends passed away, both decided to enroll at the Soul Society academy. Renji was intelligent and did exceptionally well. Rukia on the other hand received a request from the Kuchiki clan; they wanted to adopt her, graduate her from the academy immediately and place her in the thirteen squads. Thinking that would be what’s best for Rukia, Renji regretfully told her to accept the proposal as she would be able to live a better life. My heart feels like it’s been torn and my heartstrings have been pulled constantly throughout this episode. This overwhelming pain in my chest is one of sadness and I can’t help but tear up when I hear his past. When it concerns Rukia, Renji almost loses himself; he even begs Ichigo to save her. He cares for her so much that he begs his enemy to rescue her. That’s deep love… MY FEELINGS HAVE BEEN PLAYED WITH 。・゜・(ノД`)・゜・。

Overall Opinion

Things have really started to pick up in season 2 as it excels in everything which made the first season so great! Ichigo Kurosaki and his friends have infiltrated Soul Society with the intent of rescuing Rukia Kuchiki. After the events of the previous season, Rukia is held captive by her fellow shinigami and is condemned to die. Her crime – transferring her shinigami powers to Ichigo, thus betraying the rules of Soul Society. Unable to let his friend die at the hands of the higher-ups, Ichigo, Orihime, Chad, Ishida and Yoruichi stop at nothing to save their comrade.

For those who are action-loving anime junkies, then Bleach is the series for you. Bleach is a character driven shounen anime, constantly growing in popularity. If you have watched the first season, it should be easy to notice that the second installment to the Bleach universe is more action-packed and intense compared to its predecessor. The fighting scenes are breathtakingly amazing and I was often lost for words or too astonished to comprehend what happened. Sometimes it was difficult for me to comprehend because of the logic behind each and every move; how does Ichigo manage to survive a fatal wound etc. Ichigo defies all odds and manages to be victorious for the majority of battles. He overcomes the obstacles obstructing him and defeats even some of the most well known shinigami in Soul Society. Character development for Ichigo is by far the best… probably because this season was more focused on him than others!

Once again, the animation is still the same high-standard as it was from the previous season. Sill as visually appealing as ever, Bleach continues to grasp my attention and interest in every way possible. The unique Pierrot style is what makes Bleach look as beautiful as it does and my highest praise goes towards the battle sequences. Like its predecessor towards the end of the season, the battle sequences in season two were just as elaborate and dynamic, if not perhaps slightly more. With battles involving Ichigo, the battles clearly demonstrate his growing strength in spirit power and resolve as well as boasting the abilities of the squad leaders. These abilities were unique and animated beautifully so one would not be confused for the other, for example, Byakuya’s zanpakuto’s first form: shikai.

Watch thisWhat’s the bet that Ganju will actually get that into the wall? xD

SPOILER: After his fight with the eleventh division captain – Kenpachi Zaraki – Ichigo’s life is saved by Yoruichi. At the same time, Ganju and Hanatarou (a member of the fourth division) arrive at the location where Rukia is held. Ganju discovers Rukia was the shinigami who murdered his brother Kaien Shiba, and becomes infuriated. Byakuya Kuchiki (Rukia’s adoptive brother), captain of the sixth division appears and Ganju decides to fight him. As Ichigo awakens, Yoruichi reveals that she is actually a woman. Afterwards, Yoruichi shows Ichigo a device that allowed her to fly, and Ichigo uses it to go save Ganju and Hanataro. Meanwhile, Byakuya easily defeats Ganju with his shikai, but is then stopped by the thirteenth division captain, Jushiro Ukitake. Ichigo arrives and fights Byakuya. Before Byakuya can activate his shikai, Yoruichi stops him.

Throughout this season, many of the secondary and tertiary characters we grew to love in the first season did not appear as much in this sequel. Characters such as the grouchy teddy bear Kon, tomboy Tatsuki, Ichigo’s outgoing father and schemer Kisuke Urahara don’t get much screen time at all. In fact, most of the season focuses on Ichigo, Ganju and a bunch of new shinigami. Even primary characters like Chad, Orihime and Ishida aren’t seen as much compared to season 1 so this time round, the limelight is rather limited for them though they do deserve it. Personally, I wasn’t bothered by this at all (though I wish I saw more of Ishida) mainly because I was distracted by the great action, story and suspense as well as the fact that Orihime wasn’t present most of the time. But for those who are fans of these characters, you may not enjoy this season as much as the last one. Their lack of appearances may make you cry.

The soundtrack for season 2 remains the same as season 1, however there is the exception of a new opening theme and two ending themes. Japanese rock band and one of my all time favourites, UVERworld, perform the opening ‘D-Technolife’ and is definitely something I wouldn’t regret having on my iPod. The meaningful lyrics can be related to, the composition is pretty much top-notch and goes hand in hand with the opening animated sequence.

Bleach is a series that needs to be watched by all anime fans. The action and suspense of season 2 will keep you on the edge of your seat and biting your fingernails (not literally, but you know what I mean). The characters really begins to grow on you and ultimately makes Bleach a series you will want to see through to the end. Bleach: Soul Society・The Sneak Entry is where the story really begins to get good and there are no signs of it losing momentum within the next few seasons. I can’t wait to move onto season 3!

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