Seven Coloured Compass

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Bleach: The Bount・Assault on Soul Society arc

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The Bounts have entered Soul Society… what’s going to happen?! And how will they be stopped?!

Bleach season 3 logo

Name: Bleach: The Bount・Assault on Soul Society arc (season 5)

Japanese Name: ブリーチ: バウント・尸魂界強襲篇

Air Date: August 8 2006 – January 4 2007

Studio: Pierrot+

Episodes: 18

PLOT

The Bounts arrive in the Soul Society and find themselves battling two shinigami lieutenants, but the abundance of reishi in Soul Society gives the Bounts a ready source of power, rendering them formidable opponents. Meanwhile, it is discovered that Maki Ichinose, the banished shinigami helping the Bounts, has infiltrated Seireitei and has been secretly manipulating their data. What strategies will play out, and how can Ichigo and his allies stop them?

Well since seasons 4 and 5 were meant to be fillers so that Tite Kubo could come up with more material, this anime exclusive arc isn’t as strong as its predecessors. But I gotta hand it to them, they know how to make me loathe an antagonist. Jin actually grinds my nerves and he is a complete and utter BASTARD. But at the same time, I can’t help but feel sorry for him… WHAT ARE THESE CONFLICTED FEELINGS I AM HAVING?!

I’ve finished Free! so it’s about time I caught up with Bleach. I am also watching Kuroko’s Basketball 2, Diabolik Lovers, and BlazBlue: Alter Memory, so there’s a lot going on for me. A review for Brothers Conflict and Bleach season 6 is also in the works, so keep an eye out for it when they’re posted!

First Impressions

Ever since the Bounts infiltrated Soul Society, the Head Commander and First Division captian – Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto – holds a meeting with all the division captains to discuss the new threat. Toshirou Hitsugaya is tasked with defeating the Bount, and all captains are ordered to kill any intruders without hesitation. The mission to hunt down the Bounts has begun. At the same time, Ichigo and friends enter Soul Society to assist in the hunt for the Bounts. Meanwhile, it is discovered by Yoruichi that Maki Ichinose – the shinigami turned traitor assisting the Bounts – manipulated Twelfth Divison captain, Mayuri into opening the gate of Soul Society. Why is a shinigami assisting the enemy? I mean, there has to be some sort of logical explanation right? Even if this was explained in the last season, I still can’t get my head around this. Maki, Jin has been manipulating you from the start! Turn back now before it’s too late… or so I’d like to say, but he needs to stop following someone else and create his own path on his own. Did I just get deep there? That’s so unlike meO_o

The Bounts were created accidentally through an experiment in Soul Society involving eternal life. The experiment went disastrously wrong which affected a large portion of souls in the cycle of rebirth, thus a mutated strain of humans with abnormal abilities was born known as Bounts. The shinigami behind the research was called Rantao and to atone for their sin, they was banished from Seireitei. I don’t know Rantao’s gender so I’m referring to them as ‘they’ etc. For those who don’t know (well I never explained this), Seireitei is where the thirteen squads and shinigami reside, and is the centre of Soul Society. So if it is dominated by the Bounts… then that is a VERY bad thing, because all the shinigami will be annihilated. Wow. That was a nice way of putting it ^^;

Rukia faces off against the Bount, Yoshi, in Rukongai. Because Rukia’s Spirit Pressure hasn’t fully recovered yet, she is at a disadvantage; especially since Yoshi has absorbed a fair dosage of souls from living humans, thus she easily overwhelms Rukia’s kido. Yoshi takes a girl hostage and demands Rukia to drop her sword, otherwise the girl will be harmed. Rukia complies and Yoshi is about to deliver the final blow until Byakuya comes to the rescue (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧. you can always count on Byakuya for an effective entrance! I often wonder if he stands by and waits for that golden opportunity because he always arrives at the perfect moment… it’s kinda… hot, in a strange sort of way (¬‿¬) *ahem* putting aside the über hotness of Byakuya, his relationship with Rukia is rather adorable. That evening after saving Rukia and tending to her injuries, Byakuya goes out to fight Jin alone. Jin taunts Byakuya saying that he is fighting to avenge Rukia however, Byakuya responds coolly that he only needs to destroy enemies of Soul Society… you lie man! You’re so doing it for Rukia! Every little action he does, there’s always a hidden meaning behind it and that’s what makes me love him all the more ゚+.(*ノωヾ*)ャン♪+゚ Byakuya, LET ME LOVE YOU BABY.

Byakuya catches RukiaI squealed so loud when this happened… BYAKUYA!! >////<

Midway Impressions

Soi Fon – captain of the second division – finds herself against one of the Bounts, Mabashi (voiced by OnoD asdfghjkl). Mabashi uses his doll, Ritz, to possess and control a person’s mind and body, so as part of Jin’s plan, Mabashi possesses the majority of shinigami in Seireitei and uses them to attack one another causing infighting amongst the shinigami. Of course Soi Fon catches onto this very quickly, and deduces that if she defeats the controller, the shinigami would return to normal. She’s so smart! Eurgh I’m so jealous (╥_╥) and she’s pretty and strong so I’m even more jealous! Soi Fon possesses a mind that allows her to think quickly in dire situations – a trait needed by all captains of the Thirteen Court Divisions. So when she is struck with a poison, she heals herself using her zanpakuto’s Shikai, Suzumebachi. Earlier on, Soi Fon left a journey’s crest on Mabashi using Suzumebachi and releasing it through the command “Jinteki Shakusetsu”. Mabashi taunts her and says she’s going to die soon, but Soi Fon acts as if she is still poisoned. When Mabashi’s guard is down, Soi Fon strikes him again on the hornet’s crest left before with Suzumebachi and he dies. Well played. Well played Soi Fon…

Mabashi and Soi FonMabashi, you’re just going to jinx yourself if you carry on mocking her…

Now it’s Mayuri turn to face off against the Bounts! Mayuri (twelfth division captain if you can’t remember) goes head to head with Sawatari – the oldest of the Bounts. Sawatari’s doll is Baura who has a whale-like appearance which Sawatari sits upon. Baura has a dimension in its stomach where anyone that is swallowed by Baura will die if they stay in him too long. So these two exchange a lot of big-headed remarks and how they overpower one another, but we all know who’s going to win in the end. I mean, it’s fairly obvious. No? *Sigh*so Mayuri uses his zanpakuto in its shikai form to paralyse Sawatari’s right arm – even if he absorbs reishi, his arm will not recover from paralysis. Sawatari and Baura withdraw but Mayuri manages to track down where they are headed. However in a fit of rage, Sawatari orders to Baura attack causing severe damage to Mayuri’s body. Angered, Mayuri releases his Bankai which emits a poison made of his own blood. In retaliation, Sawatari transfers his Spirit Pressure to Baura, however Mayuri’s Bankai critically stabs Baura. When a doll is killed, it’s owner does so as well. So Sawatari dies \(^o^)/ I never thought I’d say this, but you go Mayuri!

God I am so sorry for the spoiler fest! I didn’t realise I wrote that much, but I think it comes from the fact that I really dislike the Bounts, and also the character growth is quite decent plus, I saw some action which I’m content with. I think it’s also because I’m WAY into this. Bleach has officially taken over my life, and I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing or not… no serious! I’m starting to plaster my room with Bleach decorations, I’ve got loads of key-rings dangling from one key (what is the point of that anyway?), and my phone and iPod wallpapers all have something to do with Bleach. What am I doing with my life? I have this unhealthy obsession with Byakuya, Gin, Toshirou, and Grimmjow and it just won’t stop m’kay?! Don’t tell me otherwise! xD

Overall Opinion

The Bount arc has been brought to an end. Did it end on a high, or low? This season, like the previous one, wasn’t adapted from the Bleach manga as the first three seasons were, and it shows. This story line didn’t have the punch or kick that the earlier ones did. Yes, the Bount’s doll’s were fun weapons for them to wield, but the Bounts themselves weren’t really all that unique, as far as villains go. They possessed neither the creativity of the Hollows nor the personalities of the Captains. They were rather bland, and uninteresting, so they were difficult to sympathize with. I found it hard to feel sorry for them, and the only Bount who managed to gain my sympathy was Jin… and he had so much of my hatred at the start.

Added to that was the plot: a group of people invading Soul Society in order to receive something or someone. Wait a minute… isn’t this what happened in seasons two and three? The Bounts even fight the same Captains that Ichigo and friends faced in the previous two seasons. It was more than a coincidence, I’m sure. This whole season had a feeling of been-there-done-that which never really faded, and constantly repeated itself. It was nothing new or fresh. There was no spark, or excitement – except from the occasional action-packed battle. Reliving the previous three seasons wasn’t exactly what I was asking for, but it’ll have to do I guess.

Episode108StoppingMesserByakuya’s Senbonzakura Kageyoshi stopping Messer’s full power.

That’s not to say that this season was bad or worthless, it’s not. There are some exciting battles and some cool moments. The problem is that the show is just retreading old stories, but those stories were good, so you could do worse. That’s not to say this season was exceptional either. There wasn’t much in terms of development for the villains; there was plenty for Ichigo etc. but not for the Bounts. Sure there was a bit here and there for Jin Kariya and Go Koga… but what about the others? What were their reasons for joining Jin in the first place? Power? Glory? Revenge? Nothing was ever made clear for the other Bounts, so they basically sat around doing nothing unless needed. I was thinking to myself “do they even need to be there?” for the majority of this season, but I bet that’s what most people thought as well… please say I wasn’t the only one!

The soundtrack, as said for the previous season, doesn’t reach the bold, rich sound it achieves for its best scenes. Other than that, the rest of the soundtrack is still the same as always.  There is a change in opening and ending themes: the opening changes from ‘Tonight, Tonight, Tonight’ by Beat Crusaders, to ‘Rolling Star’ by Yui whilst the ending changes from ‘MOVIN!!’ by Takacha to ‘Baby It’s You’ by June. Yui’s song used for the opening had me laughing at points… because when she said “rolling” I thought she said “lolling” which I found rather amusing. But it was either the pronunciation, or just my hearing. Did anyone else notice this? Or was it just me, as usual? The soundtrack turns in a typical quality effort, though it never quite reaches the bold, rich sound it achieves for the best scenes. The Bount-specific themes, with their ominously-whispered words, set a good mood for the content but lack the dramatic punch of heavier themes used in other arcs (yes, I just copied and pasted that part from my last Bleach review, because c’mon it was technically the same).

Everybody gets at least some attention in these episodes – Byakuya’s affection for Rukia, Ichigo’s wavering determination, and the ever-manic Zaraki gets to wipe the floor (both physically and philosophically/mentally) with the whiny, hypocritical Maki Ichinose. And an extra episode at the end of the season provides flashbacks of Rukia’s first solo assignment, Renji’s promotion, and Ichigo’s ‘ordinary’ life prior to receiving the powers of a shinigami which included comforting the soul of a young girl who died in a car crash prior to the series start. Although season 5 was primarily focused on the Bounts and their objectives, the spotlight lent more towards the shinigami of Soul Society, and Uryuu Ishida. At least, that’s what I think.

SPOILER: With the defeat of the Bounts and their leader,  Ichigo, Rukia, and Renji lament on their pasts whilst they’re in the Kuchiki household. Soul Society finally recognises the existence of the Bounts, but Ichigo states that even though Jin wanted to erase the Bounts’ existence, he ironically left a stronger impression. Both Ichigo and Renji are later scolded by Byakuya for creating a ruckus with their arguing (seriously I could ship Ichigo and Renji right now). Later on when Ichigo and the others return to the Human World, a mysterious figure approaches Karakura Town thus setting the base for season 6.

The Bount arcs served as decent fillers, and I’m glad to see that things were resolved, and also the Bounts got the recognition they deserved. It was after all, Soul Society, who created them so they have to take responsibility. That’s it from me, now I better get some college work done before I panic and do it last minute ^^;

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