Bleach Uncut Box Set: Season 4, Part 1 - The Bount 2009 Horror Movie Review
Horror movies Review
According to Merriam-Webster, filler is “a substance added to a product (as to increase bulk, weight, viscosity, opacity, or strength).”
Well, it’s not a precise description, but it does explain the function of anime filler: episodes not based on the manga it springs from. And “Bleach Uncut Box Set: Season 4, Part 1 - The Bount” anime begins an entire arc not based on Tite Kubo’s manga, although it still manages to be pretty suspenseful, funny and action-packed.
The day after the gang’s return to the living world, Orihime is suddenly sucked into a vast replica of the Hell Gate, by a doppelganger of her brother. Her kidnappers are the mysterious Ririn, Kuroudo and Noba—and they quickly lure Ichigo, Uryu, Chad and Renji on a series of bizarre games. First it’s a chase around town, then a surreal maze in the local museum. Finally, they’re brought back to school, where they must uncover who the imposter among them is… or everyone will vanish.
It turns out that these three weirdos are all working for an old friend, to prepare Ichigo and Co. (plus Rukia and Renji) for a massive fight against the immortal soul-sucking Bounts. The Bounts have recently started consuming living human souls, and for some reason they are also allied with a rogue Soul Reaper named Maki Ichinose. What’s more, their cruel leader Jin Kariya wants to get his hands on Uryu, for a secret plan to do… something.
Filler episodes in anime are usually pretty bad—at the very least, they bend the characters into doing and saying odd things. For the most part, “Bleach Season 4 Part 1” avoids that tendency—there’s still plenty of weird individual powers, sword fights and bloody action, as well as duels between floating fire creatures, snakes, living waterspouts, metal spiders and little flying eyeballs with teeth. The Bounts, they have some mean powers.
But the story is hampered by an over-reliance on flashbacks (is this “Bleach” or “Lost”?), and the story sometimes slows to a crawl. The dialogue is still plenty of fun (“You guys are checking each other out!”) and there’s plenty of comic relief (Ichigo trying to find a toy that satisfies Ririn). And the writers spin up some intriguing backstory for the treacherous Maki Ichinose and the Bounts—they’re not very scary or imposing compared to Hollows or Aizen, but they’ll do for a filler arc.
Ichigo and his amazing abs (you could grate cheese on them!) make a good return in this arc, but he seems to have lost some key brain cells—he’s a smart guy, yet he doesn’t know that blowing up a fire extinguisher and leaping down an elevator shaft might not be a good idea? Still, our orange-haired hero remains a likable protagonist who emanates hardcore determination to protect his buddies.
Uryu is explored in detail, struggling with his recent loss of powers, and the knowledge that he is now a burden and a danger to his superpowered friends. And the writers do a good job with the supporting characters—Chad, feisty Renji, strong-willed Rukia and quirky Orihime (“I remember there was tea!”). The Bounts aren’t really explored much yet, but the three mod-souls are fun characters: Ririn is a rather shrill little bird-girl, Kuroudo a flamboyant bunny purse (yes, Rukia DOES love him), and Noba is a little ninja turtle who is almost as quiet as Chad.
“Bleach Uncut Box Set: Season 4, Part 1” provides a pretty solid introduction to “Bleach’s” first filler arc, and despite some flaws, it’s still pretty fun to watch. Just be prepared to fast-forward sometimes.