As you can tell, the Bleach spotlight is over. Once Ichigo utilized the Hyperbolic Time Chamber with his dad to learn his new “final” technique and go a step beyond Aizen. Ichigo loses his powers, the ultimate evil Aizen is defeated, and the series should have ended right there. If only that were the case since the Fullbring Arc takes place next and I actually couldn’t believe that the series was continuing. They went off and decided to explain the basis of Chad and Orihime’s abilities while setting up for the final arc involving the Quincy. Apparently it’s pretty good but my interest in Bleach dropped off a sheer cliff after Ichigo first lost his powers.
So with my entry into the new-gen, I finally got my chance to continue with the Souls-Borne series and now Bloodborne can finally have it’s turn. We start off with the opening theme of the game where we get an ominous menu/load theme to welcome us back into the nightmare. It’s definitely one of the louder and upfront intro themes in the series.
In the clear
Every waking hour is either rewatching Gametrailers Retrospectives or stretching my right index finger since Trails in the Sky is a very text-heavy and clickety click game. I should really find a way to run without holding the mouse down but whatever. It’s nice having a lot to do but you’ve probably heard me say that a bunch of times already this entire season.
So instead of wasting more time getting sentimental on how much more I’m enjoying the two main mediums of entertainment, let’s talk more about Bleach. After some filler and more fights starring ruse-master Aizen, we move into the final segments of the Fake Karakura Town arc were the Vizards are here to play and Aizen remains to troll even harder. Aside from the music being exciting accompanied by its smooth visuals and actions scenes, the reason I’m showcasing this is the mightiest feature any opening can pull on me: Nostalgia. The last few seconds has the scenes play back in reverse and shows us the earlier scenes in the series when these kids being in highschool was a relevant point and the first meeting between Ichigo and Rukia as well as the butterfly the latter sent out.
Off we go
The nostalgia train is in full effect since I’ve reread a couple things to prepare for the next season as well as rereading even more series to jog my memory on exactly why I liked a series in the first place. Hell, I even watched the latest Naruto episodes where everyone is wracking their heads to get a gift for Naruto and Hinata, it’s relaxing and unbelievably strange watching. Couple that with having Sleeping Dogs and Trails in the Sky in my backlog and I’ve got myself more things than I realized to do. That’s as far as my explanations for the delay goes.
This week’s Bleach opening marks the entry into the Fake Karakura Town Arc, the real point in the series where the series starts to tank. Whereas the monotonous fights were broken up with getting to specific locations and even some infighting in the Arrancars, the FKT arc features non-stop fighting between the rest of the Court Guard Squad leaders and Aizen’s retinue of his two subordinates along with the Top 3 Espadas with their underlings. That isn’t to say all of it was bad, but how it was handled with Aizen being so laughably strong was what really soured the experience. I never cared for Harribel but Starkk and Barragan’s stories were just fine, the lieutenants getting their chance to shine was fine, Hisagi and Jobmamura’s confrontation with Tousen was fine, the Vizards were fine, even Gin’s conclusion was fine, but all of that led up to Aizen plowing through them all and he himself getting plowed in one shot by Ichigo fresh out of the Hyperbolic Time Gap with his dad.
Been rereading some stuff and catching up with Hero Academia and the former point just had me on a huge nostalgia trip this week. This eventually culminated into some nostalgia for the Big Three when “things were better” so I might just dedicate some nostalgia based remembrance musings later on, but I usually save such talks for these kinds of segments anyway.
So where Bleach is involved, I guess this is a good time to start. Opening 7 is probably my favorite opening and of course, has largely to do with Asian Kung Fu Generation being hype as hell. The visuals themselves are not as exciting as previous intros but we all have that one visual of an opening we come back to and the Espadas entering the room and presenting themselves was definitely it for this one. I give a lot of shit on Bleach for its “Mexico Arc” but I can still say without too much regret that it was still somewhat exciting. Exciting exactly because it was the beautifully and diversely designed Espadas that, while cliche in introducing a new evil organization, were still very much their own characters. Much like how the Akatsuki from Naruto were arguably one of the best things about the series before the big reveal, the Espada were the ones to look forward to, even Aizen’s abilities were going to be insane as we predicted. It was probably the lack of Aizen’s bullshit abilities that made this arc more palpable than the Fake Karakura Town because that’s were things REALLY got out of hand.
My lack of patience made me cancel that Nioh order that was taking a whole month to get me. I was thinking of saving money through my Prime account nabbed me at around 10 dollars but if I really wanted it, I could have just walked to my local Gamestop to pick it up. DMC4: SE has been sustaining me for a bit and I realized at how the PS3 version took 4 gigs on its own. DMC4 was my first PS3 game and I remember it being the only game I had for an entire year and the nostalgia hit me like a ton of bricks but with some more gigs to work with, I can finally practice Guilty Gear.
Anyways, the week already started strong with Onihei’s stellar episode so I’m in great mood for the next few episodes. Looking ahead, we have the conclusion of Tooru’s story in Seiren, Masamune is one episode away from the “final” arc’s start, and Demi-chan is something I still haven’t caught up with but I still have good hopes for more Sensei.
Moving onto the opening for this week, we skip Bleach’s 4 opening since that covers one of the infamous filler arcs in the series. Bleach’s filler arcs are something I thankfully never had to watch but I do hear terrible things about them. I admit to liking one of the openings for the later filler arcs but the Bount Arc is something that never really interested me in the slightest. So on we go to the actual continuation of the Soul Society Arc with the introduction of Arrancars, the advanced forms of hollows. A lot of songs from yui sound similar but coupled with the visuals of urban battle, I can at least say the Arrancar arc is the least boring out of the next few arcs to come.
I completely forgot the Special Edition for DMC4 existed and promptly got it. Now with around 5-6 modes and 4 character modes to mess around with, I think I’ll be good for a bit until all the actually “new new” stuff release/ship to me. It’s exactly because of my completionism that I’m going through every mode with every character that made me late on this one so at least I’m entertained.
I’ll tell you one thing though, Onihei’s episode from last week and this week’s were absolutely fantastic and I’m really looking forward to some competition if any of this week’s other episodes can entertain me as greatly. Moving on to the music, I had a tough time deciding which version of the prolific 3rd ending for Bleach that showcased all 13 of its variations with their Captain and Vice Captain. So give a real quick rundown, I never cared for Squads 1, 2, and 4 were unmemorable while Squad 3 had all the flak going on. Squad 5 was of course interesting because of smug glasses Aizen which I rarely ever associate with him again because he spends so much time in the series without the glasses, and the whole deal with his subordinate never mattered again. 6 had prettyboy Byakuya and cool guy Renji so it was a half and half. 7 never mattered to me because its captain was jobber #1 who pulled out his bankai willy nilly while his lieutenant NEVER mattered. 8 was pretty cool since Shunsui was always the coolest. 9 had Hisagi and I’m enough of a Katsuyuki Konishi fan to overlook Tousen and his betrayal. I never liked Hitsugaya and Rangiku only remained interesting with her parts with Gin. Squad 11 was never not entertaining but it was somewhat bullshit as the series went on. Squad 12 was the weirdo divison, Squad 13 was also pretty uninteresting and I always notice how Jushiro’s shikai release animation was recycled so many times throughout the series.
Critical stuff aside, these were quite the entertaining things to watch back when the entire Soul Society arc gave us a window to the lives of its big players. The little start with the main crew making their way to their destination always helped with the scope of how large the Soul Society as a geographical location piqued the explorer bit in me. A lot of personality went into these and it was the large part of why Bleach was successful and also why it tapered of. A big cast is always fun to work with but finding a way to constantly incorporate them into other ideas leads to its misuse.
The long haul
Considering on re-purchasing Demon’s Souls for posterity while maybe getting Phantom Pain to hold me over for a month before the last Dark Souls 3 DLC comes out. But I just preordered Nioh so none of that is going to matter for a few months. I appreciate that I can finally get into some serious youkai slaying that doesn’t involve me being a wolf.
And speaking of youkai slaying with or without swords, we continue with Bleach’s music spotlight with its 3rd opening. It still focuses on the Soul Society and its final moments were our resident Mr. Perfect Pretty boy Byakuya fights against Ichigo who just got out of the hyperbolic time chamber and got access to his bankai. I don’t lie that seeing these things were cool but the whole shtick of bankais being only accessible in some ridiculous odds to any shinigami in their lifetime and then having most of the cast show off theirs in the following arcs killed off its specialty. But consider this one of the last markers of when Bleach was still widely accepted as being “good”.