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Bleach: 05: The Substitute

Score: 90%
Rating: Not Rated
Publisher: Viz Media
Region: 1
Media: DVD/1
Running Time: 100 Mins.
Genre: Anime/Action
Audio: English/ Japanese


  • Clean Ending
  • Production Art
  • Stickers
  • Bleach CCG Card

Bleach 05: The Substitute features the last four episodes of the show's opening story arc, "The Substitute" (or "Agent of the Shinigami"), leading into the "Sneaky Entry" arc. Keeping with one of the underlying themes of the show, the four episodes find several characters in similar situations as they prepare to enter the spirit world and rescue Rukia from the Soul Society.

Episode 17 opens with Ichigo facing down the two Soul Reapers, Renji and Byakuya, who have come to collect Rukia. Although Ichigo is able to match Renji blow-for-blow, he is overpowered when Renji is able to trigger his "initial release," allowing him to transform his sword into a powerful weapon and overwhelm Ichigo.

Although Ichigo is able to make a surprising comeback and almost beats Renji, Byakuya steps in and strikes Ichigo down with a single blow. The two Reapers then take Rukia back to the Soul Society for her trial and leave Ichigo stripped of his powers and dying. Ichigo's life is saved by the shopkeeper, Mr. Urahara; he also agrees to help Ichigo rescue Rukia, but only if he accepts his training to regain his powers.

With the school year coming to an end in Episode 18, Ichigo finds himself despondent that only Chad and Orihime seem to remember that Rukia even existed. As Ichigo enters his training with Mr. Urahara, Yoruichi, a talking cat, offers to train Orihime and Chad to better control their powers so they can join Ichigo's quest. Meanwhile, Ichigo's soul is separated from his body and thrown into a pit; if Ichigo isn't able to regain his powers in 72 hours, he'll become a hollow.

As Chad and Orihime continue their training in Episode 19, Ichigo finds himself in a dire situation. With his soul chain growing shorter, Ichigo is able to enter his mind and discover his inner power, allowing him to unleash his inner spirit, Zangetsu, and regain his powers.

Episode 20 finds the newly empowered Ichigo locked in combat with Mr. Urahara. During the battle, Ichigo manages to unleash his own "initial release," Zangetsu, and defeats Mr. Urahara in a spectacular display of power. Chad and Orihime also finish their training and, along with Ishida, who has also been training in isolation, join Ichigo as he ventures to the Soul Society.

There isn't much to say about Bleach 05: The Substitute that hasn't already been said about previous installments. The final four episodes of the first arc complete the development of Ichigo as a character, as well as finally initiating Chad and Orihime into the great scheme of things. Although his screen time is limited, Ishida even grows a bit as a character; he willingly joins Ichigo and the others, though he still holds on to just a bit of his rivalry with Ichigo.

The fifth set includes the same extras as the previous four, including production sketches and stickers, although it also includes a special foil-stamped card for the Bleach CCG.

As always, Bleach 05: The Substitute is a must buy for fans while newcomers will definitely want to check out previous sets first.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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