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Ichigo Kurosaki has come a long way since he first encountered Rukia Kuchiki, gaining the powers of a soul reaper. Having rescued Rukia from certain death, Ichigo now holds the rank of substitute reaper in the Soul Society, but in gaining this honour he has made a powerful enemy in Sōsuke Aizen, who creates the Arrancar. Both Ichigo’s reaper powers, and the power which he draws from his hollow form, allow him to beat off the Arrancar’s attack, but not before Orihime Inoue is kidnapped. When the Soul Society refuses to help, Ichigo and his companions set off to rescue their friend...
Bleach: Series 8 - Part 1 (2007-2008) picks up the story where the last season ended, as such the season was broadcast under the title The Arrancar 2: The Fierce Fight (Arankaru Gekitō Hen). Based on Tite Kubo's Bleach manga series, the show was directed by Noriyuki Abe.
If it isn’t broke then don’t try to fix it seems to be the philosophy of the show, so this season has another set of endless fights, mostly concentrating on a single character for two episodes at a time. The format places the hero or heroine in mortal danger, so that they can run through their various special moves, before inevitably defeating their opponent.
The first part of season eight is presented as a two disc DVD set containing episodes 152 to 159, the episode numbering being continuous since season one. At eight episodes the shows break down to two each for Ichigo, Rukia, Uryū, one for Chad and one reserved for some actual story progression.
Disc one continues with the high value production, of which the show was justifiably proud, though there are times when the overall quality appears to be slipping. There are options for either an English 5.1 or the original Japanese 2.0 audio track. Extras are limited to production art and textless opening and closing sequences.
The show is increasingly becoming one for fans only, who will look for the moments of humour, but mostly for the battles, which are taking even longer than before. As such, the casual viewer might feel that the actual story progression is slow at best and in some episodes non-existent.