Bleach Episode #363 Anime Review

Bleach Episode #363 Anime Review The fights rage on, empty as they are in the end.

What They Say:
The Soul Reapers take on the Xcution members in one-on-one battles. Meanwhile, Ichigo and Uryu prepare to take on Ginjo.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the clarity given about the Xcution members and the arrival of the Soul Society captains, the show moved easily into the one on one match formula that has long dominated the series. These often do have some really good moments, when there are strong ties to events that are going on, but with the show ending in just a few episodes you know we’re not going to get extended fights that lasts for too many episodes. Everything is going to be handled more qiuckly, which for some removes the fun but for others will get us to the more enjoyable material quicker. There’s something to be said for shortening such material in general as it might have made Bleach a tighter and more enjoyable series. Still, with it being at the end of its run, it’s hard to begrudge it anything.

Unfortunately, with most of the Xcution members being fairly basic in what’s been revealed about them over the time we’ve spent with them, it doesn’t make for a really engaging series of fights. What works in its favor is that since it’s been awhile since we’ve seen those from the Soul Society, and time has passed, they have a slightly different air about them, a little older, a little more serious (mostly) and definitely more intent on just finishing this out. They’ve had their reasons for growing intensity in training as the threats that they still have to face are severe indeed, so they’re not exactly getting a huge workout here from the secondary members of the group. There is some closure that needs to b dealt with here with what Ginjo is and his origins, but for the rest of Xcution, they’re just simple exercises to be dealt with.

The fights here are particularly good overall, especially with Renji as he has a certain coolness that he exudes at times that has been hard to come across during earlier arcs in the series because of his attitude. With his newfound focus on getting prepared to go against Aizen, he’s matured a bit and it’s definitely made him a lot more fun to watch. The same can be said for Ikaku in a way, though he’s more of a barroom brawler here, as he just has a kind of glee while going up against an opponent he doesn’t have to work much about, letting them get lulled into a sense of security before getting trampled on pretty well. The ones I wanted to see more of, like Kenpachi and Byakuya, get only a brief mention here but they’re more set up for the next episode so that definitely gives you something to look forward to.

In Summary:
While my expectations for this arc did drop fairly well once it was made clear that this was the end run and not the setup for something bigger, I’m still enjoying the show a good bit simply because it’s just down to the action at this point. While we’ve had a lot of time dealing with Ichigo as the main player, he’s shuffled off to the side here so that the Soul Society members can get their last blaze of glory before the show goes off the air. The fights here are fun and both Ikkaku and Renji get some good time to showcase their growth and abilities and there’s a lot to like about it, but it’s pretty much fluff when you get down to it since it’s just working through the cast until it gets to the end. It’s fun but that’s about it.

Grade: B

Readers Rating: [ratings]

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

Review Equipment:
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.