Bleach Episode #331 Review

Bleach Episode #331 Review Nozomi may have the power, but she hasn’t truly awoken yet to it.

What They Say:
Nozomi wishes to join the battle against the Reigai, believing her Zanpakuto may stand a chance against Kageroza’s Zanpakuto. But the Soul Reapers are unable to completely trust Nozomi due to her power not being fully awakened yet. Ichigo and his friends decide to help Nozomi by training her to reach Shikai.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While Nozomi has gotten to be a bit more accepted by everyone, and the very small group in particular with Ichigo and his other human friends, Nozomi is still on the outside a bit when it comes to the other members of the Soul Society. With the way she’s acted up until now, it’s not a surprise that they’re less than trusting, though they’re giving her space to prove herself. She’s definitely showing her age in this as she goes on about wanting to help and that her Zakpakuto may be the key to actually dealing with Kagezora and what he has in his possession. Ichigo is definitely believing in her, providing some contrast from the others, but he’s also gotten a bit more sensible over the time the series has run, so he wants to get her in proper shape first for what may come with a battle. And that means… training!

They do leap into the training pretty quickly, and it feels rather amateurish in how it’s done, though there’s something to be said for that considering Nozomi’s level. But since they may need her to go up against Kagezora, it’s hard to really hold back on her since it doesn’t really help her. And she’s wanting to push herself, which is good and bad in itself. There’s a resigned sort of energy to her that’s different than what we normally get, but the training really goes on for only so long. And that’s because Kagezora isn’t going to keep waiting around and he’s breaking through Urahara’s trap to come to the World of the Living to get Nozomi. With maybe a few minutes worth of real training, Nozomi has the whole world coming after her at this stage. They take a curious approach to it though in how Ichigo wants to handle it.

With everyone helping to buy time, and to just get involved in some ass kicking against the Reigai that are sent down after them, they’re going to hold everyone else off so that Ichigo can continue to train Nozomi. The whole idea isn’t to actually make her skilled at swordsmanship, an impossible task with what’s at hand, but rather to help her awaken her powers so she can be a pure force against him. But the amusing problem is that it’s impossible to properly awaken her with what Ichigo is doing because there is no real threat in his attacks. He’s going at her, but without the intent to kill or really do damage, she subconsciously knows that it won’t really get to her, which keeps her from doing it. That has everyone else stepping up their game to try and get her, but there’s always that background fear, both on their parts and on Nozomi’s part.

In Summary:
Bleach starts to move to the next stage of the game, but it’s such a quick shift when it comes to getting Nozomi into a training mode that it comes across as quite rushed, especially after she spent most of the last episode just sitting around. There are things to like here, some very good action, and plenty of Reigai fights to be had that have some intensity with some fan favorite characters, but the whole Nozomi arc in this storyline is what manages to once again be the weak point. Even when it goes big with her at the end, it’s just not right, too trite and too easily done in a way. The training itself has its good moments as well, but as a whole it just moves in far too predictable a way unfortunately, even though it’s hitting all the right marks.

Grade: B-

Simulcast 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.
Bleach Episode #331 Review