Format: Animated, Color, Dubbed, DVD, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Viz Video
DVD Release Date: July 14, 2009
Run Time: 100 minutes
The Bounts target Uryu and bring him before their leader, the megalomaniacal Kariya, despite all efforts to stop them. Kariya's goal is to gain the unique powers of a Quincy and use them for his own diabolical purpose. Members of both the Soul Society and the world of the living gather for a fierce face-off with the Bounts!
It turns out that Uryu Ishida -- the last of the Quincies -- is the target of the energy-sucking Bounts. And "Bleach Volume 18" expands a bit more on the Bounts by revealing some of their backstory and their powers... which, unfortunately, turn out to be pretty formidable. Lots of action, familiar characters and a shocking revelation... now, if only one of the episodes weren't one long flashback from a not-very-interesting character.
With Uryu bedridden from his injuries, his pals sit around and bicker, waiting for something to happen. Unfortunately something does -- twin Bounts Ho and Ban attack, and these little brats can control water with their "dolls," turning it into lethal waterspouts and ripping people apart from the inside out. It takes an old friend newly arrived in the living world to defeat the Bounts, and show what happens to them if their dolls are incinerated.
But in the commotion, Uryu has wandered out into the street and into the care of the rebel Bount Yoshino, who tells him about how she once met and fell in love with the Bounts' leader Jin Kariya. But when the other Bounts capture both Yoshino and Uryu, Ichigo and his friends must storm the Bounts' stronghold to get them back. Unfortunately, there's a person they'd never expected to see there -- a Soul Reaper, fighting for Kariya.
The biggest problem with the eighteenth volume of "Bleach" is the third episode, which is almost entirely made up of Yoshino blabbering to Uryu about her past life with Kariya and the reasons she was with him. To be honest, this episode is kind of boring, and it feels like it was made to fill up time because her story doesn't really serve any purpose except to show "Kariya is evil! Bad! Really bad! See, he's evil! Angst!"
It's quite a relief when we focus on Ichigo and Co. instead -- lots of waterspouts and deadly bubbles, creepy little boys and spurts of comic relief (Ichigo and Rukia bicker relentlessly over Uryu's sickbed). And the battle between Yoshino and Koga's dolls (fire-torso versus metal spider) is a pretty solid one, even as the episode leads up to an inevitable (and very messy) clash between Ichigo and Kariya's little gang. This oughta be good.
Uryu and Yoshino get much of the spotlight in this episode, with the Bount woman reminding Uryu of a tragic figure from his past (though technically not canon). The Quincy's chivalry shows up again, as Uryu tries to save her and his friends from the Bounts. The big characterization problem is that Ichigo seems to have lost some brain cells -- he's a smart guy, yet he doesn't know that blowing up a fire extinguisher and leaping down an elevator shaft might not be a good idea?
Oh yeah, and a new character is introduced -- a Soul Reaper who is working with the Bounts, and who is recognized as a member of Squad 11. This should be interesting.
"Bleach Volume 18" has some flaws, including an episode that mostly consists of not-very-interesting flashbacks. But it also introduces some intriguing new twists, and promises to get ever more exciting.