Not because the Nostalgia Critic does "top 11s" but because it's my lucky number, damn it
In a nutshell, it's a somewhat AU, half-pre-Turn-Back-the-Pendulum (with a different Captain of 5th), half-past (Arrancar-arc-ish) timeline, DS game. Wikipedia is spoilery, which fails. Here, I try not to be so much of either.
11. Pseudo-canon backstories, and conversations with dead people.
Your character joins 5th Division, and therefore is serving under some jerk lieutenant named Sousuke Aizen. You serve him tea and discuss his taste in literature. (He eventually gives you a history book and asks you to read it so you can talk about it another time, what.) Kaien Shiba shows up and hangs out with you and is awesome as hell -- and, apparently, was part of 5th before his promotion to 13th! Now, it is an AU timeline, but Kubo wrote it and... wouldn't that be cool? :3 Okay, so I'm really just happy that Kaien's always like "HEY DANA, LET'S FIGHT HOLLOWS AND CONTINUE YOUR TRAINING." :\
10. Recreating canon fights.
You'd think that would be boring, right? Not so much. The fights where the lieutenants battle the Arrancar? It's an entire level. You start out on top of gold-level reiatsu, which is to say the stuff that gives you the highest boost when you absorb it, bringing you to max (Bankai-able) level after the first turn. You have type advantages against just about every character (thus allowing your attacks to do more damage). But somehow, the background of Karakura (nice change from the boring Soul Society ones, haha) and the overall cheery "good guys always win" atmosphere brings a smile to my face every single time.
...In Japanese, the level is called GJJJ. (Grimmjow Jeagerjaquez. Yeah. That's probably why the English level was renamed to just "Grimmjow.")
09. GOTTA CATCH 'EM ALL
Unlocking characters, holy fucking hell. Most of the time, you've got to beat a bonus level or defeat the character in five turns or less. At lower levels, or if you don't use items properly (hello, playing the Japanese version and not understanding anything beyond HP/SP restore), this is hard shit. But somewhere along the line, the repetition of the levels -- planning the right strategy based on placement of characters, attacks -- became kind of intense and... well, almost fun. The bragging rights are the best part, probably. /still deathglaring Arturo's level, though.
You have to unlock Hueco Mundo!Aizen/Gin/Tousen, as well as Arrancar and a few others. Arturo Plateado from Shattered Blade and Kusaka from DiamondDust Rebellion are even there. (Ishida Akira, ilu.) Watching your character list increase makes you heart swell with pride 8D
08. Nokori kaze
The OP theme, by Ikimonogakari. It's catchy as hell. It also plays during the climax of the final battle, and the first time, I kinda sniffled a bunch.
07. This game has Kira in it, hayyy!
...because, you know, some games like to forget him, and that's balls. :| He's really not a bad character, actually. And if you don't believe my lousy opinion, the official guide (I am not a tool shut up) rates him pretty high, too. Wabisuke's ability is represented by, um. Rocks falling/everyone dying. His basic attack is two slashes with the sword, and the extended version is retreating, trailing Wabisuke along the ground, and... a boulder falling to smash your enemy. He has no bankai mode (obviously) but learns a few cool kidou (a nice mix of healing and offensive, depending on your choice of upgrades).
06. Voices, unf.
In Japanese, it is highly voiced. About half of the dialogue, actually. *__* English... not so much. I was a little more disappointed than perhaps I should've been, but only the battle sounds got voiced in the shiny translated version. :\ Still, it's worth it. Oh, those team attacks~
05. TEAM ATTACKS
Only the best mode ever. Designate them as partners in the selection screen -- there are limits, unfortunately, including the dumbest one ever -- put them next to each other in battle, and bam! Dialogue before an attack that I've seen do upwards of 1000 damage.
Characters that are compatible but have no story tend to repeat generic lines - "It's time to go all-out!" is Matsuri's, for example. But when they know each other, it changes - sometimes based on who's first in the attack.
Soifon, when second, will tell either protagonist, "Don't give me orders; I know what to do." She'll say something about following Yoruichi, who then insists, No, we do this together, eeee ♥
Hitsugaya: Try not to get in my way. / Ichigo: You're as cuddly as a cactus!
Ichigo: Don't worry, we're gonna win. / Hitsugaya: Watch out, this is going to be cold.
Their voices are so gentle in the second, but the first sounds like they'll kill each other rather than the enemy. Ditto goes for an Ichigo/Ishida combo.
Also funtimes? Default Girl: It's time to go all-out! / Hiyori: What do I care? (She is such a bitch all the time. I think it might be a little too exaggerated, even.)
The crappy part is when characters who should have dialogue together... don't. Kira and Momo say nothing unique to each other. He can support Gin (possibly letting him jump in front of a killing blow?) but not the opposite way around; meanwhile, Gin gets team support with Momo, Hitsugaya, Rangiku, Tousen, and "you." Tousen gets support with Gin, Komamura, Kenpachi, and "you," but not Hisagi.
04. Girl power, man
You get your choice of the protagonist's gender, which is... really nice, actually. I was so enchanted by this that I used the girl for my first playthrough (and my third >>;) and was pleasantly surprised.
Out of the character types, you've got Power, Speed, Technique, Non-Combat, and All. (Power beats Speed beats Tech beats Power, All beats everything, everything beats N-C, which has a defense boost and can't fight back). The girl? Power-type by default. Your Zanpakuto can alter your type, but Bankai mode switches her back to Power and she'll always have a stronger attack stat. She's the one delivering the hard hits. (For the record, the brother's type is Speed.)
And she's a fire-type! *___* You can upgrade various levels of burn-your-enemies ♥ Fujimaru is lightning, which is equally fun. (Did I mention that his release command is the same as the one I gave my lightning-oriented Arrancar OC that I use for crack games? :\ Woulda known if I played his route first, haha.)
03. Brotherly love
The siblings (twins!) care about each other so much and it's adorable ;0; More than that, the "couple" that adopts 'em... are brother and sister. They act so close that, playing through the Japanese version, I'd kinda forget whether the word "sibling" had been mentioned at all and wondered if they were married. They are hilariously pseudo-incestuous, but it's also really sweet how they stuck together after their parents died, always counting on each other-- and it makes the end all that much sadder. (And the epilogue that much cuter!)
But really, I'm in it for the pseudo-incest lulz. :\
02. Shikai. Customization.
My favorite aspect of Bleach is the whole "communing with the Zanpakuto" bit. The "it's part of your soul! it's you!" and the learning its power and understanding yourself and fighting together and--
A few levels in, a voice speaks to you. It's mysterious. You don't understand it. It comes back sporadically. And eventually, you realize it's your Zanpakuto talking. (More powerful in Japanese when you actually hear the voice - maybe I was tired or maybe I'm lame, but the first time kinda gave me chills for a sec - while the English version, it's just text).
Then you get to name it. More than just naming your protagonist, you go right ahead and name your soul.
On top of that, you choose its form. Given three types (Power, Speed, Tech) with three different designs, you pick one and it's yours. (Granted, it changes form again when you Bankai, but there's only so much customization a game can give you. It also adds a prefix to the name to signify the change).
01.5. Everything else
Hot springs! Hilarity! Angst! Drama! Initially mistaking the twins' hair pieces as Arrancar masks, then yearning for an AU of an AU that nobody will ever, ever care about because this game is seriously underrated.
...Look, I really just sing its praises from a fandom perspective. As a tactical RPG, it's pretty average and doesn't push boundaries or do enough with some features it showcases briefly. Hell, it doesn't even use the touch screen. But the point is, it's enjoyable and deserves a pat on the back for that much.
01. It's Bleach~~~ 8D
/dies of childishness forever
AND NOW I NEVER NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT AGAIN. :O
(...I think I'm finally caught up with TST, too ♥ If there's anything/anyone/anywhatever that I've missed, don't hesitate to send me a punch to the face.
And oh hey, I promised my roommate I'd take out the trash.
P.S. Screw you, global warming - SNOW IN OCTOBER WHAAAAT.