Released a few days ago (~02/02?), the first volume of Bleach has finally been received and watched. Below are my impressions of the disc release. I leave the summary to other people, should they want to do it.
Bleach vol. 1 was released in two different versions. That is, as far as Amazon Japan is concerned (where you can still get it if you want). One contained a Drama CD issue 1 and the other, just by the disc itself. If you're having trouble which one to get, go get the version with the CD, as it's just priced the same. I went with the w/-CD route and am currently enjoying the CD itself.
In terms of packaging, it comes with a jacket-box to hold the DVD and CD cases together. Both discs come in a DVD-sized jewel box. For some reason though, both discs are turned upside-down and were very hard to remove from their respective cases initially. (Sadly I accidentally broke the CD case. [cries] ).
Cover art-wise, we get a standard shot of Kurosaki Ichigo in his Shinigami outfit, while posing as a badass with his Zanpakutou. The shot itself takes the entire cover art and when removed works as a small fold-out poster. The show's lettering are foil-stenciled, and are done somewhat lazily. Instead of having a reverse cover for this release, the DVD specs are listed on one side, while the other has "You are to become a soul reaper"-comment written all over it.
With the disc itself, we get to see no design image at all, except possibly the show's logo and the DVD logo. But that's about it. Heck, both the CD and DVD look almost exactly alike you can confuse the two.
Extras and Menu. Since these two are just going to be short, I'll link them together. If we're talking about the bundled version, the extras include the drama CD and the jacket-box. On disc itself, there's none. There might be some easter eggs but haven't found any so far. Considering this series is an anticipated release, I was really hoping to see even just the creditless OP or ED. The menu itself, leaves much to be desired as well. All you get are the play and menu-buttons, and depending where you are, some episode shots while browsing the chapter stops.
Impression of the episodes itself : If you've basically followed the manga version of the show, I highly suggest that you stick to that version as far as this first set of episodes are concerned. Too many things were moved here and there, and while they make it more cohesive somewhat, it's being done at neck-breaking pace. The episodes themselves weren't bad, but it definitely needed to be slowed down even by a bit. :sd: Of course, this being a manga-to-anime series, it follows the original relatively close, if not for the minor changes. Compared to some shows like Starship Operators or School Rumble, it doesn't take much to understand what is going on with the show.
As a recently aired series, the DVD release does look great in this format. Though I have to wonder if it's just me or do the episodes themselves do kind of look flushed out, if not blurry. In some cases, it's not bothering and serves as to enhance the presentation (like in episode 1), however, in most cases, it's very distracting (episode 4).
Overall, volume 1 serves as an introductory volume for the unfamiliar to the series, and that's just really what it does. No frills, no anything. Well, except the CD. I can only hope that volume 2 gets a nicer DVD cover art and some extras in that this volume didn't.