Video Game / Bleach: The 3rd Phantom

Bleach the 3rd Phantom is the third game in the Bleach DS series based on the popular anime and manga, it is a departure from the usual formula, instead being a Strategy RPG. The game progression is done through a mode called free time, where the chosen main character interacts with various heroes from the show.

The plot, which takes place in an Alternate Continuity, comes from Tite Kubo himself, and introduces four new characters, the Twins Fujimaru and Matsuri and their adoptive family Konoka and Seigen Suzunami, thrown through time after Arturo Plataedo (who some players might remember from Bleach: Shattered Blade) attacks the soul society and is stopped by an Object known as the Shisui Mirror.

This game provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: The Vizard show up attempting to recruit Ichigo like in the anime, but Ichigo never ends up struggling with his hollow powers in the game and instead just trains some more in the Soul Society.
  • Absolute Cleavage: Rangiku Matsumoto, and she's a party member.
  • Ascended Extra: Some are justified with the game starting years before the main story, but a good number of side characters get a good bit of screentime. The Shibas, Kaien included, Komamura, Kyoraku, and pre-Time Skip Unohana are among those whose role is most increased.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Achieving Bankai, it uses up a large portion of the Free Time between several missions that could be used to raise affinities or recruit units, and requires completing some of the hardest maps in the game, such as Zanjutsu Training I: Single Blow, where all undefeated enemies fully heal at the beginning of each turn and the Female Soul Reaper Society Training, where teams are chosen at random from the playable female Soul Reapers. Furthermore, even if the training is not completed, you still get Bankai and all the other potential techniques in the post-game. However, the various trainings also net the player character a great deal of experience and there is still time to do a few other things.
    • Using Bankai - For all characters who can use Bankai, it requires building up max spiritual pressure and eats up your SP when in use, leaving both at zero after Bankai ends and disabling giving and receiving team ups and attack/defense supports for the duration of Bankai. In exchange, Bankai significantly boosts all of the user's stats and generally gives some combination of boosting one stat even more (such as Ichigo getting massive additional movement and evasion when in Bankai), summoning an extra unit (such as Komamura's Tenken Myu-oh), and unlocking Bankai-only skills (such as Byakuya's Senkei Senbonzakura Kageyoshi). Most characters with Bankai can mitigate the impractical side of this with a Bankai skill tree that allows them to sustain their Bankai longer, unlock additional Bankai-only techniques, and increase the stat boosts from Bankai. However, one character's Bankai, the Player Character's, has no skill tree to boost its endurance, limiting it to a paltry three turns, but instead of a sizable flat stat boost, they receive a 50% increase to all stats, making it extremely powerful.
  • Bag of Sharing: The selected usable items are shared across all party changes, even when the Time Skip puts you in control of Ichigo, Chad, Uryu, and Orihime, who will have access to whatever items are left unused after the the fight with Arturo.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: No matter how badly you beat Mad Eater or who does most or even all the damage, he always gets away and dismisses the Kudo twins as too weak to harm him until the Kudo twins gain their Shikais, immediately after which, Mad Eater is rather unceremoniously killed by the twins.
  • Black and White Morality: Seigen Suzunami's views tend to fall this way, firmly believing that he's in the right in attacking the Soul Society after Konoka dies after using the Shisui Mirror.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Obtaining Grimmjow as a party member post game, he is the second to last party member you will receive, and can only be recruited on the last floor anyway. Though he does receive his Ressurecion
  • Breather Episode: There are several, though the game boasts this as a feature during Free Time, that is if you're happy to miss out on Bankai
  • Continuity Nod: Kisuke at the beginning of the game admits he's not good at training others, the same excuse he used in the anime/manga to not train Chad and instead have Chad train against Renji's Bankai.
  • Dramatic Irony: In the beginning of Matsuri's playthrough Fujimaru will ask for Seigen's sword so he can chase Mad Eater. Seigen tells him that Matsuri has risked her live to save his for him to get himself killed. Seigen's response to Konoka's death is similar to this.
  • Experience Booster: Certain special items, such as Aizen's Book, boost all future exp gained by 1% or so per such item acquired.
  • Furo Scene: The game boasts about these during Free Play. Logically, girls get more scenes then guys, but knowing Tite...
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Perhaps the biggest reason for the senior captains' Overrated And Underleveled status - they join before the Time Skip and then leave the party for most of the mid-game and don't get any extra levels in that time. This means that they're quite powerful when they join, but not quite powerful enough to render the Kudo siblings irrelevant for the final battle of the pre-Time Skip arc, but are well behind the newer captains in the present era.
  • Overrated And Underleveled:
    • The four senior captains (Yamamoto, Ukitake, Kyoraku, and Unohana) have the lowest starting levels out of all the captains, and while they are certainly not the weakest characters in the game, there are plenty of more useful characters, too.
    • Ichigo's main friends play with this. Ichigo's okay, until he activates his Bankai, just like the show. Uryu and Rukia are much more straight, barely doing damage most of the time. Orihime is justified, since she was always the weakest character in the source material. Chad on the other hand, not only averts this, but might be even better than Ichigo once you boost his accuracy to make up for his Powerful but Inaccurate nature.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • Uyru helps out in Chapter Nine, ignoring the previous events, skipping over his need to regain his Quincy powers and much all of his training.
    • Chad has already mastered his arms with no explanation given.
      • Free Time tries to avert it, showing Uryu and Chad training in Soul Society, but even that has this trope played straight.
  • Rare Candy:
    • Performing Konso on a Whole gives the Soul Reaper who performs it an entire level.
    • Various Free Time events, as well as landing on certain spots in Free Time by spending the right amount of AP, can grant permanent increases to various stats.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Grimmjow's Fraccion do not die in their attack on Karakura Town. (They do end up dying later on, though; either in an attack on the Soul Society or in Hueco Mundo.) Also Grimmjow doesn't lose his arm or rank.
  • Super Mode: Bankai (and its counterparts) is a super mode that can be activated when a character capable of using it has maxed spiritual pressure. For three to seven turns, depending on character and skills (most characters max out at five turns), the user gets large stat boosts and unless it's a "summon something" Bankai, a portrait, map sprite, and battle animation change. Additionally, depending on the character, they may also change size, change Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors affinity, gain an additional boost to a single stat, summon an extra unit, and/or gain access to special techniques for the duration of their Bankai.
  • Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: Characters have one of five styles: Speed, Power, Technical, Non-Combat, and the enemy-only All. Speed beats Technical beats Power beats Speed, everything beats Non-Combat (which, naturally, cannot fight back), and All beats everything.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: No pun intended, but Komamura is treated with more respect here than he is in the source material.
  • Time Skip: After the conclusion of the first battle with Arturo, the player character, their sibling, and Seigen are thrown into the future. The player character lands in Karakura Town shortly after the conclusion of the Soul Society Arc of the anime, where he/she meets present-era characters such as Ichigo and Don Kononji, and later, reconnects with the Soul Society characters. Seigen and the non-player sibling land in Hueco Mundo and are manipulated into opposing the Soul Society by Aizen.