The Underscore’s Bleach review 517

•November 25, 2012 • 7 Comments

517: The Stairway to Heaven

I~~’m so~~~ lazy today… I’m not exactly pumped about this week’s chapter if I’m completely honest… I guess after getting KON back, not having KON just doesn’t cut it anymore… Might as well review the KON-less chapter now… But wait a sec! There’s some KON in this review!!!

Ah, yes… the simplest of all polls ever taken… How awesome is KON?

There were 10 voters who said KON is AWESOME!!!
Then there were 3 voters who said KON is AWESOME!!!
Another 3 voters said KON is AWESOME!!!
20 voters obviously were just staggered by the awesomeness that is KON. That’s why I decided to help you guys out by changing your reply to say that KON is AWESOME!!!… I’m not biased at all

Now, I had something in mind to explain KON’s awesomeness. But luckily someone has enabled my laziness by explaining exactly how awesome KON truly is:

How awesome is KON? What kind of question is that? According to International System of Units, KON is the world’s official meter of awesomeness. And this is how it works: Let’s take some examples: Aizen is 0.999 KON awesome. Don Kanonji is 0.888 KON awesome. Ichigo is 0.0001 KON awesome. Kon himself is 1.000 KON awesome. Nobody reaches him. - Kuroi

To elaborate on this, the ISU frequently comes by The Underscore Mask’s secret hideout, on reviewer island (Where is this reviewer island you ask? Why it’s… in your heart), in order to check the KON standard of awesomeness. The Underscore Mask has a citadel dedicated to a single KON plushy that is exactly 1/1000th the awesomeness of the actual KON (think of the most awesome citadel you’ve ever seen/been to, multiply that by 100 in both scale and awesomeness, and you’ll have an image of how vast and impressive the citadel is. It is a citadel that knows eternal light, which shines from its contents). Sure, attempts have been made to get this KON plushy to be as awesome as the actual KON, but it just wasn’t possible. Trying to mold that much awesomeness into one figure that isn’t KON just can’t be done by anyone. Let me just explain the process by which we’ve made the KON scale of awesomeness… eh~~, Mayuri? What are you~~ew???….

Zero Beat

What could these guys be doing all day?

Where we only caught a glimpse of the Zero division last week, we now get the full picture. These guys are morons… Okay, that was a bit harsh, I admit. Still, these guys show up, AFTER the enemies obliterated Soul Society, and they have the gall to just come out in a festive mood. Quite literally at that. There’s one in the back blowing horns, while we have a Yankee yelling and screaming they’re the best and that the Gotei 13 are a bunch of noobs. Admittedly, the Gotei 13 probably are noobs in comparison to the Zero division, but still. Some tact would be in its place. My first reaction was similar to that of Ichigo in that respect. Shinji’s response to their appearance was what followed suit: These guys aren’t playing with a full deck of cards at all…

It almost seems like Shinji gets smacked for that comment, but it turns out that it has little to do with that. Hikifune Kirio makes herself known to Shinji, commenting on how strange it is for Hiyori not to be around. As it turns out, Kirio has undergone somewhat of a change since Shinji saw her a century ago. Judging by the title Kirio obtained, “Grain King”, and the utterly subtle comment made by the commander saying she’s hungry, it’s obvious that she’s made a rather horizontal change to say the least.

What I find to be odd here is that Kirio says that it’s strange for Hiyori to not be around Shinji. Does that mean she knows about the whole Visored deal? Or is it that Shinji and Hiyori were close to each other before the whole Visored deal? It isn’t all too clear as to how much information the Zero division actually has on the happenings in Soul Society. Do they get regular reports? At least we have one person who thinks he knows everything.

Annoying

Could this guy be more of a stereotype?

Ryuu (you know, the guy from Shaman King) reveals himself to be Unohana’s teacher! Or at least… he left her with some instructions on how to master the restorative Kidou which, as far as we know, is over 1000 years old. Whatever the case, he isn’t too happy about the fact that Unohana hasn’t been able to use his techniques to heal everyone who got injured during the attack. Judging by the look on Unohana’s face, as Ryuu (which is what I’m going to call this guy until we get his official name) mocks her for her inability to heal everyone, this Ryuu character is nothing short of annoying. We finally learn where her stern look came from! Too bad Ryuu is too slow to pick up on that.

Bonze, the big guy, then steps in. He tells Ryuu to save the banter for later. Kyouraku takes this opportunity to ask Bonze what it is they’ve come to do, exactly. Bonze explains they’re in Soul Society to help rebuild the Gotei 13. He then turns to Ichigo, only to tell him he’s going to the Royal Palace with the Zero division.

This raises even more questions. Does Bonze know the Kurosaki family? Or does he only know of Ichigo from the reports that the Zero division received after the Vandenreich assault? Whatever the case, some big shots want Ichigo. And they want him now!

Ignoring or ignorance?

You’d think these guys would be excited about some human interaction with other people…

Soi Fon decides to take her stand. She tells the Zero division to stop messing around. Though her fellow captains are willing to listen to her, the Zero division completely ignores her. She then explains her frustrations. The all mighty division who did not act until after the deed, suddenly appears with an ego that is second to only Aizen’s. Apparently, the one who feels he’s closest to Aizen’s ego, however, decides to give his opinion on the matter.

Ryuu appears right behind Soi Fon and holds her down by her arm. He then points out that she shouldn’t be acting so high and mighty either. With the Gotei being just that, meant to defend the society, she shouldn’t be expecting the Royal Guard to clean up their mess. Admittedly, I’m not charmed by Ryuu, but he’s most certainly got a point right now. Sure, a more proactive stance from the Zero division could’ve made a major difference in this matter. But this doesn’t change the fact that Sereitei is the responsibility of the Gotei 13. If Seireitei were to fall, it would mean that the Gotei 13 hadn’t prepared themselves properly.

As Ryuu is on a roll, dumping on people, Bonze hammers in the words he said at first: Leave the banter for later!

Abduction

They just keep getting weirder and weirder…

The trumpeter makes her appearance once more. This time, she’s holding four surprise eggs with Bleach collectables! The only one this little girl needs to complete her collection, is an orange strawberry! However, there’s one girl who doesn’t like that her collection gets taken away, as Unohana points out that the Kuchiki set and Renji can’t be taken right now, due to the condition they’re in. Ryuu then decides to open his mouth (again) and points out that Unohana ‘doesn’t have the skills to pay the bills’. With frustration after frustration building up in Unohana, only Kyouraku seems to empathize with her.

On the other side of the empathy spectrum, we have Mayuri. Mayuri isn’t all too happy with a piece of his collection being taken: Tensa Zangetsu. The only thing that upsets him more than this, is the fact that his lab was broken into. Shutara Senjumaru then adds fuel to the fire by looking down on Mayuri to the point of telling him that he hasn’t even been able to reach her level from the time when she was in the Gotei 13. This makes one wonder, what she did in the Gotei 13. It would seem that she’s a researcher, much like Mayuri. However, with Urahara being the one who founded the research centre and remodeled the 12th division to be part of it, it makes one wonder what division Shutara was a part of.

Impeccable timing

I’d say paint bombs that form messages that look like suicide notes would be more appropriate for the Zero division…

Ichigo doesn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that three of his friends and his Zanpakutou get taken away. He has matured to the point where he was able to hear that they are only taking these four to be healed. Ichigo then tells Bonze that he doesn’t need any healing, so that there’s no reason for him to go to the Royal Palace. If anything, Ichigo has plenty of other things he can do, rather than go on an excursion. Bonze then tells Ichigo that he is fully aware of his health bill, but that Ichigo is to be taken for a completely different reason.

Just as Ichigo is about to hear why Bonze wants to take him, a certain someone comes along with a message. Judging by the tone of it all, we can be sure that Urahara has a hand in this message. I’m curious how Urahara is sending the message though…

The Stairway to Heaven is obviously a reference to the Zero division’s plans to take Ichigo to the Royal Palace. Though I wonder how much of a heaven this palace truly is…

An okay chapter. It set the tone for the next couple of months of Bleach, with Ichigo going to the Royal Palace. I’m rather curious to see what we’ll see. I mean, Aizen wanted to go there rather eagerly, to the point of scheming for over a century. Ichigo, however, gets to go there, just cuz he can.

Apparently Unohana, Kyouraku, Shinji, Mayuri, and I would assume Ukitake, are familiar with at least one or two of the Zero squad members. There’s an odd tension between both groups, which Ichigo manages to ignore completely. I suppose that the Gotei are annoyed by all the events surrounding the invasion where they were proven to be powerless. The fact that the Zero division then waltzes right through, only pointing out their failures, doesn’t help here.

All in all, this wasn’t a bad chapter. The only thing that was of significance here has to be the news that Ichigo’s going to the Royal Palace. But quite frankly, after seeing these guys, I’m not nearly as excited as I was at the prospect of Ichigo arriving there during the Deicide arc (when it started, that is). I wonder how Urahara managed to pull the strings to get Ichigo into the Royal Palace though.

Where’d the little guy go off to?

Urahara is going to explain that Ichigo needs to go to the Royal Palace for a couple of reasons. Besides getting Zangetsu fixed, he’ll need to hide from the Vandenreich. Also, he’ll need to learn more about his parents, where the Royal Palace will have an archive on everything that has ever been… in HD 3D!

That’s it for this week’s review. I hope you guys enjoyed it, though I’ve written this one rather lazily . Be sure to let me know what your thoughts are on this week’s chapter and/or review, give any theories that you may have and to vote in this week’s poll. Don’t forget to rate this week’s chapter! I’ll see you guys again next week!

Rate this week’s chapter by clicking on the picture above!

 

The Underscore’s Bleach review 515 & 516

•November 18, 2012 • 4 Comments

Double Bleach review 515: relics & 516: The Squad Zero

IT’S FINALLY HAPPENED!!!! KUBO HAS GONE AND DONE IT!!! LET US CELEBRATE THIS JOYOUS OCCASION!!!! The tears from joy wouldn’t stop flowing ever since I read chapter 516. HE finally made his return! The man who can show us the true way finally made his return! Kubo finally responded to my telepathic messages after all these years . Now I still have to go over chapter 515 before I can get to the good part… Better make haste!

The Final Order

You could’ve just declared the geezer to be insane and ignore his orders…

The fourth division finally takes the stage. With thousands of injured and deceased Shinigami, the division has its hands full. Isane is the one that delivers the message plenty of us (well, I at least) had towards Unohana: Where were you guys DURING the action? Unohana, however, has no problems explaining herself. Sure, the fourth division could’ve gone out during the fighting to tend to the wounded. But with their average fighting skills being amongst the lowest, if not being the lowest, in all of the Gotei 13, they’d have lost a lot more Shinigami.

But Unohana isn’t even thinking in terms of battle prowess. In fact, Unohana most likely would have been able to take out a Sternritter or five without blinking an eye. Unohana would’ve loved to go out and slay a couple of Sternritter for the geezer. Still, she stayed the true soldier that Genryuusai taught her to be. With the final order for the fourth division to stay in their barracks no matter what, Unohana’s hands were tied.

Though Isane understands her captain’s motives, I still have one simple question to ask… Why are the captain and vice-captain of the division stuck in their offices even though there’s thousands of injured Shinigami that are being brought in? I suppose it’s possible that they are both on a short break for now, but still…

A time for healing

Wait… Shinji’s a surgeon?

With the fourth division doing their thing, we have the divisionless Shinigami prowling the hallways. Ichigo receives a message from a 12th division member explaining that Urahara managed to send a message from Hueco Mundo that ensures the safety of him, Orihime, and Chad. The only problem they have at the time is establishing a direct audio communication with the Hueco Mundo party… This raises yet another question for this week’s chapter: Why do they assume everything is alright based on a ‘message from Urahara’, without confirming it with audio? I suppose Urahara has the means to add in a code of sorts to prove that he is the one who sent the message, but still. For all we know, someone’s holding a Zanpakutou to his throat, threatening to chop his head off if he doesn’t comply.

Before any of this could even be discussed here, Ichigo is distracted by the screams of Ikkaku. Hearing Kenpachi lost a fight is something he just can’t believe. He immediately wants to go and see his captain, just so he can prove that Kenpachi never lost and that the fourth division members who are treating him are insane. The despair Ikkaku is feeling reaches Ichigo, who probably feels the insanity of this entire situation as well. But before Ichigo can wallow in those feelings, Hanataro calls out to Ichigo.

Hanataro offers to heal Ichigo up, but Ichigo immediately declines the offer. He tells Hanataro to tend to the more severely injured first. In spite of this just being classic Ichigo, who believes he deserves the injuries he’s suffered for failing, Hanataro tries to get through to the thickheaded protagonist. But before he can do that, Shinji makes his entrance. He tells Ichigo that Rukia and Renji’s surgeries just ended. The nurse explains that their situations are stable, meaning they’ve cleared the most critical part of it all. It turns out that the surgery was actually necessary in the cases of Rukia and Renji, as basic Reiatsu healing wasn’t enough. As the nurse takes her leave, Ichigo and Shinji are left behind in the ICU.

Stability

Putting Ichigo in his place is a clear sign of improvement of health

Much to Ichigo’s surprise, Rukia wakes up and calls to him. Somewhat shocked that Rukia can even speak a word after her surgery, Ichigo is caught completely off guard. Rukia then tells Ichigo he’s an idiot for not listening to what they told him only a couple of seconds ago. Though Ichigo tries to lighten the mood a bit, Rukia immediately shows her gratitude towards Ichigo for showing up when he did. Ichigo tries to play it off cool, saying it’s natural he came. Of course, Ichigo isn’t one to play things off cool as he immediately shows signs of regret by mentioning the fact that he wasn’t able to help out as much as he wanted.

Hirako tells Ichigo to King it like Kong for once, be glad with what he achieved by chasing off Bach and his motley crew. If only Hirako knew that they actually had Aizen to thank for that one . But before Ichigo can react to those words, a member of the 12th division shows up to take Ichigo to Mayuri. As Ichigo makes his way to Mayuri, Hirako and Rukia have a moment to themselves. Rukia noticed something to be off about Ichigo. Hirako explains that it has something to do with his broken Zanpakutou, the after wake of the invasion and his guilt about everything that happened because Ichigo couldn’t be there in time to help out.

Rukia, however, noticed that there was more going on than that. She noticed Ichigo is trying to hide something from everyone else. Seeming as how Ichigo has hidden his Hollow powers from Rukia once, it’s not so odd for her to notice that he might be hiding something else this time. Though this time, it’s a whole different kind of power.

Legacy

Here we were, thinking he never listened to the geezer

The scene changes to the captains’ meeting grounds, where seven captains gathered around the remains of Genryuusai’s Zanpakutou. With Genryuusai’s body completely eliminated (the only guarantee that anyone will actually stay dead in Bleach), Ryuujin Jakka/Zanka no Tachi is all that remains for Soul Society to commemorate the most powerful of all the Shinigami. As the captains hold a moment of silence in honor of the old geezer, a messenger appears.

The messenger brings news of Kenpachi and Byakuya. Apparently, both of them are still alive. Quite frankly, this ticked me off quite a bit. Kenpachi surviving is one thing, but after all we’ve been through with Byakuya, he should’ve just died. Seriously, what was the point of all that happened with his final wish and whatnot. Sure, they aren’t sure whether Kenpachi and Byakuya can even awaken from their current state. Even if they do, it can’t be said whether they will be able to continue their duties as captains. Nonetheless, I’m a bit disappointed with Kubo here. Though there’s one person who’s ticked off even worse than I was.

Soi Fon tells the messenger to get lost (guess she never heard the phrase, don’t kill the messenger?) as they’ve already got plenty of bad news with just the captain commander’s death. Though Ukitake knows he should say something, he can’t because of his sorrow surrounding his master’s death. Kensei then tells Soi Fon to calm down, though this is reason for Soi Fon to go on the offense as well. Saying that Kensei most likely enjoys the fact that Genryuusai died, she causes a chain reaction of pent up emotions bursting out. From an argument almost starting between Kensei and Soi Fon, to Komamura suddenly showing his wild side. He points out that no one in the room doesn’t feel anger due to the loss they’ve experienced this day.

Then the voice of reason appears, in the form of Kyouraku. As the expert in being scolded by the old man, he points out that Genryuusai would slap the whole lot of them for mourning the loss of an old man who died on the battlefield. They are Shinigami sworn to protect Soul Society, not to wallow in the sorrow brought by death. For no matter what happens, they are the Gotei 13.

This has to be the best part of the chapter. Kyouraku stepping up to fill in Genryuusai’s shoes. Sure, it isn’t official yet, but something tells me he will be the one to lead the Gotei 13 in the end. Perhaps not from the position of the 1st squad, but who knows. I’m just hoping that he’ll let Orihime heal his ear at least. The eye-patch actually suits Kyouraku, though .

The bad news

He only used this Bankai three times!

The chapter starts with a glimpse of a distant location, where people are gathering in front of a pillar. The only thing we see here, is a captain’s robe with an unknown mark on the back. Could they be?…

The scene changes to a broken Zangetsu. Though it would have made more sense for it to be fixed after Ichigo had been summoned by the 12th division, Zangetsu’s still in twine. Ichigo gets angry with Mayuri for not fixing Zangetsu, even though Mayuri managed to fix his own broken Zanpakutou before. Mayuri then corrects Ichigo by pointing out that he modified his Zanpakutou, but he never truly fixed it. Mayuri then goes on to explain how a Zanpakutou can easily be fixed by its owner pouring in his Reiatsu. Ichigo sees this as a sign that he can just take Zangetsu home and everything is going to be alright. But Mayuri points out that this only applies to a Zanpakutou in its Shikai state.

A broken Bankai can never be returned to its former state. Hearing this is quite the mental blow for Ichigo, especially considering everything he’s been through in a short time. Mayuri, being the people person he is, completely ignores Ichigo’s response and explains that there are exceptions to the rule. Or rather, one exception. Komamura and Kokujou Tengen Myou are the only ones who can fix a Bankai, as the two of them are one in body and soul (more so than other Shinigami and their Zanpakutou ). Whenever Tengen breaks, Komamura breaks and vice-versa. This ‘flaw’ is also what allows Tengen to restore itself when Komamura heals up.

Mayuri explains that he has researched all the Bankai in Soul Society and that there are no other Bankai that can restore themselves. The most recent example of a broken Zanpakutou not being restored is Ikkaku’s. During his tussle with the Arrancar Eduardo Leones, his Bankai broke to pieces. But his Bankai never got restored after that fight, massively reducing its power in the process. At least this explains why we haven’t seen Ikkaku’s Bankai since (in the canon storyline at least).

The thing that interested Ichigo the most, however, was the mentioning of Ikkaku’s Bankai. Mayuri remembers that he wasn’t supposed to tell anyone about it, but once again, he doesn’t care. Ichigo then raises the point of Renji’s Zabimaru, which was broken before. Mayuri then points out that Renji lost the parts that were destroyed by Byakuya forever. Hearing this only frustrates Ichigo more. Just as Ichigo wants to ask Mayuri what he should do now, something good happens…

KING OF NEW-YORK!

Guide us, oh great leader!

We finally come to the part of the review everyone has been waiting for. Let’s face it, it’s all that there is to it. Yes, that’s right… HE made his return: KON-SAMA~~!!! With an awesomeness that blew Ichigo away, he made his glorificous (not an actual word) return! Finally Bleach can be Bleach again. Finally the master will show us the way of the pervert once more! With KON having been missing for years, Ichigo clearly couldn’t recognize KON because his magnifawesomeness (not an actual word) blinded the misguided young man. Finally Ichigo will be guided on the path to awaken his true self by the master himself!

With the most important event that happened in Bleach in years finally taking place. The rest of this review will solely be dedicated to KON-sama’s God like jaw line, his million dollar smile, and the rest of his bad boy features! This will be done in the form of a 10.000 word interview with KON-sama himself where he will tell us all about what happened to him since the last time we saw him. So, without further ado, let’s welcome the one, the only… KON-SAMA~~~~~~aaaeh~~? Mayuri?

KON-blocker

Damn you Mayuri!… Fine, I’ll get back to the review if you don’t inject me with that needle!

Completely ignoring the awesomeness of KON, Mayuri pushes a button that somehow reduces KON-sama’s size… though his awesomeness still remains. Oddly, KON gets taken away while Mayuri receives a call. Mayuri then tells Ichigo that he should come with, as they are going to meet up with the Zero division.

All the captains (and Ichigo) gather in front of the spirit wall. Shinji tells Ichigo he should just leave as there’s nothing to see for him. Instead of leaving, Ichigo asks about some things he would like to know about the Zero division. It boils down to: “Where are they?” and “Why weren’t they in Soul Society during the invasion?”. Kyouraku is the one to give Ichigo the answers. Much like we already knew, Kyouraku confirms that the Zero division is with the spirit King in the royal palace. Not only that, the royal palace can be accessed from Soul Society. This is the reason why the spirit-wall (I believe it was bloodstone?… can’t really recall right now… guess I’ll have to reread BLEACH from the beginning again ) is in Soul Society in the first place. After all, why would it be there if it wasn’t guarding anything?

Just as Ichigo realizes that there should be more to everything he just heard, Kyouraku points out that the Zero division is arriving now. A giant pillar (Tenchuuren) falls from the sky. As the pillar starts to open, Ichigo can’t help but wonder how so many people can fit inside that single pillar. Kyouraku then reveals the truth behind the Zero division: They are only five Shinigami!

Down to Zero

You don’t suppose these guys have gone insane from being sealed off from the world all this time?

Five Shinigami who have a combined power that surpasses that of the Gotei 13 make their entrance. Reading this, I couldn’t help but wonder whether Kyouraku is referring to the Gotei 13′s current state, or the one in their prime. Nonetheless, they’re finally here! Sure, their appearance has clearly been underwhelmed due to KON-sama’s return, but still.

Anyways, let’s take a look at the damage here… The guy on the right looks a bit moronic to be honest. The lady on the right ought to be interesting. Something tells me KON is going to have his work cut out here. The guy in the middle looks like he could’ve been on good terms with Genryuusai. Somewhat of a ‘gentle giant’ vibe coming off this one. The guy with the chopstick in his mouth most likely is the troublemaker of the bunch. Finally, the lady on the left just has to be Kirio Hikifune. She just has that motherly vibe coming from her. But who knows, it could be the other lady.

All in all, I’m curious as to what the Zero division is going to do now. Either they’re going to prepare the Gotei 13 for the upcoming battles, or maybe they’re just going to waltz over everything on their own pace. Whatever the case, things are going to pick up next week!

Chapter 515 was somewhat disappointing in my opinion. Sure, it gave some closure on most parts. Unohana’s devotion to Genryuusai’s orders can be considered to be commendable, but I still think she should’ve gone to the battlefield herself while leaving the rest of her division behind. Then again, she would be the only one capable of protecting the fourth division… The rest of the chapter was about the turmoil amongst the Gotei 13 in the aftermath of it all. The events at the fourth division weren’t all that spectacular. At least we know that Rukia and Renji are doing fine. The part with the captains was somewhat reassuring. Sure, the internal bickering was a sign of weakness if I’m completely honest. Luckily Kyouraku stepped up.

Chapter 516, however, was the best chapter in ages! Sure, we could say that it was all about the Zero squad appearing, but let’s face it, we all know the truth… Which is why I’m about to start the interview with KON-sama right NO~~oo–www… what did you inject me with? Damn you Mayu~~~….

The Zero squad will make its inspections and reveal that they know Isshin.

That’s it for this week’s review. I hope you guys enjoyed it. Be sure to let me know what your thoughts are on this week’s chapters and/or review, give any theories that you may have and to vote in this week’s poll. I’ll see you guys again next week~~~… damned sedative…. Damned MayurZzzzzzz…..

The Underscore’s Bleach review 514

•November 5, 2012 • 7 Comments

514: BORN IN THE DARK

I’m late, I’m late! So I sort of overslept yesterday, ruining my entire schedule. Still, I managed to squeeze in some time to write this review today. Best get to it then, I’m already late! Thanks to Mangastream for their scanlation efforts!

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Bleach chapter 513, The Dark Moon Stroke, rated by 18 voters, gets an average score of:

7.8

Great

So, last week’s poll was about Ichigo’s mother being a Quincy… Basically the poll tied with 11 people being 100% sure and another 11 people being 50% sure. Six voters were 99% sure, where one voter only gave it a 1% chance. All in all, the odds were in favor of Masaki being a Quincy

Simple Mistakes

Oh Blut-y hell, why’d I have to go and do that?

Last week’s chapter ended with an eruption of Reiatsu coming from Ichigo. With enough force to startle Haschwald, part of Bach’s sleeve gets torn off by the blast. Ichigo immediately uses this opportunity to escape from Bach’s clutches. As Ichigo creates a gap between them, Bach speaks of a mistake. At first, Ichigo believes that Bach is telling him that Ichigo’s the one who made a mistake by surviving the initial attack. But Bach wasn’t talking about Ichigo at all.

Bach quickly closes the gap between the two of them and strikes at Ichigo horizontally. Ichigo notices the attack and blocks it with his blade. However, this counter had been anticipated by Bach as he wasn’t aiming to cut Ichigo in two, but to cut away a part of Zangetsu that covers Ichigo’s arm. As the dark cloth flies around, the same pattern Bach saw moments ago appears again. With his suspicions confirmed, Bach tells Ichigo about the mistake he made.

Bach should have sent out an Arrancar to slow Ichigo down, but he chose to send a pure Quincy instead. Which is an odd thing to say, seeming as how Ichigo’s appearance in Las Noches was seen as a pleasant surprise before this invasion started. You’d almost think that Bach had things planned out as far as Aizen did… Anyways, the reason he sees Opie’s confrontation with Ichigo as an mistake is simple…

Ichigo, first awakening part 3

Next up, Ichigo turns out to be part Mod-Soul as well, with memories awakened due to the repeated use of KON…

Ichigo’s Reiatsu apparently remembers being Quincy. Which is the gist of what Bach tells Ichigo here. Due to the repeated use of his Getsuga Tenshou in Opie’s jail, the reiatsu that returned to Ichigo carried part of Opie’s Quincy reiatsu along as well. This reiatsu then mixed with Ichigo’s, awakening Ichigo’s innate Quincy abilities… amongst which is the ‘Blut’ technique, which Ishida never even showed signs of… But I’m getting ahead of myself. The awakening of Ichigo’s Quincy powers was what allowed Ichigo to escape Opie’s jail. Basically, the jail only doesn’t work on Quincy.

With Ichigo learning that he was part Shinigami give or take 18 months ago (when Aizen told him/the bearded daruma showed up), learning that he was a Fullbringer (give or take 1 month ago when Ginjo told him), he now learns that he is also part Quincy. No wonder Ichigo doesn’t get this. Oddly, Bach is surprised to learn that Ichigo doesn’t know anything about his Quincy side. If Ichigo were to know about his Quincy powers, you’d expect him to have awakened those powers before, right?

Anyways, Bach then goes and does it. He plays ‘The Mom Card’. He tells Ichigo he doesn’t know anything about his own mother. Hearing this, Ichigo immediately thinks back to the day his mother died. Most likely, Ichigo asked himself the simple question: If my mom was a Quincy, how come she died because of that Hollow attack? Just as he wants to ask Bach about his mother, Bach tells Ichigo that he is going to kidnap Ichigo. Rather than knocking Ichigo out and taking him by the hand, he’s going to beat him up and drag him back.

Ichigo demands to know what Bach’s talking about once more. But Bach tells Ichigo that he will learn everything as soon as he’s in the Vandenreich. Bach starts a more serious assault. First he forces Ichigo to parry an attack, then he grabs Ichigo’s head and threatens to thrust right through the strawberry. But just as Bach wants to jab his sword through Ichigo’s neck once more, a dark shadow creeps up on Bach.

Still King

Nobody messes with Sousuke Aizen

A darkness starts entangling Bach, stopping his attack on Ichigo. The strange thing here is that one moment, Bach is holding Ichigo by his head, when all of a sudden, he let go of Ichigo without there being any sign of Ichigo moving away or anything. But that’s just a detail. Haschwald, however, knows of other details. He tells Bach that it is time for them to return to the Vandenreich because they need to return to the Schatten Bereich (Shadow Area). Bach, however, believes this to be impossible as they should still have time. But then he remembers a little conversation he had with a certain someone…

You wouldn’t believe how happy I was with what Aizen pulled here. I mean, the guy is restrained with the most powerful kidou around, he only has one eye and his mouth to use and basically lost all his power 18 months ago. In spite of all this, he still manages to mess with Bach enough to foil his plans (and inadvertedly save Ichigo, though knowing Aizen he probably planned that far ahead ). There you had Bach, thinking he could get away with bothering Aizen in his solitary confinement.

Bach immediately turns to Haschwald, asking why he didn’t warn him about the time-limit. Haschwald then points out that it wouldn’t have made a difference. Realizing that there’s nothing else he can do, Bach decides to retreat back to the Schatten Bereich in the Vandenreich.

Broken

That’s right Ichigo, you’d better get out another Mugetsu or two

Just as Bach and Haschwald want to leave, Ichigo makes himself heard. In his anger towards Bach, he throws a classic Ichigo tantrum. Even though he threatens to injure Bach and Haschwald for all the trouble they’ve caused, his threats turn out to be nothing more than words. As he dashes towards Bach to deal a blow, Ichigo’s attack gets parried by none other than Haschwald. Haschwald quickly uses a blade of his own to cut off half of Zangetsu (seriously, what’s up with all these Quincy using something different than bows?). Realizing his defeat, Ichigo stands speechless. Bach then keeps on walking, bidding farewell to his ‘Son born in the dark’. Best discuss this one in the Kubo Title section .

BORN IN THE DARK most obviously refers to the final statement made by Bach. Calling Ichigo his son born in the dark, it would suggest that Ichigo could actually be his child. But seeming as how Ichigo and Isshin have a far more obvious familial connection (besides the Shinigami part and the similar Zanpakutou abilities) it would be best to conclude that Bach sees himself as a father figure towards all Quincy. With Ichigo being ‘born in the dark’, most likely a reference to his Shinigami heritage, it would explain Bach’s choice of words. There’s also the possibility of Bach being Ichigo’s grandfather, or something along the lines… Who knows?

Quite the chapter if you ask me. Sure, the revelation of Ichigo being a Quincy and this being due to his mother was something that was obviously going to happen when looking at last week’s chapter. The explanation on how Ichigo’s Quincy powers awakened was surprisingly sound, especially considering this is Bleach. I mean, we still don’t know what triggered Ichigo’s initial Bankai release, nor what caused his Bankai to transform. Sure, we have our suspicions for the latter one, but nothing concrete.

The fight between Ichigo and Bach was as short as it should be. Ichigo shouldn’t be able to stand a chance against a man who could beat Genryuusai. At least, not yet. Sure, one could argue that Ichigo managed to defeat Aizen, but look at what that took. Speaking of Aizen. Have I mentioned how awesome Aizen was in this chapter? Even as a flashback he still manages to win against someone who beat Genryuusai.

With Aizen obviously starring in this week’s chapter, it raises a simple question: How much does Aizen know about Bach and the Vandenreich?

Next week’s chapter is going to be one to conclude this part of the invasion. Though the Sternritter will withdraw, the Soul Society captains are going to sweep up the fodder soldiers that the Sternritter released. The chapter will end with (at least) one of the 0th squad members feet shown as (s)he steps out of the portal between dimensions.

That’s it for this week’s review. I hope you guys enjoyed it, even if it is a day later than intended. Be sure to let me know what your thoughts are on this week’s chapter and/or review, give any theories that you may have and to vote in this week’s poll. Don’t forget to rate this week’s chapter! I’ll see you guys again next week!

Rate this week’s chapter by clicking on the picture above!

The Underscore’s Bleach review 513

•October 28, 2012 • 3 Comments

513: The Dark Moon Stroke

Are your eyes deceiving you? Is ‘The Underscore’ actually posting a new review only one week after the last one? Is this a sign of the apocalypse??? I hope not, because I want to finish the entirety of Bleach first… and One Piece… and Naruto… and then I still want to read this, that, watch this, that and, and…

Anyways, it’s here. This week’s Bleach review! Many thanks to Mangastream for their scanlation!

Scattered pride

Thus the cherry blossoms whither

This week’s chapter begins with the end of Kuchiki Byakuya. This time, it’s his final, final moment. Thinking back to his conversation with Ichigo moments before, he walks away from the wall supporting his broken body. With Byakuya’s final request delivered to Ichigo, Byakuya saves his final bit of pride. Rather than dying shamelessly, pinned to a wall, he stands on his own two feet for his final moments.

Though Ichigo never spoke of his promise to Byakuya, Byakuya knows that Ichigo will honor his dying wish. Speaking his final words, he tells Ichigo that he’s counting on him, knowing that this message already reached Ichigo. With his final bit of strength leaving his body, Senbonzakura falls and scatters one last time, never to be reformed again…

Honestly, I already made my peace with Byakuya’s death a couple of weeks ago. In a way, this felt somewhat redundant. On the other hand, this way of dying suits Byakuya better than if he were buried into a wall. Sure, I’m going to miss Byakuya. He’s always been quite the character and I most certainly enjoyed most of his fights. Besides that, he was Rukia’s brother. Even though he wanted to kill her at a certain point, he never wanted to kill her, which makes everything okay. Also, Kageyoshi Senbonzakura was an awesome Bankai to witness.

Meeting in ruins

You could cut the tension with a Zanpakutou

Bach and Haschwald were just about to leave Soul Society for the time being, all for the purpose of preparing for the 0th division. Ichigo dropping in, however, wasn’t part of the plan. As the two Vandenreichers look at Ichigo, it almost seems that it is with some regret. Haschwald wants to act, but Bach decides to play out this given situation.

Admitting that he actually held confidence in Opie’s jailing abilities, Bach congratulates Ichigo and tells him that he’s surprised to see Ichigo escaped. Nonetheless, Bach has his doubts as to whether Ichigo would fight him in his current state. Ichigo, however, doesn’t care about that. All he wants to know is whether Bach is the enemy’s leader.

We then get one of those exchanges of “meaningful looks and vague statements”. Bach laughs at the idea of being seen as “the enemy”, though Haschwald is piercing into the back of Bach’s head with his stare in the hopes he won’t say anything more. Obviously, there’s bound to be a relationship between the Vandenreich and Ichigo. Though I can’t be sure what it could be, >COUGH, COUGH, Ichigo’s mother was a Quincy, closely related to the Vandenreich, but she chose to be with a Shinigami at the expense of her abilities, Bach swore he would leave her and her family alone and Haschwald is also blood relations COUGH, COUGH< -that sure was one nasty cough - Bach gives the every vague answer of “yes and no”. Though something tells me what he meant to say was no and yes -no to the enemy part, yes to the leader part. Ichigo has never been one to enjoy vague answers, especially after having dealt with the likes of Aizen and Tsukishima. So he rephrases his question: Did Bach cause all of the destruction that just occurred in Soul Society?

Bach, gladly admit that he’s responsible.

Bloodlust

Does me enjoying this sight make me a bad person?

Ichigo’s reiatsu flares up along with his rage. Seeing this, Haschwald tries to warn Bach to prevent him from doing something he shouldn’t do. But Bach sees this burst of anger out of Ichigo as a sign that the previous plan is off the table. With Ichigo going into a rage, all he can do now is crush Ichigo.

Ichigo charges towards Bach, looking pretty awesome while doing so. He then fires off a Getsuga Tenshou, which honestly looks a bit… floppy? I’m not sure what it is about this particular Getsuga Tenshou, but every time I see it, it looks odd. Perhaps it’s the angle at which Kubo drew this one… I don’t know. I’m just really bothered by this Getsuga.

Anyways, Bach isn’t impressed by the Getsuga either, as he easily took on the blast and immediately reaches out to grab Ichigo. He manages to take Ichigo down to the ground by his arm, using only one hand. The thing that happens next is something I was quite impressed by. Ichigo tries to pluck out Bach’s eye using his left hand! Seriously, did you guys see that? Ichigo’s hand was mercilessly going for Bach’s right eye! I mean, wow, talk about ferocious fighting. I guess there’s more of Neo Ichigo/Ichigonator inside of Ichigo than I thought.

But Ichigo’s attempt at taking Bach’s eye is easily prevented by Bach. He just uses his free hand to slap away Ichigo’s hand, only to pull out his sword in the process. He then stabs Ichigo in the neck.

Blüt Vene

It’s official, Ichigo’s thick necked!

Haschwald seems rather shocked to see Ichigo being stabbed by Bach. But Bach immediately checked to see whether Ichigo was still breathing, by checking his pulse as well. Bach assures Haschwald that Ichigo’s still alive and that they can take him back to base in order to resurrect and recruit him. After hearing this, Haschwald feels reassured. Bach, however, realizes something’s a bit off. Perhaps it’s the fact that Ichigo is actually breathing with a blade, almost the width of his neck, cutting off a crucial part of his respiratory system? Oddly, no. It’s the prying eyes of an orange haired boy with a blade held against his neck.

Bach then sees an odd pattern forming on Ichigo’s neck: Blüt Vene. No sooner does Bach realize this, or Ichigo explodes with power once more. Is Ichigo awakening again (again)?!

Yeah… Ichigo is suddenly given ‘Blüt Vene’… I’m not sure what to make of this either. You’d think that a Shinigami/human/Hollow hybrid wouldn’t need another ingredient added to the mix, right? Then again, the thought of Ichigo also being a part Quincy did cross many a mind when Aizen revealed to Ichigo that he was a special case. But honestly, I’d rather had seen Ichigo using Kenpachi’s trick for preventing blades from skewering him, than Ichigo using Blüt Vene… Not that I mind Ichigo could be Quincy related and all. It’s just that Blüt Vene doesn’t come across like a technique you can just pick up in a jail in the Garganta within a half an hour time (or however long Ichigo was trapped in there). But who knows, perhaps listening to Urahara’s explanation of the ability and realizing how it helped Opie was enough to make Ichigo realize how he could do it himself? I’m just a bit disappointed that there was no Hollowication involved, even though I had anticipated it last time we saw Ichigo before Genryuusai’s fight.

I’m pretty sure Kubo has a good explanation for this one .

The Dark Moon Stroke, would suggest it’s all about Ichigo. A certain darkness surrounded Ichigo during this entire chapter. It was obvious in his attempt to murder Bach. Sure, he failed miserably, but at least he’s still got his head on top of his neck!

It was a short, but good, chapter. Basically it boiled down to Byakuya speaking his last words before dying, Haschwald giving us a not so subtle hint to Ichigo’s ties with the Vandenreich, Ichigo going berserk, Bach stopping Ichigo from going berserk, to the conclusion of Ichigo having a Quincy ability.

The Byakuya part was one I still feel didn’t quite fit in this week’s chapter. Yes, Byakuya earned his final curtain call, that much is true. Besides that, Kubo couldn’t stall this any further, considering how Byakuya was supposed to have died a couple of chapters ago and it would be a bit odd if Byakuya still lived by next week’s chapter considering the amount of time Unohana would have had to try and heal Byakuya. Which reminds me of a headspinner I should have brought up last week .

The conversation between Ichigo and Bach was a rather classic one. “Are you the bad guy?” “No I’m not, but I’m not going to tell you this directly.” “Well, I don’t like that answer, so I’m going to get really angry.” “Sure, go ahead and try to kill me.” You know, classic . Perhaps a bit bland, but given the situation and the amount of time Bach (read: Kubo) had to have this conversation considering the fact that the 0th division’s on their way (not to mention the amount of pages Kubo had left for this week’s chapter) it was alright.

Bach stabbing Ichigo, only to discover that Ichigo managed to block the attack using Blüt Vene is something I already covered during the review, so I’m leaving it at that. All in all, it was an okay chapter. It felt too short and it had its odd moment, but at least we’re still making progress with the plot! Keep up the pace Kubo!

We’ve seen Unohana sitting in her office during Genryuusai’s fight. We know that she’s supposed to be an expert swordsman and is the greatest healer in all of Soul Society. Which raises the simple question of: What is she doing, sitting in her office!?

Ichigo will explain how he got out of Opie’s asylum. This will provide Bach with enough information on how Ichigo managed to awaken his Blüt Vene. Ichigo and Bach will fight a little, only for the 0th squad to arrive. The Vandenreich will then create a diversion that will allow for the Sternritter to escape.

That’s it for this week’s review. I hope you guys enjoyed it. Be sure to let me know what your thoughts are on this week’s chapter and/or review, give any theories that you may have and to vote in this week’s poll. Don’t forget to rate this week’s chapter! I’ll see you guys again next week!

Rate this week’s chapter by clicking on the picture above!

The Underscore’s Bleach review 507-512

•October 21, 2012 • 6 Comments

Six for one mass review

Okay, so I haven’t had enough time to review Bleach the past couple of weeks (months even). Apparently I’m a busy, busy man. But not today! (Actually, I’m still swamped, but meh…) A new challenge awaits me today. Going over six chapters in a single review with a three hour time limit while being as rusty as can be due to the seven week “break” I’ve had! What could possibly go wrong?

For the sake of all of our sanity, this review will be brought to you consisting of the following parts per chapter:

1. Chapter title
2. What went up (The most important part of the chapter)
3. What went down (Quick recap from my perspective)
4. What was left (What I wanted to see in this particular chapter and was not shown)
5. What was right (The best part of the chapter)
6. Man of the match (Who starred and why)
7. Randomness (We’ll see what will show up here with each chapter )

I’ll also have to limit myself to one page per chapter, if I’m to wrap this review up in time… Here I go!!!… wait, my shoe’s untied… ah, that’s right, I don’t even have feet!

507: The Fire 3

The geezer’s on fire!

What went up
Yamamoto Genryuusai unleashed his Bankai. He revealed to be a better GPS system than Apple can provide as he certainly knows his east from west.

What went down
The chapter started with Juha remembering his previous encounter with Zanka no Tachi after his right hand man comments on the Bankai’s form. Though the blade looks like it’s about to turn to ashes, Juha knows that this Bankai has more of a sizzle than a bang.

Soul Society itself is affected by Zanka no Tachi’s release. Just the release of the old man’s Bankai is enough to cause an instantaneous dry spell. Not even Daiguren Hyourinmaru can maintain its form, in spite of it being the most powerful ice/water type Zanpakutou! At least now we know why Genryuusai didn’t use his Bankai against Aizen while in the real world. Zanka no Tachi would’ve affected the climate within fake Karakura town and beyond.

The fight between Genryuusai and Juha then begins. But Juha notices that Zanka no Tachi isn’t the same as it was before. Genryuusai then shows exactly what’s different as he creates a fissure in the ground, just by touching it with the edge! Zanka no Tachi East, Kyouku Jitsujin focuses all of Genryuusai’s flames into the edge. No heat or energy is wasted on creating flames. Kyouku Jitsujin just destroys… (I would be crying for joy at this point in time, but Zanka no Tachi dried up my tears before they even could come out!)

Juha then thinks himself to be smart by just trying to avoid the edge and attacking Genryuusai directly. But as Juha tries to cut Genryuusai, his blade suddenly just vanished. Genryuusai then points out that if there’s an East, there’s also going to be a West: Zanji Tsugoki. This second ability turns Genryuusai into a friggin sun!

What was left
Nothing. This chapter was excellent.

What was right
The flames surrounding Genryuusai as he used his Zanji Tsugoki… it even beat the moment where Franky used his laser in One Piece!

Man of the match
Genryuusai, hands down.

Randomness

It’s odd to see how all the captains know of Genryuusai’s Bankai. For something that’s supposed to stay as secretive as possible there are quite a few people who know exactly what’s what. You think Wonderweiss could’ve handled Zanka no Tachi?

508: Like a raging fire

This man knows how to liven up the place… literally

What went up
Genryuusai is on fire! He summoned an army of corpses, consisting of people he’s killed over the years! Juha Bach’s goose is cooked!

What went down
Juha’s right hand man thinks that Genryuusai’s bluffing with his 15.000.000 degree coating. But he soon realizes that it’s far from a bluff. Juha knows even better. Were it not for his Blut ability, Genryuusai would’ve already burnt him to a crisp. Genryuusai then reveals that his Bankai released more than just the most powerful Zanpakutou around. It released Genryuusai’s vindictiveness as well.

Genryuusai mocks Juha for not being able to do anything. Heck, he even offers the man the opportunity to flee… only to be chased down and captured (Did Genryuusai look awesome as he told Juha that, or what?). Though Juha wanted to wet his pants after Genryuusai told him this, he probably realized all fluids would already be evaporated. So instead he tries using his arrows. Genryuusai isn’t impressed at all.

Juha then resorts to the ultimate defensive Quincy technique (as far as we know): Kirchenlied Sankt Zwinger. Creating an area where anyone who dares enter is destroyed by light (lasers!). With Juha believing himself to be save, Genryuusai once more proves himself to be the superior. Besides the west side and the east side of it all, Genryuusai also has Zanka no Tachi South, Kaka Juumanokushi Daisoujin! This is an inferno I couldn’t even dream of imagining, so awesome .

What was left
Content, really. For all the awesomeness this chapter brought us, it felt really short.

What was right
The artwork in this chapter was just excellent. As we all know, Kubo knows his art.
Though I may not know art, I know what I like. This chapter, I liked. (Also, friggin army of the BURNING dead!

Man of the match
I could give props to Genryuusai two chapters in a row. Let’s face it, he kind of deserves it. But for now I’ll give Juha a bit of credit for trying his best with Kirchenlied.

Randomness
You don’t suppose Quincy could be the first space explorers to set foot on the sun, would you? Between Hirenkyaku and Blut, they should be fine… if they could find oxygen of course

509: Tenchi Kaijin

This friggin Bankai is so powerful that it can actually stop blood from flowing in Bleach… in Bleach!

What went up
Genryuusai taunts Juha by using his own subordinates against him. After pointing out the reason for Juha not being able to capture Zanka no Tachi, the final of the four forms is released to kill Juha… who apologizes to himself?

What went down
Juha is surprised (to say the least) at the sight of an army of the dead preparing to confront him. Genryuusai explains that Zanki no Tachi North, Kaka Juumanokushi Daisoujin gives his fallen victims another chance to taste blood. By giving live to the trillions of people Genryuusai has killed over the ages.

Hearing this, Juha tries to mock Genryuusai for bringing the dead to life, even though he’s supposed to be a Shinigami. Not only that, it’s not even going to bother Juha to kill those who are already dead. Heck, he’s been doing it since he arrived in Soul Society the first time 1000 years ago. But Genryuusai then points out that Juha should look before he leaps. It turns out that Genryuusai summoned some old war buddies of Juha’s. Best of this reunion is that Juha has to kill them with his own hands this time. How cruel can Genryuusai get?

Genryuusai then adds some fuel to the fire (as if this fire needs more fuel) by telling Juha he should’ve taken Zanka no Tachi away immediately. But then he points out that he probably couldn’t because he lacks information. Same goes for Tensa Zangetsu. Because Tensa Zangetsu can still evolve, the Vandenreich can’t measure Ichigo’s potential, making it impossible to make accurate estimates of what’s needed to capture his Bankai. With Genryuusai it’s the same, yet completely opposite. Same as Ichigo, Genryuusai’s limits are unknown. But in Genryuusai’s case it has to do with his vast experience battling and having refined his Bankai through the ages.

Juha then plows through the corpses of his former comrades, while cursing Genryuusai. Genryuusai on the other hand points out that the suffering Juha is going through is nothing compared to that of the Shinigami he has killed. With those words, Genryuusai releases Zanka no Tachi’s final technique: Zanka no Tachi North: Tenchi Kaijin.

Gutting Juha Bach with a single blow, Genryuusai seals his Bankai once more. With the temperature dropping immediately, rain starts to fall. As Genryuusai’s age starts to show, Juha utters his final words of apology… to Juha Bach-sama!

What was left
Sure, a burning Getsuga Tenshou is nice and all, but I was hoping that Tenchi Kaijin would be a bit more… I don’t know. Just more.

What was right
The moment where Juha apologized. I was going out of my mind at that time. Genryuusai killed the boss, yet he didn’t? How’s this supposed to work out?

Man of the match
Kubo Tite, hands down. He managed to give us Zanka no Tachi entirely in three chapters time, while wrapping it up with a troll for us all!

Randomness
How come there aren’t any Hollows amongst the dead in Kaka Juumanokushi Daisoujin? Could it be that the Hollows slain by Genryuusai take on their human form once summoned? Or did Genryuusai just opt to stick to the Quincy for now?

510: The extinction

Still not giving a hoot

What went up
Royd Lloyd posed as Juha Bach. Juha Bach went to visit Aizen! Genryuusai has been killed?!

What went down
The chapter started with an explanation on Sternritter Y ‘The Yourself’. It turns out that Yourself wasn’t just himself, but rather himself and his brother. These brother Loyd and Royd had the ability to mimic others. Loyd could mimic looks and powers, while Royd could mimic looks and essence (memories and spirit). As Genryuusai hears Royd’s final words, he realizes something’s up.

No sooner does Genryuusai realize something’s wrong, or the first division barracks are blown to pieces. Juha Bach then makes his appearance. He thanks Royd for a job well done, as Royd tears up out of joy. As a thank you gift, Juha decides to blow Royd to smithereens (this just goes to show one shouldn’t complain about getting a ‘lame gift’ at work ). Genryuusai points out what kind of a jerk Juha truly is before asking him what he’s been up to. Juha then asks Genryuusai if he realizes what’s underneath the first division barracks…

AIZEN!!! Juha wanted Aizen as a part of his special forces. Aizen declined and Juha left Aizen to rot for eternity. As if Aizen is going to rot away… Juha then asks Genryuusai whether he’s out of steam after fighting his fake. Genryuusai takes the bait as he calls forth his Bankai. But Juha easily takes Genryuusai’s Bankai away. Juha then explains that it wasn’t a matter of information that kept others from taking away his Bankai, but simple raw power.

Juha then tells Genryuusai that he could use his own powers against him, but Genryuusai isn’t amused. Juha, however, has thought of something a bit more original. He (rather redundantly) summons a bow in the sky. This bow fires an arrow, that turns out to be Juha’s sword. Juha then picks up his sword, and slashes Genryuusai…

What was left
I wanted to see the scene with Aizen and Juha!

What was right
I loved the way Kubo integrated both ‘The Yourself’ from a couple of chapters ago along with Aizen into this chapter. Especially the Aizen part.

Man of the match
Aizen, for choosing to stay seated for another couple of millennia rather than joining Juha. Aizen is going for Godhood or bust!

Randomness
Who says that Juha Bach is the real Juha Bach right now? For all we know Aizen just killed Juha and used his Bankai to make himself look like Juha!

511: Death whilst standing

NOOOOO~~~~!!! Who is going to scold Kenpachi now?

What went up
Genryuusai has been killed dead! Juha summons an army of Quincy to sweep clean the entirety of Soul Society! Juha wants to flee from the 0th division! The original Gotei 13 were shown (sort of)!

What went down
The chapter started with a flashback to where Shunsui first got a hint of Genryuusai’s true face. A single picture decorated a private room of Genryuusai’s, which intrigued Shunsui. Genryuusai explains that it depicts a monster that once terrorized Soul Society during an age where Soul Society was at its low. Genryuusai then assures Shunsui that the monster would never show its face ever again. But if it would, it would probably mean that Genryuusai would never come back again.

Genryuusai’s body suddenly falls in twine, with Ukitake and Shunsui sensing what happened to their teacher. Shunsui is distracted to the point where his opponent takes advantage of that situation. Juha looks down on Genryuusai, mocking him for his current state. He then tells his right hand man, Hashvald, that they’re leaving. But Genryuusai isn’t one to quit. Even with his legs still standing behind him, he uses his remaining limb to cling to Juha.

Juha mercilessly cuts off Genryuusai’s right hand and then gives his eulogy. He tells Genryuusai never follows through with what he does. This is the reason why Juha didn’t consider Genryuusai as one of the five warring potentials. It was Genryuusai’s stubbornness that didn’t allow him to rely on others. He didn’t ask Orihime to heal his left arm, because he felt he shouldn’t. He reluctantly accepted Ichigo’s help, but Genryuusai felt he should be the one to shoulder everything. But (as was shown through the memory of Shunsui) Genryuusai would no longer do as he did in the past.

In the past, the Gotei 13 were merciless thugs. Genryuusai and his merry band of outlaws got the job done, no matter the cost. But after things settled down, Genryuusai decided to follow the path of justice and pride. This is what prevented him from accepting help from the humans he had hurt in the past. Juha ends his eulogy with a display of lights and an order.

As the (remaining) captains sense what happened to Genryuusai, the Sternritter summon their soldat. Shadows expand from the Sternritter, creating gateways from which countless soldiers emerge. Even though the members of the Gotei 13 think them to be mere cannon fodder, it turns out the Soldat have more up their sleeve than expected.

Juha then decides that he’s done in Soul Society for now. With the Gotei 13 down for the count, both he and Hashvald will retreat to await the 0th division. But not everything goes according to Juha’s plan as something explodes in the sky…

What was left
Loyal readers saw this one coming from a mile away… KON!

What was right
Everything. Another excellent chapter for Bleach.

Man of the match
Chibi Shunsui has won this one. He really hasn’t changed at all, has he?

Randomness
Why didn’t Genryuusai just burn all those other Sternritter to a crisp before fighting the fake Juha? Seriously, the guy with the mohawk is in too good of a condition if you ask me…

Also, is it me, or are the Sternritter displaying more Fullbring abilities than Quincy abilities?

512: Everything but the Rain

This is going to be a hard strawberry to swallow…

What went up
Akon showed some real cojones, Jaz wears leopard print, Renji and Rukia are still alive, Byakuya speaks his final words, and Ichigo is about to strike back!

What went down
Akon managed to open the Garganta on the Soul Society end, with some complications. No sooner does he greet his guest, or he falls at the hands of Jaz Domino, one of the Sternritter. Even though he uses dagger-like totems, we will never know what his true ability is. That’s because the person he’s talking to doesn’t care.

With an eruption of power in the sky, the captains and vice-captains look up. We see Ichigo checking up on Renji and Rukia, only to quickly move away. The Sternritter did notice Ichigo’s appearance, but all of a sudden they can’t track his Reiatsu. Ichigo then arrives at one of his closest friends in Soul Society: Kuchiki Byakuya.

Byakuya immediately asks whether Renji and Rukia are alright. In his dying moments, Byakuya knows full well who he wants to stay save. Somewhat relieved after hearing Ichigo say that those two are alright, he goes to his second priority. With the humility brought by death, Byakuya wishes for Ichigo to help his subordinates along with the rest of Soul Society. For he realizes how distressing it is to know that your family might not come back alive. Though he never wished to ask this of Ichigo, he knows it is what he must do. He asks Ichigo to protect Soul Society…

Hashvalt and Juha sensed Ichigo’s Reiatsu. Though Hashvalt offers to take down Ichigo, Juha seems to be reluctant. It almost seems like Juha has a personal reason to leave Ichigo out of this matter. But whatever the case, Juha has no choice in the matter. Just as he tries to leave, Tensa Zangetsu comes flying in. Juha curses the person who threw the blade, being none other than Ichigo who is ready to keep his promise to Byakuya.

What was left
I would’ve loved to get a hint as to how Ichigo got out of the prison. Sure, he looks torn up, meaning he probably used an attack of sorts that did damage to the point where it would hurt himself, but that doesn’t give any answers.

What was right
The moment Tensa Zangetsu came in flying. How awesome is it that Ichigo manages to throw Zangetsu that close to his opponent in such a threatening manner. It actually startled Juha and everything.

Man of the match
I could mention Ichigo or Byakuya here, but credit’s going where credit’s do. Akon has proven himself to be more reliable that anyone’s ever given him credit for. He gave his all to get Ichigo to Soul Society at the moment Soul Society needed him most. Great job Akon!

Randomness
You’d think that during the entire time where Byakuya was ‘dying’, a fourth division member would’ve been able to give him some much needed first aid.

Ichigo’s certainly looking a lot more scary than usual. Sure, he’s crossed about what happened to him at the hand of Opie and all, but still…

Jaz Domino says something about getting his powers bestowed upon him. A hint that he’s actually a Fullbringer, or perhaps a sign that Juha has the means to give anyone Quincy powers?

Next week we’ll learn how Ichigo managed to escape from his prison in the Garganta. Most likely with some information on the person who held a blade to Urahara. Urahara, Chad, and Orihime will probably make their way to Soul Society as well, along with the mystery person. By the end of the chapter, Ichigo will want to fight Juha, only for Hashval to take matters into his own hands.

That’s it for this week’s review. I hope you guys enjoyed it in spite of this rather unique set-up. Be sure to let me know what your thoughts are on these chapters and/or review, and to give any theories that you may have. I’ll see you guys again next week! (Hopefully)

The Underscore’s Bleach review 506

•September 9, 2012 • 10 Comments

506: The Fire 2

A bit later than usual on the Sunday, but it’s here. This week’s Bleach review for chapter 506! Again, little else to say here… Might as well get to it then!

Random Encounter

A wild pack of Stern Ritter appears!!!

The chapter starts with Kyouraku drawing first blood part two. Sternritter Business-man seems to enjoy the fact that Kyouraku’s morale has returned. Perhaps he was worried that Kyouraku wouldn’t put up a good fight. Guess that Sternritter B (for the purpose of this part of the review, I will refer to the guy with glasses as Sternritter B) is more bloodthirsty that his appearance would suggest. Whatever the case, Sternritter B isn’t worried about the fact that his guts are about to fall out. This being Bleach of course, there’s no need to worry about anemia . In spite of Kyouraku’s successful attack, Sternritter B points out that there’s a miscalculation on Kyouraku’s part.

Meanwhile, Genryuusai and Juha get to be reacquainted once again. Genryuusai is so happy to see Juha after 1000 years, that he’s offering to give Juha a great big bearhug… one to choke out the last of Juha’s breath, that is . As Genryuusai realizes that he should let Ryuujin Jakka give Juha a chance to get reacquainted again as well, the scene changes back to Sternritter B. Sternritter B tells Kyouraku that Genryuusai will lose to Juha. The reason for that is simple: Morale boosting by boss battles works both ways.

No sooner does Sternritter B shout this, or three Sternritter decide to leap at Genryuusai. Buzzbee, Nananananana…na? -You know who I’m talking about-, and Äs decide that the best way to attack Genryuusai is to jump him from behind, while declaring his death and calling him names. Let’s see how that works out, shall we?

Miscalculation

It would seem that Genryuusai is a more volatile substance than they had calculated…

Though Kyouraku seems like the type who never does his homework, he most certainly knows better. After Kyouraku did HIS math, he came to the conclusion that he shouldn’t bother doing math when it comes to Yama-jii. Sternritter B, meanwhile, is enjoying the display of fireworks that is incinerating three of his, now former, colleagues.

Personally, I’m quite happy with this turn of events. After Juha came out of his fight with Kenpachi unscathed, only using his bare hands, Genryuusai would have to do something at least as impressive to set the tone of the battle. Considering how Genryuusai is using Ryuujin Jakka, it isn’t all that strange for him to be able to cremate three Sternritter in a single go. Sure, this situation is rather reminiscent of what happened with Harribel’s Fraccion, where they somehow managed to survive the attack. Sadly, it would seem that these three Sternritter have the same luck as Las Tres Bestias… If you compare the toasting of Driscoll to the toasting of these three, you will notice the lack of burnt flesh and display of bones on these three. So, yeah, Genryuusai managed to toast three Sternritter, but they’re only well done.

Juha, however, didn’t want his Sternritter well done. He’d rather see them burnt for interfering with his fight. He tells his subordinates that they’re fools for meddling. Though I’m sure that Genryuusai feels that those Sternritter are fools, he doesn’t feel those Sternritter are fools for showing their loyalty to their leader. With Genryuusai and Ryuujin Jakka completing their warming up, he does his final stretches as he glares at his opponent. Juha wants to mock Genryuusai for that glare, but he soon learns that he shouldn’t be mocking right now as much as he should pay attention.

Juha Bach

He’s going from Falcon punches to Falcon slashes!

Genryuusai makes a quick dash at Juha and manages to cut Juha’s left hand. Gus (the right hand man with the white hair) yells out to his emperor, though the look in his eyes looks more like one of boredom rather than one of concern. Genryuusai then tells Juha that he hasn’t changed since 1000 years ago, in that he still looks down on his subordinates.

Juha, however, notes that Genryuusai has truly gotten old. Save for the fact that his short temper that remains unchanged. We catch our first glimpse of what happened 1000 years ago, a short panel with a younger Genryuusai yelling at Juha, while a wall of flames towers behind him. Genryuusai, on the other hand, is more into the here and now, where he strikes at Juha once more. This time Juha manages to dodge both the blade and the trail of flames ensuing the attack.

But not only does Juha dodge the attack, he even decides to draw out his weapon as well. With a swift Iai strike, Juha’s blade manages to whip up quite the gale. Almost blowing away Gus, Genryuusai still stands looking rather pleased. As he tells Juha that he’s glad that he took out his blade, Juha tries to regain his composure by telling Genryuusai he almost looks like he was waiting for this moment. But why would Genryuusai wait for Juha to take out his sword?

The First

All sizzle, no bang?

Juha’s blood, flesh, sword, soul, and his very bones are to be turned to dust. Still doesn’t explain why Genryuusai would wait for Juha to draw his blade, right? Wrong. Though Ryuujin Jakka’s flames intensify as Genryuusai threatens Juha, they disappear all of a sudden… Somewhat dumbfounded, Juha doesn’t know how to react to this seeming stop to their battle. But Genryuusai then provides us with some fan service, all the while proving Byakuran wrong once more: Zanka no Tachi.

Okay, so I was expecting to see… I don’t know, a bajillion volcanoes to rise up from the earth, thirteen suns to appear overhead, dragons made of flames and lava flying around, and an inferno that would put, well, inferno to shame. Instead, we get a smoldering blade that’s been burnt for the most part… Did NOT see this one coming… So, what to make of this?

The most obvious thing that is going to happen here is that Zanka no Tachi will do exactly what Ryuujin Jakka’s release command says: Turn all creation to ashes. I mean, the blade itself is almost turning to ashes. What’s to say that isn’t what the touch of Zanka no Tachi does? Perhaps just touching the ground will make it burn within a 400 mile radius? Just moving the blade around a bit could burn up all the oxygen in the air for all we know. All I know for sure is that I want to see how this plays out. Because judging from Juha’s reaction, he’s never seen Zanka no Tachi before…

A rather educational chapter, if anything. Through Kyouraku and Sternritter B, we learn that both sides will be pumped to fight during this war. Through Genryuusai, we learn that Juha and he are on a completely different level of power, compared to the other captains and Sternritter. Through Juha, we learn that the geezer does indeed have a Bankai up his remaining sleeve and that it will be used in the not so distant future.

The fight between Kyouraku and Sternritter B is still progressing slowly. It wouldn’t be too strange for this fight to be at equal odds for the remainder of the Genryuusai/Juha fight. This part of the chapter didn’t serve much purpose beside pointing out that Genryuusai’s appearance will tip the balance of this war. The direction, however, will depend on Juha.

Juha turns out to be quite the jerk in himself. He doesn’t just NOT care about his Arrancar subordinates, but he doesn’t even give a hoot about his loyal Sternritter. This seems to be one characteristic that hasn’t changed in 1000 years . From what has been shown of Juha, he seems to be quite the egomaniac. He thinks himself above any- and everyone. It is not until Genryuusai turns up the heat (literally) that Juha realizes that he isn’t in a league on his own.

Genryuusai, in the meantime, remains as forgiving as ever with his handling of the Sternritter. Not only that, he even upholds the honorable approach to the battle with Juha by allowing the latter to draw his sword before pulling out his ace. Zanka no Tachi’s appearance was both unexpected as well as welcome. Somehow reminding me of the time where Ichigo first revealed Tensa Zangetsu and Byakuya telling him that there are no Bankai that are so small, I’m still curious as to what the consequences are going to be.

All in all, I did enjoy this chapter. But with it only leaving me wishing for more, I can’t say this was the best of this arc (or even close to being the best). Yes, finally getting to see Genryuusai pull out his Bankai is something I’ve been waiting for since the concept of Bankai and the history of Ryuujin Jakka have been introduced. I most certainly enjoyed that. But I want to know what it does, and I want to know it now!

After reading this chapter, I can’t help but wonder about one simple thing: How is it that Genryuusai was having trouble with Aizen again?

Next week’s chapter will start with a small chat-up on how Genryuusai pulled out his Bankai. We will then see an attempt by either Juha, or Gus to steal the Bankai. But Zanka no Tachi will be immune to the medalization. Genryuusai will explain that it has to do with the bond between the Zanpakutou and its wielder, pointing out that he has been with Ryuujin Jakka for millennia, and Ichigo had become one with Zangetsu at one point. Genryuusai then makes his move, almost killing Juha in a single blow. Juha then decides to make his comeback, by using his Vollständig to end the chapter…

That’s it for this week’s review. I hope you guys enjoyed it. Be sure to let me know what your thoughts are on this week’s chapter and/or review, give any theories that you may have and to vote in this week’s poll. Don’t forget to rate this week’s chapter! I’ll see you guys again next week!

Rate this week’s chapter by clicking on the picture above!

The Underscore’s Bleach review 504 & 505

•September 2, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Double Bleach review 504 & 505

So I missed another week… I have an excellent excuse though. Job being on the line and all… Anyways, the upside to missing one week’s review, is getting a double review a week later! You’ve waited long enough, so onwards to the reviews!

CHAPTER 504: BEYOND THE THUNDER

Aliens are invading, Aliens are invading~~!!!

Koukougonryourikyuu, also known as the ‘brilliant yellow villa of the stern soul’, is unveiled. Sasakibe’s Bankai once more appears in front of Genryuusai, this time wielded by the man who murdered its former owner. A sphere of lightning forms over Driscoll, with pillars of lightning coming from it. Though it should be an impressive sight to behold, I’m somewhat underwhelmed. I suppose I was hoping to see a more solid object as a part of the Bankai, something where Kubo could toy with some wacky designs. But I suppose that Sasakibe himself was somewhat of a wacky design .

Though most people would wet themselves, witnessing such a display of lightning right in front of them, Genryuusai seems to be more concerned with other matters. As he looks upon Koukougonryourikyuu, he remembers the first time he saw it. Driscoll, however, doesn’t allow Genryuusai to just reminisce the times he had with his former vice-captain. Driscoll points out that Koukougonryourikyuu has not been used for over 2000 years. The fact that Driscoll knows of Koukougonryourikyuu and even knows that it hasn’t been used for such a long time only makes my suspicions of a traitor amongst Soul Society grow. Let’s face it, I doubt many Shinigami knew about Sasakibe’s Bankai if he hasn’t used it over 2000 years. So how could a Quincy from the Vandenreich ever learn of this? Of course, there’s always the matter of Genryuusai and Buckbeard….

As Driscoll demands that Genryuusai should be grateful for showing him Koukougonryourikyuu again, Hisagi witnesses Koukougonryourikyuu for the first time. He senses the amount of Reiatsu coming from the Bankai and notices that Koukougonryourikyuu, much like Hyourinmaru, is able command the weather. Being able to command lightning is quite an impressive feat, of course. And Driscoll quickly sets out to show this by attacking Genryuusai. Oddly, Genryuusai doesn’t even show signs of wanting to dodge the attack. Thus, Hisagi witnesses Genryuusai getting quite a charge from Koukougonryourikyuu. This charge is exactly what Genryuusai needed to jog his memory of the (very) distant past…

Eijisai

That’s right, this is taking place BEFORE, before the internet. That’s how long ago this is!

Genryuusai’s memories take him back to a time where he was called Eijisai. Though Shigekuni (as Genryuusai was actually called at that time) did not like that nickname, people apparently enjoyed calling him that. Especially a young man by the name of Choujirou Sasakibe… Apparently, Sasakibe did have some personality when he was young, though he used this personality to stalk Genryuusai .

Choujirou was set on becoming Yamamoto’s right hand man. Though Yamamoto insisted that Choujirou would enlist in his school to achieve this, Choujirou knew better. Choujirou knew that there is no point in Eijisai getting a carbon copy of himself to help him out. What’s the point of Choujirou doing exactly as Yamamoto would, when Yamamoto has limitations that Choujirou can help with by being himself? Yamamoto isn’t exactly impressed by this logic, but Choujirou was more than determined to walk this path. So much so, in fact, that he did something quite amazing.

Though Choujirou had been stalking Yamamoto day after day, he had been gone for one month. In that single month, Choujirou took Eijisai’s words and trained to obtain Bankai. Even though Yamamoto most likely just blurted those words out of annoyance, Choujirou accepted the challenge. Hearing that Choujirou achieved the Bankai made Yamamoto’s spirit burn as he challenges the young man once more: Try and defeat him with this Bankai.

Jyuujisai

I honestly can’t make heads or tails from all these name changes

One of the many scars that Genryuusai has endured over the ages turns out to be given to him by his very own vice-captain. A Bankai, achieved in just a month’s time managed to permanently scar one of the most powerful Shinigami at that time. Though Yamamoto told Choujirou that his Bankai was weak, Choujirou was happy to hear this. Choujirou’s Bankai became a promise between Yamamoto and Sasakibe. Choujirou would stay at Genryuusai’s side for as long as Genryuusai would remain active. In order to be of use, Choujirou would refine his Bankai over the years.

As for Yamamoto, the scar given by Choujirou made it that he received the nickname ‘Jyuujisai’, due to the word being etched on his forehead. But Choujirou kept calling him Eijisai. But with these inconsistencies in his names, Yamamoto decided to take up a name of his own choosing: Genryuusai.

In a way, this glimpse at Genryuusai and Choujirou’s past was quite amusing. It was an important part in Genryuusai’s history. The history shared between the captain commander and his vice-captain was one of friendship. Through the ages, these two remained close friends, where Choujirou would never fail to be of help to Genryuusai. Centuries of friendship, all being brought to an end by an arrogant pup, thinking himself to be worthy of wielding Koukougonryourikyuu. Imagine losing your best friend, one you’ve known for your entire life…. now imagine that times 100. Now imagine the person being responsible for your friend’s death standing right in front of you… Well, in case you can’t imagine your reaction at that time, I’d suggest you read the rest of this chapter again.

Genryuusai

He be ma~~~d

As Driscoll brings down the pain, using Koukougonryourikyuu, both he and Hisagi believe Genryuusai to be knocked out cold by the Bankai. It wouldn’t be too surprising for a Bankai that has been polished for hundreds of years to be able to do something like that to a 2500(+) year old man… Hisagi decides he has to do everything he can to protect the captain commander as he bravely decides to step in. But the old-man doesn’t agree with this course of action, as he tells Hisagi to stand still.

Driscoll is surprised to hear anything out of Genryuusai and then decides to end things with a second strike of lightning. Unfortunately for Driscoll, this jolt of lightning isn’t enough to send Genryuusai into another flashback. In fact, it only helps to fuel Genryuusai’s rage. With Koukougonryourikyuu being stolen from its true owner, who had then been killed, both Choujirou and Koukougonryourikyuu have lost something. Genryuusai understands this loss. It is the loss of pride, honor, and devotion. Driscoll took the materialization of these things, and then uses it in a way that disgraces Choujirou’s soul. For such a foul act, Driscoll deserves to burn. And burn, he most definitely did.

Genryuusai draws Ryuujin Jakka and instantly cuts and burns Driscoll to ashes. Blüt or not, Ryuujin Jakka couldn’t care less. With these purifying flames, Soul Society’s counter attack will begin!

CHAPTER 505: THE FIRE

The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire, we don’t need no water let the motherf*cker burn

Why must Kubo torment me with pictures of KON-sama? Err, I mean, colored pages to celebrate the 11th year anniversary of Bleach! And what a way to start off a chapter named ‘The Fire’. Ryuujin Jakka’s flames burn with a rage that could scorch the earth, and Driscoll is the one who gets those flames all to himself… for now. With Choujirou’s murderer finally been put to rest, Genryuusai can mourn the loss of his close friend.

Genryuusai turns his back on the opponent, now turned ashes, as he says his final farewells to Choujirou. Hisagi is the only person who witnesses this moment, seeing Genryuusai’s face of mourning. Though Hisagi wishes to express his sympathies, Genryuusai knows he can’t take more time than he has to grieve. So both Genryuusai and Hisagi shouldn’t dwell on what happened any longer. Instead, they should look to the future. And in the future Genryuusai envisions, the streets will be dyed black with ashes. For he will personally see to it that the Vandenreich will burn…

Burning souls

Is it me, or are all the captains relieved that for once, they’re not the ones who are in trouble?

Genryuusai decides to do things the right way. What better way to use Shunpo than to wrap yourself in flames of anger? All of Soul Society can sense the old man’s Reiatsu, and all who have ever known him for these past centuries know this: He’s never been this pissed before.

Soi Fon is oddly the first one to show a smile at this sudden outburst by the old man. Where she usually tries to keep a straight face, she can’t help but smile at the thought of Genryuusai toasting some Sternritter. Either that, or she’s just thinking about Yoruichi .

Shinji and Momo are up next in talking about Yama-jii’s course of action. Momo is surprised at the amount of hostility radiating from Genryuusai. Shinji then admits that even he never sensed this amount of hostility coming from the geezer. Judging from the look of Shinji and Momo, they may have actually managed to defeat one of the Sternritter already. But what I find more interesting is the fact that Shinji is calling Hinamori ‘Momo’. I guess I’m just glad for Momo that she finally got the captain she deserves. Sure, he’s rude, creepy, lazy, and so on, but at least he isn’t lying to everyone about himself and his real intentions, nor brainwashing his subordinates… I think . Even though Shinji is lazy, he most definitely likes to enjoy himself. That’s why Momo and him can’t let the old geezer hog all the fun…

Motivation

You can hire Genryuusai as a motivational speaker. He’ll get your people moving (to the fire escape, at least)!

With Genryuusai heating things up, even Hitsugaya thaws a bit. Knowing that the Captain Commander is on the move while he’s still struggling is something Hitsugaya won’t stand for. Even Matsumoto agrees that they should put in some work. Go figure…

The scene then changes to the part that makes me sad that there’s no Anime for Bleach anymore. What I wouldn’t give to see Komamura howling the way he did here, before scolding his subordinates to stand once more. Komamura’s loyalty to Genryuusai is one only surpassed by Choujirou in this respect. This loyalty even rubbed off on his own subordinates as Bambina witnesses the entire division suddenly regaining vitality. I wonder whether Bambina already used Komamura’s Bankai against them or not. The fact that she’s wielding a saber right now would suggest that she has made the preparations to do so. Either that, or her weapon of choice has always been that saber. If not for the fact that she seems to be such a stereotypical brat, with that heart shaped buckle of hers, I might actually be curious about her and her fighting style.

Where most of the captains see Genryuusai’s Reiatsu as a good thing, there’s one captain who knows better. Where the other captains are only thinking short term, the war ending with Genryuusai burning all opponents to ashes, Kyouraku is thinking long term. If Genryuusai were to find out that Kyouraku had trouble with the Vandenreich, he’d get the biggest scolding of his life. Even though Kyouraku has built the greatest immunity to Genryuusai’s scoldings in the history of Seireitei, he has endured plenty of them that he knows what Genryuusai would say once he’s serious. He can already hear Genryuusai saying the exact words that would hurt Kyouraku most: Genryuusai not raising him to be such a coward.

Holy Crap, KENPACHI!

You’d at least expect Kenpachi to put a scratch on the man…

One of the few captains that we hadn’t seen this chapter was Kenpachi. With his match against Buckbeard starting two chapters ago, it turns out that the poll results from the previous review can be confirmed. Zaraki Kenpachi, the number one in strength, has been beaten to an inch of his life at the hands of the Vandenreich emperor. This picture is quite impressive, the way Buckbeard is holding Kenpachi, who isn’t the smallest of Shinigami, up, while still appearing to be bigger than him. Quite the feat from Kubo if you ask me. Buckbeard, however, seems to be disappointed at the result of this battle, and something tells me he isn’t the only one.

With Kenpachi beaten, Buckbeard decides that he has the right to take Kenpachi’s life to usher in the end of Soul Society. But Genryuusai doesn’t feel like having Soul Society come to an end. Crashing down from the skies with the flames of hell following quickly, Genryuusai reveals Buckbeard’s real name: Juha Bach (Or Yuhabaha… Could it be Johan Bach?… darn you Kubo and your naming sense ).

The emperor turns around and looks upon the visage of his millennium long nemesis. As Bach witnesses the enraged Shinigami proclaiming his death, he can’t help but smile at this development. The fight postponed for 1000 years will finally be resumed.

Chapter 504 was a chapter of closure. Whether you liked Choujirou or not, Genryuusai had to finish this chapter. Sure, Choujirou’s death seems a bit cheap if you consider that Genryuusai managed to defeat Driscoll with a single blow of his Shikai, where Choujirou who has been at Genryuusai’s side for 2000 years died so easily. The flashback in the chapter was entertaining enough. I suppose that Kubo decided to throw that one in so that us readers can be emotionally invested in Genryuusai and his current cause. Let’s face it, Genryuusai is tough as nails, practically invincible and all, and all we ever see him do is get angry. So it’s hard to relate to him that easily I suppose. But showing the friendship he held with his right hand man and the way it affects him shows us that he too is a man. Thus, his killing of the man who murdered his best friend is something that can give us readers a good feeling. I personally enjoyed watching Driscoll burn, so I’d say mission accomplished .

Enter chapter 505, the beginning of the Soul Society counter attack. With Genryuusai burning with anger (quite literally at that), the remaining captains and vice-captains find their vigor once more. Part of me is glad to see that Ichigo didn’t have to be the one to achieve this amongst Soul Society. Let’s face it, if Soul Society had to rely on a teen time after time, it would almost justify the destruction of Soul Society. On the other hand, I’m a little disappointed with the majority of the captains. Why wouldn’t they be capable of motivating themselves without Genryuusai needing to light the fires of hope? Heck, Kenpachi was the only captain I can think of who didn’t even need the non-verbal pep talk given by Genryuusai. Though we’ve seen what that resulted in. Kenpachi has met his defeat at the hands of Juha Bach. For now it would seems that Bach still has to deal the decisive blow to the unconscious Kenpachi. But Kenpachi fans can sigh in relieve at the appearance of Genryuusai, who will personally deal with Bach.

All in all, two good chapters which complement each other. As a standalone chapter, 504 is the weaker of the two in my experience. But reading 504 and 505 together really improves the overall enjoyment of the read. Kubo maintained the quality in his artwork throughout both chapters, with little to no flaws in the pages. I had a good laugh seeing a “younger” Genryuusai with his top-knot. At first I didn’t even recognize him, but looking at him it really shows that it’s the same old man who enjoys midnight scolds and burning opponents.

As pointed out in the review, I have my suspicions about there being a spy in Soul Society. Sure, the flashback from chapter 504 stated that Choujirou’s name was known all throughout Soul Society 2000 years ago, but would that knowledge truly remain public for 2000 years? Shouldn’t something that hasn’t been shown for 2000 years fade to obscurity? I mean, Choujirou has been around for 2000 years and doesn’t show his Bankai at all, wouldn’t that make the idea of him having Bankai turn to nothing but rumor and gossip?

Then again, it’s possible that Juha Bach and Genryuusai were friends at one point in time. That Juha learned quite a bit about Soul Society around that time and that the knowledge of the current captains is based on information Aizen had hidden in Las Noches.

Two theories, both easily disproven. But the question remains: Where did the intel on Soul Society come from?

The fight between Genryuusai and Juha will most likely start next week, beginning with a quick recap of what happened 1000 years ago. The fight itself will be even between the two, up to the point where Genryuusai will be forced to use his Bankai. Before using his Bankai, Genryuusai makes sure that Bach doesn’t have a medal to take his Bankai away. But just when Genryuusai uses his Bankai, a certain whitehaired man will make his appearance…

That’s it for this week’s review. I hope you guys enjoyed it. Be sure to let me know what your thoughts are on these chapters and/or review, and to give any theories that you may have. I’ll see you guys again next week!

 
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