The Underscore’s Double Bleach Review

The Underscore’s

Double

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Hey there, welcome to a double Bleach review by yours truly. After 10 days without an Internet connection at home I had to suffer through the fact that I had to miss out on Bleach the entire time -as well as other manga. But I finally have an Internet connection, and with it I finally was able to read these two awesome chapters. So with two chapters to review I won’t go over the poll results for the last one. But don’t worry, there’s a new poll this week and plenty to cover. So for this week’s double review I’ll be using both the Maximum7 scanlation (chapter 361) and the SleepyFans scanlation (chapter 362), so thanks to both of these groups for providing us with Bleach awesomeness. Now let’s hope I haven’t gotten rusty after such a long time. But I’m happy to tell you guys that I can start this double review, with a blast!

361 I Hate Loneliness, But It Loves Me

Blown Away

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I can’t believe my eyes… Though I have none, Yohoh– Boom!

With Soi Fon’s Jakuhoraikoben Suzumebachi being fired in the previous chapter, we were left with the image of a broad explosion and Soi Fon hanging on to her Ginjotan. Though it would seem that the explosion wasn’t all there was to the attack, as we are shown here. The missile that was fired from Soi Fon’s Bankai is shown clearly in this chapter, as its size seems to be compensating for something. Barragan sees the missile coming as he seems to be surprised by the sudden missile attack. Then we see the explosion from the end of the chapter, though we also get to see the reason for Soi Fon’s preparations. As Barragan is blown away by the missile itself, Omaeda and Soi Fon are blown away by the recoil from Suzumebachi. The force of the recoil embeds Omaeda into the building next to which he was standing, while Soi Fon is blown aback with a force that’s big enough to even cut the steel enforced Ginjotan in two. While Soi Fon wonders whether her attack was enough to take out Barragan, she is caught by Omaeda before she smashes into a building. With Omaeda having shown a purpose for his being at Soi Fon’s side -air bag for Jakuhoraikoben Suzumebachi :p-, he congratulates his captain on her victory. Soi Fon, like her lieutenant, seems to think she beat Barragan as she relaxes to the point of being disgusted by Omaeda holding her.

As this is the last we see of the battle between Soi Fon and Barragan for these two chapters, I have to say that I don’t think Barragan is down for the count. Yes, the attack seems powerful enough to kill him, but I feel that Barragan has too much to offer for him to be blown to bits already. He shouldn’t come out unscathed though, Soi Fon’s Bankai has left too big of an impression for it to be entirely useless, as it is pointed out by my favorite Espada.

To The Point

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It’s like he’s reading my thoughts

Starrk -spelling given in the next chapter, I know it is probably another Kubo quirk but still- looks at the place where Barragan’s bones remain -whether he lives or dies he’s still bones! Yohohoho- and then turns to the obelisk of ice as he tries to grasp the power of the two Bankais. He then asks Kyouraku some basic questions about the Bankai from Soul Society. Kyouraku tells Starrk that all their Bankai are as powerful as the ones Starrk witnessed in the Fake Karakura town, as they can be considered to be their secret moves. Then Starrk asks a rather peculiar question, whether Kyouraku’s, or Hitsugaya’s Bankai is stronger. While it can be considered to be something random, the fact that he didn’t ask about Soi Fon’s Bankai would imply that Hitsugaya’s Bankai is more powerful. Either Hitsugaya’s Hyourinmaru already surpassed Suzumebachi, or Suzumebachi was unable to do any real damage to Barragan and Starrk knows that Barragan will be back. As Starrk is starting to ask the questions we all have on the captain’s Bankai, Kyouraku’s reply is a rather intriguing one.

Getting Started

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Yama-jii’ll be pissed if he finds out you haven’t started

Kyouraku tells Starrk that Hitsugaya is a genius, and that he may actually surpass him in 100 years. Starrk immediately sees through Kyouraku’s playful behavior, as it is clear that he is saying that he’s more powerful than Hitsugaya. The funny thing in all of this is that it is almost a fact that Kyouraku is one of the most powerful captains in Soul Society. The way he says that Hitsugaya, a genius, may be able to surpass him in 100 years just says that he is 100 years ahead of any genius, though I don’t think Kyouraku is one to boast about his power. The fact of the matter is that I am really looking forward to seeing Kyouraku fighting at full powers thanks to his pointing this out, and it would seem that Starrk is on the same page as I am -he really is reading my mind!- as he wants to push Kyouraku to the point of release. Kyouraku senses this and throws his Kimono to Ukitake to keep it safe. As Starrk says he wants to see Kyouraku’s Bankai -me too!- he sheaths his sword. He then calls the one person we all suspected to play a major part in these fights, though I imagined her to slip and fall on her own Zanpakutou.

The Hidden Ace

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Don’t you just hate it when parents tell you to stop playing and get to work?

As Lilynette somehow managed not to get herself killed in her clumsiness, Starrk tells her to get over to his side. As she scurries to his side, Kyouraku is the one with questions this time as he is wondering why Lilynette has to come while he sheathed his sword. Starrk then explains once more how the Arrancar’s powers are usually sealed into a sword and a body, but that it doesn’t hold true for him and Lilynette. He tells us that when he and Lilynette release together they will show their true power. He then puts his hand on Lilynette’s head as she starts to turn into a mass of Reiatsu. He then chants his release, “Disperse, Los Lobos”, as his power increases to the point where Kyouraku feels that he should release his Katen Kyoukotsu. As the dust around Starrk settles, we are finally shown the last of the Espada’s resurrecciones. Ending chapter 361 with such a revelation, I’ll immediately go to the next chapter as it reveals more on both Los Lobos, as well as Katen Kyoukotsu.

362 Howling Wolves

Los Lobos

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The lazy gunslinger Starrk

This week’s chapter -I caught up again!- started with Ukitake and Kyouraku looking at the freshly resurrected Starrk and Lilynette getting up from their release -with the lazy moaning showing Starrk is in control. So what can I say about Starrk’s release. Well, I think it looks pretty cool. There were plenty of people who predicted that Starrk’s resurreccion would have a wolf theme, so kudos to them for their prediction. Somehow the wolf theme can only be found by the fur on Starrk’s pants, jacket, and helmet, while his mask disappeared entirely leaving only a fragment of Lilynette’s mask instead. With a neatly placed hole in Starrk’s chest it remains clear that he is in fact a Hollow. The guns he holds in his hands finish the looks of the release, surprising me in the process. I always imagined someone to have a gun themed release for their Zanpakutou, though I never imagined it to be on an Arrancar. But whatever happened to Lilynette?

Communication

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Whenever something doesn’t respond, just hit it with your head!

As Starrk got up from the pose he showed us last week -awesome double spread, I forgot to mention that- he tells Lilynette that they are going to fight. Talking to his left gun, it would seem that Lilynette is in fact the Zanpakutou, though it apparently isn’t responding. Using the classic head butt, he finally has it respond -worked wonders on my Internet as well- as Lilynette writhes in pain. With Lilynette being the left gun and Starrk’s interaction with her, the loneliness theme somehow comes forward. While it first seemed that Starrk wasn’t necessarily the one to hold the loneliness theme as he had a Fraccion, the fact of the matter is that Lilynette is just his Zanpakutou. The surprising thing, however, is the fact that she seems to be the materialization of Los Lobos -same as Old man Zangetsu and Zabimaru- to some extend as well as most likely a part of what could be a split personality. While Starrk is usually not one to show too much emotion, Lilynette almost overreacts to everything and can be considered as a goofball. But now that they released, Starrk is the one to fool around with Lilynette as if she was another person, even though she is part of Starrk. My guess is that Starrk was so lonely that he created Lilynette -subconsciously- to remedy this loneliness. But as we have seen throughout the story, Starrk still prefers to seclude himself from others. Taking this into account, I think Lilynette can be considered as that little voice inside Starrk that tells him what he wants and really wants to do. Looking at the next part of the chapter, it would seem that Starrk really does have some issues.

Response

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How can you not know your own weapon would be a better question…

Lilynette gets pissed at Starrk for hitting her head, telling him that breaking her would only give him problems. He retorts by telling her that she should cooperate and that it is impossible to tell where her head is. As Lilynette points out that she told him over and over where her head is, Starrk starts to work on the other end. As I couldn’t help but laugh about the interaction between these two, it crossed my mind that we could actually expect something like a segunda etapa from Starrk. Just as Shinigami have to be able to materialize their Zanpakutou in order to obtain their Bankai after the Shikai release, it could hold true for Arrancar who are closest to being a hybrid. Other than that, Starrk has shown that he is somewhat similar to Lilynette -as seen by the picture above-, that he is a pervert -for touching Lilynette’s bottom-, and that he is rather similar to Kyouraku as well. Like Kyouraku he wields two weapons, though they are guns as opposed to Falchions, yet he seems to prefer his left hand -which seems to be the same for Kyouraku. Speaking of Kyouraku, he also has plenty to show in this chapter.

Dancing in the wind

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To think he can smile like that after cutting up his own strawhat…

As Starrk was talking to Lilynette, Kyouraku threw his hat towards Starrk to block his vision and to launch a series of attacks. Kyouraku first threw his hat right in front of Starrks face as he then cuts through it -after all the trouble of keeping it safe- in an attempt to cut Starrk back into two parts. Starrk responded by backing up -strategy which tends to work with guns- as he notices something about Kyouraku. Kyouraku, however, seems to be getting into the fight as he finally shows us some of Shikai abilities. First he shoots off a gust of wind to both stop Starrks movement as well as impair his vision, as he tries to follow up with another attack. Starrk saw through this attack, however, as he uses his right gun to fire off a Cero.

Target in sight

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Good thing Lilynette didn’t catch a cold

As Starrk falls back again in order to keep his opponent in sight, Lilynette is aimed at Kyouraku who seems to have been grazed by the Cero. Thing to note here is that Starrk didn’t even have to look to know that he is perfectly aiming at Kyouraku. My guess is that Lilynette is the one to steer the left gun/arm and also looks through Starrk’s left eye. For now I see Lilynette as three things: First as Starrk’s inner self/hidden feelings, second as Starrk’s Zanpakutou -Los Lobos-, and third as something of a control/targeting system for Los Lobos.

Another thing I have to point out is the fact that Starrk probably has the strongest Ceros of all the Espada. As he fired a Cero with ease a few chapters back, he now wields two guns that can instantly fire off Ceros, rather than having to charge them.

But even without Lilynette, Starrk noted that Kyouraku seemed to panic a bit as he uncharacteristically sacrificed his hat to attack Stark. But Kyouraku can play the same analyzing game as Starrk as he can tell that Starrk’s release is one to be reckoned with as he is able to parry his attacks and rapidly fire Ceros. He also knows that Starrk can fire more than just Ceros, even though Starrk tries to deny it. While Kyouraku is accusing Starrk for hiding things from him, Starrk feels the same way about Kyouraku.

Threats

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Give him a head butt, it worked on Lilynette as well

As Starrk once more tells Kyouraku to show his Bankai -and I agree once more- Kyouraku responds as casually as usual. But what he is trying to say here is rather interesting. Kyouraku seems to believe that he can handle any Cero no matter how much power is behind it. Perhaps Kyouraku is able to negate Ceros in the same way Urahara negated the Balas fired by Yammy. But Starrk clearly didn’t plan on firing a Cero as he fires off more than 20 Ceros at Kyouraku in rapid succesion as he fires his Cero Metorajetta with his right gun. Though Kyouraku tries to dodge the attacks by moving to Starrk’s left side, Starrk easily follows the captain as he is evading the Ceros. Kyouraku starts to feel the pressure as the barrage of Ceros don’t seem to stop -which is an impressive feat if you think about it- as he feels it isn’t fair. Just as it seems that Kyouraku will be hit by the Cero Metorajetta, Ukitake steps in with his Sogyo no Kotowari.

BFF

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Does this make it a 2v1, a 2v2, a 4v2, or an 8v2?

As Ukitake releases his Sogyo no Kotowari, he suddenly fires off something that resembles a Cero. Though Starrk easily dodged the attack, he is as surprised as we are by this sudden blast of energy. There is a chance that this is in fact a Cero, though Starrk probably would have been more certain of this rather than wondering if it is true. Even though Ceros are trademark for Hollows and Hollow related creatures, it shouldn’t be impossible for Shinigami to copy the technique. The fact that both Ukitake as well as Kyouraku seem to be rather familiar with Ceros and how to evade/block them it may be true that they can use the technique themselves. But why would Ukitake have to release his Shikai before firing the Cero?

It is possible that Sogyo no Kotowari is able to reflect the opponents attack, or that it uses pure reiatsu attacks just as Zangetsu does. Or maybe the Cero can only be handled by Sogyo no Kotowari when it is in its released state to prevent an overload. But no matter how we look at it for now, we’ll just have to wait until next week to see what actually happened here.

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Overview

So what can I say about these two chapters. Well, first off, Barragan probably lives. The fact that the dust has yet to clear around him makes me think he’ll be back after a chapter or two with Starrk showing off. The fact that Lilynette played such a major part in Starrk’s release is also something I really enjoyed in chapter 361, as well as Starrk’s interest in Kyouraku’s Bankai. So in spite of the major part of the chapter being the effects of Soi Fon’s Bankai, it was an awesome chapter as it finally shows us Starrk’s release.

Chapter 362 continued where 361 left off and was awesome as it showed us plenty on Starrk’s resurreccion, Kyouraku’s Shikai, and a rather surprising move by Ukitake. So all I have to say about that chapter here is that I am really glad that I didn’t have to wait another week before I could read it :). Nonetheless, I’m really curious as to what Ukitake fired which is why I put this up in this week’s

. So what do I expect to see next week….

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Predictions

Well, with all that’s happened here we have plenty of options. Starrk has yet to use Lilynette for one of his attacks, so he probably has plenty of powerful moves left to use. Kyouraku’s Bankai is one Starrk is aiming to see, and Ukitake’s Cero has to be explained, which means there is enough to show for at least four chapters.

My guess is that the next chapter will be on Ukitake’s Cero, with an explanation on how he was able to use such an attack and whether it is an actual Cero, a Shikai ability, or a newly developed Hadou that resembles a Cero. Then at the end of that chapter or the start of the next one Starrk may turn it up a notch to force a Bankai release from Kyouraku, to which Starrk has to respond by using Lilynette. Maybe we’ll see two Bankai released at once though, in the same way the Shikai were released simultaneously when they faced off against Genryuusai.

On the longer term, I expect Starrk to be able to handle the two captains while Barragan and Harribel recover from the Bankai techniques used by Soi Fon and Hitsugaya.

So that’s it for this week’s review. I hope you guys enjoyed the review even though I’m a bit out of it. But as usual, be sure to let me know what your thoughts are on this chapter and/or review and to vote in this week’s poll as well. Also, starting this week my reviews will be posted on Saturdays until at least September, but I’ll be sure to keep posting my reviews if possible. So I’ll see you again next week!

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~ by The Underscore on June 20, 2009.

3 Responses to “The Underscore’s Double Bleach Review”

  1. This was like, the best review I’ve ever read in my life. Kudos to you.
    I like how you knew the names of everything, and even spelled them correctly.

    What are the lines that are above and below Stark’s right eye ?

  2. Great review Dan. Keep it up.

  3. Thanks, glad you guys liked the review.

    As for the lines above and below Starrk’s eye, they are small chains that keep his mask in place.

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