Bleach Review 365: Whose Side Are We On

The Underscore’s

365 Whose Side Are We On

Hey there, welcome to another Bleach review. After a long week I finally get to sit down with a healthy dose of Bleach. Last week I somehow managed to predict the course of the chapter and this week I wasn’t that far off either. Maybe Kubo has gotten predictable with me being able to make relatively accurate predictions. At least most of us got what we wanted, from what I could make up from last week’s poll. So before I go over the poll, thanks go out to Sleepy Fans for their scanlation whose pictures I used in this week’s review.

Poll Results

So after last week’s chapter Kubo had the opportunity to do plenty with the story. I came up with a few possibilities and asked you what you wanted to see in this week’s chapter. Of the 83 people who voted in last week’s poll on MangaHelpers and WordOnMars, there was one person who didn’t care anymore. This is sad news indeed, given that there should be no reason to give up on Bleach after last week’s chapter unless we take Ukitake’s fall into account. Then there were 5 people who wanted to see Soul Society and the Vaizards join forces this week, whereas 9 people wanted the opposition to win as they wanted to see Wonderweiss kill everyone. There were 9 people who just wanted more Bleach, and 12 who want to find out just what is going on in Las Noches. The other 46 people wanted Kubo to stick with the Fake Karakura town, with 19 saying they wanted to see the Vaizards fight the Arrancar and former captains. The majority, with 27 votes, got what they wanted this week as they wanted to see Soul Society’s reaction to the Vaizards sudden appearance. So how did Soul Society react?

Nostalgia

What a tear jerking moment this is… Once they rip you to shreds Aizen.

With the Vaizards appearing last week, we could see that Aizen was somewhat surprised by their sudden interfering. This week, Tousen and Gin are the ones to start off the chapter as they recognize the Vaizards from their past exploits. Of the three former captains, it is Tousen who seems most surprised by the appearance of the Vaizards as he is almost speechless from what we can see here. Gin on the other hand stays in character as he makes a remark on how nostalgic the faces are. Gin only recently joined the fifth squad, so he clearly is referring to the time when these eight were turned into Vaizards when he was talking about the nostalgic feeling he has. The glint of surprise in Aizen’s eyes seems to have disappeared this week, as he smiles at his former captain who is playing around with his cap.
As Shinji greets Aizen, Soul Society’s first reaction to the Vaizards is also shown here. Hitsugaya doesn’t recognize any of the former Shinigami as they were from far before his time, where Soi Fon recognizes her former colleagues. Genryuusai recognizes the most charismatic of the Vaizards as the former fifth squad captain Shinji. He then somehow puts together that the Vaizards must have been hiding on earth just as Urahara has been doing these past hundred years or so. He may have expected them to hide in Hueco Mundo for some reason or he may have even suspected them to have died due to their transformation. One final glimpse of recognition can be found in Hisagi, who is waking up from his injuries as he sees Kensei. Even though Kensei had such an impact on Hisagi; putting the tattoo on his cheek, taking three times to join the Shinigami academy before becoming one of the best in the academy, and joining the ninth division; this recognition and -most likely- feeling of wanting to meet his savior are one sided as we can see in the next part of the chapter.

Getting back in touch

You could at least pretend to care…

Shinji suddenly brings up the long time it has been since the Vaizards have seen their former colleagues and (former) friends and asks the others whether they want to talk to others from the Gotei 13. Hiyori immediately responds with a sincere nope as we can see here. Shinji tells her to shut up as he wasn’t asking her, to which Hiyori responds with a -at first glance- logically well founded comment as she points out he was asking everyone. The former members of the Gotei 13 all seem to not care with the exception of one person. Hachi doesn’t care for anyone of the Gotei 13 as he seems to suggest he’d rather talk to someone from the Kidou Corps. Of the eight Vaizards it seems that only Lisa is interested in talking to someone.
This makes sense as she is the only one to have direct ties to those present from Soul Society that haven’t betrayed them and turned them into Vaizards. The former captains have no one present they could possibly recognize from their former squads; the former lieutenants present could only recognize Soi Fon from the lieutenant meetings -though they probably have little to do with her outside of these meetings-, and Genryuusai seems to have opted to leave the Kidou Corps out of the battle which explains why Hachi has no one he would want to meet up with. This explains why Shinji says he wasn’t talking to Hiyori as he probably knew Lisa wanted to check up on Kyouraku. The other Vaizards -with the exception of Hiyori and possibly Mashiro- probably knew Shinji’s true reason for asking this and played along. As Lisa takes off to see what is going on with Kyouraku -surprising Hiyori in the process-, Shinji decides to talk with the old man Yamamoto.

A walk down memory lane

Two problems!
That’s not a proper greeting, and you’re wearing a skirt while standing on top of Kyouraku!

This is the part of the chapter I liked the most. The look in Lisa’s eyes as she walked up to Kyouraku was amazing. Where it first seemed that she would feel concern for the fallen captain, it turned out that she saw through him in an instant. Stepping on his head to tell him that he should stop playing dead -couldn’t agree more on that part- it shows that she still knows him best, maybe even better than Nanao. As Kyouraku responds with telling her she looks even better than before, she responds with a traditional kick in the face -I don’t know how that’s traditional either – before she tells him to sit back and watch her handle things. Before she then takes off to fight the Arrancar, Kyouraku tells her he’s really glad that she’s alright, which she was probably waiting to hear.
This shows that Lisa and Kyouraku really go a lot deeper than we might have thought at first. Something tells me that Lisa may have been devastated by the fact that she had to part from her captain and that she took up pornography to make up for the space left by the old pervert. Kyouraku in turn took Lisa’s protégé, Nanao, as his lieutenant to fill the gap she left in turn. The fact that Kubo showed all this in three pages is something I am really glad about as I really wanted to see these bonds between the characters as the Vaizards seemed too distant from Soul Society. Even though this bit raises a few questions as to why Kyouraku woke up so easily and how he recovered from his blind rage so swiftly -the latter could be explained by Lisa’s appearance- this is something that had to be covered. Of course, there’s more that has to be done before the Vaizards can step onto the stage.

Alliance

People always join those who’ve shunned them for 100 years…

As Shinji presents himself in front of Genryuusai, who can’t believe his eyes, Genryuusai asks Shinji if he is there for revenge. Shinji then tells Genryuusai he isn’t there for revenge on Soul Society for abandoning them but is there to take revenge on Aizen who took everything from him -and the other Vaizards. Shinji then tells him he’s only pissed because of the barrier that has been set up, which explains why the Vaizards took so long to get there. Shinji then explains that Sasakibe was the one to let them through the barrier as the lieutenant appears next to them. He apologizes as he explains he allowed them to pass because of the current situation. Genryuusai doesn’t seem to care as much about how they got in as he asks Shinji if they are on the side of Soul Society. Shinji clearly points out that they aren’t with Soul Society, to which Genryuusai responds by preparing to draw his sword.
The funny thing in this is that Genryuusai seems to be more the type to cut first and ask questions later. Even though the typical elder in Shounen Manga are either eccentric kooks or the overly patient wise elders, Genryuusai seems to have some anger management issues. Genryuusai actually seemed to be ready to cut down all the Vaizards and the Arrancar in one go after he heard that they weren’t with Soul Society.
But before Genryuusai got to the point of incinerating all in sight, Shinji explains the position of the Vaizards. They aren’t on the side of Soul society, they’re against Aizen, and – most importantly- they’re on Ichigo’s side. The fact that the Vaizards are on Ichigo’s side is enough for Genryuusai to know as it turns out. The funny thing in all this is that Ichigo isn’t really a side to choose if you look at things. Shinji probably said that he was on Ichigo’s side to point out that the Vaizards are doing things for what they believe to be right. The same as that Ichigo only fights to protect his friends, family, and anyone else he can because he thinks it is the right thing to do, the Vaizards will fight for what they believe is right. Good thing that getting revenge on Aizen coincides with saving Karakura town and Soul Society. The fact that Shinji said that they aren’t on Soul Society’s side can also be seen as a sign for the Gotei 13 to stay out of the way of their fights of course. Shinji then joins his fellow Vaizards as he noticed that their opponents -and probably a lot of readers- were getting impatient.

Speaking is not Communicating

He has such a great way with words…

Wonderweiss turns out to be the most impatient one as he suddenly starts to make some strange sounds. As we see Wonderweiss has returned to Chunky’s side, Gin feels that Wonderweiss ruined the mood with his moaning. Tousen then once more rectifies Gin’s comments as he points out that there is a meaning to Wonderweiss’s behavior. Chunky starts to morph again as he did when he blew out the fire prison, which is noticed by Hitsugaya. As Chunky’s mouth becomes even larger than before, we find out that there’s a reason for Chunky’s breath to smell like death.
Chunky starts to regurgitate at least 16 Gillian as a black fluid filled with Gillian masks comes from his mouth. Chunky somehow seems to be related to the Gillian Menos as we can see here. Perhaps Chunky serves as an incubator for Gillian to be formed at a faster rate, or it just has the base purpose I mentioned when he first appeared. The fact that he seems to take orders from Wonderweiss is rather surprising, however, as Chunky appeared ages before Wonderweiss was introduced. Could it be that Wonderweiss is part of Chunky, explaining why he can give him orders? Or maybe it is as simple as Aizen assigning Chunky to Wonderweiss as a Fraccion. Nonetheless, Chunky produced a whole bunch of Gillian Menos. Even though Gillian is the lowest class of Menos around, in masses they could still prove to be quite the challenge. The reaction from the Gotei 13 does seem a bit over the top, however, as they are still only Gillian. Soi Fon’s Bankai could probably take care of them in one blow. But who knows, there may be more to them than we are shown here. At least the Gillian proved to be enough for the Vaizards to show us something we’ve wanted to see for a while.

It’s morphing time!

Go Go Vaizard Rangers!

It would seem that Kubo knew that just showing Soul Society and the Vaizards coming to an agreement wouldn’t be enough, so he decided to reveal the masks of all the Vaizards. Though we were familiar with the masks of Hiyori, Shinji, Kensei, and Mashiro from previous chapters, we finally get to see the masks of Lisa, Love, Rose, and Hachi. There are a few things I have to point out here in respect to the Vaizards using their masks.
First thing is the way they summon their masks. With the exception of Mashiro, Rose, and Hachi, all the Vaizards seem to summon their mask in the same way Ichigo did by moving their hands down from their face. Clearly Ichigo copied this from Hiyori and Shinji. Hachi’s way of summoning his -pretty bad ass- mask fits his mask design as it gives off a shamanic vibe. Rose moving his hand sideward only makes sense with the gigantic beak it has, where Mashiro’s way of summoning her mask is still unclear. Mashiro may have summoned it without a pose of some kind as she seems to be the Vaizard who has the most control over her Hollow form. I’ll be going over the mask designs of the Vaizards in one of my upcoming reviews when I get a better view of the masks, though I’ll be asking you which of the Vaizards’ masks you find the best one in this week’s poll

.

The second thing I want to point out in regards to this sudden use of the masks by the Vaizards is how it is so much different from how Ichigo does things. Where Ichigo goes from his Bankai state to his Vaizard form, the Vaizards immediately summoned their mask rather than using their Shikai or Bankai first. This could be a sign of the Vaizards having come to terms with their powers, whereas Ichigo is still reluctant to claim his Hollow powers as his own. Hiyori did say that Ichigo should use his Bankai before summoning his Hollow mask during their training, suggesting that he should safe his Bankai for later, so it could mean that Ichigo’s training was supposed to have him go through the Hollowfication before releasing his Zanpakutou. But why would that matter? Do the Vaizards have a ressureccion up their sleeve along with a Bankai release? Or is this the most efficient way of using the hybrid abilities of the Vaizards? All we know is that we won’t find out this week as the chapter came to an end with the revelation of the masks of the Vaizards.


Overview

So what can I say about this week’s chapter? I guess that I can understand why people would not enjoy this chapter if they were expecting more action and a clear match up against the Espada and former captains, though I really enjoyed the chapter. With some clarification on the understanding between Soul Society and the Vaizards in general and some character development thrown in with the prospect of plenty of Gillian mashing I think this was a really good chapter. Even though the Espada seemed to have disappeared in this chapter, everyone else seemed to have had their time to shine. So with this chapter having explained the relation between Soul Society and the Vaizards, and giving a few hints on Chunky and Wonderweiss’s relation while giving Gin and Tousen some time to shine I found it to be a good one in spite of there being no real action. Even the fact that Kyouraku seemed to be plain lazy by not going berserk and releasing his Bankai is something I don’t mind after this week’s chapter. But I do have some expectations for next week’s chapter of course.

Predictions

So with the Vaizards having undergone their Hollowfication and there being plenty of Gillian around for the Vaizards to slaughter I expect to see the Vaizards to show off their skills in next week’s chapter. Plenty of Kidou from Hachi, perhaps one or two Shikai from the others and perhaps a few Espada choosing some Vaizards based on their performances. Soul Society will be regrouping while one or two of the captains may also be picking off a few Gillian along the way. Aizen may order Wonderweiss and Chunky to open the way to the real Karakura town soon while he may be notified of Yammy’s release and Ulquiorrra’s death -expected or not- before the scene goes to Las Noches.

Well, that’s it for this week’s review. I hope you guys enjoyed the Saturday review. Be sure to let me know what your thoughts are on this chapter and/or review and to vote in this week’s poll. Though I haven’t been replying to your posts on last week’s review I’ll be covering them after this. If you haven’t posted anything last week or aren’t interested in the things covered in those posts you can skip that part of course. If that’s the case I’ll see you again next week! If not, keep reading.

Posts that were lost, but not forgotten

This elaborately titled part of the review is one I use whenever I don’t have the chance to reply to your posts from previous reviews. So to those of you who have been waiting on a reply, here it is :).

  • nagashikage Says:
    Yay, Vizards. Mashiro FTW !!!

Well, I guess it is clear who you’re voting for in this week’s poll 😉

  • DC Says:
    Oh my god this chapter left me WHOA!! When I say Hirako biting his hair, I started laughing and celebrating! I can’t wait for next week!!

I hope this week’s chapter was worth the wait, I thought so at least.

Thanks boss 😉

  • manny814 Says:
    I don’t think that Kira was necessarily thinking that the Vizards were more Arrancar. Three former captains + the top tree espada + wonderwise and superchunky is already something to fear. Although it did surprised me that Kira was the one that took this role I wasn’t surprised to see that someone thought that Soul Society was doomed at that point.

I can see Komamura’s Bankai fighting the gigantic Super chunky monster. Who knows maybe Mashiro could help. It would make for a good double team . Someone with comparable size + someone with great stamina.

I’m really glad that the Vizards are here although its troubling to think that there will be a scene change from all of this action soon.

Well from what we’ve been told in previous chapters, the Reiatsu emitted by Vaizards is similar to that of Arrancar. So it is possible that he sensed the Vaizard’s Reiatsu and thought they were Arrancar. Of course, like you said, there was plenty for him to panic about up to that point. But Omaeda could have played this part as well I suppose, though it wouldn’t be something you could take seriously I guess.

Komamura fighting Chunky would be pretty cool to see, I’m looking forward to Komamura fighting things that greatly outsize his Bankai. The appearance of all the Gillian this week at least will give him the opportunity to go all out with his Bankai.

As for the scene change, I’m afraid it is something unavoidable for now. Ichigo has been out of the picture for quite some time now, so he should be in the spotlight soon. The Vaizards taking over makes a great opportunity to do so, so I expect Kubo to take this chance.

That’s it for these posts, be sure to keep posting! See you again next week!

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~ by The Underscore on July 11, 2009.

3 Responses to “Bleach Review 365: Whose Side Are We On”

  1. uno?

  2. SWEET REVIEW I ON AIZEN’S SIDE

  3. I’m looking forward to seeing the Vizards fight some espada. I wonder if anyone is a real match for Aizen, Gin and Tosen. After seeing Tosen simply cut off and destroy Grimmjow’s arm it would seem that they have somehow become stronger than they were when they were captains in soul society. Maybe once the Vizards use a combination of their masks and their Bankai a real match at full power will begin.

    It seems like it is now time for the Vizards to team up and although they don’t want to they will probably have to team up with the current captains to defeat some of the stronger foes that they are up against.

    I expect to see Urahara and Shihōin to help out Ichigo and the gang in hueco mundo when we come to that battle.

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