The Underscore’s Double Bleach Review, 370 & 371

The Underscore’s Double

Hey there everyone, after two long weeks I finally return with a two chapter review for Bleach. The Internet failed me again last week, making it rather difficult to write a review -or even read the chapter for that matter. But my Internet’s back and better than ever with. But most importantly, this is a Friday review once more, which will be the case for at least the upcoming 9 weeks as well if all goes according to plan.
Enough about that though, it’s time for some Bleach! Specifically chapters 370 and 371, revolving around the Segunda Espada: Barragan Luisenbarn. The pictures for chapter 370 are from the Maximum7 scanlation and the pictures for chapter 371 are from SleepyFans, so thanks go out to both groups for providing us with our frequent dose of Bleach.
Mind you I wrote the 370 review a few days back, meaning there are some questions that have already been answered and hypotheses that were proven (wrong) in chapter 371. But rather than rewriting the 370 review, I left it for what it is. Now, before I get to these chapters there’s the matter of a certain Urahara Kisuke and his imprisonment…

Poll Results

So in chapter 369, Soi Fon agreed to help Hachi in his endeavors under the condition that he trapped Urahara in a barrier for a month. Where I expect Soi Fon to leave him trapped in the barrier for a month and steer clear from him as much as she can, I was curious what you guys would do with a trapped Urahara. So using the poll with the question “What would you do if you had Urahara sealed in a barrier that lasts a month?”, I gave you 7 options to choose from with the following results.
Most of you saw the advantage of a personal inventor in a trapped Urahara as 15 of you would make him invent things for you in exchange for food. With plenty of impressive inventions in his repertoire, you can be sure to get whatever you want from the humble storeowner, making it only natural to exploit his intellect.
Others didn’t get their hopes up as 13 of you believed Urahara would be fine as Barragan would still be alive, possibly killing Hachi and Soi Fon before the agreement could be made. Then there were 8 of you who saw a great business opportunity in the trapped Urahara, exploiting Urahara fan(girl)s desire to be in a picture with Urahara in exchange for money. Three people were more curious as to how the storekeeper would manage to survive, trapped in a barrier for a month, and would return after a month to see what he is up to. Three other people felt Jintai and Renji’s pain -and Tessai and Ururu’s to some extend- as they would force Urahara into signing a contract to do his own chores for once, perhaps being the cruelest amongst you all by making him clean up his own mess. There were but two people who believed the scare of being trapped for a month would be enough for Urahara, or are just such great Urahara fans that they couldn’t bare to see him trapped in a barrier, that they would let him out after a couple of hours. So with 51 votes, the last poll has been covered, which in turn means I can go over the chapter now.


370 Life From a God’s Point of View Fatigue

Using your “missile launcher” too often can be tiring indeed

The chapter starts off with the Shiji no Saimon (The Gate of Four Beasts) cracking under the immense power of the Jakuho Raikoben. With Soi Fon only standing a few meters away from the Koko no Jomon (The Gate of Tiger Fang), we see her collapsing from using her Bankai twice in one day. As she falls down, her ever loyal lieutenant -given that he can profit from it- catches his falling captain. Hachi is impressed that Soi Fon’s Jakuho Raikoben managed to crack his most powerful barrier, ensuring us readers that Soi Fon is no pushover indeed. But with Soi Fon using her Bankai twice, we now learn more about its true nature. As Hachi asks if Soi Fon is okay, with Omaeda fearing for his captain’s life, Soi Fon gets back up to explain that she usually can’t use her Bankai more than once every three days, making her exploits even more bothersome than they already were.
So what do we know about Jakuho Raikoben Suzumebachi now? I once attributed Soi Fon’s fatigue from using the Bankai to her having lost her arm to Barragan and loss of reiatsu. But what if it was Jakuho Raikoben who tired her out so much? It can’t be just the loss of her reiatsu, as she managed to use her Bankai twice, so perhaps Jakuho Raikoben uses physical energy from it’s user as well? Where the Shikai manages to take away life itself from its opponent in two strikes, the Bankai may take part of Soi Fon’s life (energy) to increase its effectiveness. The guard on Soi Fon’s right side was clearly to protect her from Raikoben’s blast where it would make sense to protect the left side for damage from the recoil. But it would seem that Soi Fon being blown away was just by the blast itself and not the recoil from firing the missile. With the blast contained in the Koko no Jomon, it seems that Soi Fon has no need to tie herself to a building, making future collaborations between her and Hachi rather interesting in the process. But Soi Fon isn’t one to work with people familiar with Urahara without being repaid as she kindly reminds Hachi that he has to pay her back. As Hachi ensures her he will keep his end of the deal, it seems they may have spoken too soon.

Yohoho

You scarred his pretty face, though he has none!

The building on which Soi Fon and Omaeda took refuge suddenly starts to crumble as a foul stench comes from below. As the foul odor starts to eat at Soi Fon’s shoes, it seems it isn’t her feet that are producing the corroding stench. Soi Fon quickly kicks off her shoe before it starts to eat at her leg and flies to Omaeda and Hachi to witness Barragan appearing from the remains of Raikoben and the Koko no Jomon combination. With Hachi amazed at his survival, Barragan finds it unforgiving that he was hurt to the extend we see in the picture above. But not only is he hurt physically as his pride is also hurt due to the fact that his opponents turned their back to him as if he had been reduced to a pile of bones… Going into frenzy, he starts to release his Respira attack all over the place without the calmness we’re used to see from Barragan. The fact that Barragan managed to survive the close range Jakuho Raikoben surprises Soi Fon, though I would be more amazed by the fact that Barragan lost his right arm and the left side of his face, instead of one entire half. Technicalities aside, Barragan’s survival of the Jakuho Raikoben shows that him being Segunda Espada by no means a mistake. As Omaeda and Soi Fon flee from the attack, Hachi stands his ground by summoning a barrier and his Hollow mask, both amusing as well as annoying Barragan.

Reruns

He keeps repeating himself either due to age or lack of a brain…

Barragan declares his name and -self appointed- status once more, after laughing at the fact that Hachi used Hollowfication against him as he deems himself to be the God of Hueco Mundo. Hachi’s barrier then breaks due to Barragan’s full power attack, grazing Hachi’s mask and right arm in the process. Soi Fon then shows some concern for Hachi as she screams out his name, either due to her genuine concern for Hachi or the possible loss of her reward for using her Bankai. Barragan then laughs at his opponents despair as they are nothing compared to his absolute power which affects all -which I think we all got after the first time he said that- as their despair is the same as anything else, insignificantly small. As Hachi’s mask disappears without any further consequences -probably by dismissing the mask- his right arm starts to turn to bones. Without his sword and no help around, one would expect that he would be in great trouble. But Hachi can focus even though he must be in excruciating pain from losing his arm and manages to create a barrier around his arm. Barragan notices this barrier as well as the fact that Hachi’s arm disappeared and immediately ceases his laughter. As he asks where Hachi’s arm went, Hachi points at Barragan and tells him he gave it to him.

Stomach Acid

The back bone is connected to the, arm bone?

Barragan’s stomach -even though he has none, Yohoho- starts to glow as he wonders what is happening. Hachi then explains that Barragan’s power is absolute -we get it already- and as such made a wager that even Barragan wouldn’t be able to endure its power. Barragan himself realized that Hachi put his arm in a barrier and used a teleportation technique to transfer it inside of him. As luck would have it, Hachi’s wager pays off as Barragan starts to corrode along with the arm and the barrier, begging the question as to how Barragan managed to stay in the centre of his Respira without being affected before or how he isn’t able to stop the corroding now that it started.
Well here’s what I think happened. When Hachi’s arm started to corrode he used the barrier to cut it off alongside a teleportation technique which he probably uses on his own Zanpakutou as well to get it into Barragan’s stomach. As the Barrier was in contact with the corroding arm, it too started to corrode, and as Barragan was in contact with the barrier he too was affected in turn. The reason why Barragan couldn’t do anything about it probably has to do with the fact that he is only safe from the attack while he is using it, or so I think. At first I considered that his mantle was what protected him from the Respira, but as it too is disappearing and it wouldn’t explain how his skull and limbs weren’t affected, I would have to go with it not affecting Barragan during the attack. The reason why Barragan couldn’t stop the attack has to do with the fact that age is absolute and can’t be stopped, or in this case can only be stopped by cutting off the affected area from the unaffected areas. And as Barragan’s Gran Caeda isn’t around and it would be rather difficult to cut off ones own upper body, Barragan seems to in quite a pickle.
As Barragan is reduced to ashes, Hachi adds insult to injury by telling Barragan that Shinigami, as Gods of death, do not know any Gods and apologizes to Barragan for his disbelieve. Hachi ends the chapter by using his characteristic joining of the hands -be it with one hand- as Barragan disappears in a characteristic way for a beaten opponent.


371 Kingdom of Hollowes Remnants of a Kingdom

His Royal Majesty, Barragan Luisenbarn

With Barragan turning to ashes due to his own ability, he begins to recall the days before he became an Espada. Donning a crown on his head whilst sitting on his throne, he looks over his kingdom with a bored look on his face -though he has none- as he tells his subjects that he is in fact bored, after turning down a drink from one of his servants. The fact that there’s a liquid of any kind to be offered in Hueco Mundo makes me wonder what his servant is offering, though that’s just an aside.
Few things to point out about Barragan in this part of the chapter: Notice the fact that his appearance is exactly as his resurrected form minus the crown, the size of that crown, and his throne. That his appearance is almost identical to his resurreccion is no surprise as that is the purpose of an Arrancar’s release. The fact that he is basically a human, both in size and appearance -minus the flesh of course- only confirms the fact that he has to be a Vasto Lorde. This can also be supported to some extend by the latter claims Barragan makes in this chapter, though I’ll get to that later.
Then there’s the crown, notice that its design is completely different from what we’ve seen from Barragan in previous chapters. Where his Arrancar form has a small crown, his Hollow form has a crown that can’t be missed. This too is something to keep in mind as I’ll get to that later in this review as well. Finally, the same can be said about Barragan’s throne, though it’s important not to forget that it’s exactly the same throne he had when he was in the Fake Karakura town.
Bored out of his skull, he can’t even be entertained by his ever obedient subjects. Barragan’s boredom doesn’t last long, however, as poor Gagamel falls to some – for Barragan- unexpected intruders.

Successor to the Throne

The real estate business can be a murder indeed

Enter Aizen and company from before their betrayal of Soul Society -or announced betrayel- as seen by their appearance. It turns out Tousen was the one who decided to cut down poor Gagamel as we can see by his drawn blade. Tousen seems to be rather quick to kill whenever he’s around Aizen, as we can see here, where you would expect Gin to be the one to enjoy slaughtering anything. Perhaps Tousen insists on preserving his justice by any means necessary, where Aizen is the justice he has to protect. This is also shown by the fact that Tousen cuts down another Hollow who tries to attack Aizen before he addresses Barragan.
Aizen addresses Barragan as the King of Hueco Mundo, explaining most of Barragan’s actions and behavior in the process. Barragan responds to Aizen’s question by confirming his status as king, as he then asks Aizen whether he and his companions are human or Shinigami. Aizen’s look somehow seems to hint that he dislikes the title of Shinigami, or perhaps he is disappointed by the fact that Barragan isn’t even capable of distinguishing humans from Shinigami. If the latter is the case, it would suggest that Barragan never faced a Shinigami before, making him less useful to Aizen in the process.
Barragan, however, cares not for Aizen’s answer as Aizen cured his boredom and saved him the trouble of having to split his army in two to have them fight to the death. Barragan’s title as King of the Hollows seems to be rather just, as he is as cruel as to have his subject fight themselves to the death just to entertain him. And rather than having individual Hollows fight themselves in a gladiator type of fashion, he immediately goes to a full scale war to satisfy himself. Rather heartless of a king to do all that, though Aizen saved him the trouble of doing that. As such, Barragan welcomes Aizen to his palace, Las Noches.

Subjugation of a King

Look into the hilt, you are getting slee~py~

Tousen -to my surprise- utters his surprise at Barragan’s words. Tousen asks Barragan how he can call an area without walls or a ceiling a palace. Tousen probably noticed that Barragan’s “palace” has no walls thanks to something like a wind if I had to guess, though Kubo should have left the snappy remarks to Gin in my opinion. Barragan, however, ignores the fact that a blind man tells him that his palace isn’t present as he explains that the roof of his palace is the sky of Hueco Mundo. Before Tousen can retort his logics, Aizen stops him as he isn’t in the mood for listening to arguments. Aizen then draws his Kyouka Suigetsu and introduces it even before he gives his own name to Barragan. With Kyouka Suigetsu released into it’s Shikai form -he already called out the name- Aizen asks Barragan whether he would like to obtain new power and go to another world to conquer as a follower of Aizen. But as expected from Barragan, he refuses this offer as Barragan is the king of Hueco Mundo, and as such already is the most powerful one around in the only world that matters. Barragan then orders his armies to attack Aizen, Tousen, and Gin to which Aizen responds by ending Kyouka Suigetsu’s illusion of Barragan’s world, giving Barragan a reality check in the process.

Humiliating the King

And he’s ugly too!

As Kyouka Suigetsu is resealed, Barragan witnesses the fall of his army at the hands of Gin and Tousen. Aizen drawing his Zanpakutou was probably a sign for Gin and Tousen to eliminate Barragan’s army. Barragan shows his surprise of these developments as he wonders how it could have happened. Aizen then tells him that reality is his world, showing Barragan that he is too close minded. As Barragan prepares to kill the ones who destroyed his army, Aizen ridicules him further by comparing Barragan to a Shinigami. As the flashback comes to an end, we find out that Barragan swore an oath to hunt down Aizen with the power given by him as he is an immortal being that can not die.
The funny thing in all of this is that Aizen was well aware of this and I think Aizen was as cruel as to rub in the fact that Barragan will never reach his level, while Barragan wouldn’t let go of his status as King. As a matter of fact, this chapter really made me appreciate the level of villainy displayed by Aizen. Just look at what he has done to Barragan: He took Barragan’s palace and built his own one right on top of it with a sky as a ceiling. In order to turn Barragan into an Arrancar he had to break a part of his mask, and Aizen chose his crown. And just because he could, he made Barragan the segunda Espada, rather than first or any other position, just to make him feel like he is so close to his previous glory. Perhaps I’m reading too much into things here, but looking at these facts it would seem that Aizen was not only using Barragan -as he does with everyone- but he actually made it painfully obvious for the ever arrogant Barragan.

End of a Nightmare

Gran Caeda’s grand fall

So before the chapter returns to Barragan’s demise, we learn of Barragan’s oath to kill Aizen with his own hands in order to rise to power once more. And as I said before, there are plenty of hints to show that he had these intentions. First off there’s the crown he still had. Though it was small, it was still present, showing Barragan’s determination to become king once more. The fact that he kept using the same throne he had before he met Aizen showed that he had not forgotten the power he had as king of Hueco Mundo and that he still viewed himself as the king of Hueco Mundo -as seen by his ordering around of the other Espada back in chapter 318. The name of his axe in the released form, going from Arrogante to Gran Caeda, may hint at the axe’s new purpose, bringing Aizen’s rule to a fall (Gran Caeda = great fall) as we see that Barragan intended just that.
Before Barragan is turned to dust by his own power, he summoned the Gran Caeda in his right hand -where I thought it had disappeared as seen in the 370 part of the review- and then throws it at Aizen with the intend to kill him, even if it is the last thing he does. But as Barragan throws his axe towards Aizen, who only glances at it for a moment -humiliating Barragan even further- turns his back at him again, as the Gran Caeda also crumbles under the Respira along with its wielder.

The power that affects all

Something tells me Barragan was familiar with the concept of time affecting all…

As the crown on Barragan’s head plummets to the ground, Hachi gives us his hypothesis on Barragan’s ability. He points out it was strange that Barragan wasn’t affected by his own ability and figured that Barragan had a secondary ability that guarded him from his primary ability. This somewhat proves my theory about Barragan being immune to his own attack while it is being executed, though Hachi sees it as a separate ability. Of course, my theory would have been more impressive if I could have given it last week… Hachi, however, also gives his view of Barragan as a “person” and explains that he too feared death in spite of his efforts to keep age at bay.
We then see a glimpse of Harribel, Starrk, and Aizen to see their reaction to Barragan’s demise. Starrk then shows he is displeased with Aizen’s silence as he would have expected some words from Aizen for the King of Hueco Mundo. This is typical of him as we saw when Aaronniero was killed by Rukia, though this time instead of tears the end of the chapter promises us blood.


Overview

So what can be said about these two chapters? Well, 370 had its charm as Barragan fell at Hachi’s hand -literally and figuratively speaking- due to his own ability as predicted by some of you. But in spite of this, it was a relatively worthless chapter in comparison to chapter 371 in my opinion. Chapter 371 showed us how someone as arrogant as Barragan came to follow Aizen, showed us a side of Aizen which he has kept hidden well throughout the story, and promises us the Primera Espada going all out in response to the Segunda Espada’s fall, even though it isn’t for revenge as he points out. The only thing I would have liked to see in chapter 371 was a bit more of Gin as he hadn’t said a word and didn’t seem all too amused while slaying all those Hollows. Nonetheless these chapters were a great way to end the repetitive Barragan as well as to show us that Soi Fon won’t be interfering any time soon due to using her Bankai twice in one day. So what can we expect in return?

Predictions

With Barragan’s demise we have the Tercera, Primera, and Cero Espadas left and plenty of Vizards and Shinigami left to fight them before we get to Aizen, Gin, Tousen, and Wonderweiss. With the promise of a Crimson dyed Karakura at the end of chapter 371, I think we will catch a glimpse of Starrk’s true power at the expense of Rose and Love. Of course it won’t end in one chapter, though something tells me we can expect to see something rather special next week, though I have no idea what. Maybe we will see what is happening in Hueco Mundo for a bit as it has been quite some time since we last saw that orange haired kid -Orange, Apple, Carrot? Strawberry?!-, or maybe we get to see what’s happening with Nel and Kenpachi. But something tells me we’ll get back to Las Noches soon.

Well, that’s it for this week’s double review. I hope you enjoyed the 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. I’ll see you next week!


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~ by The Underscore on August 28, 2009.

2 Responses to “The Underscore’s Double Bleach Review, 370 & 371”

  1. Welcome back, Underscore. We’ve missed ya! 😀

  2. […] story at https://wordonmars.wordpress.com/2009/08/28/the-underscore%E2%80%99s-double-bleach-review-370-371/ « brian viloria vs jesus […]

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