The Underscore’s Bleach review 372

The Underscore’s

372


The Metal Cudgel Flinger

Welcome to yet another Bleach review for a -to me- somewhat special review. It was 50 chapters ago that I thought of reviewing Bleach as chapter 322 up to 324 had not been reviewed. But due to some circumstances I wasn’t able to write a triple review at that time and by the time I was able to, True Blade already took it on him to review some of the Bleach chapters. But that doesn’t really matter as much to you as it does to me I suppose , I just felt like putting it here in the 38th chapter I’m reviewing. But enough on that, it’s time for some Bleach as this week’s chapter was a really good one in my opinion. This week I’ll be using the Sleepyfans scanlation to deliver another review to you, after we go over last week’s poll of course.

Poll Results

So with the old bag of bones by the name of Barragan Luisenbarn being reduced to even less than a pile of bones, I was curious how you guys experienced his defeat. Asking you in last week’s poll what you thought of Barragan’s demise, these are the results with 61 voters:
The minority of the voters felt Barragan’s demise was boring as well as hilarious, as both options received 3 votes each. Where 3 of you wanted Barragan to go out with a bang, due to either a kidou or a well aimed Jakuho Raikoben, to make it more entertaining; 3 others apparently couldn’t stop laughing at the fact that Barragan was done in by eating his own attack by getting an arm in his stomach -though he had none yoho~…ow, that one’s old .
Then there were 7 of you who thought Barragan’s demise was rather predictable and were hoping for something else, perhaps expecting Hachi to get out either an over the top Hadou or perhaps even his Zanpakutou. Of course, there were 8 of you who thought Barragan’s demise was inevitable as it was determined from the moment he annoyed Aizen, and probably a lot of the readers as well with his aging talk.
Nine of you thought Barragan’s death was insignificant as there are plenty of other fights (and developments) to look forward to with all that’s going on in the real world and Hueco Mundo. But Barragan’s death isn’t something that had that much of an impact as all he did was get rid of some buildings -from a replica town- and two arms without killing even one of his opponents. At least there were 11 people who were disappointed about the former king of Hueco Mundo’s performance.
But Kubo still managed to please the majority of the 61 voters as 20 of them felt that Barragan had this coming and that his demise was worked out perfectly. But what do Barragan’s -former- colleagues think of this situation?

Art is Pain

Love hurts as well… When he pulls you by the hair

The chapter starts with Love jumping back on his feet again while noticing Hachi’s finished. As he tries to tell Rose Hachi’s finished, we find out that Rose was buried underneath a pile of rubble. As Rose starts to emerge from the pile of rubble, he suddenly gets yanked out of the rubble by his hair thanks to Love. Rose tries to point out that he intended to extract himself in an artful manner, to which Love makes the best comeback by pointing out that not being caught under rubble is a greater art form. The interaction between these two almost seems fraternal from what we can see here. They do cooperate with each other, though they don’t necessarily do it in a friendly manner -like me and my little brother – as we can see by the hair pulling and the bashing of the other’s principles/aspirations.
So, with both Love and Rose back on their feet we now learn that Starrk was able to comment on Barragan’s death because he had already pounced his enemies into the ground. Of course, being Vizards and former Soul Society captains, Love and Rose get up with minimal damage -including the damage to Rose’s hair. But before Love and Rose get back to the fight with Starrk, they take the time to talk about Hachi’s achievement as he managed to defeat a powerful opponent. But Barragan’s defeat doesn’t just spell problems for Aizen’s plans according to Love.

The Chains of Hate

Someone’s been reading too much Naruto…

As Love tells Rose he wanted to finish things sooner, he explains it has to do with the sentiment behind losing a comrade. Love hypothesizes that Starrk will fight even fiercer than before as a ways to avenge Barragan’s death. Rose, however, believes that Starrk isn’t the type to fight for revenge -as pointed out by Starrk himself in last week’s chapter. Love then points out that Starrks apathy towards taking revenge is what makes him scary as an opponent, though he believes that even though Starrk doesn’t show it, he still does feel some form of loss by losing a comrade. This somewhat hints at Starrk’s aspect of death, the so called “loneliness”, being his own fault. The apathy Starrk has towards his fellow Espada -and Arrancar and other Hollows for that matter- seems to imply that Starrk doesn’t feel attached to other people, which in turn probably lead to him being secluded. This can also be seen to some extend in another part of this chapter, though Love still assumes that Starrk will either be shaken, or angry at the loss of Barragan. With both states being disadvantageous for Starrk, Love decides to take the opening created by either as an opportunity to attack as the one who makes the first move is will be the victor.

The Metal Cudgel Flinger

See, spinning around with blunt weapons does allow you to become a Helicopter!

So Love attacks with two possible openings in his opponent. The first opening could be caused by Starrk’s trembling over the loss of his ally, where the second opening would come from Starrk being reckless due to anger. Love leaps into the air as he releases his Zanpakutou named Tengumaru, which transforms into a cudgel at least twice his size, to squish Starrk. Starrk tries to stop Love’s attack by firing a total of three Ceros at Tengumaru. This results in nothing as Tengumaru easily hammers through the three Ceros as if they were squirts of water from a water gun. Starrk quickly notices that his counter attack didn’t work and moves behind Love as his attack misses. Love then displays an incredible agility with Tengumaru as he suddenly appears next to Starrk and smashes his face in with it. Love then concludes that Starrk is the type to be shaken by the loss of his comrade, though it turns out that Starrk has other things on his mind.

Grieve Counseling

I don’t think exacting revenge was a step in the grieving process Lilynette

As Starrk lies in a pile of rubble after taking Tengumaru’s blow, Lilynette cries out to him. She tells Starrk to get back up so he can take revenge for their fallen comrade as he is completely useless the way he is now. Starrk then tells her he isn’t the type to take revenge and that he feels it is useless to fight as Aizen doesn’t intend to save the Espada once they get into trouble. The fact that Starrk doesn’t feel like fighting because Aizen won’t save those who may die makes me think that Aizen promised Starrk camaraderie, so that Starrk doesn’t have to be alone anymore. Starrk put his faith in Aizen and joined him in return, though with Aizen not even blinking at Barragan’s death Starrk feels like he’s been lied to.
Given up on fighting, Starrk turns to his side as he feels the fight is pointless as more allies could die if they continue. He then suggests that they should just go home and sleep as there’s no point in more people dying. Lillynette then yells at Starrk, pointing out he’s the primera Espada for a reason and that Aizen doesn’t interfere because he has faith in his power. She points out that Starrk hasn’t been serious the entire time and that he should fight to protect his friends. The friends Lillynette is revering to are probably just the Espada themselves -perhaps Aizen, Gin, and Tousen as well- as Starrk hasn’t reacted to the death of any of the Fracciones. Perhaps Starrk views the Espada as a group of friends, though members such as Szaelapporro and Nnoitra would make it obvious that not all members share the same feelings. But Starrk probably substituted the Espada as friends to fill the void of the loneliness he feels, and as a good friend he feels he should protect them.

Whack a Wolf

First price, keeping your live! Second price, losing your live!

Rose then appears next to Love’s side asking whether he finished or not. Love then tells him he obviously couldn’t have won that easily, which makes sense as only one blow to the primera Espada just can’t beat him. Love’s perfectly aware that Starrk isn’t moving, though when Rose suggests that they look to see what he’s up to he doesn’t feel it is save to enter an area with low visibility. Then, in another display of fraternal friendship, Rose points out that it is Love’s own fault that he isn’t able to finish his fight with Starrk. But Love isn’t one to think he will be beaten because of it.
Starrk then suddenly emerges from the plume of smoke in a straight line, which Love sees as an opportunity to knock him down once more as he steadily aims at Starrk -as we can see by his tongue sticking out. But this time Starrk is ready for the attack and stops Tengumaru without being blown away. Love wants to know whether Starrk took so long because he was grieving, to which he replies that it was something similar. Love then takes advantage of Starrk’s response by putting more force behind his attack, blowing him away.
Love then tries to create another opening by telling Starrk he thought Hollows were heartless. Starrk takes the bait by telling Love he clearly looks like a Hollow himself with his mask on, meaning he is heartless himself. Curious about what mask Starrk is talking about, Love takes out his mask to see if that’s the one Starrk is talking about.

Shrek’s cousin twice removed

Watch it Starrk, he’ll come and eat ye’r baby!

Love pulls out his mask, showing a clear relation between his mask and his Zanpakutou, as the picture of an Ogre is completed. As the name of Love’s Zanpakutou suggests, his mask is created in the likeness of a Tengu, mischievous half bird creatures with long noses which enjoy pranks as long as they aren’t the victim -which describes Love as far as we have seen up to this point.
After putting on his mask, Love takes his Tengumaru into his hand and tells it that it could be a little hot as he sets it into flames using the Hifuki no Kozuchi attack -sorry, no idea what it could mean, perhaps burning cudgel or something?-, showing Love is one who has a strong relation with his Zanpakutou by talking to it during battle. The fact that he tells his Zanpakutou that it could burn after putting on his mask may even suggest that the Hifuki no Kozuchi isn’t necessarily an ability of just his Zanpakutou, but may be the result of his inner Hollow -the same as the black Getsuga Tenshou.
After taking the time to put on his mask and igniting his Zanpakutou -what happened to not leaving an opening after putting on your mask? – Love resumes his assault on the surprised Starrk as he strikes him with his burning cudgel. Love then lands on the ground -looking like an ogre-, noting that Starrk disappeared again as he takes off his mask. Rose then warns Love as he tells him to look up. Love then can’t hide his surprise at the sight of Starrk and his new resolve.

Leader of the Pack

So that’s what he means by Los Lobos

Starrk stands in the sky with at least 40 wolf like creatures standing behind him. They appear to be solid creatures, with the exception of their tails which appear to be made of a form of Reiatsu. It seems that Los Lobos refers to this specific ability, and not necessarily to the wolfish theme Starrk has going. Starrk stands in front of his pack of wolves as the leader of these fierce creatures, with a look in his eyes that clearly suggests that he is serious now. The fact that he is unscathed after taking the Hifuki no Kozuchi and Hollowfied powered blow from Tengumaru suggests that Love and Rose will have their hands full with the Primera Espada. So with a glare from Starrk and his pack of wolves standing behind him, this week’s chapter comes to an end.


Overview

This week’s chapter wasn’t as transitional as we could have expected from previous chapters. With plenty of action, the revelation of Tengumaru, and Los Lobos’ true forms and Starrk getting serious, mixed with some entertaining interaction between Love and Rose made this a memorable chapter in my opinion. Kubo has shown us that there’s a close bond between Rose and Love through the themes of their masks -Tengu (half bird) and bird like masks- and the conversations had between the two of them, making them at least as good a friends as Ukitake and Kyouraku. Starrk’s behavior in this chapter also seems to give us some hints as to why he joined Aizen and how his Loneliness aspect of death plays a part in his character, making this chapter even more enjoyable for me. Sadly I forgot to point out the relation between Starrk being the primera Espada and the Wolf theme he has going in this review and how this means Starrk will be the last to fall. But I’ll get to that in next week’s review unless one of you already knows what I’m talking about and manages to post it here before I get to it next week. If you know what I’m talking about and you post it here I may use it in my review next week, to which I’ll refer in my review and I’ll give you a cookie as well . But that’s all for next week’s review, and speaking of next week, this is what I think could happen next week:

Predictions

With a pack of wolves ready to help him in his battles my guess is that Starrk is ready to take on Love and Rose. Love will most likely continue wielding his cudgel against Starrk while Rose may release his own Zanpakutou to deal with the wolves in the same way he fought the Menos a few chapters back. Love may encounter some problems facing Starrk due to the amount of wolves released by him as well as the Sonido and Ceros Starrk has in his arsenal. Perhaps we will -finally- see a glimpse of Ukitake as well as Kyouraku who may decide to step into the fight due to the developments in the next chapter. Maybe Kubo will show us a part of Komamura vs. Tousen to see how those two are holding up -and Hisagi to certain extend- to make sure he doesn’t reveal too much of Starrk in one chapter.

Well, that’s it for this week’s review. I hope you enjoyed it even though it’s shorter than usual and a bit rushed at the end. 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 September 4, 2009.

2 Responses to “The Underscore’s Bleach review 372”

  1. Great breakdown! I really liked this chapter! Stark is obviously able to read Kubos mind. ” if we keep fighting more of our comrades will die” thats right Stark because Kubo will never kill a good guy. so far. its the only thing i dont like about this series. i like the good guys and all but come on Kubo at least kill a vice captin!

  2. Thanks. This chapter was so much better than the possible “transitional chapter” Kubo could have used, and which he has used quite a few times in this arc. Perhaps Kubo should kill off a good guy, but the only possible death up till now is Ukitake as his status still hasn’t been confirmed.

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