The Underscore’s Bleach review 373

The Underscore’s

373 Wolves Ain’t Howl Alone

Welcome one and all to the chapter review of Bleach 373: Wolves Ain’t Howl Alone -oh Kubo’s Engrish-, a chapter with plenty of twists and turns to entertain us until the next chapter. But let’s take a closer look to this week’s chapter before we go over to next week’s chapter. Of course, I’ll have to start with last week’s poll before I review this chapter with the SleepyFans scanlation, so let’s start with that.

Poll Results

Last week’s chapter was what I personally thought to become the trigger to plenty of Shikai madness after Love revealed his Tengumaru. So I was wondering which Shikais you would like to see in upcoming chapters, so I gave you a few options -of which, I admit, three were highly unlikely to happen in the upcoming chapters- which you could chose from. With a total of 51 voters on both Mangahelpers and WordonMars, the results were as follows:
As usual with each poll, I gave you an option that basically covers all options but the other six I gave. This week it was the option of not seeing the Shikai of the five (Ex) Shinigami or any Bankai, which two voters chose. Perhaps they wanted to see Lisa’s Shikai, or Hiyori’s Shikai, or maybe they haven’t had enough of Hacchi and wanted to see his Shikai. But with only two voters picking that option it ended up last in this poll. Then in fifth place there’s Yoruichi’s Shikai, with four votes. Perhaps most people avoided this option as they realized that the odds of Yoruichi appearing any time soon is rather slim -or is it?- and her revealing a Shikai without ever having wielded a Zanpakutou make it even more improbable. But at least there are four dreamers who don’t care and just want to see Yoruichi use her Zanpakutou, and who can blame them?
But as some of you may have noticed, Yoruichi’s Shikai shares its place with another Zanpakutou, which is none other than Urahara’s Benihime as it too came in fifth with four votes. Now the funny thing in all of this is that Urahara’s Shikai has actually been shown already way back in chapters 65 and 66, though I guess the four people who voted for this one just wanted to see more from Benihime as we’ve only seen two abilities from her and Urahara while in the Shikai state.
Then we skip yet another place as we immediately head to the third place where we have a tie between two opposites, Rose and Kenpachi, who both received five votes. Well, those who voted for Rose’s Shikai clearly got their wish in this week’s chapter and maybe voted it as it also meant for more Starrk vs Rose and Love action. The people who voted for Kenpachi’s Shikai on the other hand probably want to know what is going on with Kenpachi’s Zanpakutou as it is still unclear as to what it is right now -is it sealed, or in a permanent Shikai state even though it’s name is unknown?- and Kenpachi revealing its name would also result in clearing these things up.
Then in the second place we have none other than Hirako Shinji, the ever charismatic leader of the Vizards. So would his Zanpakutou be as charismatic as he, or will it somehow reveal a side to him no one would expect? At least there are 13 people who want to see what he has up his sleeve.
But the majority doesn’t want to waste time with Shikai, so with 16 voters the “Give me more Bankais!” group takes the first place as they want to see some big bad actions on a massive scale. I myself also wanting to see quite a few Bankais can also relate to this, though I wouldn’t mind seeing a few Shikai first to speculate what the Bankai may end up like. This is it for last week’s poll; let’s see what happened to the wolf pack this week.

Me, Myself, and I

Talk about a split personality

After losing sight of Starrk for a moment at the end of last week’s chapter, he suddenly reappeared with a pack of wolves standing behind him after Rose warned Love. This week’s chapter we see where the wolves came from as we see that the wolves leaped from the black belt strapped from Starrk’s arms and back. Perhaps there were bullets hidden on the belt from which the wolves came, but the question we were left with last week was what they are and not where they came from. Starrk’s the one to answer the question as to what the wolves are as he gives them the command to attack by calling their name: Starrk. The pack of wolves then sets out towards Love and Rose, who immediately put on their masks to defend themselves from the bloodthirsty beasts as the action begins.

Rose’s Kinshara

This ought to whip them into shape

As the wolves attack Love and Rose, Love whacks them with his Tengumaru as Rose summons his Kinshara. Using the command Play, a whip with a flower attached to it sweeps along the Starrks with little effect. But as for Kinshara itself, it looks somewhat like a cross between Zabimaru and Ruriiro Kujaku. Something even tells me that Yumichika and Rose could actually become good friends based on their personality and now their Zanpakutou, but I digress. Kinshara swipes through the Starrks, literally, as it turns out the wolves aren’t as solid as I had first expected. Love describes the wolves as flames as they disperse and easily recombine as flames, which seems to suggest that the wolves he smacked down with his Tengumaru probably came out unscathed as well. Rose then points out he dislikes magical abilities like that -as apparently 90% of all Shinigami have with Kidou related/like abilities- and decides to whip up something else. He then throws his Kinshara towards a wolf and uses his 11th sonata Izayoi Bara, while playing his hilt as a piano, to cause an explosion at the point the flower is at. Love then points out Rose’s attack is rather magical itself, though Rose sees it as art. And if this is his 11th sonata, Rose may be able to show us at least 10 more sonatas. With plenty of Starrk wolves left, he may have to show off those sonatas as well.

Safety suggestions

We would ask you to refrain from petting the exploding wolves, thank you.

As Love and Rose look at the results of the 11th sonata, three wolves suddenly jump up from the rubble behind them. The two react as quickly as they can as Rose surrounds himself with his Kinshara, though Love’s Tengumaru leaves him with no other option than to strike the wolf. But just as he tries to hit it, he is already bitten in the leg. This wolf bite, however, was more than Love bargained for as it results in a full fledged Cero blast. Love then appears from the blast with slight damage on his right side, though without his mask, and immediately calls for Rose. Rose then too appears from the blast, also without a mask, and Love explains that the wolves are all Ceros fired from Starrk’s gun. Just as he tells that getting caught up in the wolves’ explosions would result in trouble for them, another set of wolves surround the two Vizards and explode almost immediately after. The thing that’s strange in all of this is that Love and Rose don’t have their masks on. One would expect that they would raise their power to the max to increase their base defense in the process, however, we saw that the wolf’s explosion managed to hit Love’s right side of his face. So did the wolves have enough power to blow off their masks, or weren’t they able to keep their masks on any longer?

Coyote Starrk and Lilynette Gingerback

NOOOOOO, Starrk you idiot, you just sealed your fate!

We find out Starrk was just looking at the mayhem caused by his pack. He heard everything Love said and tells Love and Rose that the wolves are more than just Ceros, as mere Ceros wouldn’t be able to injure opponents of their level. Where I thought these wolves might be able to fire Ceros themselves, Love speculated they were Ceros themselves. But Starrk explains that the wolves are part of his and Lilynette’s Soul, which they are able to freely control in battle. This Soul Dividing ability is what makes Coyote Starrk and Lilynette Gingerback the Primera Espada. This actually supports my theory that Lilynette was created by Starrk from a part of himself. As I stated before, I think Lilynette has been created by Starrk (subconsciously) to remedy his loneliness. As it turns out here, Starrk is able to divide his soul into fragments which he can use to attack. So perhaps, using the power of the Hougyouku, Starrk was able to create a separate being when he was turned into an Arrancar, which we’ve come to know and love as Lillynette Gingerback.
As for the names of the Primera Espada, I find Starrk’s name rather appropriate -though Coyote does not equal Wolf- as it sounds rather like a cowboy’s nickname, which fits nicely with the gunslinger theme he has going. Lilynette’s name, however, is one I’m not too sure about. Her last name would almost suggest that Starrk would be Starrk Gingerback, not exactly a threatening name to be honest. But I guess it fits Lillynette. Sadly, Starrk revealing their names is something I didn’t want to see happening so soon. Because, as we’ve seen with at least 7 out of 10 Espada, revealing the full name of the Espada often results in imminent death or defeat -Grimmjow being the only one not killed after revealing his entire name. As a matter of fact, Starrk not having revealed his name was one of the reasons I thought he would be the last of the Espada to go down. But as I said in the previous review, I have an explanation as to how the wolf theme and the first seat of the Espada are related, which would indirectly result in Starrk surviving longer. So what does the wolf theme have to do with Starrk being first etc? Well, Ookami anyone? Yes, as wolves were seen as Gods in Japan, the fact that Starrk has the wolf theme going would suggest some Godlike powers, which the entire Soul Dividing fits nicely. That’s it, the thing I wanted you guys to find out, I suggest you read other manga -Shaman King had something on this, I think- or search Wikipedia to read more on wolves in Japanese mythology.

Game Over

>Continue
Load game
Quit

Practically sealing the deal by revealing the power of his ability, Starrk finds it futile to continue the fight as it would be impossible to fight such overwhelming odds. This shows that Starrk hasn’t changed one bit with Barragan’s defeat as he still doesn’t want to fight seriously. Without Kyouraku around he doesn’t feel like he has to force a Bankai out of anyone so he feels showing the difference in power between both sides is enough to stop the fighting. He feels it is enough to let his opponents give up and flee as it wouldn’t make any difference if they tried it again and plainly because he dislikes fighting.
Love then gets up with his glasses and sleeves blown off, showing the signs of a captain’s pride as he refuses the offer made by the Hollow.

Shadow trap?

Let’s hope Starrk has a middle name

Starrk sighs at Love’s resolve as he now finds himself in the position of having to kill off his opponents. He then lowers himself to a building as he stands on top of a round part of the building. Just as his left foot touches the structure, a black blade comes up from behind him and stabs right through Starrk, only a few centimeters below his Hollow hole as we can clearly see here. Judging by the shape and color -as far as we can see color here of course- it would almost seem like a shadow attacking Starrk. The attack started immediately after Starrk touched the shadow below him, which is reason for me to think it is some sort of a shadow trap. Of course, there’s always the possibility that there is an attacker standing behind Starrk or that there’s something else going on. All I can say for now is that we wanted something unexpected to happen, and Kubo delivered big time by stabbing the Primera Espada without him sensing the attack, as seen by the surprise on Starrk’s face.


Overview

Well, quite the eventful chapter isn’t it? Starrk shows off his unique Hollow ability in the form of splitting his soul into parts to use in an attack, Rose whips up his Kinshira with the promise of plenty of other attacks, Love and Rose both seem to be in some serious trouble after taking quite a few hits from the pack of Starrks, and Starrk himself has an even bigger problem after being attacked by an unknown assailant. To make things short, I enjoyed the chapter quite a lot, in spite of not seeing Ukitake or the fact that Starrk is the one to suffer from the big surprise. So who was the one to attack Starrk? Better yet, what was it that attacked Starrk? Well I have a few predictions which all stem from this one single attack, though they may become more unlikely as they go.

Predictions

So who or what will we see behind Starrk in the next chapter? The first option would be Hirako Shinji with his Shikai as he is currently not fighting anyone and it is possible that he has the ability to attack from the shadows. The only reason it wouldn’t be Shinji is that Shinji doesn’t seem like the type to attack his opponent from behind -though he did attack Ichigo from behind in chapter 184….- making it somewhat unlikely.
Another option is that it is a Kidou trap laid out by Hacchi as he has finished with Barragan. Like I said, it seemed like the attack was triggered by Starrk after he stepped on the Shadow, which could be something Hacchi might be able to do.
However! An attack from the shadows does sound like something covert ops would do, and how many covert ops do we know that are powerful enough to take on the Primera Espada? Could Yoruichi finally come in to play?
But the attack seems like a black energy blade, could Ichigo have gotten to the fake Karakura town and used a new form of Getsuga to stab Starrk in the back to save the Vizards?
Or did Ikkaku get up after his defeat with the resolve to finally use his Bankai against someone? Though he wouldn’t be so cowardly as to not allow his opponent to do a pre battle chant or dance.
It would be more likely that the back attack is a follow up attack from Rose. Perhaps the 11th sonata blasted the flower on the tip of Kinshira into the building behind Starrk, lurking like a man-eating plant as it grew, waiting for Starrk to make a mistake. But doesn’t this stab look somewhat similar to what happened to Ukitake? Is he able to reflect more than just energy attacks with his Sogyo no Kotowari, perhaps able to return the damage dealt to him to others? All I can say is that this attack won’t kill Starrk, nor incapacitate him in the long run. Starrk will probably regenerate the wound as it doesn’t seem too big for now, though this could mean that a third fighter may enter the fray in the next chapter.
My guess is that Shinji is the one who played this trick, knowing it would divert the attention from Love and Rose to himself. Shinji will face off against Starrk, while Love and Rose may join Ukitake to heal up a bit. Or maybe after the assailant is revealed, the scene will go to another fight.

Well, 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 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 11, 2009.

6 Responses to “The Underscore’s Bleach review 373”

  1. wth!!?? Starrk better not die like this! Starrk and Ulquiorra are my two favorite espadas so he better not die ffrom a cheapshot like this! espicaly when he finaly started getting serious and being a badass!!!

    P.S The Butlar did it!

  2. Kyroku is back. Lisa called him out on not being hurt after the cero and now he’s getting back to the fight and will hopefully finally reveal his SUPER SOUL SOCIETY SECRET BANKAI!!

  3. @TakashiD: It is impossible for the Primera Espada to die from this. Even if he isn’t able to regenerate like most Hollows, he may have another ability to stop the wound from bothering him. Perhaps the attack was very weak as well as Starrk seemed more surprised by the fact that he was actually hit rather than be concerned about it’s effects.
    And I too suspect the butler to be involved in all of this ;).

    @Tony
    The reason I didn’t include Kyouraku in my prediction list is that his Zanpakutou works with wind based attacks and this attack seems more of a shadow based attack. Though I wouldn’t mind seeing Kyouraku’s Bankai any time soon.

  4. I wouldn’t mid seeing Kyouraku and Ukitake comeback to settle things with the fight that they started. It was a bit disappointing to not get to see some good Bankai action from them. I really would like to see something from either Kyouraku or Ukitake soon.

    Although I’m pretty sure that Stark won’t die from this we might suspect that he might die soon because he has already revealed his name and his powers to everyone.

  5. Bleach 374 Spoiler 😀

    Looks like my wish came true 🙂

  6. This one has the pics

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