The Underscore’s Bleach review 388

388 Eagle Without Wings 2 [Extreme Battlemasters Mix]

Long time no see, to say the least. After three whole weeks without Bleach we finally kick off 2010 with chapter 388. Not only that, this week’s chapter is apparently the 400th chapter! We certainly should have been expecting the 400th chapter to come soon, though the minus chapters do make it a bit more difficult to keep score isn’t it? This certainly is a joyous occasion as the chapter celebrates with a colored page this week. But that’s not all! Frequent readers may notice some changes with this week’s review, which makes sense as I’ve made several changes to the pictures I use on a weekly basis. It may not be the most important part of the review, but I thought it would be nice to try out some new ones. Now we’re almost at the first chapter of 2010, though there’s still something left from 2009, namely the poll from the previous review, which I’ll go over first. But not before thanking mangastream for their scanlation of course. Now let’s hope I haven’t gone rusty after such a long time without writing reviews… Guess we’ll find out at the end of this review .

Remember 2009? The chapter ended with quite the turn of events as Ichigo suddenly busted in to finish things with Aizen. With a lot of things going on everywhere, we could expect to see plenty of things in this first chapter of 2010. As such I was curious as to what you guys wanted to see from the chapter as I posted the following question in the polls: What’s the first thing you want to see in the first Bleach chapter of 2010?
With seven options to vote for and 72 voters, these are the results of the poll:

The situation in Las Noches was apparently the last thing the majority of the readers want to see. It seems that only four people are curious about the situation there, with Yammy rampaging while Byakuya and Kenpachi are more eager to kill each other than to fight him. Besides that we still have at least 13 other people around who might be doing who knows what. But there’s no denying that Fake Karakura town is where it’s at right now.
There were at least 14 people who at least wanted to see something different, be it that they are evenly divided between wanting to see more colored pages and having Ichigo beat the living out of Aizen. Seven of these people want colored pictures to start off the year so they should be happy with the picture shown this week. Then there were seven people that were looking forward to Ichigo giving Aizen a nice beating. A beating is to be expected and having Ichigo on the dealing end at the beginning of the fight would be rather interesting. But more beatings are being dealt in the Fake Karakura town, and nine voters want to know more about one in particular.
Kensei and Wonderweiss are still fighting it out ever since Kensei used his Bankai to make sure Wonderweiss will get what he deserves for doing the things he did to Mashiro. This fight is a great indicator as to whether Wonderweiss is an ace amongst the Arrancar or whether he is just a goofball who liked Tousen’s company. Besides that it is interesting to see the fight between the first -known- successful Vizard and the latest -known- Arrancar to see how Aizen’s research has progressed.
Then we have another tie in the polls with 11 people wanting to see Aizen beat the living out of Ichigo and 11 people who want to find out how everyone in fake Karakura Town is doing. If Aizen beats Ichigo to a pulp (again) it would prove that Soul Society truly had to fear Aizen all along, in spite of the severe losses he already suffered. This could even mean that Aizen may succeed at achieving his goals, be it at the expense of the citizens of Karakura town. This poll already showed a few things that could happen in the fake Karakura town, and 11 people want to know about everything that’s going on right now. Plenty of captains with situations unknown -Ukitake anyone?- as well as Vizards who could be doing who knows what and being in who knows what state -Hiyori- while Gin and Wonderweiss are the only other enemies left in Fake Karakura Town besides Aizen. To conclude there are plenty of people and events to cover. This might explain why the majority of the voters wanted to be surprised by this week’s chapter by asking for something completely unexpected.
Whether these 23 voters had high expectations or no expectations at all, they all agree that they want to see something unexpected. After reading the chapter all that can be said is that this was not entirely unexpected as the chapter was as good as any. As for the chapter’s content, that’s something I’ll get to in a moment.

400 Chapters

Nineteen katanas pointed at Ichigo sounds about right…

It only took four hundred chapters to get this far as Ichigo already has gone through more than the average teenager. From his somewhat carefree life as a boy who was able to see ghosts to becoming a Shinigami who had to dispose monsters known as Hollows only to almost become a Hollow in the process. In all this time he faced off against Hollows, Shinigami, Arrancar and Vizards at some points in the story -as well as his own father for the twisted reasons known only to Isshin. Having faced off against Renji, Byakuya, Urahara, Jidanbou, Gin, Ikkaku, Kenpachi, Ayane, Sasakibe, Omaeda, Aizen, Shinji, Yammy, Grimmjow, Hiyori, Dordonii, Nnoitra, Ulquiorra, and even himself, all under differing circumstances, these fights may be represented by the katanas pointed at him in the picture above. Or maybe I’m reading too much into the picture and Kubo just wanted to point as many sharp objects at Ichigo without ruining it for us. A nice picture of Ichigo showing us exactly what he looks like after 400 chapters worth of Bleach. So here’s to at least another 100 chapters!


That’s the way to go…

The chapter starts off just a few moments before Ichigo appeared in the previous chapter. Unohana’s words keep going through his mind as he reminds himself that he mustn’t look at Aizen’s Shikai. The only way Ichigo can avoid looking at the Shikai is simple in his mind, which is to finish the fight in one blow. As Ichigo is thinking this we can see a tormented look on his face, perhaps due to the pressure that has been put on him after he’s been told to kill someone. In spite of everything that may be going on in Ichigo’s mind he still has to keep moving forward as he focuses on his goal. Then, almost as if reacting to Ichigo’s thoughts, the Garganta crashes open right behind Aizen giving him the chance he was hoping for. Ichigo notices his favorable position right behind Aizen, which is quite a feat as Ichigo has always been bad with remembering faces and he’s seen Aizen only once, as he immediately goes in for the kill by powering up a Getsuga. He then swings Zangetsu straight at Aizen’s neck to finish it immediately as a massive Getsuga is released at Aizen, be it with a troubled look on Ichigo’s face as if he knows something might be amiss. As the energy is spreading, Shinji and Komamura, who were trying to get Aizen themselves, look amazed at Ichigo’s sudden appearance and what could be the end of the man that ruined their lives.

Epic Phail!

GAWD Ichigo, U R such a N00B!

In spite of the Getsuga almost covering the entire area, Aizen remains untouched as a barrier appears right behind his neck covering his entire back region. Ichigo quickly notices the barrier as he immediately starts falling back. The Getsuga fades away while Aizen turns around to greet the “Ryoka boy” and tells him it has been such a long time since they last met. As Ichigo comes to a distance he’s comfortable with, he realizes that the initial blow failed. Aizen then tells Ichigo that he was wrong in attacking such a generic weak point because Aizen prepared himself for a situation just like this one. This shows us that Aizen doesn’t just rely on his own senses and reflexes as he is also cautious enough to put up a few safety measures that activate when necessary. Not that anyone can really blame him as he had people like Barragan around who were keen on taking his head. Besides that, he of all people should know that you should expect the unexpected. As Aizen is showing off his little safety device, Ichigo isn’t concerned by that little shield the slightest bit. Instead, Ichigo is concerned by the fact that he hadn’t used his Hollowfication for the initial attack, believing that if he had used his mask he would have been able to finish things in one blow. It turns out that Ichigo was troubled not just by the task given to him by Unohana, but by the manner in which it should be executed as well. Ever since Neo-Ichigo’s appearance he feared he would lose control again, which affected his Hollowfication in the process. The first time he Hollowfied after Neo-Ichigo’s appearance, he felt that something was different as it felt heavier. After that he wanted to use Hollowfication again, but it failed. From what we get here it would seem that fear is what prevented the mask from appearing at that time. Ichigo was afraid that he would lose control again, causing him to be shaken up, hence losing control over his Hollow at that time. It is similar to the time after he suppressed Shirosaki while training with Hiyori. His mask disappeared after a few seconds because he was afraid something bad would happen if he stayed a Hollow for too long. In Las Noches he didn’t have the time to be scared, explaining why his time limit increased all of a sudden. But after Neo-Ichigo’s appearance, Ichigo once again fears losing control. This fear caused him to make a bad judgment call as he should have used Hollowfication to finish things in an instant.

1337 = spelled AIZEN

Let the taunting begin!

Even though Aizen was trying to give Ichigo a few pointers, Ichigo was so caught up by his own thoughts that he didn’t pay much attention to it -teenagers, what can you do about it huh? – as Ichigo believed that he could have easily broken through the safety device if he was at full power. Aizen notices that Ichigo is thinking things over as he gives a complete analysis of Ichigo’s thoughts on the initial attack. Aizen then tries to appease Ichigo in his own special way as he is willing to show Ichigo that he would have failed no matter what he would have done. Ichigo is taken back for a moment as he realizes that Aizen knew what he was thinking. But immediately after that he realizes that he may have a second chance as Aizen is so conceited that he may allow Ichigo to catch him off guard again. Hardening his resolve, he manages to summon his mask -be it with his eyes remaining the same color- showing Aizen what he wanted to see. Ichigo then tries to fire off a Getsuga only to find Aizen standing behind him just a split second before he fully released the attack from his blade. Ichigo immediately falls back again to create as big of a distance between him and Aizen as possible. Aizen notices -of course- as he starts thinking out loud as to what Ichigo’s reasoning could be for these actions. He points out that Ichigo should stay as close as possible to make sure the attacks hit, which makes sense of course. But then he also points out the possibility that Ichigo may be scared of a part of him leaving Ichigo’s field of vision. It is pretty clear now that Aizen knows full well that Ichigo doesn’t want to be caught up by Kyouka Suigetsu, but the interesting thing here is his choice of words. Rather than just saying Ichigo doesn’t want to lose track of Kyouka Suigetsu’s movements, he points it out indirectly to make sure Ichigo will lose focus as he is trying to figure out whether Aizen’s on to him or not. The fact that Aizen refers to his Zanpakutou as a part of him may also indicate that he may be one of the people closest to their Zanpakutou around, which would make sense as the control over the Zanpakutou seems to translate to a Shinigami’s power. But Aizen continues his deductive reasoning as he tells Ichigo it is meaningless to keep distance as it only helps when two combatants are of equal power. Aizen then does one of the creepiest things he has done up to date.

Here’s to all the Fan girls

You just gotta love ‘m… Wha?

‘Hey, as things are now, at any moment, it seems my hand can reach your heart.’ were Aizen’s words according to the Mangashare scanlation. They sent a shiver down my spine at first to be completely honest. Aizen seemed like a pervert at first glance -explaining Ichigo’s facial expression- though there’s more to these words than it would seem at first. By telling Ichigo his hand could reach Ichigo’s heart at any moment he isn’t just talking about ripping his heart out -nor is he talking about wooing him over – but also about the fact that he can now control all of Ichigo’s thoughts and actions even without the use of his Shikai. In less than a chapter Aizen already managed to predict all of Ichigo’s moves and to “read” his thoughts, which basically means he can manipulate them easily. Freaked out by Aizen’s sudden appearance right in front of him, Ichigo swings his blade while Aizen dodges by appearing behind him again not even feeling the slightest breeze from the swing. Aizen then asks Ichigo what has been on the mind of a lot of readers: Why is he fighting Aizen? Ichigo never truly had a reason to fight Aizen, let alone kill him. Yet there he is facing off against someone he doesn’t even stand a chance of beating. Plenty of you may have been wondering exactly the same thing, and Aizen is actually voicing your -and my- thoughts for you. Man, he’s good, reading the thoughts of thousands of people he never met . With this he clearly points out the biggest issue Ichigo has right now -besides the fact that his power can’t match Aizen’s at this time- being that he has no reason to fight Aizen. Sure, Aizen was the one who gave the orders to kidnap Orihime, but Ulquiorra was the one who took her and he’s long gone. Aizen hurt his friends, but they’re all alive and well. Other than that, Aizen hasn’t even managed to harm anyone that wasn’t involved in things who Ichigo had to protect. Ichigo couldn’t even bring himself to kill those who did far worst to him, so why would he try to kill Aizen, a man who has done nothing to him? Basically Ichigo has no reason to hate Aizen, which means he has no real reason to fight him. And without hatred, Ichigo’s blade is but an eagle without wings according to Aizen. Aizen then shows us how he has his hand in Ichigo’s heart as he suddenly changes the topic of their conversation.

Sway not young Padawan

Don’t be taken in by anger, just look at the fluffy giant.

Just to show everyone that he can, Aizen tries to manipulate Ichigo to get him into a rage. The way he does it is by saying powerless comrades are nothing more than weights that restrict him and have no use. This little comment came somewhat out of the blue, but it proves Aizen knows exactly how to manipulate anyone he comes across. What better way to anger Ichigo then to tell him that his comrades are all powerless fools that force their problems onto him? We all know Ichigo doesn’t mind protecting those weaker then him and that he has plenty of powerful comrades as well. Nonetheless Ichigo seems to feel that Aizen may have a point as his words almost send Ichigo into a blind rage. But luckily we have Komamura, who just keeps getting better and better in my opinion. He grabs hold of Ichigo’s arm to make sure he doesn’t go in flying at Aizen as he tells him to calm down. Komamura explains that Aizen is good at provoking his opponents -to say the least- and that they will all lose their lives if they are taken in by his words. Komamura then proceeds to solve another problem Ichigo had during this fight. As Ichigo was fighting Aizen he was worried about not only his Hollowfication, but about Kyouka Suigetsu as well. Ichigo has never really been one to fight while avoiding his opponents’ abilities as he usually just faced the abilities head on. After failing to kill Aizen on the first blow he was more focused on his fears than his objective. But now we get Komamura, who takes away at least one of his worries by telling Ichigo that everyone at the battlegrounds is aware of why he was sent to fight Aizen by the captains in Las Noches. Because of this they all know that they have to protect Ichigo from seeing Aizen’s Shikai. While Komamura explains how things will be going down, we get the reinforcements at the scene.

Changing the odds

Why is it that Omaeda doesn’t feel quite as reassuring as the others?

With nine more people joining in the fight against Aizen, things are starting to look a lot better than they were just a few moments ago. The question is, of course, whether this will be enough. First we have Omaeda, whose only use is that of a distraction -as shown during the fight against Barragan. Next we have Soi Fon, who lost an arm and already fired off her Bankai twice, meaning she isn’t nearly as useful as she could have been otherwise. Komamura is still pretty badly injured by Tousen, and Tousen’s demise can easily be used by Aizen to get to him, making Komamura lose some of his usefulness in the process. Hitsugaya already had trouble with Harribel, and we don’t know how much he’s got left in him after that fight. What should be noticed, however, is that Hitsugaya seems to be most eager to fight Aizen, as he is standing closest to Aizen. But this too could work against him. Then we have Lisa, who may prove to be useful as she is most likely in the best shape of all those we see here, and if we take into account that she was Kyouraku’s former lieutenant she may be able to surprise us as well as Aizen. Then we have Shinji -whose Sakanade seems to have reverted to its sealed state- a powerful captain who -I think- still has a Bankai up his sleeve which he can combine with his Hollowfication. The same goes for Rose and Love, though they took quite the beating from Starrk’s attacks. Kyouraku is still around, probably the strongest of captains present -excluding Genryuusai- who also has a Bankai up his sleeve. The biggest problem, however, may be Ichigo. No matter how you look at it, he’s shaken up right now and he hasn’t shown us anything that will lead to a victory against Aizen right now. But perhaps the (former) Shinigami will be able to synchronize their movements as they should all be familiar with some of the basics taught by Genryuusai. The problem is of course that Aizen also knows all that has been taught to the Shinigami by Genryuusai. Speaking of him, Genryuusai and Unohana are still missing in this picture. Of course we still have Gin and Wonderweiss lurking about as well, though the latter is being taken care of by Kensei. With these ten fighters -note how half of them are Vizards- preparing to go head to head against Aizen, we will have to wait until next week to find out how this may work out.

This week’s chapter was a great one. It had more potential, that’s for sure, but it was a great chapter nonetheless. This chapter showed us what was going through Ichigo’s mind all this time, including an (possible) explanation as to why his Hollowfication had been a bit messed up lately. All this took place while Aizen showed us how he isn’t to be messed with as he easily toyed with Ichigo while confronting everyone with the simple fact that Ichigo never truly had a reason to fight Aizen. But luckily there are plenty of other people who want to give Aizen a beating as we see in the last pages of this week’s chapter. The chapter was drawn out nicely and the story gave us plenty to think about for a while. The colored page was also a good touch and we can now look forward to quite the battle as Aizen will be forced to show us more than he has before with the amount of people facing him right now. But what can we expect to see then?

It is very likely that everyone standing around Ichigo will give him some encouraging words. This will help Ichigo to be a more focused than he’s been during this week’s chapter. Odds are that Shinji will be the last one to say something to Ichigo in order to see if Orihime will be coming to help Hiyori. Unohana will probably show up soon as well as she should have been right behind Ichigo. Perhaps Unohana will be looking from a distance to assess the situation at hand. That way we may find out about the injured as well as Kensei and Wonderweiss’ fight along with Genryuusai and Gin’s current activities. Of course we also have Sasakibe, Kira, and Yumichika who should still be able to fight as well as a few lieutenants that should still be conscious. But they won’t be shown unless they could somehow give us insight into the current situation. Personally I would like to see Gin make a snap remark about Aizen facing off against 10 opponents at once, perhaps while standing across Genryuusai. To make things more interesting Gin should be standing near the injured being treated so he can see Matsumoto, which could lead to an interesting twist, though I doubt that will happen soon. The next chapter may not necessarily have a lot of fighting going on, though it is also possible that we will be seeing attacks flying around for a great deal of the chapter. After seeing a part of Aizen against the world, we may see Kensei’s fight as well. After that we will probably see how things are going in Las Noches between Yammy, Kenpachi, and Byakuya. But this is assuming Kubo doesn’t have any tricks up his sleeve for the upcoming chapters.

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 week’s chapter and/or review, give any theories that you may have (based on this week’s chapter or any other) and to vote in this week’s poll. I’ll see you again next week!


~ by The Underscore on January 14, 2010.

6 Responses to “The Underscore’s Bleach review 388”

  1. hmm this chapter was good,but i was hoping for something more. ichigo is still terrifed of his inner holllow and aizens shikai, so he cant really do much. as for all these reinforcements, they have all seen kyoka suigetsu so they dont really have a chance. im interested in seeing how this plays out though. and where the heck is Gin? why does he stand around doing nothing? and why,why, WHY! does Yammamoto not get involved with these fights? aizen is now fighting, he has no more espada to defend him, why doesent yammamoto attack aizen? o thats right, only ichigo the chosen one can defeat him.

  2. Kubo could be thinking Gin should have a special chapter explaining why he choice to stay with Aizen or he could do what Underscore said making a smart comment on Aizen predicament as of now (with a little twist of my own) the head captain is bleeding or falling from the sky or perhaps a conversation between the two. It still is possible that Gin is in charge and not yet showing it. Perhaps Kubo thinks Gin fight could be even better than Aizen’s.

    Just to point out this could happen () but 89% sure it won’t happen: (Gin makes a remark on Aizen 1 vs 100 challenge {laughs} then Aizen say’s you got rid of him fast and SS looks and see the Head Captain falling with his head cut off) who would you think would be stronger after something like this happen Aizen or Gin

    3 crazy question and idea: Does anyone think Gin is apart of the Zero Squad? would make sense a little explains why he doesn’t tell Masumuto where he going, he could of been sent by the SSK to find the traitor in there mist. 2 Do you think we will see All the captains bankai i mean there are 10 captains as of now and we’ve seen only five + kenpachi of there bankai’s byakuya,sanji,soifon,mauyri,hitsugaya.

    last Question note There was once a reference of the Zero Squad in pendulum arc do you think there will every be a arc for that?

    End: just so you know my prediction is for the future of bleach. it still has a couple of arcs left imo i think at least 4 or 5, the last arc is going to be a battle between the Soul reapers and the Soul King trying to stop him from taking over everything.

  3. oh no i gotta stop doing this please band me next time i do this but @The Underscore Great CR loved how you used the analysis “without hatred, Ichigo’s blade is but an eagle without wings according Aizen” it’s true someone without hatred won’t necessarily fight unless obligated to do so by someone or some motive any how Great CR and congrats to Kubo, happy 400th Bleach may we at least have 400 more.

  4. This was a great chapter! We’re now in some heavy tension with the story and Aizen has shown he is still more than a threat to everyone as well as seeing more proof of how each Espada were terrified of him. Poor Harribel should have just fallen down after that first cut! 😛

  5. @ TakashiD:
    The chapter could only show so much in the end. If Kubo showed Gin and Genryuusai their appearances would have had such a minor influence they might as well have been left out, which is probably why they weren’t shown :). Gin may actually be fighting right now if we look at the previous chapters. Gin fought Shinji for a while, even though it was off screen. Taking this into account it is possible that Gin is fighting someone, perhaps Genryuusai to explain their absence. As for why Genryuusai is standing by, my guess would be him being the last resort. If anything, his power is meant to incinerate everything in sight. If he were to go all out it would probably result in getting a lot of people burned to a crisp. So he might as well have Ichigo take a swing at it, as he does hold the potential and isn’t affected by Kyouka Suigetsu yet, before he turns everyone and thing in Fake Karakura town to ashes.

    I highly doubt Genryuusai would be killed so easily as well as off screen. I’ll admit it would be interesting to see something like that, though there aren’t any characters right now that could be offed like that.
    Now for your three points: No, Gin is by no means part of the zero squad as it wouldn’t make any sense for him to have taken over 100 years to find a traitor who approached him a long time ago.
    As for seeing all the captains’ Bankai, I think we will see those and a few more. There are at least two more arcs planned after this one if I’m not mistaken, so there’s plenty of room to show off a few Bankais.
    As for there being an arc on the zero squad, it might be possible if it turns out that Isshin is part of it and he explains it to Ichigo.
    Now for your prediction, the last arc probably needs an enemy as impressive as the soul king, though Aizen would have to pull off something very strange for him to suddenly decide to take control over everything while he gave control to Central and the Gotei.
    As for your double post… I’ll let it slip again as it is the first time in 2010 :P. Anyways glad you enjoyed the review.

    Aizen certainly outdid himself this chapter, going from someone who did practically nothing but give evil grins to manipulating and standing his own against the main protagonist while picking his nose -figuratively speaking of course. But it is a good thing Harribel didn’t just give up, mind you, as it shows that she at least had the tenacity of a shark by struggling. That way she also showed that she had the pride of a tercera Espada.

  6. Good points Underscore. I also think it was great to see that even Soi-Fon & Omaeda were up there to Ichigo. Soi-Fon has barely anything left so to speak and I’m quite sure Omaeda has died standing up from even looking at Aizen at that close of a distance! 🙂

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