The Underscore’s Bleach review 389

389 Winged Eagles 2

Hey there everyone, welcome to yet another Bleach review. I’m a bit later than usual this week even though the chapter already came out on Wednesday. But odds are that I will be back to my usual Friday reviews from now on, so this is a good way to start that habit again isn’t it? Besides, now we have Noneatencookie back here on WordOnMars with Naruto Anime Breakdowns for you to enjoy as well.  That should be good news for you guys -unless you don’t like Naruto that is. Anyways, this week’s chapter is another first for this year -along with the first Friday review again- as it actually seemed to fit within the predictions I made last week. Anyways, you’ve waited long enough on this review for me to talk about that, so I might as well get started! First off I’d like to thank Sleepy Fans for their scanlation. Secondly, it’s time to go over last week’s poll.

No matter how you look at it, Aizen played a major part in last week’s chapter and it was impossible to ignore him. Suffice to say the poll had to be about Aizen. As such I asked you what your thoughts were on Aizen based on that chapter. With 61 voters, these are the results:

Four people couldn’t care less about Aizen, in spite of what happened in the chapter. Perhaps these voters saw more in Ichigo’s struggles than they did in this pompous jerk or they felt the chapter itself wasn’t what they wanted. But these were the only four voters who couldn’t care less about Aizen, making this option last in the polls.
Then we have the usual tie, this time stuck in fifth place with five votes each. Five voters were impressed by Aizen’s performance last week, but still don’t like him. Whether they don’t like Aizen in general, or they just think he’s a jerk can’t be said based on this poll, but at least they felt he was impressive, which should be enough to support Aizen’s ego for a while. But five other voters were starting to see a pattern based on last week’s chapter. First Aizen took a liking to Gin and Ichigo also seems to entertain him to say the least…
Nonetheless, six people knew what it all boiled down to as they clearly knew Aizen was the same jerk he’s always been, making this the fourth place in the polls. No matter how you look at it, Aizen is a jerk. But as we all know, even jerks can be more than just that.
As a matter of fact, eight people could only make one conclusion based on last week’s chapter: Aizen rocks! Luckily the other 33 voters were able to pinpoint what they thought rocked about Aizen.
Thirteen of these voters thought he was awesome and that no one will be able to beat him. Being unbeatable does tend to make people awesome and somehow things are looking mighty grim for Soul Society in spite of their luck streak in the past twenty chapters -give or take a few chapters.
But the majority of the voters were most impressed by Aizen’s mind. These twenty voters saw the way Aizen toyed with Ichigo as a great indicator of his intelligence. The way he fooled Soul Society for 100 years may have played a part in their decision to choose this option I’d say. Nonetheless, Aizen was on a roll last week. But how is Aizen doing this week?

Celebrity treatment

These bodyguards kill before they ask questions

At the end of last week’s chapter, Ichigo almost fell for Aizen’s taunts preparing to rush at him. But none other than Komamura stopped him as he and eight others gathered around Ichigo. All nine of them gathered for the purpose of protecting Ichigo during his fight against Aizen. Any other time, this would be just what the doctor ordered. This time, however, not so much as the majority of these “bodyguards” are beaten up or worn down. That’s what’s going through Ichigo’s mind, at least, as he looks at the people standing around him. Shinji knows where Ichigo’s going with this and he puts him in his place by pointing out that having Ichigo fight Aizen on his own would be pushing it. Especially if you look at what happened last week, Shinji couldn’t be more right about this matter. But before Ichigo could argue that he doesn’t care about his opponent’s strength, Shinji tells Ichigo something he wouldn’t hear from any of the captains left in Las Noches in at least 100 years. Shinji points out that every one of the people standing around him right now wouldn’t be able to bear seeing him die while they do nothing. Fine, so maybe Byakuya, Kenpachi, and Mayuri would say the same, though the difference would be that they wouldn’t mind Ichigo dying as long as it is by their hands . The point Shinji is trying to make is that none of the people standing there had any intention of sitting back and watching Ichigo fight Aizen on his own as it is their battle as well. While Ichigo seems to be taking in these words, realizing that the task of killing Aizen wasn’t just shoved down his throat while everyone else would just stand around to watch, one of the captains is very eager to show he would gladly do Ichigo’s job for him.

Charging ahead

Yes, if an attack from behind doesn’t work, attacking from the front will work wonders…

Hitsugaya goes in for the charge, though Aizen easily sees through such a basic attack as he blocks the attack with his Zanpakutou. Aizen can’t help but comment on this rash attack telling Hitsugaya he is being rather reckless. Hitsugaya, however, isn’t impressed by Aizen’s words as he points out that someone has to start the fight anyway. Hitsugaya then tells Aizen that they could lose their chance if they don’t attack in time. The chance Hitsugaya seems to be talking about is the fact that Aizen hasn’t used Kyouka Suigetsu on the first strike. Even though nine out of the ten fighters already saw Kyouka Suigetsu’s release, meaning they will automatically be caught in the illusions once it goes into its Shikai state, Aizen hasn’t used this yet. Though Aizen clearly doesn’t need the perfect hypnosis right now, Hitsugaya is obviously trying to get Aizen to release Kyouka Suigetsu in order to prevent him from using it while Ichigo is looking. Hitsugaya hopes to provoke Aizen into using his Shikai as soon as possible by giving him a ‘compliment for not using Kyouka Suigetsu at the first strike’. Of course, using such a simple taunt against Aizen will only be used against you in the end, which Aizen shows us as he gives his compliments to Hitsugaya for not fighting on his own.

Surprise attack revised

You think Aizen wouldn’t protect such a basic weakness as his… elbow?

None other than Kyouraku arrives to aid Hitsugaya in his struggle, though his attack is suddenly blocked by a barrier on Aizen’s side. Even though the blow wasn’t strong enough to break through the barrier completely, the cracks seem to imply that there was plenty of strength behind it. At first glance it almost seems like the barrier used was another one of Aizen’s fail safes, though Aizen’s words right before the barrier was erected seem to imply he cast it himself. Perhaps this means that the barrier is weaker than the one Ichigo had to go through last week, but something tells me that Kyouraku still would have been able to crack that barrier as well. Kyouraku is the next to respond to a taunt as he asks Aizen whether he’s implying that it is underhanded for Hitsugaya to not fight on his own. Aizen can’t help but feel that he may have been misunderstood with his comment towards Hitsugaya and decides he will make amends. But before Aizen apologizes in his own special way, we have a few words of gratitude for someone else.

A favor returned

If it wasn’t for Ichigo, it would have been Soukyoku hill all over again.

As the two captains face off against Aizen, Komamura decides to finish his conversation with Ichigo. He resumes the conversation by thanking Ichigo for coming when he did. Komamura realizes that he almost got caught up in his rage and would have rushed at Aizen. But like the last time he rushed at Aizen in rage, it would most likely have ended with him being brought down in one blow, perhaps even losing his life this time. By telling Ichigo this, Komamura gave him a warning as well by giving a clear example of how devastating Aizen’s taunts can be. As he gives his thanks to Ichigo he rushes off into battle with the hole in his chest that was made by his old friend. Ichigo then gets distracted by the other person standing in front of him. Shinji, back to his usual self, starts whining about Ichigo not bringing Orihime with him. With the pretence of Orihime being able to restore everyone to full fighting strength in a short amount of time to improve their odds against Aizen, it is obvious why he wanted Orihime around. But Shinji knows Ichigo didn’t come barehanded as he noticed none other than Unohana-sama -you have to say it right Shinji! – arrived. He points out that it was the right decision -though Ichigo had no word in the matter- as the fourth squad’s captain is more suited for battle than Orihime. Shinji does seem to be pushing his luck by saying that bringing Unohana(-sama) was “probably” the best choice. As Shinji is saying all of this we see how Unohana arrives at Hacchi and Hiyori’s location. Judging from the looks on the faces of Unohana and Hacchi, things aren’t looking too good for Hiyori as she lies in one of Hacchi’s barriers. Based on the shape of the barrier, my guess is that it only suspends time or stops the bleeding to prevent Hiyori’s death as it looks similar to the one Hacchi used on his own arm. The main questions right now are how Unohana is going to heal Hiyori and whether she will succeed. But one thing I’m more curious about is where the heck Ukitake is in all of this(!). Sadly this chapter doesn’t enlighten us on this as the Vizards all take the spotlight away from the injured by going into battle.

Call to battle

Quit slacking you brat!

While Ichigo is still trying to figure out what is happening around him at this time, Soi-Fon gives her expert opinion on killing. She starts off by pulling Ichigo out of his own little world by telling him he has to focus on the battle to find an opportunity. This is especially important if you consider the fact that openings against Aizen will be few and won’t last long. But before Ichigo starts thinking people are risking his lives in order to end this battle, which would automatically give him the urge to fight on his own again, Soi-Fon tells him this is no such battle. Rather than risking their lives for this battle, this battle is key to their survival. Even though the entire world is at stake at this time, everyone there is fighting to protect their own lives as well as the lives of others important to them along with the life of the one who has greatest chance at ending this battle. After telling Ichigo this, she rushes off into battle, in spite of both her injuries and fatigue. Somehow even Omaeda is caught up in the moment as he actually rushes towards Aizen, rather than telling Ichigo to go for him.

Getting by with a little help from his friends

Remember what Byakuya told you: In the end, you are just useless…

While everyone else rushes off into battle, Ichigo starts to realize that he doesn’t have to be concerned about anyone at this time. Remembering the words Byakuya told him along with everything else that had been said it all becomes clear. Where he usually has to fight to protect people who can’t fend for themselves, he is now surrounded by people who can do at least that. He doesn’t have to carry the burden of this fight on his own, in spite of what Aizen told him in last week’s chapter. Perhaps these nine fighters are still weaker than Aizen, but at least the gap isn’t as big as with some of the others that are now in Las Noches. With this in mind Ichigo starts focusing on finding another opportunity to strike. At least there’s less pressure on Ichigo right now than there was at the time he was running through the Garganta. This should help him get his A-game back for now, though odds are that Aizen will soon remedy that.

Putting Aizen down

Tell him his momma’s fat too, that’ll show him!

While Ichigo is looking for an opportunity to attack Aizen, Hitsugaya is still the one who is most set on creating one. What better way to do this then to use the enemy’s tactics against him right? Where Aizen used Hitsugaya’s words against him, he tries to do the same by referring to Aizen’s talk about eagles without wings. Rather than saying hatred is what carries the blade to Aizen’s heights -the whole eagles thing-, Hitsugaya explains that captains have no need for hatred as they should fight with responsibilities on their blades. Almost as if he was making a tribute to Tousen, Hitsugaya tells Aizen that fighting out of hatred is nothing more but senseless violence while fighting out of responsibility can be seen as justice -at least that’s the word Tousen would use. Looking at what Hitsugaya said, you would think he’s trying to get something about Tousen’s death from Aizen’s mouth while provoking him. After his talk about how responsibility is greater than hatred as a reason for fighting, Hitsugaya tells Aizen that he doesn’t have what it takes to be a captain as he speaks so highly of hatred. Before going to Aizen’s response on this, let’s take a moment to look at what Aizen is implying with his metaphor about eagles.

Hatred for the win

This guy loves to be hated doesn’t he?

Aizen considers himself to be the most powerful entity in existence, to be standing on top of everything. He sees himself to be on the peak of a mountain as it were. The only way to reach him from where his opponents stand would be to fly to where he is. His metaphor seems to refer to that idea. The only creatures that could have a chance to get to the top of a mountain and remain on top of the peak would be a bird such as an eagle. But if the eagle can’t fly, due to a lack of wings, it would be impossible to reach the top. Aizen tells his opponents that they need hatred to give their blades the wings to reach him, almost implying it is the only way to reach the top. Perhaps that is how Aizen reached the top, a sense of hatred. It would explain why he didn’t kill Tousen but recruited him instead, as he was filled with a sense of hatred towards Soul Society. But Tousen’s hatred was almost a just one, considering the story behind it. This may be why Aizen took measures to make sure he died after his defeat and cared little for him. Aizen’s quest for power is still wrapped in mystery as we still don’t know what drives him to become the new soul king. Judging from the metaphor, which he has used twice already, it could be that hatred is what drives him. This is nothing more than speculation; of course, though it is something I noticed when I read this part of the chapter. If I’m right about this, however, it would even be possible that Gin also has a hatred for something, perhaps something similar to what Aizen hates, explaining why he sees Gin as his only and true lieutenant.
I can’t be sure about Aizen having a hatred for something, but at least he knows how to sow it as we can see once more. While Hitsugaya tried to get Aizen to show at least some form of emotion that could be exploited by Ichigo, his words only seem to amuse Aizen. Aizen points out that of all the captains in the Gotei 13, Hitsugaya has the greatest hatred towards him. As such, Hitsugaya isn’t pointing his blade at Aizen out of responsibility, but out of hatred. But as Aizen could be wrong he tells Hitsugaya that it is possible that he doesn’t have any hatred in his blade. Why, his hatred could have disappeared after Hinamori seemed to have gotten better by arriving at the Fake Karakura town. But rather than Hitsugaya attacking in a fit of rage, a different captain makes another attempt at cutting Aizen’s head off.

Conversation killer

Don’t you just hate it when people start using afterimages while playing tag?

Aizen almost pushed Hitsugaya over the limit, but luckily Kyouraku saw this was happening as he quickly tries to silence Aizen. Showing another merciless attack from behind, like he did against Starrk, Kyouraku seems to make Aizen doubt for a moment. Rather than having a barrier take care of things, Aizen uses his Shunpo -or Sonido perhaps- to quickly move behind Kyouraku. This could either mean that the barrier was a one time thing, or that Kyouraku’s attack would have been able to break through the barrier. My money’s on the latter one for now, based on the first attack Kyouraku showed us in this chapter. Aizen, probably sulking a bit because his taunting of Hitsugaya was interrupted, tells Kyouraku he was acting uncouth by attacking him from behind all of a sudden. Kyouraku then once more points out that he doesn’t mind attacking people from behind, though this time he also explains that he isn’t one to hear out his (male) opponents as it is boring. The main reason for Kyouraku to attack at that time, however, would probably be because Aizen used the Momo card against Hitsugaya. My guess would be that Aizen was planning on making Hitsugaya think that Hinamori arrived at the scene due to his influence. Whether this is true or not can’t be said, though Hitsugaya already came to his own conclusions.

Taunting: Complete

For someone with a snow/ice-type Zanpakutou, he sure is a hothead

Even though Kyouraku gave Hitsugaya some time to cool down, it only made things worse as Hitsugaya succumbs to his hatred. Releasing Daiguren Hyorinmaru, Hitsugaya gladly admits that his sword is pointed at Aizen out of anger, not responsibility. As such, this is no longer a fight as it isn’t based on responsibility. Rather than that, Hitsugaya just wants to beat Aizen to a pulp, after cutting him into pieces that is. Strangely, Aizen’s eyes don’t show as much pleasure in response to this outburst as I expected. Instead he looks rather intrigued at this turn of events. Perhaps Hitsugaya is showing something Aizen was/is looking for. But Kyouraku only shows concern as he tells Hitsugaya not to act too hastily. But can anyone stop the young captain now that he’s snapped? If Hyourinmaru can’t even cool Hitsugaya’s temper, it will be impossible for anyone else to do so. Whether and how Aizen will beat Hitsugaya now that he’s going wild is something that’s left for next week’s chapter, however, as this week’s chapter comes to an end.

This week’s chapter nicely followed my predictions with a few twists. Suffice to say I am content with what I’ve seen. Ichigo has finally hardened his resolve thanks to the encouragement from most of the people who were standing around him at the start of this chapter. Hitsugaya and Kyouraku take the lead in the attack against Aizen, while Unohana is shown looking at a severely wounded Hiyori. Sparks did fly as swords clashed quite a few times in this chapter, though fewer swords were clashing than I expected. Hitsugaya clearly took the stage this week as the title seems to be referring to him. Hitsugaya certainly got the hatred going, so the only thing that we have to find out now is how far it will take him. Little else can be said about this week’s chapter as far as I can tell for now, so we might as well take a look at the predictions for next week.

Next week the chapter will probably start off with Hitsugaya trying to rush at Aizen. The attempt will probably be stopped by either Kyouraku or Komamura. While Hitsugaya calms down some of the Vaizards may start an attack with their masks on, giving room for Aizen to elaborate on his “Arrancar wannabe” comment. Perhaps he will give an example using Kensei’s fight as he could refer to Wonderweiss. Aizen may also decide he will be wasting too much time fighting and tell Gin to take care of Unohana. These fights will take up a few chapters before we get a few glimpses on the fight in Las Noches.

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 and to vote in this week’s poll. I’ll see you again next week!


~ by The Underscore on January 22, 2010.

3 Responses to “The Underscore’s Bleach review 389”

  1. this chapter was pretty slow, mostly buildup. im tired of hitsugaya by now really, everyone else is super wounded, but only he didnt take any damage from his espada!? how many times do we have to use up a bage for him to go bankai AGAIN anyway? i dont really hate him much, but im really getting tired of seeing him 3x more then any other captain.

  2. Underscore, where on Earth is that Orahime robot image from? I’ve seen that robot with “missiles” in the Shattered Blade game and always assumed it was some weak Hollow Kon fought. 😛 Gin has been WAAAAAAY too quiet since being freed, and as we’ve seen when Gin is quiet is when he does by far the most damage. Do you think we’ll ever really get Kyroku’s bankai at this point? If he’s going after Aizen as it is, one would think he’d gamble on his shikai. Let’s see Aizen figure out these games quickly enough to survive!

  3. @TakashiD:
    This chapter was relatively slow I guess, though last week’s chapter actually had about the same amount of things happening -be it a lot more exciting. As for Hitsugaya, I guess you have a point there. He is a rather popular character in the end, so Kubo can’t really afford not showing him off. But the fact that he came out of the fight with Harribel unscathed was indeed a bit too much. Personally I understand why Hitsugaya has to face off against Aizen here and now, but I just don’t expect much from him considering the current state of affairs. But I guess Kubo has a reason for putting Aizen and Hitsugaya against each other.

    Shame on you Tony, not knowing where the image came from :). The robot image itself is from chapter 17:
    The other people in that image come from several chapters of course.
    Anyways, Gin certainly has been keeping quiet for way too long right now. But I guess he’s waiting for his own opportunity in the same way Ichigo is.
    As for Kyouraku’s Bankai, I’d say we will see it eventually even though it will probably be a different arc. Still, Aizen will probably have little trouble figuring out the games judging from Starrk’s performance. Because if Starrk can figure it out as quickly as he did, go figure how the genius Aizen will do in those games.

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