The Underscore’s Bleach review 390


390 Beyond the Death Understanding

Welcome one and all to yet another review by yours truly. This week we have Bleach 390, Beyond the Death Understanding. I have little to note here this week other than the fact that next week’s review may be the last… I’ll be able to post on Friday . At least it will be for quite a while as schedules have changed once more. But don’t worry; the reviews will be out on Saturdays instead. But enough on the future, let’s get to the present before going to the past. This week’s pictures are once more from the Sleepy Fans scanlation, so thanks to them for giving us another dose of Bleach this week. Then for the past, let’s get to last week’s poll.

With Hitsugaya falling for Aizen’s taunts, he started to get angry as he unleashed his Bankai. Usually these little outbursts lead to a (seemingly) advantageous situation for main characters as their anger catch their opponents off guard. Though Hitsugaya isn’t the main character, his popularity shares the same status. But would this be enough? Would this outburst lead to a swift victory of the young captain, or would it lead to his demise (story-wise or popularity-wise )? What would be the consequences of Hitsugaya going wild? Here’s what the voters thought:

To think I actually bothered putting this option in last week’s poll. Sure I did take into consideration the possibility of Hitsugaya fans dreaming it could happen, but even they wouldn’t dream of Hitsugaya defeating Aizen thanks to his little outburst. People didn’t even choose this option for laughs, that’s how impossible it seems at this point.
Two voters took the save route as Hitsugaya has already survived less favorable situations even coming out of them unscathed -cough cough, Harribel’s fight, cough- so Kubo could always do something unexpected. They realized anything could happen with this little outburst, either the possibilities listed in the poll last week, or even something that wasn’t listed there.
Three voters still had some faith in Hitsugaya, though not necessarily in good faith. They felt that Hitsugaya would be the perfect distraction for Ichigo to get a chance to attack Aizen again. But whether this distraction would be created through Hitsugaya’s abilities as a captain or at the expense of Hitsugaya’s life hasn’t been specified.
Four voters thought Hitsugaya wouldn’t have the opportunity to go wild thanks to the interference of captain Komamura. Komamura has been going around relieving people from their anger towards Aizen with his words of wisdom -though his fluffiness probably helped as well -, so him stopping Hitsugaya would make sense. This would almost make the outburst irrelevant, which is what six voters already thought would happen.
That’s right; six voters thought that absolutely nothing would come from Hitsugaya’s outburst. That’s always a possibility as there have been more situations where something happened with Hitsugaya that later turned out to be nothing -cough cough, Harribel cutting Hitsugaya in half ending up to be a technique that was set up way too quickly making it somewhat useless in the end, cough- making it possible this situation is similar to one of those.
Eleven voters weren’t too happy about Hitsugaya going into a rage at the end of last week’s chapter. Seeing Hitsugaya was hogging the limelight again made them think he should have been killed by Harribel. The fact that he was struggling against an opponent that was cut down with one swing by Aizen should be enough for Hitsugaya to realize that he might not stand a chance. Nonetheless, saying Hitsugaya should have been killed then may be pushing it a bit. But the option of Hitsugaya being killed seemed to be the favorite of last week’s poll.
Whether it’s due to resentment towards Hitsugaya, a realistic view on the current situation, or pure idolization of Aizen, seventeen voters saw this outburst as another kill for Aizen. We are all too familiar with Aizen’s ability to enrage his opponents and slashing them down with ease and he already did it before with Hitsugaya, so it wouldn’t be too strange to see this happen (again). But Kubo’s expectations are the ones that count in the end and this is how it turned out.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

I’ll see you taking my life, and I raise you taking my career

Hitsugaya tells Aizen that Aizen is telling him that if there is hatred on his blade Hitsugaya, which it is right now, he isn’t be fit to be a captain… If you thought this previous sentence was a strange way to start off the review of the chapter, I totally agree. Still that’s how I experienced the first page of this week’s chapter. The last person to say anything in last week’s chapter was Kyouraku, basically telling Hitsugaya to chill -bad pun intended. But apparently the second to last frame of last week’s chapter -Aizen looking amused at Hitsugaya- was interpreted by Hitsugaya as another taunt. Rather than having a short recap of the last moments from the previous chapter, Kubo decided to immediately proceed with the story. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad thing in most cases. But this time the chapter continues in the middle of a conversation, making this first page of the chapter somewhat peculiar in my opinion. But maybe I’m just looking too much into things right now. Now for what happened here.
Hitsugaya basically continues last week’s conversation rather than charging head first at Aizen. Where Hitsugaya told Aizen that hatred isn’t something captains should use to fight with, he is now so full of hatred aimed at Aizen that he is actually belittling himself in the process. Aizen didn’t even have to say anything to make Hitsugaya more crossed than he was a second ago. But Hitsugaya knows that Aizen knows that he just made a fool of himself, so the joke’s on Aizen, somewhat. Because it turns out Hitsugaya would gladly give up his position as captain if it means killing Aizen. Though Kyouraku shows some signs of concern at this turn of events, Aizen can’t help but smiling at the little child throwing a tantrum. In spite of Hitsugaya being prepared to lose his position as captain he still bothers with the formalities as he tells Aizen that he will come at Aizen with everything he’s got in order to prevent him from using Kyouka Suigetsu. He actually tells Aizen -the man who had put a barrier in his neck- to prepare himself, even though these are hollow words as Hitsugaya immediately tells Aizen that he will show no mercy whether he’s prepared or not.

The Lazy Fox

He’s met this day’s quota already so he might as well watch a good show

As Hitsugaya charges towards Aizen we suddenly find none other than Gin standing behind him, be it at the other end of the street on top of a building. After quite a few chapters without anything from Gin we now get him doing what we should have expected from him, just watching the show. The fact that Gin is just standing there after brutally cutting Hiyori in two only reminds me of the times when he cut off Jidanbou’s arm and when he led Rukia towards Aaroniero. Gin loves watching people struggle with their emotions every step of the way. But if there isn’t anything worth watching, Gin is happy to start a new one by himself so he can watch that show unfold. No matter how you look at it, in the end Gin only fights for two reasons. The first -and main- reason is to instigate things as I mentioned before (e.g. cutting off Jidanbou’s arm or cutting Hiyori in two). The second reason is to stay out of trouble and risking the possibility of him not having a good seat to watch things unfold. This was shown after he let Ichigo and his friends escape the first time in Soul Society. Sure he did it on Aizen’s orders, but if he hadn’t done anything he would have risked losing his position as captain or perhaps he would have been confined. As a captain he had the power and influence to make people do as he liked along with the freedom to go wherever he liked to watch things unfold from any angle he wanted. Having to stay in a cell would have also led to him not being able to watch things unfold freely. As such his single attack on Ichigo was enough of an excuse to have him stay among the captains. The times he fought with others (e.g. Shinji) he only did it so that it would seem he did something already and he can take his time to watch things from a distance without him being reprimanded for not doing anything. Fighting people who are trying to kill him also serves to make sure he stays alive to watch things happen of course.
Basically, everything Gin does is for his own entertainment. Perhaps there’s more to Gin than this, but as things are now I believe this is Gin’s motivation. As to why he enjoys watching people struggle, I haven’t a clue.
Returning to the events of the chapter, Gin can’t help but feel Hitsugaya and the other captains were mistaken about thinking that not giving Aizen the time to use Kyouka Suigetsu was enough. Gin clearly states that thinking Kyouka Suigetsu is all there is to Aizen would be a mistake. This is then shown by Aizen himself in the next part of the chapter.

Between a Cudgel and a Sharp place

Its not like Aizen doesn’t know the ant’s perspective…

After Gin’s brief appearance followed by Aizen’s great big smirk we get a glimpse of Ichigo carefully looking for an opening. We then see Hitsugaya approaching Aizen with a two stage attack, making this the point the chapter should have started for me. Starting off with his Hyouryu Senbi -Rotating Ice Dragon Tail- Hitsugaya makes Aizen move upwards. He then follows up with a Hyouryu Senbi Zekku -Air Slice- aiming for Aizen again. As Aizen watches the glacial attack with his usual smirk, he suddenly finds himself in the shadow of something bigger than Hitsugaya’s attack. Out of nowhere, Aizen is caught up in the squad 7 tag team performed by Komamura -the current squad 7 captain- and Love -former squad 7 captain- as their Tenken and Tengumaru come in for a pincer attack. The two Zanpakutou clash as they trap Aizen in between them. As the two Shikai have Aizen trapped, Komamura turns his attention to Hitsugaya in order to apologize for his interference. Hitsugaya tells Komamura that he doesn’t mind as he never intended the fight to be a fair one on one battle from the start. At least this shows us that Hitsugaya never was so stuck up as to believe he could take on Aizen by himself, even though it seemed that way when he asked Hiyori if he could leave Harribel to her and Lisa. Even more interesting than this, however, is the now obvious similarity between the two squad 7 captains. The astounding similarity between the two is mind-boggling. That’s right, they’re both amazingly fuzzy! Of course both their Zanpakutou are humongous in their Shikai state making it another noticeable similarity . Sure this comparison could have been made ages ago, but this chapter is the first one to put the two weapons in one page while they are in the same state. This is also the first chapter where both Shinigami from the seventh squad are shown interacting. This makes me think that Komamura was possibly assigned to the seventh squad due to the properties of his Zanpakutou. This combination attack by Love and Komamura is actually quite a nice touch in this chapter. Whether Kubo intended to show Love and Komamura perform a combination attack as two Shinigami from the seventh squad or whether he felt Aizen should be squashed between two large weapons, it worked out pretty nicely in the end. The same can’t be said about the attack itself though.

Finishing what Tousen couldn’t

You may be great in size Komamura, but Aizen is the greatest overall.

No sooner did Hitsugaya tell Komamura that he didn’t mind Komamura’s interference or Aizen suddenly decides he wants to be the center of attention again. What better way to draw attention than to break a giant sword in two without even breaking a sweat. Aizen can’t help but ridicule Komamura’s -and Love’s- attempt at attacking him with raw strength. Reason for this is that this so called raw strength isn’t something Aizen believes to be actual strength. Luckily Aizen is still in a giving mood as he decides to show Komamura what he believes to be real strength. Too bad for Komamura that this explanation comes at a price. Komamura quickly summons his Bankai to parry Aizen as he prepares to attack. The giant that appears seems to have been restored completely since it fought Tousen in his resurrected form, though that isn’t enough to stop Aizen as it turns out. The great weakness in Komamura’s Bankai Tousen spoke of is only shown to be even greater in front of Aizen as Tengen Myou’s sword and left arm are cut off by Aizen with a single-handed swing. As we’ve seen in Komamura’s fight against Tousen the damage is transferred to Komamura as well. Even though Komamura’s chest wasn’t ripped open due to Tousen’s attack, the same can’t be said about his left arm this time. Komamura loses an arm, his Zanpakutou and receives another blow to the chest all in a split second.

No mercy for the weak

That’s not how you trim Aizen…

Komamura cries out in pain as the arms hit the ground. Caught up in the rage of losing one of his limbs Komamura proceeds to attack. Too bad for him his Bankai disappeared with the breaking of his Zanpakutou as he only was able to swing a broken sword at Aizen. But rather than just dodging the attack, Aizen takes the time to block the attack. This was probably to instill a moment of despair in Komamura before Aizen mercilessly cut him down. This shows us how thoroughly Aizen loves to beat his enemies. Not just by crushing their most powerful form, but by breaking their minds as well, sheer moments before he crushes them entirely. Aizen actually had the opportunity to kill Komamura sooner if he had aimed at Tengen’s chest. Even though Tengen had no damage, it still remained on Komamura from his fight with Tousen. This would mean that if Aizen attacked Tengen’s chest directly -as the cut he gave this time seemed to be collateral damage- the damage would have been added to the injuries Komamura already sustained. On the one hand it is a good thing to know that Komamura’s Bankai isn’t bound to his own physical health, but on the other hand it makes the Bankai even more dangerous as the damage Komamura takes keeps piling up. As Komamura goes down with despair in his eyes we have two more contenders for whack-an-Aizen in this week’s chapter.

Whack-an-Aizen

This game may result in mental and/or physical injuries, instant death, or a nasty itch

As Aizen enjoys the fall of his first victim -other than Harribel that is- Love returns for another swing at Aizen, once more accompanied by his trusty sidekick Rose. Rose is the first one to attack as he uses his Kinshara to strike at Aizen. But apparently Aizen has had enough of taking attacks from behind as he catches the whip with ease. As the two Vizards are experiencing the consequences of attacking Aizen from behind, we have Gin elaborating on what Aizen’s true power is. Gin casually says Kyouka Suigetsu may be a formidable Zanpakutou with its ability, though that it is by no means the reason to fear him. The reason why Aizen should be feared is that he has what can best be described as strength. This strength is what allowed him to unite the rag-tag team of Espada, which would be impossible otherwise. Rose seems to be the first one to realize this strength of Aizen’s as he senses the terror of being pulled by his own weapon towards the beast known as Aizen. My guess is that Love and Rose now feel the same way as Ichigo did two weeks ago, thinking they should have gone all out from the start. But I suppose it wasn’t possible for Kubo to suddenly introduce two new Bankai at this point of the chapter. With the size of the panels left it also wasn’t possible to have Love and Rose put on their masks either as it would hide the fear Rose is clearly showing in this chapter. It is also possible that Love and Rose no longer have the energy to summon their masks, though I highly doubt that’s the case right now.

Bad to the Bone

I forgot. Why did he need the Espada again?

As blood flies aplenty in this chapter, Gin elaborates further on what he meant by Aizen being strong. Aizen’s abilities are just all far above that of any other being. Everyone was so focused on guarding against Kyouka Suigetsu that they forgot to guard against everything else Aizen could throw at them. But even guarding against everything Aizen may throw at them wouldn’t be enough according to Gin. Even if you were prepared for the earth breaking open or the sky falling down you still wouldn’t be prepared to face off against Aizen as he is just that powerful. One could even say that Aizen’s powers are beyond the understanding of death (gods), explaining the chapter’s title in the end. As Aizen looks down on those he already cut down right now he almost seemed to have sensed that someone was talking about him in a flattering manner as he once more assumes his arrogant stance. After witnessing Aizen in his full splendor the chapter comes to an end leaving us to wonder what Soul Society and Ichigo could possibly do against this monster.

What can I say; I have mixed feelings about this chapter. The first part of the chapter -pages 1 to 5- felt like it belonged in last week’s chapter, which I found to be rather disappointing. After the seventh page, however, the chapter really picked up the slack even though it only left me wanting more in the end. Sure, the part with Hitsugaya had to be gotten out of the way, but somehow Hitsugaya completely disappeared at the end, not to mention Kyouraku’s mysterious disappearance. I suppose it made sense for Komamura to be defeated first as he was already beaten up severely while being one of the first to charge at Aizen. But somehow it feels like Komamura, Love, and Rose were just used to show off Aizen’s power. I just hope Love and Rose will be able to return to show their Bankai, though I somehow doubt we’ll be seeing those any time soon. The fact that we finally saw Gin again in this chapter did make up for things -even though he didn’t fight-. So with Hitsugaya cooling down sooner than expected, Aizen showing us what he has up his sleeve while Gin gave a narration of how Aizen should be feared all at the expense of Komamura, Love, and Rose. Overall the chapter was pretty decent. But I honestly feel the chapter could have done more if it hadn’t wasted so much space on Hitsugaya at the start if it didn’t even bother to have him do anything after the first few pages of the chapter -yes this is why I’ve been putting Hitsugaya down more than usual throughout this entire review. I’m just a bit annoyed that Hitsugaya basically wasted space in this week’s chapter as he did nothing Komamura and Love couldn’t have done from the start. All in all this chapter was a just decent one in my opinion, mainly because the first part was too drawn out as opposed to the second part which deserved more attention. I suppose getting confirmation that Aizen has a whole lot more up his sleeve than just Kyouka Suigetsu was enough to make up for the rest if you look at this chapter as part of the rest of the story. But let’s just move on to the predictions as this chapter probably will only prove it’s real worth once it is reread along with previous chapters and the upcoming ones.

Basically Aizen has now been established to be invincible through his actions in this week’s chapter and Gin’s words. As Gin had been shown the only question is what Genryuusai could possibly be doing at a time like this. Who better to fight Aizen right now than the man who is considered to be the most powerful of Shinigami? My guess is that the next chapter or two will be used to get rid of some of the other “weaker” opponents before Genryuusai announces his participation in this fight. This announcement will of course lead to a change of scenery, either to Kensei and Wonderweiss or Byakuya, Kenpachi and Yammy, rather than the immediate fight between the two generals. To be completely honest it may actually be possible that we won’t find out how the fights against the last two Arrancar will turn out. It is possible that we will only witness them victorious -for now- without seeing how they achieved that victory. That way the fight against Aizen will go on uninterrupted with him ending up victorious against everyone currently present in the fake Karakura town. We may even be able to see Aizen defeat Genryuusai’s Bankai to signify the end of this arc as other means are needed to defeat Aizen. Of course these predictions are rather long-term and a lot more grim than usual, but I thought this would be an interesting change from my usual predictions .

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!


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~ by The Underscore on January 29, 2010.

3 Responses to “The Underscore’s Bleach review 390”

  1. its as i said last week, Hitsugay just wastes pages, we all know hes not going to kill aizen, so whats the point of all this giving up my captian spot crap. i was never really annoyed with Hitsugaya till the Hallibel fight, but now i keep noticing how he gets so many unnesecary moments. sure hes popular, but id rather see kyoraku, shinji, or the other vizards. i am also a little irritated about the espada. most of them were my favorite characters, so im not complaining, but really like you said, WHY did aizen go to hueco mundo to form an army? if he is so god hax powerfull, why didnt he take over at the end of the soul society arc? most of the captians were wounded or fighting each other, he could have killed hitsugaya, momo, Unohana and isane so that no one found out he was behind everything so quickly, gotten the hyogyoku from rukia in secret, let the other captians like Kyoraku, Ukitake and Yammamoto keep fighting till they had killed or weakened each other and then take over with tousen and gin! it seems ike a plot hole to me……

  2. Speaking of holes, poor Komamura! This guy can’t get a break in this series. 🙂 I’m with you guys on the Espada, it hasn’t seemed like a purpose at all other than perhaps pit two groups of enemies against each other. However all of the Espada have shown themselves to be DRAMATICALLY outclassed by Aizen and pretty much anyone at a Captain level. All I can see is just that Aizen is that sadistic to just play with these “wingless eagles” for his own godlike amusement. Aizen is trully feeling the part of a God-king and who for that matter can really be blaming him with the ease of this fight.

    Here’s hoping we have Unohana save Starrk and Hallibel to fight against the traitorous Aizen, but little if any good they can really do here. Just fanservice…please.:P

    PS: Underscore, I’ve really enjoyed your reviews here on Word On Mars and I hope they can continue with your schedule allowing. If not maybe you could just do a chapter discussion with your thoughts, predictions, and polls

  3. @TakashiD:
    Hitsugaya certainly has been getting more attention than necessary at a few points. The problem is that Hitsugaya and Aizen do have a rather peculiar relationship meaning they will confront each other time after time, probably resulting in situations like the one we found in this week’s chapter.
    Speaking of Aizen, he clearly likes to entertain himself with his schemes and whatnot. Sure, Aizen probably had the power to take over Soul Society on his own if we were to go by this chapter, but perhaps Aizen has taken something into account that we are unfamiliar with at this time -that or the Zero squad. But I honestly can’t say what Aizen was thinking when he gathered allies. Perhaps it is a plot hole, but my guess is that we’ll find out sooner or later.

    @Tony:
    Komamura is certainly in the doghouse again -bad pun intended :p-, he just can’t seem to catch a break whenever he fights Aizen. But hopefully we’ll learn the purpose of the Espada at one point in the story. As to Unohana saving the Espada, on the one hand it wouldn’t make sense saving Harribel and Starrk, where on the other she already saved an Arrancar before… Who knows what she’ll do, hopefully she’ll at least put up a fight soon.

    As for the reviews, I think I’ll be able to keep writing these, be it in the weekends. If anything I’ll just write a multiple chapter review if needed.

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