The Underscore’s Bleach review 396

396 The Bite

I’m late, I’m late! For some reason I thought I could relax after typing out the majority of the review only to be caught up by other activities. Let’s get over this as quickly as I can as best as I can. Because I have to say, this chapter is hard to review. Maybe I’ll redo it after the next chapter (or two), but I’ll see if I find it to be necessary then. The ‘Posts that were lost, but not forgotten’ section will be posted tomorrow so that I can post this before I leave again tonight (busy, busy day). Anyways, thanks to Binktopia and Mangastream for their scanlation. On to the review!

Bleach chapter 395, The Burnout Inferno 3, after 50 votes gets an average score of:

8.6

Great

Last week Wonderweiss lost his life at the hands of Genryuusai. But what could be said about Wonderweiss in the end? Here’s what your thoughts are on Wonderweiss:

Two people feel Wonderweiss was great until the end and that this end was timed greatly. Wonderweiss certainly fulfilled the role imparted to him by Aizen to the letter. At least Wonderweiss didn’t become useless over time, which tends to happen with some characters.
Three people feel they lost a great character. Wonderweiss had a certain charm, so it isn’t all too strange that some people feel a bit sad he’s gone. Of course it is possible that some people feel sad that Kensei can’t try to beat him up now.
Seven people feel Wonderweiss isn’t worth remembering, but luckily we have 18 other people who can give a description.
Nine of these feel Wonderweiss was just over hyped which isn’t too strange as we all expected Wonderweiss to become a real beast after releasing. Looking back at the potential Wonderweiss had it is rather strange for him to go out so easily.
But the other nine people clearly were able to distinguish Wonderweiss as the strange fellow that had a big sword on his back and which stayed there. After hearing Aizen’s explanation on Wonderweiss I’d almost say we should be glad he never used his claymore as he probably would have hurt himself more than his opponents. But to be fair, we don’t know whether he used his claymore against Kensei or not.
Eleven people were just glad Wonderweiss is gone as he was nothing more than a tool in the end. This almost coincides with the first place option where people acknowledged Wonderweiss to be similar to Tousen as they are both disposable for Aizen. Tousen did say that the two of them seemed to share some kind of relation, though he attributed it to them being pure beings. But enough on Wonderweiss, we have other things to go over.

Coffee break

At least someone has worked hard for his break

This week we get a colored page to start off the chapter. Not only does it inform us that the battle between Ichigo and Aizen will in fact be the last one of the arc, it gives us a nice picture of Byakuya as well. If anything this picture reminds me of the last one we had of Ishida, but that may just be me. It is important to take a break now and then, and Byakuya seems to be enjoying his while strolling through the town with his cup of coffee while carrying the documents he’s been working on. In classic Kubo fashion, Byakuya is wearing something fashionable. I’m not too sure what it is that’s depicted on his shirt, but I like it. I don’t have much else to say about the cover, so let’s move on to the final battle of the Arrancar arc!

Old man meets end?

I crack myself up too sometimes

Starting off a little while back into the previous chapter, we see an arm holding someone by his leg. Needless to say this is Genryuusai holding Aizen as we saw last week, but this time we get narration from Aizen to go along with the action. Aizen immediately noticed that Genryuusai’s crispy arm started to crack while holding Aizen down. Aizen immediately identifies the attack as a forbidden Hadou; Ittou Kasou. The gist of the attack is that it turns the user’s body as a catalyst for the explosion under the condition that it has been burnt beforehand. Genryuusai made use of Aizen’s trap by using its effects to his own advantage as nothing says charred as being attacked by Ryuujin Jakka’s flames. The peculiar thing with this technique, however, is the fact that it is a forbidden technique, yet one with a number as well. Somehow I find it hard to believe that this is a Hadou that is taught at the Shinigami academy as I highly doubt that anyone would be able to use it just like that. Admittedly it goes great with the idea that Shinigami should be willing to sacrifice themselves to take down their enemies, but for this technique to be part of the 100 possible Hadou is strange nonetheless. Of course, it has never been said that all Kidou are taught to all Shinigami, so it is possible that the top 10 or 20 are saved for elites to learn. Nonetheless, one can only wonder how this technique is passed on if it is a sacrificial technique. Nonetheless, the technique packs a punch -which makes sense as it sacrifices one’s body-, be it not enough of a punch to kill Aizen. I can’t really say whether Genryuusai actually died right now, or whether he just gave up his burnt limbs to deal damage. If Genryuusai gave up on his life, I must say I’m a little bit disappointed at how quickly it happened. Whether you like(d) Genryuusai or not, you can’t deny that he is a major character in all of this. Blowing himself up like that without a last word or thought would be rather unusual for a manga, so something tells me the old captain may yet be alive. On the other hand it clearly says that the technique is a sacrificial one, so Genryuusai losing his life would also make sense.
No matter what the price, the bang is big. Aizen is caught in the midst of the explosion and immediately decides to get out of the way. Aizen then thinks to himself how he underestimated Genryuusai as he didn’t expect him to use his own body as a weapon like that. But there’s one more surprise left in store for Aizen.

Blade meets target

You can say what you want about Ichigo, but he has a great sense for timing

Enter, Ichigo. Pulling out all the stops, Ichigo appears at the right place at the right time as Aizen appears from the Ittou Kasou. A surprised Aizen sees Ichigo unleashing an impressive Getsuga Tenshou which tears up an entire apartment building in two. As one part of the building crumbles, we witness Aizen with a great cut on him.
Ichigo finally managed to cut Aizen and he managed it good. Even though Genryuusai possibly lost his life to damage Aizen, Ichigo managed to deal a lot more damage without having to sacrifice anything. Not only that, Ichigo looked pretty cool while doing it. The fact that Ichigo has his mask on right now shows us that he has made up his mind about things as he doesn’t worry about the problems he had with it before. Saving his worries for later, Ichigo decides to finish what his comrades have started, the battle with Aizen. Even though Aizen took quite a blow from Ichigo, he hasn’t been brought down to his knees yet. But Ichigo informs Aizen that he isn’t finished as he suddenly whips out another Getsuga Tenshou, though this time it’s similar to the one he used against Ulquiorra making it a Getsuga Tenshou strike rather than a blast. When we first saw this technique I did speculate it could be a new attack in Ichigo’s repertoire, and it seems I wasn’t too far off.
Ichigo lashes out towards Aizen, who quickly recovered from his injury as he easily dodges the Getsuga strike. But Ichigo quickly turns around again before finishing the attack as he almost manages to strike Aizen from behind this time, be it not for Kyouka Suigetsu.

Tensa Zangetsu meets Kyouka Suigetsu

Aizen looks a little bit too happy right now…

Aizen turns around as he blocks Ichigo’s attack to face the young substitute-Shinigami. The Getsuga that was bound to Zangetsu disappeared as Aizen and Ichigo’s blades crossed, almost as if Aizen turning around was enough to blow away the attack. Ichigo takes another close look at Aizen and he sees that the treacherous captain is back to his old (over)confident self again. Reason for Aizen to be smug again is quite simple; Ichigo has lost his last chance to kill him as Aizen will no longer give Ichigo openings to attack. Ichigo then retorts by telling Aizen he has already wounded him making the opportunity he just had more than enough for now. Aizen then can’t help but question this statement as he doesn’t feel like he truly has an injury on him as his upper body suddenly starts to crack. It wasn’t too unexpected for Aizen to have a regenerative ability as Ichigo concludes that it must be high-speed regeneration. But Aizen then surprises us all by revealing that it isn’t high-speed regeneration for one simple reason: He wouldn’t turn himself into a Hollow. Ichigo suddenly backs off at these words as he tries to understand what is going on. Aizen attributes the regeneration to protective instinct for one’s master, to which Ichigo responds quite nicely by asking what Aizen is talking about.

Deathberry meets reality

Great, now we only have to expect anything Aizen hasn’t said to know what Aizen may have up his sleeve…

The Hougyoku. The tiny crystal that caused so much trouble isn’t stored in the place Orihime thought it was, but inside Aizen instead. Aizen never did say anything about turning himself into a Vizard or Arrancar or whatnot, but Tousen’s transformation would have suggested just that. But Aizen did say Vizards were little more than shoddy Arrancar and Aizen wouldn’t be one to deny the similarities between Tousen and any of the other Arrancar where the only difference is that Tousen had a Resurrección. Aizen also never stopped ridiculing Hollows, though the same can be said of Shinigami. The fact that Aizen hasn’t given himself the ability of Hollowfication actually makes sense if you think back on things, other than the fact that he was supposed to seek out power beyond that of a Shinigami, which is made possible through Hollowfication. Instead of Hollowfication, Aizen imbedded the Hougyouku inside of him as we see here. The crystal couldn’t be destroyed by any known technique and as it is now bound to Aizen it effectively guards Aizen as well. With so many questions rising up with this development, one sticks out most of all: When? When did Aizen imbed the Hougyoku inside his own body? We saw him holding it when he created Wonderweiss. We saw how he showed Orihime where it was supposed to be stored. But with that wretched Kyouka Suigetsu around we may never know whether those were illusions or whether Aizen imbedded the Hougyoku after those events and just before going to the fake Karakura town. Another question is whether the Hougyoku actually raises his power or not. When Rukia had the Hougyoku inside of her nothing seemed to have happened. But Aizen took the Hougyoku and managed to activate it at least once before embedding it inside of himself. The Hougyoku protecting Aizen here only seems to be an extension of its basic form. Interesting here is the fact that the crumbling of Aizen’s wounds goes beyond Aizen’s body. If you look at the page where the regeneration begins, you can see that the air around the wound also had a crack in it. This could mean that the Hougyoku protects the space in which it exists as well in order to prevent it from being send to another dimension or be destroyed by time and space manipulation. Speaking of manipulation, Aizen has more shocking news for us which he likes to share instead of the details behind the Hougyoku inside of him.

Puppet meets master

Dance my puppets. Dance!

Aizen starts to extract the reiatsu from his injury as it seems to slow down the healing process. While extracting the reiatsu he takes a good look at the dark mass of energy as he gives Ichigo a compliment for the power he holds. In comparison to when Ichigo started off as a replacement for Rukia he has progressed greatly, all in accordance to Aizen’s plans (!!!!!!!). Aizen recaps all of the major moments in Ichigo’s development, from the moment he took up his Zanpakutou to the point Neo-Ichigo showed up. Aizen then tells us that all of Ichigo’s battles were planned out by Aizen. But what does he mean by that? Did Aizen plan out the battles from the moment Ichigo obtained his powers from Rukia? Or did he plan them out for Ichigo even before that? Did he plan it from the moment Ichigo’s mother died at the hands of Grand Fisher? Perhaps Aizen knows of Ichigo’s true heritage as well? But as if this isn’t confusing enough there’s the question of why. Why would Aizen want to manipulate Ichigo’s battles and as such his development? Does he intend to recruit Ichigo for himself? Or will he use Ichigo to awaken the Hougyoku? But why would he want to awaken an object that is imbedded inside of him?
The interesting part here is that Aizen tells us exactly how the battles attributed to Ichigo’s development. From mastering his Hollow powers to obtaining even greater powers than that thanks to the battles. Another thing worth mentioning is the fact that Ichigo seems to be taken back by all this as well, which is shown by the cracks forming on his mask. Possibly this has to do with the limit he now has again, but it also seems to coincide with the shock he is in right now. Could Ichigo’s life have been controlled by Aizen entirely from the moment he became a Shinigami? What can Ichigo do if Aizen is saying the truth? Ichigo’s worries certainly seem to be justified if you think about it. Sadly this is all we get this week. This chapter gave us more questions than answers and we can only wonder whether we will get answers in next week’s chapter.

An intriguing chapter indeed with all that Aizen has shown us. Genryuusai possibly died in this chapter, while Aizen is struck down by Ichigo going all out. Aizen then tells us he wouldn’t be caught dead as a Hollow while we find the Hougyoku inside of him. Then Aizen blows us away entirely by revealing he’s been monitoring all of Ichigo’s battles, including the one with Ulquiorra even though he was in fake Karakura town, and knows of the times where Ichigo obtained a new level of power. Aizen seems to have outdone himself again with the scheming. But in spite of these developments this chapter can only come to its right once we have the upcoming chapters for some answers in my opinion. But I’ll leave the rating of the chapter to you guys.

Aizen claims he would not turn himself into a Hollow, yet he transformed Tousen without even thinking about it. Why doesn’t he rely on Hollow powers to increase his own?

A single prediction this week: Ichigo’s mask will crumble which will be explained by Aizen. Aizen will then recap how it is that he manipulated Ichigo’s battles. The scene will change to Hueco Mundo where Orihime and Ishida will arrive at the place Aizen hid the Hougyoku as far as Orihime knows. She will then try to erase its existence, which will turn out to be the original King’s key that Aizen was trying to recreate. Orihime and Ishida will then be warped to the fake Karakura town as well where they will learn how Aizen made sure things would go according to his plans.

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. Don’t forget to rate this week’s chapter! I’ll see you guys again next week!


Click on the picture above to rate this week’s chapter, and as a reminder here’s what the ratings are:
1.0: Abysmal
1.1 – 3.4: Awful
3.5.-5.4: Bad
5.5-6.9: Average
7.0-8.9: Great
9.0-9.9: Awesome
10: Perfect


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~ by The Underscore on March 20, 2010.

2 Responses to “The Underscore’s Bleach review 396”

  1. Hmmm, myabe there is a flaw to Hollow powers we’ve yet top be told. Such as a bestial instinct or arrogance ala Tousen, Mashiro, Grimmjow, Barragan, Hiyori, etc. All of them wound up lacking a real sense of urgency in their fights and taking their opponents seriously. Most of these guys would have won their fights in seconds flat but just couldn’t take it seriously enough to win. Maybe Aizen knows something with Hollowification will do and sees it as gaining a weakness over a strength.

  2. Nice review once again Underscore ! Thank you very much.

    I had the same thought with your prediction suggesting that Orihime and Ishida will go and find the Hyogyoku in Aizen’s palace and I have a feeling that will begin in the last page of the upcoming chapter. This is going to be a good twist. Also, it will be interesting to learn why was Aizen stalking Ichigo all this time. I had always suspected that Aizen was somehow related with Ichigo and his parents and let’s see if we have some sort of revelation (my cracky theory : Aizen & Ichigo’s mom were siblings!). Sure thing is that the next chapter is going to be interesting.

    About 396 I have to say that Binktopia/MS seems to have messed up with the translation as Aizen didn’t say “as planned”but rather the simple “as expected”. Check sleepy-fans scanlation, they always have a more accurate translation. Also, I agree that it would be rather disappointing if Old Yama dies that way but at least his death will trigger major events within Soul Society so I don’t have any problem. We’ll probably have Unohana as the next Captain Commander and we’ll see the reactions of the shinigami, especially those of Shunsui and Ukitake. Anyways, I rate the chapter with a 8.5 (9), it was pretty good and the art was damn amazing. Ichigo really looked cool.

    Again, thanks for he review ! 🙂

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