The Underscore’s Bleach review 397


397 Edge Of The Silence

Hey there and welcome to another Bleach review by yours truly. This week’s chapter picked up where we were left last week only to throw us off even further than the previous chapter did. After reading the chapter I just couldn’t wait with the review, so I put aside my work to write this review -which is going to bite me in the end, but for now I don’t care . Let’s see if we can make sense of what happened here shall we? Let’s do this in the same manner we’ve done this the last year, I write the review with my thoughts and observations, and you give me your thoughts in the comments. Maybe this way we’ll be able to make sense of everything Kubo’s pulled off here. This week’s pictures will be from the Binktopia/Mangastream scanlation, so thanks to them for their work. Before going over the chapter, let’s see the results for last week’s polls.

Bleach chapter 396, The Bite, after being rated by 50 voters gets an average score of:

8.0

Great

With, what has been described as, a sacrificial Hadou aimed at Aizen, Genryuusai apparently sacrificed his charred body in an attempt to kill the treacherous captain. The question that remained after this Ittou Kasou is whether this was the end of Genryuusai or not. Here’s what 55 people thought:

Two people don’t care whether Genryuusai lives or not. Either because they plain don’t like the geezer or because they are more intrigued by the current developments, but my money’s on the first option to be honest .
Fifteen people aren’t too sure whether Genryuusai is died last week or not. On the one hand, it is a sacrificial art. On the other hand, the Hadou uses charred flesh and Genryuusai wasn’t burned to a crisp at the time he used the technique.
Seventeen people are sure about the Commander-general’s demise, which could be argued in favor of as his beard has almost been incinerated entirely and Aizen did hint at this to some extend.
But the majority believes that Genryuusai hasn’t met his end yet. Maybe because they hope to see Ryuujin Jakka’s Bankai or maybe because Aizen survived the blast so Genryuusai should as well. Sadly we don’t get the answer from this week’s chapter, but in return it gives us so much more.

Strawberry doll… I mean action figure!

What if someone else was controlling Aizen as well, don’t you agree Kubo?

Aizen claimed that all of Ichigo’s battles had been in the palm of his hands last week. Ichigo already seemed to be quite shocked at this idea when he had his mask on. But the shock seems to be so great that the mask starts breaking down even further. Ichigo thinks back on all the battles he’s had from the moment he put on the Shinigami robe and concludes, like many others may have done, that it sounds impossible. But considering this is Aizen we’re talking about, we just can’t be sure as to what he means by saying Ichigo’s battles have been in the palm of his hand. As the last of his battles cross his mind, he yells out to Aizen, demanding an explanation. Aizen then raises his finger as he tells Ichigo to stop yelling. Somehow this is reminiscent of the time Ichigo was confronted by Shinji where he was told to keep quiet as well. Looking back at that time, Ichigo was confronted with a rather disturbing truth followed by a string of events which revealed the Arrancar’s name and more. But what could Ichigo’s screams sound in this time?

Caretaker

Thank goodness he only sees Ichigo as raw material, or else it would be silly

Aizen then tells Ichigo that Ichigo shouldn’t be surprised at this revelation as it should all make sense. Aizen found Ichigo to be the perfect piece of raw material for his research and as such chose to help him get stronger in light of this research. As Ichigo tries to process this information, Aizen in his kindness elaborates on his words. Because isn’t it strange that Ichigo discovered both Shinigami and Hollows almost at the same time even though he has been able to see ghosts for as long as he can remember? I mean, that sort of thing only happens in a shounen story now doesn’t it? Looking back at the first Hollow Ichigo faced, Fishbone D, we now see a shadow standing in front of it which looks an awful lot like Aizen. A Menos Grande that appeared at a moment that it shouldn’t also made little sense. Ichigo somehow managed to defeat the Gillian without knowing his Zanpakutou’s name which according to Aizen was a signal for him to up the ante, sending out other Shinigami to push Ichigo further. While it would make sense that Soul Society would increase its guard in Karakura town after the appearance of a Gillian, it wouldn’t explain how Renji obtained the goggles he used to track Rukia down, who at the time didn’t have any Reiatsu worth mentioning. Here’s where Aizen apparently came in. Even when facing off against the other Shinigami Aizen had a hand in things. Aizen mentions Renji, Kenpachi, and Byakuya as milestones in Ichigo’s development. Renji was the first Shinigami Ichigo faced and one that had been played by Aizen for a long time before he faced Ichigo. Renji confronted Ichigo with the fact that he knew nothing of his Shinigami potential by letting him know of Zanpakutou. Strangely Ichigo’s battles with Jidanbou and Ikkaku aren’t mentioned here, though they played a smaller part in Ichigo’s development. For the next step he had Kenpachi, a powerful Shinigami captain who could easily be manipulated into fighting Ichigo -he’d fight a wall if someone were to convince him the wall was strong enough-, which resulted in Ichigo materializing Zangetsu, key to obtaining his Bankai. Then, after obtaining his Bankai, Ichigo faced off against Byakuya, another hotheaded captain who could easily be pit up against Ichigo due to his principles of obtaining Soul Society’s order. Byakuya was a great opponent to push Ichigo to his limit, forcing him to break this limit while releasing Shirosaki in the process. The fact that Ichigo’s power matched his opponents’ power time after time couldn’t just be a coincidence.

So all those battles with Keigo…

The protagonist reflecting the readers’ reaction

My guess is that most of you probably are thinking the same thing here. Go figure how it would have been if what Aizen described just now was done to you. As Ichigo tries to compute all of this information, Aizen resumes the revelation of all his hard work. Aizen once more underlines the improbability of Ichigo meeting opponents time and time again which were enough to force him to reach a new level of power. But Aizen even goes as far as to say that not just the encounters themselves, but the victories Ichigo obtained were all manipulated by Aizen. Even though Ichigo tried to stop Aizen from continuing his little speech, Aizen completely ignored him. With words not helping at all, Ichigo tries to use his actions to shut Aizen up.
Before going over what happens next, let’s see what we’ve learned up until now. The main battles Ichigo has had, the ones against Fishbone D, Renji (first time), Kenpachi, and Byakuya were apparently planned out by Aizen. The battle against Grimmjow was probably planned out by Aizen as well along with the fight against Ulquiorra as they are part of Aizen’s Espada. But what of the other fights Ichigo had been in? I already mentioned Ikkaku and Jidanbou, yet Aizen didn’t find them worth mentioning. This could mean that Aizen didn’t have a hand in those battles as they didn’t really raise Ichigo’s power level. Maybe they were random battles which could have been had with any other Shinigami, though Jidanbou somehow was the only of the four Seireitei guards that wasn’t in cahoots with Aizen. But let’s leave it at this for now as Aizen isn’t done yet.
Ichigo charges at Aizen in a blind rage caused by panic as their swords clash. Aizen easily parries the attacks only to grab hold of Zangetsu’s edge to stop Ichigo from attacking. Aizen then tells Ichigo that he almost feels disappointed by Ichigo’s performance just now as he knows that Ichigo should be capable of more at this time. Unohana confirmed that Ichigo is more powerful than she could have hoped, so Aizen has a point here. But does Ichigo agree?

Untruths

Yet you are somehow able to say your words now are the truth?

Hell no! Why would Ichigo believe what Aizen has been blabbing here? Aizen spoke of how improbable it was for Ichigo to meet the specified opponents, but Aizen being the one to orchestrate all of this is even more unlikely. So why would he believe this nonsense? If anything, Aizen contradicted himself here as Ichigo points out that he spoke of Rukia being found only after having gone missing in the real world. How could Aizen then have manipulated the encounters before Renji showed up? But then we get Aizen once more who retorts with another sensible argument: Who says Aizen was telling the truth back then? Ichigo claims that Aizen has been telling lies based on what Aizen said back on Sougyoku hill, but Aizen could have lied then as well, which he claims he did. But it makes sense for Ichigo to think Aizen is lying now as he bases his truths on what he experienced before, as do most people. Because if Aizen told the truth back then, he would be telling lies right now, this would be more convenient for Ichigo. This is something all humans do according to Aizen, only accepting convenient truths as facts. But Ichigo now has all the facts he needs to know the truth behind matters -according to Aizen at least. To summarize, he is the one who ordered Rukia to go to Karakura town -which makes sense as he had control of the Chambers from around this time maybe even before this time- , the one who provided Renji with the equipment to track Rukia -he could have manipulated someone from the 12th squad to claim he made it-, and the one who helped Soul Society to monitor Ichigo and his group while they were running around -again he had control over the Chambers at this time and at least two of the vice-captains.
But most importantly, it wouldn’t make sense for Aizen not to be able to find the Hougyoku in 100 years time. Instead, Aizen has been waiting for Ichigo all along. But Ichigo wants to know something before they resume.

The observer

… for he is your uncle’s brother’s cousin twice removed! Or just a peeping perv

Ichigo is most curious about what Aizen said at the start of this chapter, the bit on the raw material. How could it be that Aizen is so sure that Ichigo is the ideal material for his research if he’s only been observing Ichigo from the moment he and Rukia met up? Ichigo is curious how Aizen knew so sure that he was the man for his experiments and when he came to this conclusion. Aizen tells Ichigo he knew from the beginning, which Ichigo finds to be complete bull**** . But even though he believed it was nonsense that Aizen knew it from the moment he met Rukia, what Aizen tells him now only makes less sense. For he knew him from the actual beginning, being the day Ichigo was born! Now I’ll admit that I was joking a bit when I mentioned this possibility in last week’s review:

Quote:
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?

To think I somehow asked the right questions as I wasn’t wrong about to ask if Aizen planned things out from before Ichigo met Rukia. Even more I was right in thinking Aizen knows of Ichigo’s true heritage as he tells Ichigo now. Ichigo was special from the moment of his conception as Ichigo is both a Shinigami and a -…

GOOOOOD AFTERNOOOOON ICHIGOOOOOO

You damned bearded daruma! NOW you can’t wait anymore!?

Before Aizen tells us what makes Ichigo more special, -possibly revealing a fourth existence besides humans, Shinigami, and Hollows- a mysterious figure slashes at Aizen. Shocking Ichigo probably even more than everything Aizen has been telling him up till now, we find Kurosaki Isshin standing between Aizen and Ichigo. Aizen looks amused at the intruder while Isshin tells Aizen that he talks too much -true that!- as he stands there in his full Shinigami glory. As I mentioned at the start of this review, this chapter seemed to have some striking similarities to chapters 184/185. Ichigo screams out, we learn some interesting facts, and Isshin suddenly pops up. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Isshin showed up here, but I can’t say I’m glad with the now. I suppose it is for the best that Isshin appeared at this time as it should be him to tell Ichigo the truth, but I want to know the truth now!
Sadly the chapter ends with this as we possibly get the set-up for a chapter that could make or break the rest of Bleach. Let’s just hope we’ll get next week’s chapter on a Wednesday again.

I don’t know about you guys, but my head’s still spinning with all that’s happened in this week’s jump. Naruto had Tsunade regaining consciousness while revealing the fact that Naruto somehow wouldn’t be able to defeat Sasuke in spite of Sennin-mode while Kakashi is robbed from his position as Rokudaime Hokage. One Piece had Coby stir things up with his actions almost leading to his demise, only for Shanks to show up in the nick of time to save Coby while proclaiming the end of the war. Reborn! had the beginning of a new arc while introducing plenty of new characters while raising plenty of questions. While last, but most certainly not least, Bleach reveals how Aizen has been screwing Ichigo from the beginning while Ichigo’s father suddenly pops up to stir things up even further. Sure, Aizen’s almost divine control over Ichigo’s development may seem somewhat overwhelming right now, though Kubo manages to entertain us with a bit of self-ridicule by pointing out how Ichigo has been lucky from the start when it came to his battles. Isshin popping up at the end has to be one of the best things to happen in a long time in Bleach, though we’ve seen some pretty impressive things since January 2010 in Bleach. I really enjoyed this chapter. Kubo hasn’t slacked off while drawing this chapter in spite of it being a chapter that mainly focused on talking. The revelations may seem a bit over the top at this time, but somehow it still fits into what has been said and done throughout the story. In my opinion a great chapter and I can’t wait for next week’s chapter.

Aizen claims to have observed Ichigo from the moment he was born and that Ichigo faced his first Hollow at the time Aizen wanted him to. But Ichigo already came into contact with Grand Fisher before he met up with Fishbone D. Does this mean that Aizen has something to do with the death of Ichigo’s mother or perhaps his survival?

Next week we’ll see how Aizen gets trapped in a barrier again, though this time it will be one created by Tessai. While Aizen is trapped, Isshin and Ichigo get to the truth of the matters, possibly revealing how Isshin got into the Gigai and met up with Ichigo’s mother. We may even find a relation between Ichigo and the King’s key.
Another possibility is that Aizen doesn’t stop yakking and he flat-out reveals the things Isshin should be telling Ichigo.

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! The amount of people that rate the chapter has gone down quite a bit from the first time which I find a bit disappointing. You don’t even have to be registered to rate the chapter, so be sure to do it! This is it for this week, 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 25, 2010.

2 Responses to “The Underscore’s Bleach review 397”

  1. @ underscore 10 as always it seems that this is what we all have been waiting for what comes of bleach, i think. would it bee while if the grand fisher didn’t killed ichigo mother but she was capture instead? stick with me for a moment ( the moment we saw ichigo look at her we saw a body could of been a gigia would make sense).

    another question how does kiskue know about isshin if he is of zero squad no one should know about it? (it is possible that he didn’t know he would of have gotten his powers back and told kiskue anyway)

  2. Nice review Underscore as always. Bleach has gotten very interesting lately. Can’t wait to see Ichigo and Aizen’s reactions at Isshin.

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