The Underscore’s Bleach review 398

398 Back from Blind

Hey there, welcome to yet another Bleach review. With my photobucket account acting up -stupid bandwidth- I’ve been forced to acquire a new account, so that’s all that’s new this week. Might as well get to the review then, right? This week’s review will be based on both the Binktopia and the Sleepyfans release, though the pictures are from the Binktopia release. Thanks to both these groups for their work in getting us our weekly dose of manga. Let’s go over last week’s polls quickly before getting to the chapter.

Bleach chapter 397, Edge of the Silence, after being rated by 63 voters gets an average score of:



Isshin came as a surprise last week, so maybe Kubo planned on having more (uninvited) guests appearing this week. So I asked you if you thought others could come and who they would be, and here are the results after 63 votes:

For starters, no one expected Yoruichi to come alone. Admittedly, she hasn’t played a big part in a long time without appearing next to someone else, but does that really mean she can’t get somewhere on her own? But I’ll admit, Isshin and Yoruichi would be something of an odd pair.
Then there were two voters who believed Ryuken would show up. Even though the Quincy seems to despise both Shinigami and his Quincy powers, not to mention the fact that Isshin’s appearance nauseates him, they somehow seem to think Ryuken would join forces with Isshin when push comes to shove.
Three people expected Urahara and Tessai to show up. They may have played a part in Isshin regaining his full power and his entering the barrier as far as we know. They may even be able to stop Aizen in his tracks (for now) by using some time/space Kidou and Urahara’s schemes.
Four people, however, believe only Urahara will arrive. This does make sense as he is banished from Soul Society, which should make it impossible for Urahara to enter Soul Society along with the real Karakura town.
Six people expected a mystery guest to appear next week. Perhaps it is someone we know, or maybe it is someone we don’t know. It could be someone from Aizen’s side, or someone from Isshin’s past. This week’s chapter did give us someone we do know, but more on that later .
Ten people expected no one else to show up in this week’s chapter. Either they meant it would be a two on three battle, or they knew no one else would show up that wasn’t already present on the battlefield. If they thought the latter, they were right on the money.
Fourteen people expected Urahara, Tessai, and Yoruichi to join the battle. In order to protect Karakura town and to prevent Aizen from succeeding it would make sense for these three to join forces with Isshin to fight Aizen. The four of them could even be able to explain everything to us in the end.
But the majority of the voters, all 23 of those, expected Urahara, Tessai, Yoruichi, and Ryuken to show up. It would be epic if that were to happen, I suppose, but I don’t think Ichigo would survive the appearance of four of these powerhouses.
Enough on this though, let’s get to the chapter!

Whose your daddy?

Even Isshin has moments where he acts serious

The chapter starts off where it left off last week, be it in a different manner. Last week Aizen revealed to Ichigo that he was special because he is both a Shinigami and a…. before Isshin suddenly stepped in. This week, however, we hear Ichigo’s thoughts on last week where he tells us that he heard Aizen say he’s both a human and a….
Now I told you last week that this chapter could be the make or break point for the rest of Bleach depending on how Kubo would handle this. Somehow he started off this week’s chapter by giving us something completely different from last week. Problem here is I just can’t say whether both the Mangashare/Binktopia and Sleepyfans translators are pulling an April fools joke on us or whether Kubo is the one who screwed up here. There is a third option in which both parties are right on the money. This option would have Ichigo put under an illusion making him think he heard human instead of Shinigami. But if anything, Ichigo being part Shinigami and part human would be special still wouldn’t it? Sure, we’ve known for ages, but someone born from a living human and a non-living death god is kind of unique isn’t it? With both life and death being embodied into one entity it could make for something interesting, as seen in Ichigo. But where does this leave Karin and Yuzu? But I digress; let’s get to the chapter before I keep this rant going.
Ichigo says he heard Aizen say he is both human and a [blank] as Aizen was interrupted by some form of explosion. But Aizen didn’t need to say anything else as the answer stands in front of Ichigo. Recognizing his father’s back, in spite of Ichigo’s inability to distinguish people and the unusual getup, he can only wonder if it is truly his father who is standing in front of him. His father turns around as he gives Ichigo a look he seldom sees on his father’s face, one of concern. Isshin then moves towards Ichigo without saying a word, while his son starts spouting questions in his confusion. Isshin then does something we have come to expect from him, and it is something I was looking forward to since last week.


Like I said: Isshin has MOMENTS where he acts serious

Giving his son a head butt with enough force to flip Ichigo over, making him slide on his face over the rooftop he was standing on up to the point where Ichigo almost falls from the roof: Classic. Not since Ukitake and Lilynette fought have I seen such an amusing sight. Somehow Isshin’s appearance made Ichigo forget that he should easily be able to stand in the air, causing him to grab hold of the building’s edge. Too bad for Ichigo this is Isshin we’re talking about as he mercilessly kicks his son, almost kicking him off the building. While tormenting his son, Isshin, who is so used to tormenting Ichigo that he can do it without having to look at his victim, looks behind him to exchange a look with Aizen. While Aizen shows a faint smile at the shenanigans between father and son, Isshin suddenly disappears along with Ichigo. Aizen then comments on Isshin’s action by saying it is a wise move to create some distance between them. With Ichigo still flabbergasted about everything he just heard and saw it was best for Isshin to create this distance as it could give away too many openings if they stayed. Then we get to a more confusing part as Aizen starts to wonder about Ichigo and Isshin’s relationship. In the Binktopia scanlation, Aizen says: “lineage is it?” while in the Sleepyfans scanlation he says: “…and they’re related?” The gist of it seems to be the same that Isshin and Ichigo are father and son and that Aizen seems to be a bit curious about this relationship. But is he just pondering about lineage in general or is he questioning Ichigo’s abilities in comparison to Isshin’s? For now I’d say it’s the pondering as the comment can be ignored in the end as father and son here are like two peas in a pot.


Sometimes, with family, you just can’t stand to see each other’s faces

As we move away from Aizen, we catch a few glimpses of something moving at high speed. Suddenly we find Ichigo on the ground in an alley with a hand on his face as he is making a lot of noise. The perpetrator is, of course, Isshin as he tells Ichigo to keep quiet as he knows what Ichigo would want to ask him. Too bad for him the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree as he suddenly gets a foot planted in his face. Ichigo is then freed from his father’s clutches as he can finally breathe again, which was the only reason for him to make so much noise in the first place. After pointing out to his father that even he knows that he shouldn’t make so much noise and Isshin manages to pull his nose out, we see Ichigo looking at his father. Isshin then tells Ichigo that he is in fact his father and that this is not a dream. Isshin realizes that Ichigo has tons of questions after finding out his father is a Shinigami as he tries to use the situation as an excuse to evade the questions for the meantime. But instead of Ichigo trying to get his father to answer his questions, he tells his father it is okay for him not to tell him anything yet. Ichigo then proceeds to tell his father the same thing Rukia told him, that Isshin had his reasons not to tell Ichigo and that he should tell him everything once he’s ready. Isshin is surprised to hear something so mature from Ichigo, though Ichigo makes it no secret that he heard it from someone else and that it did the same for him as it does for Isshin now. Ichigo then thanks his father for hitting him as it straightened his head a bit. Isshin then almost seems to get serious for a moment again, only to tell Ichigo that he gave him a headbutt rather than hit him. Ichigo then reacts in the same way he always does with his father as the scene changes once more.

On his own

Aizen’s thoughts: ‘Ninuninuninuninu Batma~~n’

Aizen is found standing on top of the building where Isshin and Ichigo left him as he is trying to pinpoint the Kurosaki duo. Aizen then comments on how Isshin used a rather powerful barrier to erase their Reiatsu. The fact that Isshin managed to stay hidden for such a long time may have something to do these skills Aizen is complementing. Perhaps Isshin picked up this skill from Urahara as he was responsible for sealing Isshin into a gigai that could even decrease his power. But it could also have something to do with Isshin’s past of course, but we’ll have to wait for an answer to that question for a while. Aizen then turns around to find Gin joining the stage. Aizen tells him he’s been sightseeing for too long, to which Gin can only reply by saying he didn’t find an opening or any need to come to Aizen’s aid. Like I said a few reviews back, Gin clearly enjoys watching events unfold, only to act at times when he feels it necessary to do so. Aizen then gives Gin a somewhat peculiar look between suspicion and a warning in response to his little comment. Whether this was meant as a warning to his behavior or not, it did warn him of something else as well.

Giving the finger

That’s what they mean with flipping people off

Ichigo suddenly swoops down from behind Gin, who blocks the attack at the last second. All of a sudden, Aizen is cut off from the action as Isshin suddenly attacks him from his blind spot after cutting off a part of the building. As Isshin strikes down his Zanpakutou, Aizen blocks it with his Kyouka Suigetsu. Aizen feels really good about himself for blocking yet another back attack only to see that Isshin releases his left hand from the grip to suddenly flick his finger at Aizen. The blow created by this simple flick of the finger is powerful enough to blow Aizen through a couple of buildings and catch him completely off guard. No matter how much Kubo may have messed things up at the start of the chapter, this really makes up for things. Somehow Isshin is showing us a level of skill one would expect from Genryuusai and it almost seems like he is able to create gusts of wind in the same way Genryuusai is/was capable of creating flames while swinging his sword. A fight between Isshin and Aizen may even be more interesting than it may seem at first in spite of Aizen’s invincibility. Aizen hasn’t really powered up as far as we know as he probably still remains in the realms of a Shinigami’s power and Isshin seems to be a powerful Shinigami as well. The only advantage Aizen seems to have for now is the Hougyoku, though that too may not be the case against Isshin. Even though the Hougyoku can’t be destroyed, it may be sealed again. Isshin has already shown to be capable of putting up a barrier powerful enough to erase both his as well as Ichigo’s reiatsu, so who knows what else he is capable of. But rather than looking forward to a match up that we could only reasonably think of since last week, let’s look at a match up that has been awaited by some people for quite some time.

Long overdue

When Gin does take action, he really gives us action

After Aizen was blown through the building Ichigo and Gin were standing on, the two descend to the ground as Gin thinks back to how long it has been since he last fought Ichigo. It wasn’t much of a fight of course as they hardly exchanged blows due to Shinso’s Shikai ending things quickly. Gin then decides to end things quickly again as he once more pulls out the stops with his Shinso, but this time he pulls out all the stops. After warning Ichigo he won’t be holding back this time, he brings joy to (most of) the readers by chanting the words we’ve been waiting for quite some time: Bankai.
Now let’s hope Kubo doesn’t change this to Shikai in next week’s chapter .

This was a rather peculiar chapter. On the one hand things started off a bit strange with the sudden change in dialogue while on the other hand we got some classic Isshin/Ichigo interaction along with Aizen blown away by Isshin and Gin giving us the promise of a new Bankai in next week’s chapter. Maybe I’m a bit disappointed at the fact that Ichigo is “just” a human/Shinigami hybrid rather than a Shinigami/something mysterious hybrid. But as I said, a human/Shinigami hybrid is something special in its own right. Leaving the first part of this chapter aside, or rather the latter part of the previous chapter, this was a pretty good chapter. At least Ichigo found out about his father without someone else telling him, even though Aizen did have a hand in things. Now all we have left for this arc is the final battle: Team Kurosaki vs. Team Las Noches. Before we get to the predictions, though, here’s something to make your head spin:

If Ichigo is special because of his heritage, does this mean that Aizen intends to get to Karin and Yuzu for his evil schemes as well?

Next week the chapter will start off with Gin’s Bankai. Ichigo and Gin will exchange a few words at the start of their battle before they go all out, just to reveal a bit about Gin and his motives. There will also be a moment or two where we will see how the battle between Isshin and Aizen is going. Whether Ichigo and Isshin can win, however, is something I can’t be too sure about. My guess is that Ichigo may get into trouble with his Hollowfication while fighting Gin. Isshin, however, has a rather difficult battle ahead of him. If he manages to beat Aizen, it will result in him having to flee to recover, or a new antagonist taking his place. But if Aizen beats Isshin, it could result in Isshin’s death, though Isshin doesn’t represent Soul Society’s past, making it unnecessary for Aizen to kill him. It is possible Ichigo and Isshin will lose, but that they manage to escape in order to regain their strength. Isshin may help Ichigo to get a grasp on his powers and even teach him a family secret or two, all in order to defeat Aizen (and Gin). But in order to protect Karakura town from Aizen, we may see some other individuals who will manage to keep Aizen at bay for a while….

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 rated the chapter went up again, which is good to see, so keep that up for me . 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


~ by The Underscore on April 3, 2010.

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