The Underscore’s Bleach Review 399


399 Deicide

Hey there everyone, welcome to the review for Bleach chapter 399, Deicide. I’ve been out of it this entire week, which is why I haven’t taken the time to reply to comments. Luckily I got my head straight in time for this review, so I’d best get to it. This week’s pictures come from the Binktopia/Mangastream scanlation, so thanks to them for the chapter.

Bleach chapter 398, Back from Blind, after being rated by 53 voters gets an average score of:

8.3

Great

Gin joined the battle and called out for his Bankai. Here’s the collateral damage:

Four voters didn’t care, whereas four (presumably female) voters screamed their lungs out. Gin’s arrival truly does give off a differing range of reactions just by looking at these two.
Six voters were ecstatic about Gin revealing his Bankai, automatically assuming Ichigo will be a goner. It would make sense to assume this considering Gin is Aizen’s one true Vice-captain.
Then we have another interesting tie: Eight voters just didn’t care about Gin, they just want more Isshin vs. Aizen -can you blame them?- as that should be the fight to look out for. Eight other voters, however, feel sad to learn Gin will be dead soon as he has now revealed his trump card, which has killed every other individual who has been allied with Las Noches. If only people were to learn from what happened to the Espada…
Then we have fourteen voters who almost lost their masculinity if it weren’t for their smooth recovery . Their response to Gin’s appearance was, and I quote: “Kyaaaaaaaaaa! GIIIIIIIIINNNN!!!!!! >cough< I mean, I’m not a girl, Gin here now is just cool…”. My guess is that these voters are happy with the treacherous captain’s appearance .
But the majority of the voters do make an excellent point as nineteen of them feel it is about time Gin did something. Let’s see what he will be doing then.

A little bit of jazz

You need a break even when waiting for revenge

Hirako Shinji is the one to grace the color page this week. The ‘Turn back the pendulum’ arc already revealed to us that Shinji enjoys listening to some jazz. This color page in turn shows us how he has expanded his record collection over the past 100 years. While I could leave things at this with the color page, it raises a rather practical question. But this question fits in the ‘Things to make your head spin section’, so I’ll just put it up there so we can get to the action.

Going apes

Remember the good old days when he clipped clothes-pegs to his face?

We witness the fake Karakura town being torn up from a distance. The damage almost seems consistent with what a powered up Shinsou could do judging from the straight line in which the damage expands. But rather than Ichigo jumping away from Gin’s Bankai, we witness Aizen jumping around. The look on Aizen’s face is one we seldom see, one completely focused without a trace of smugness. The reason for this look is the same man that dealt all this damage to the town: Kurosaki Isshin. Isshin leaps towards Aizen as he swings his Zanpakutou down with a look we haven’t seen from Isshin any time before. This Isshin is determined, focused, and ready to bring death, as opposed to the usually unfocused goofball of a doctor. While we have seen a few traces of this real Isshin throughout the story, we finally see how Isshin is when push comes to shove.
As Isshin’s Zanpaktou barely misses Aizen, he immediately turns around to strike at Aizen again. Aizen once more evades the attack at a moment’s notice, showing us that he actually seems to feel some pressure from Isshin’s swings. The way Aizen is fighting shows us that he isn’t relying on the Hougyoku’s protective abilities, as we have come to expect from Aizen. The only thing that has changed is the fact that Aizen is actually being pushed around by a Shinigami that hasn’t even released his Shikai.
Isshin and Aizen both seem to have made a good estimate of each others’ powers and know that a single mistake could be fatal. Each blow they exchange is meant to end things then and there as we can see from the trail of destruction left by these two fighters. While Isshin strikes with his Zanpakutou, Aizen resorts to Kidou as he appears behind Isshin to fire off a Raikouhou Hadou. It is obvious that this will drag on for a while, which means neither of these two will interfere with the other battle taking place.

Showtime

With all the explosions in the background Gin looks like a Power Ranger as well…

Kubo does what he always does at the start of a new chapter after an interesting revelation. Instead of proceeding from where he left off he changes some things to add to the story. In last week’s chapter Gin told Ichigo it had been a while and that he wouldn’t hold back before calling out for his Bankai. This week, however, the conversation is expanded on a bit as though some time -a minute or so- has passed rather than the conversation taking place from the moment Gin and Aizen were separated. Gin then starts reminiscing about the first encounter he had with Ichigo. He recalls cutting off Jidanbou’s arm which caused Ichigo to charge at him in a rage. Gin tells Ichigo that he thought Ichigo was an amusing/interesting kid. This would make sense as someone like Gin, who kills without the slightest hesitation, wouldn’t be able to understand why Ichigo would get angry for what he did there. Ichigo had just fought with Jidanbou after having known him for a couple of minutes. Jidanbou even meant to kill Ichigo and his friends as part of his duty, only to allow Ichigo passage after being beaten. These interactions were enough for Ichigo to get pissed at Gin for cutting off Jidanbou’s arm and charging in with such intensity. But Ichigo doesn’t remember.

Bad memory?

Remember? About this tall, fox-like face… No, not Naruto!

Gin then asks whether Ichigo is trying to provoke him by telling him that he doesn’t remember their first fight. Ichigo then explains that he isn’t referring to the battle, but at Gin’s thoughts. Before we come to the conclusion that Ichigo has gone mad, let’s look at what he means by this. Ichigo explains that he doesn’t read the minds of his opponents -let’s face it, he hardly reads his own mind – but that he does gain some understanding of his opponents when crossing blades. He finds out about what drives his opponents to wield their blades, and learns more depending on how powerful his opponent is. The way Ichigo explains it is by saying that the stronger his opponent is, the more he can look into his opponent’s heart.
This actually makes sense if we look back at Bleach. We’ve seen that many of Ichigo’s opponents were able to determine how focused Ichigo was while fighting them. They knew whether he wielded his blade with fear or not and it was made clear how Zangetsu’s edge would become sharper the more focused Ichigo is. Zangetsu -part of Ichigo, remember? – was even able to see other Zanpakutou’s suffering (e.g. Kenpachi’s Zanpakutou in the canon and Muramasa in the Anime-fillers), so Ichigo should be able to do something similar. Ichigo also pointed out that he would learn more depending on how strong his opponent is. We know that Shinigami obtain more power as they learn more about their Zanpakutou, a manifestation of their inner-self. As Zanpakutou and Shinigami learn from each other and accept each other, they grow stronger as they work together towards the same goal. These thoughts and feelings are put into the Zanpakutou’s blade during battles, which is what Ichigo is able to pick up on. Ichigo thinks back to his battles with Kenpachi, Byakuya, and Grimmjow as he tells Gin this, as these are the battles where he has shown this ability, shown by Ichigo’s behavior after the battles. Ichigo acts more casual around Kenpachi and Byakuya as he now has some level of understanding of what is going on in their minds. He even tried to defend Grimmjow from Nnoitra after their battle as he acknowledges Grimmjow’s desire to become the strongest. This could even be said about almost every battle he has had up till date with opponents that have their own thoughts -which excludes Hollows. But what does this have to do with Gin?

Giving the creeps

You should open your eyes once before saying things like this…

Gin ridicules Ichigo for his poetic view on the exchange of blades. Ichigo tells Gin to shut up as Gin is the exception to all of this. He even goes as far as to say that they haven’t really met on the battlefield as neither of them was able to look into each other’s hearts. Gin then tells Ichigo that he thinks he’s creepy as he suddenly prepares for battle by revealing his Reiatsu. What is entertaining here is that Ichigo actually seems to be right about things here. Gin kills his opponents without a single thought and without even thinking about the consequences for his opponent. Not only that, he doesn’t even seem to have thoughts to bring over to his opponents through his blade. Ichigo’s words tell him that he isn’t even a worthy opponent as he isn’t even able to read his opponent’s blade, or so it seems. Gin’s reaction, however, is more interesting than this. The way Gin reacts here, it would almost seem as if he has heard this before. Rukia and Matsumoto also indicated that they never were able to understand how Gin’s thoughts worked. That Rukia didn’t know does make sense if you think about it, but that Rangiku doesn’t understand seems a bit strange. Perhaps Gin heard what Ichigo told him just now in the time between where he left Rangiku and joined the fifth squad.
As Gin shows off his Reiatsu, Ichigo feels they think the same thing about each other, before Gin proceeds. After telling Ichigo that he now understands why Aizen is so interested in him, he changes the subject.

Comparing lengths

Yes ladies, when left alone all men talk about the length of their “blades”

Shinsou is brought up out of nowhere as Gin asks Ichigo if he knows how far it can stretch. As Ichigo doesn’t know -or seem to care-, Gin tells him it is the length of 100 swords. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the length of a single sword -like myself – the average katana apparently is around 60 cm long (23.6 inches for those who aren’t familiar with the metric unit system). This in turn means that Shinsou should be able to stretch to around 60 meters (65.64 yards in the imperial/us unit system I think, which I’m not familiar with ). Fact of the matter is that this is impressive by itself. But what Gin then wants to know is how far Ichigo thinks his Bankai will be able to stretch. As a Bankai should be able to increase the Zanpakutou’s power up to 10 times, the maximum should be around 600 meters/656.4 yards. Ichigo, however, doesn’t care as he isn’t here to be quizzed.
Gin, however, feels disappointed that Ichigo doesn’t even take a guess as it is a bit boring. But Gin at least gives Ichigo the answer so that he doesn’t regret not knowing it once their battle ends. The length Shinsou’s Bankai can reach is a whopping 13 kilometers (8.06 miles)!!! Gin of course realizes that a number like this isn’t enough for people to fully understand how long this is. As such he can only show Ichigo (us) what this means.

Long shot/Baby blues?

I don’t know what’s more shocking; the length of Kamishini no yari or Gin opening his eyes

Gin calls out for his Bankai once more and reveals not only the shape of his Bankai, but the fact that he can actually open his eyes! I suppose Gin has opened his eyes before, though I honestly can’t remember when that was -let met know if you’ve seen his eyes open in the manga . As Shinsou’s Bankai, Kamishini no Yari (God killing spear), takes form it easily cuts countless of buildings in two in spite of its length. Now I understand that this Bankai may seem rather disappointing at first as it is “just” an increase of its initial ability (stretching the blade), but think about it like this. Gin, right now, is wielding a sword that is longer than most bridges you will encounter. For example let’s take the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco (one of the most famous bridges in the world) which is “just” less than 3 kilometers long (2.737 km ≈ 1.71 miles). If you look at how much support is needed for that structure to stay put and ensure that it won’t collapse, you can imagine how impressive it would be for something as thick as a katana to reach about five times the length of the Golden Gate Bridge without any support structures. Not only that, it is capable of cutting down several buildings at once in a single swing. Calling this a God killing spear seems to be just as it would seem that this spear could reach the heavens to do so.
As Gin swings around his Bankai -good thing almost everyone is already on the ground- the blade rushes towards Ichigo as well as Kamishini no Yari moves towards its target. Mind you that Gin only stated that Kamishini no Yari is capable of reaching the length of 13 km/8.06 miles but that he isn’t necessarily stretching it out all the way right now. The blade almost cuts off Ichigo’s head when Ichigo suddenly blocks the attack at the last moment -rather than using his speed to duck or fly up- as the impact of Gin’s attack takes Ichigo along for the ride. But rather than cutting through Zangetsu or swinging Ichigo along, Gin’s swing is suddenly brought to a halt.

Evened odds

When you are having Bankai problems, a Bankai is your best bet

Ichigo manages to stop Gin’s swing, surprising the treacherous captain in the process. But how could Ichigo possibly be able to stop Gin’s Bankai without his mask?! Oh, right, Ichigo is still wielding his Tensa Zangetsu, an actual Bankai . When Ichigo first obtained a Bankai it was because the power of a Bankai is required to stop a Bankai -Kenpachi is the only exception to this rule as far as we know- which resulted in Ichigo facing off against old man Zangetsu to obtain Tensa Zangetsu. Of course, with Gin being one of the few -possibly the only one- that has Aizen’s trust, one would expect him to make quick work of Ichigo. But what happens here isn’t what one would call easy pickings for Gin.
Ichigo blocked Kamishini no Yari and made the swing come to a halt, only to throw it off long enough for Ichigo to throw a Getsuga Tenshou at Gin. Gin seems to be genuinely surprised at these developments as Ichigo is the one to explain to Gin that a Bankai can be stopped with a Bankai. Not only that, the fact that Kamishini no Yari has been thrown away and a Getsuga is fired at him is enough for Gin to open one of his eyes in surprise. The Getsuga lands and manages to draw blood as Gin can only smile while thinking Ichigo is a creepy kid.
With this, the chapter comes to an end while we can only wonder what will happen next. Ichigo seems to be doing better now that his mind seems to be at ease with his father’s appearance. He may even be able to use his Hollowfication again, even if it is just for a little while. Gin, however, only had his Bankai up his sleeve as far as we know. There haven’t been any signs of Gin having undergone Hollowfication, though the same could be said about Tousen before he revealed to have been transformed. While Aizen explained he wouldn’t turn himself into a Hollow, the same can’t be said about Gin as it’s Aizen we’re talking about. Besides that, it is possible that Gin’s Bankai has even more up its sleeve than its ridiculously long reach, but that’s for next week I’m afraid.

What can I say, I enjoyed the read. Sure, with Isshin and Aizen caught up in their own world we probably won’t have to expect much interference from them. It is interesting to see how straightforward Isshin fights in spite of his -presumably big- repertoire of special moves -the finger flicking and most likely Kidou. In fact he doesn’t even seem to be worried at all about Kyouka Suigetsu’s ability.
Then we have Ichigo revealing his ability to read his opponent’s blade, which explains quite a few things. The fact that Gin is closed off to this ability also makes for some interesting possibilities if I were to guess. But the main attraction for this chapter had to be Gin’s Bankai, which I personally found interesting. Perhaps not as entertaining as I had hoped, but it is rather impressive when thinking about it. If anything I’m impressed by the fact that Kubo used such a straightforward form for a Bankai, the simple increase of its ability. Sure he may have been able to do countless of other things, but I think it’s pretty daring to give Gin a Bankai that stretches 13 kilometers. Something tells me that Kamishini no Yari will show us even more things eventually as I believe Gin knows a few ways to use its abilities to wreak some havoc. But enough on this, let’s get to the last three parts of the review.

Now I told you I had a rather practical question for this week’s ‘thing to make your head spin’ and to be honest it is possible that it has been answered once. Still, here’s what I was curious about:
The Vizards have been hiding in the real world for about 100 years in Gigai while on the run from Soul Society. During this time they’ve had to survive, meaning they needed food, clothes, and other things. Usually Shinigami get their supplies from Soul Society, including -or so I think- money for use in the real world. So:
How did the Vizards manage to get food, clothes and luxuries (such as manga) for the past 100 years?

Next week we’ll probably have Gin give his view on matters. He’ll tell Ichigo how the ability of stopping Bankai’s works both ways and will then pull out another Bankai ability to push Ichigo further. Gin will manage to force Ichigo to use his mask eventually, either by using his Bankai or by using something along the lines of Hollowfication. The fight between Gin and Ichigo will end with both of them being unable to join the fight between Aizen and Isshin.
The fight between Aizen and Isshin will only be shown for a few moments during the fight between Ichigo and Gin. The real fight won’t happen until Ichigo and Gin end things.

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 or predictions that you may have, and to vote in this week’s poll. Don’t forget to rate this week’s chapter! Remember, you don’t have to register to rate the chapter, just click on Kon’s picture below. I’ll see you 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 April 10, 2010.

One Response to “The Underscore’s Bleach Review 399”

  1. Great Breakdown Underscore! I’ll add some more later, when people have commented.

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