The Underscore’s Bleach review 400


400 Deicide 2

Welcome one and all to the chapter review for Bleach 400, Deicide 2. Great chapter if you ask me and I guess that’s part of why you are reading this. Might as well dive head first into it then huh? Without further ado, here’s the review for Bleach 400, all thanks to Kubo for the chapter and Mangastream/Binktopia scanlating it for us!

Bleach chapter 399, Deicide, after being rated by 46 voters gets an average score of:

8.0

Great

With a staggering 64 voters on WordonMars for last week’s poll and another 50 voters on Mangahelpers, we get quite the result on the question of what people’s thoughts are on Kamishini no Yari. The irony is that these results may be for naught with what happened in this week’s chapter . Still, here’s what the first impressions were:

Two voters had a few thoughts left after witnessing Kamishini no Yari as they reverted to their usual thoughts after getting their usual dose of Bleach. If anything I could be added to these two voters as I gave my opinion in last week’s review .
Four voters absolutely hated Kamishini no Yari as they feel any Bankai would have been better for Gin. I can only wonder whether they feel the same after reading this week’s chapter, or whether they are scared that Gin is trying to compensate with the length of his Bankai….
Six voters didn’t go as far as to hate Kamishini no Yari, but still didn’t like it. If anything they felt Gin deserved a better Bankai than this one. Their opinion isn’t even that far off of the opinion of a lot of the other voters.
Fifteen voters could still have a laugh with the revelation of Kamishini no Yari’s ability as they still could make a bad pun. In spite of this they feel Kubo is stretching his luck by giving Gin this Bankai. Perhaps some of them feel Gin deserved better, or some don’t mind.
Twenty two voters, however, are overjoyed with this Bankai as they feel no other Bankai could have been better for Gin. Maybe there’s more to it than just the Bankai that makes these voters love Kamishini no Yari like say, Gin himself?
Then we have twenty three voters who seemed to have achieved peace with the Bankai as they feel that it is what it is…
But the majority of the voters, all 29 of them, thought the Bankai is great. The only thing is that they all feel Gin could have had a better one…

Collateral damage

Girls always go for the bad guys…

After Gin swept his Kamishini no Yari through the fake Karakura town, several of the buildings were victim of this (almost) thoughtless attack. The cuts on the buildings are so clean that the upperparts just slide off the base as they plummet down to street level. While this seemingly has little to do with the story, it actually is a nice representation of Gin’s past, present, and possibly future. Gin’s actions tend to leave a trail of destruction behind them, which is represented here by the damage dealt to the town. But objects aren’t the only things that suffer damage with Gin around as we find Rangiku in the middle of the debris, someone who also has suffered due to Gin’s actions. Rangiku is lying on the street, regaining consciousness after successfully being treated by Kira. As she opens her eyes she catches a glimpse of Gin who just took a Getsuga to the face. Gin has always shown a different face to Rangiku, one would even say consideration as opposed to the carefree behavior he usually shows. We’ve caught a glimpse or two of the past shared by Gin and Rangiku, where she was first saved by Gin, only to be abandoned afterwards. With Gin fighting Ichigo we can expect to learn more about Gin in the process, as it usually tends to happen when Ichigo crosses blades with his opponents. With Rangiku shown in this part of the chapter it would mean that we may get (some) answers about Gin soon, perhaps showing us the damage dealt by Gin to other people as well.
While we can only imagine what is going on in Rangiku’s mind as she makes out Gin’s appearance, she mutters his name as she wonders whether it is him or not. Completely unaware, and possibly uncaring, about what is going on with Rangiku, the scene changes to a peculiarly cheerful Gin.

Failed attempt

At least we know what he has up one of his sleeves now

After taking a Getsuga Tenshou to the head, Gin is surprisingly cheerful about the situation. It is safe to say that Gin isn’t just putting on a façade with his rather reckless and carefree behavior as most people would be bothered by the fact that they were struck by such an attack. Of course, most people would at least be knocked out by the Getsuga as well, which only adds to the list of why Gin isn’t as most other people . But why would he just be joking around about Ichigo being a creepy kid after his Bankai, the pinnacle of his Zanpakutou’s abilities, being blocked and countered with such ease?
Gin is far from troubled though as he tells Ichigo he will have to finish him soon before things get hairy. While, almost literally, saying this, Gin somehow managed to retract the at least a kilometer long Zanpakutou to the length of a wakisashi again. While it almost seems like a lazy man’s excuse for not drawing the retraction of the blade, this isn’t the case here. Even Ichigo is surprised by the wakisashi in Gin’s hand where he once held a ridiculously long katana. Ichigo’s mind spins again as he tries to figure out how he missed the retraction of the blade even though he was keeping an eye on it all the while. Gin, however, proceeds with his own thoughts as he concludes that his Bankai was stopped to easily and that he should stick to the basics instead.

When pets fight

See what you did Aizen? Now Gin’s jealous of Ichigo.

As Gin goes back to the basics, he suddenly tumbles forward before dashing towards Ichigo. While Gin throws a flurry of strikes at Ichigo, Gin starts to kid around as he tells Ichigo that Tensa Zangetsu is powerful enough to break his Zanpakutou in two as it almost seems to break even though he is on the offensive. Ichigo, however, would love to see that happen as he feels something is off. Even though Kamishini no Yari seems to have reverted to its sealed state (Shinsou), Ichigo believes this isn’t the case. As the blades keep clashing, Ichigo continues to share his hypotheses about Gin’s Shinsou, as he believes that if the tip of the blade points at him, he’ll be in big trouble. We can actually clearly see how Ichigo keeps the tip of the blade away from him in the picture here, which I think is drawn out nicely. Something else that’s worth noticing here is the fact that Ichigo is struggling to keep up with Gin’s series of attacks. We’ve seen Ichigo block countless of Senbonzakura’s blades with relative ease, even though it came from all directions. Yet Gin is only attacking from the front with a single blade. But somehow the strikes are so heavy and quick that Ichigo can only block the attacks without finding an opening to counter, or so it seems. While his thoughts maul on the hypothesis that he will be done for if Shinsou is pointed at him, he manages to hit Shinsou with enough force to stop Gin’s flurry of attacks, only to come into a worse situation.

Dumbstruck

Of all the times you had to blink…

As Gin in thrown into the air due to Ichigo’s last counter, we see Ichigo with a slight bit of panic in his eyes as he is about to find out whether his hypothesis is true or not. Ichigo all of a sudden feels a blade striking his shoulder. He immediately maneuvers himself out of the blade’s path, saving his left arm in the process as we suddenly see how Kamishini no Yari makes his appearance once more, cutting a straight line covering the area where Ichigo stood just a moment ago as well as the area behind Ichigo. But rather than taking a moment to recover from the injury, Ichigo dashes towards Gin in order to counter the lengthened Zanpakutou’s wielder. Using the counter he picked up during his fights with Renji, it almost seems like Ichigo is able to counter attack once more. But Gin blocks the counter in an instant, using Shinsou once more. Gin then uses his blade to boost himself into the air as he lands on top of a building -or what’s left of it anyway.

Standing ovation

Ichigo deserves an applause for surviving this long

From the two times Gin used his Bankai, we’ve seen that it can easily destroy anything in its path and that this path is loooooong. As if that isn’t enough to scare people, Ichigo reveals there’s something even scarier about the God slaying Zanpakutou: the contraction speed. Ichigo then gives a pretty good reason as to why the speed is what truly makes this Bankai such a terrifying weapon and how it is the main feature of this weapon. For starters, it makes no sense for Gin to explain and show the reach of his Zanpakutou. If he didn’t say anything and immediately aimed for Ichigo, he would have had a greater chance to kill Ichigo in an instant. Cutting the town with the long blade only gave Ichigo more time to prepare his defense. The only thing that these actions taken by Gin have done, is distract Ichigo from the contraction speed. For someone who only recently claimed that he didn’t know anything about Gin, Ichigo certainly managed to get a whole lot out of these few exchanges. Gin even confirms Ichigo’s hypothesis as he thinks to himself how impressive Ichigo’s deductions and actions are. Ichigo has shown how his battle experience has accumulated throughout the story, to the point where he is able to take on Gin’s Bankai and discover some of its features in a short time. When he fought Grimmjow and Ulquiorra, it took him a few times before he managed to discover their battle strategies -more so with the fights against Ulquiorra- which helped him to fight off Ulquiorra up to the Segunda Etapa. When he fought Yammy he was too distracted to deduce anything, though Isshin somehow managed to put Ichigo back on track -great job you immature father figure – bringing him back to his A-game.

The other sleeve

Yes, with your smile and that trail of blood on your face, Ichigo is the creepy one…

Gin seems to show something that could be described as concern at Ichigo’s achievements. He even realizes that things might take longer than he anticipated as Ichigo might be one of the few people who lasted this long against his Bankai. But rather than hiding any more information about his Kamishini no Yari, he once more gives a demonstration of its abilities. If anything, Ichigo already knows that his Bankai is fast, so he can demonstrate this without having to worry. He then claps his hands together the just once after telling Ichigo he will demonstrate the speed of the contraction and then he asks Ichigo whether he understood what this meant. Then he tells Ichigo that Kamishini no Yari can contract itself 500 times that fast. Considering the fact that Kamishini no Yari is able to cover an area of 13 kilometers 500 times over in the time it takes to clap your hands together just once, Ichigo may just be screwed. Gin elaborates on this speed as he tells Ichigo that Kamishini no Yari isn’t the longest Zanpakutou – there are longer ones???!… I suppose putting every single one of Senbonzakura’s blades in a line may be longer, but still-, but the fastest! If we take into account that Gin has only been sweeping rather than jousting his blade, we can only imagine what will happen once he starts to take aim again as he did when he attacked Jidanbou. All he has to do is point at his target, extend the blade in a moment’s notice, and move the blade up or down depending on how much damage he wants to deal.
We can only wonder whether this is everything there is to Kamishini no Yari right now as Gin’s thoughts almost seem to suggest that he has one more trick up his sleeve. But for now the battle between Ichigo and Gin continues, while the scene changes to another even more surprising scene.

Reaching the limit

Bow down to Papa Kurosaki!

As Gin and Ichigo clash swords again, we see how the battle between Aizen and Isshin is going. Looking at both fighters, it would seem that Isshin has the upper hand as Aizen seems rather fatigued. But who can blame him after fighting off several captain level Shinigami and taking a severe blow from Genryuusai? Isshin, who seems to have taken a few cuts as well, comments on how Aizen seems to be slowing down. He then asks whether Aizen has reached his limit. But rather than saying a mere Shinigami wouldn’t be able to push him to the limit, Aizen actually admits he’s reached his limit. However, he’s only reached the limit of his Shinigami self… As Isshin tries to make sense of this -that makes two of us- Aizen tells Isshin that his soul will reconstruct itself as he and the Hougyoku have come to understand each other.
In just a few pages we suddenly get some interesting information. For one, Isshin and Aizen seem to be on equal terms when it comes to power and abilities. This is intriguing considering the fact that Isshin has been out of it for a long time now. The second piece of information is that Aizen has reached his limit, causing the Hougyoku and him to come to an understanding which will allow Aizen to transform himself into a stronger being. But Aizen didn’t want to resort to Hollowfication as he clearly stated, so what else could there be than this? Will he become one with the will of the Hougyoku? More intriguing than this is, what is the Hougyoku’s will? Urahara is the one who created the Hougyoku, so he might have had an influence on this will. But more on that in the Things to make your head spin section. Because here’s what’s most intriguing: It would seem that this is what Aizen was aiming for from the start of the battle in the fake Karakura town. Let’s face it; the Espada couldn’t put a dent in Aizen even if they wanted to, in spite of their level of power. But in order for Aizen to reach his limit, he would need an opponent who could at least come out of the fights with the Espada alive, preferably with as little effort as possible. The Shinigami and Vizards who managed to survive the battles against the Espada all united to fight Aizen, though that still wasn’t enough to push Aizen to the limit. But then we had Genryuusai, who even managed to overcome the obstacles created by Wonderweiss. Sadly this wasn’t enough to finish off Aizen, though it was enough to damage Aizen greatly. When Ichigo failed the final attempt to beat Aizen, we got Isshin, who seems to be on par with Aizen, enough so to push Aizen to the edge. Now that Aizen has reached his limit, he seems to be rather pleased. Everything Aizen has shown us up to this point seems to have been focused on him reaching his limit, probably in order to obtain whatever he gets from reconstructing his soul with the Hougyoku. Now to see what he will obtain, in next week’s chapter that is.

I really loved this chapter. Perhaps it wasn’t as packed with action as other chapters have been, but reading between the lines we got so much. We saw the representation of the damage Gin leaves behind him; the fruits of Ichigo’s development; another aspect to Gin’s Bankai; Isshin’s level of ability; and finally what seems to be Aizen’s true purpose of this part of the war. Sure, the last frame from last week’s chapter never showed up in this chapter, making it seem that Kubo made another last minute edit to the story, but the rest of the chapter seems to be something he’s planned out for quite some time, which is probably to the relieve of a lot of readers. With Aizen’s soul being reconstructed, I can’t wait to see what will happen next week.

Aizen has now claimed that he and the Hougyoku have come to understand each other after having reached the limit of his Shinigami self. He even spoke of the Hougyoku’s will, though the Sleepyfans scanlation spoke of the Hougyoku understanding Aizen’s will. But what if they both came to understand each other? What could the Hougyoku want then? The Hougyoku was created by Urahara, so there must be something of himself in the Hougyoku. But throughout the story we’ve learned that Benihime, Urahara’s Zanpakutou, can only destroy. This can be seen as Urahara having a desire to destroy somewhere hidden in his soul. On the other hand, the Hougyoku’s purpose seems to be to surpass the limits of the soul, something Aizen also wants to achieve. But here’s what the real question is:
Does Aizen reaching his limit, with the Hougyoku imbedded into him, mean that the two will undergo a greater fusion to become an entirely new being?

Quick prediction this week: Next week will be about Aizen reaching his limit. We will learn that this was Aizen’s purpose all along, though we will not learn what this actually means. The one to explain this will be Urahara who will finally make his appearance. He will explain just how dreadful this transformation will be, perhaps revealing that he himself also has undergone a similar transformation.

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/hypotheses that you may have and to vote in this week’s poll. Don’t forget to rate this week’s chapter by clicking on Kon’s face below -just poke him in the eye ! 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 April 17, 2010.

3 Responses to “The Underscore’s Bleach review 400”

  1. Once more great review Underscore ! Keep it up !
    Long post :

    “Does Aizen reaching his limit, with the Hougyoku imbedded into him, mean that the two will undergo a greater fusion to become an entirely new being?”

    First of all I would like to mention that Binktopia/Mangastream messed up (once more) with the translation. The real translation is not “it seems that at long last, my soul has has begun to understand the will of the hogyoku”” but the other way around. =”It seems that at long last, hogyoku has begun to understand the will of my heart” (according to sheetz, czeliate @BA and other RAW translators.)

    That’s very important cause it shows that Aizen will probably keep being the “boss” aka the dominant side of this “symbiotic” kinda relationship. Hogyoku will serve his will and not the way round, but it’s possible that the Orb has an own will itself that may become dominant if Aizen’s control somehow weakened or disrupted. So I don’t see this relationship as a “fusion” but more that of a “Master and a Tool”. My own guess is that eventually Hougyoku will be Aizen’s doom. So my answer in this question is : Aizen will use the Hougyoku until someone defeats him. Then Hougyoku will take the control and we shall see a new being. The whole story is a cliche’ I know, but it doesn’t mean it’s bad.

    All this makes obvious the fact that Urahara is a KEY character to Aizen’s demise. It would be interesting to see how Urahara created this Orb. Probably the flashback arc that Tite Kubo promised has something to do with this fact.

    And between all this discussion everyone seems to have forgotten Aizen’s true aim in this war. The Creation of the Ouken. How is that going to influence the plot I am wondering.

    Thanks for reading ! 😀

  2. Thanks, I’ll keep it going.
    Quite the read here indeed. I guess the Binktopia/Mangastream scanlation tends to use bodge translations when it comes to certain points. But at least it still seems that the Hougyoku and Aizen seem to have come to an agreement of some sorts. I suppose it could still be more of a Master and Tool relationship than an actual fusion, but can we really derive anything from Aizen’s words about his soul being reconstructed?
    The Hougyoku becoming Aizen’s doom would be rather cliché, which you point out, though it is because of that it comes to mind so easily. This would be a great way to make Urahara do more work while it could make for a great flashback arc with info on the creation of the crystal and Isshin’s past.
    We’ll only have to wait for about another day before we know more I suppose. My thoughts on what will happen this week, however, will have to wait until Saturday I’m afraid.

  3. new chapter is out!
    http://mangastream.com/read/bleach/401-131/1
    looking pretty good so far, kubo is retconing all his deus ex machina’s away one by one.

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