The Underscore’s Bleach review 401

Deicide 3

Hey there, here’s the review for chapter 401, Deicide 3. I wrote the entire review yesterday, but I forgot to press the Publish button
.  Anyways, here’s the review, on a Saturday. Thanks to Mangastream and Binktopia for their scanlation. Let’s get to the chapter as soon as possible!

Bleach chapter 400, Deicide 2, after being rated by 87 voters gets an average score of:



Last week we learned that there is a Bankai that is faster than Tensa Zangetsu, namely Kamishini no Yari. Or at least, that’s what it looks like at this time. But do you guys believe this to be true, or do you think Tensa Zangetsu can whoop some Kamishini no Yari butt? In short: Will Ichigo be able to outrun Kamishini no Yari with Tensa Zangetsu? Here’s what 85 voters thought:

To start off, three voters still don’t like Kamishini no Yari. In the previous poll I asked you what your impression was of the Bankai, and many didn’t like it (at first). But with more information given on Kamishini no Yari, things could have changed. Still, it isn’t enough for these three voters.
Four voters got a better vibe from Kamishini no Yari now, but they felt it wouldn’t change anything in spite of this newly revealed feature.
Then we have ten Zangetsu fans who feel Tensa Zangetsu will be able to outrun Kamishini no Yari, just because Tensa Zangetsu is that good. It would be great to see a battle more focused on Tensa Zangetsu again if you ask me.
Eleven voters, however, felt that Ichigo would be able to outrun Kamishini no Yari, but that it would have nothing to do with Tensa Zangetsu. Perhaps they believe Ichigo will pull out something new to outrun Gin’s attacks, or maybe they feel it won’t even have to come to that.
Twelve voters at least seem to think there’s no need for running as they feel Ichigo will just have to face Kamishini no Yari head on. Judging by this chapter, these voters may just get what they want.
Eighteen voters seem to think Zangetsu is useless here, just because Kamishini no Yari is that good. It seems the Kamishini no Yari (/Gin) fans outnumber the Zangetsu fans .
But the majority of the voters, 27 of them, believe Ichigo will just have to pull out all the stops before he can outrun Kamishini no Yari, by using Hollowfication. Perhaps they are hoping for the speeds shown by Neo-Ichigo, just a more effective use of the mask.

When hearts unite

I’m sure you’ll be happy to tell us where it’s at Aizen…

Last week we learned that Aizen had reached the limit of his Shinigami abilities at Isshin’s hands. But rather than this being an actual problem, Aizen is pleased that the Hougyoku’s will has finally come to understand his heart. Isshin then calls it as many thought it to be last week: Bullsh*t. Why would an object be able to understand Aizen’s heart? -As if he has one – How could an object have a will with which it would be able to understand anything at all? More importantly, what would that have to do with Aizen’s soul being reconstructed?
Aizen then tells Isshin it is only natural for Isshin not to sense the Hougyoku’s will. The reason for this is simply because not even Aizen was able to sense the Hougyoku’s will until he became its master -when he embedded it inside of himself. Through this understanding of the Hougyoku’s will, Aizen has discovered the Hougyoku’s true power. Everyone believed the Hougyoku to be the key to remove the barrier between Shinigami and Hollows, two complete opposites, to reinforce the soul into becoming a more powerful entity. This ability was seen in both the Vizards and the Arrancar, which gave impressive results, though not necessarily a good impression . But Aizen reveals that the Hougyoku is far more impressive than just that. The Hougyoku doesn’t remove the barrier between Shinigami and Hollows, but the barrier between reality and desires!

Heartfelt desire

No Isshin, you won’t get your daughters’ love even if you were to use the Hougyoku

As Isshin tries to grasp what Aizen is saying, he continues his explanation with another one of his examples based on his observations. He tells Isshin that the miracles, as he feels they should be called, surrounding Ichigo, Rukia, and Urahara were all made possible thanks to the Hougyoku. This ability is what led Urahara to misinterpret the Hougyoku in the first place. Because Urahara wanted to be proven true in his hypothesis that souls can be fortified by breaking the barrier between Shinigami and Hollows to create a new entity, the Hougyoku did just that. Because Rukia wanted to get rid of her Shinigami powers, which were useless at the time she lost Kaien causing her to think she didn’t want them, she gave up all of them so Ichigo would obtain the power to protect those close to him, which Rukia wasn’t able to. The reason Chad and Orihime obtained powers which had never been seen before was because they desired to overcome their powerlessness. The intriguing thing here is that Ichigo isn’t mentioned here yet, whom I could mention right now, but I won’t right now as we still need to cover a bit more information provided later in this chapter. Instead I’ll cover Orihime and Chad first.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing results of the Hougyoku’s abilities, if not the most intriguing one. Orihime obtained her Shun Shun Rikka as her true desires surfaced during a dire crisis where she had to protect Tatsuki. Three of the six parts are dedicated to protecting people by undoing damage that is yet to be dealt, two are dedicated to undoing harm that has been done, and one is aimed at undoing existences that aim to harm others. I believe I’ve pointed this out in one of my reviews on the ‘Lust’ chapters -or a few chapters before those-, where I pointed out how her powers seemed to really comply with her personality. If not, I’m doing it here again with new information . Orihime is someone who never wants anything bad to happen to anyone, which is now manifested in the Shun Shun Rikka. One of the first things she is willing to do is to take on other people’s pains as she is the one who is often protected by others.
The three pieces that make up the Santen Kesshun are two males and one female. Perhaps they are representations of Chad -who also tends to take on damage for others-, her brother -who protected her for a long time-, and Tatsuki -need I explain? Three people who always protected her from harm now seem to represent the three points in the shield that protects others from all harm.
Souten Kisshun, made up of two girls, may be the manifestation of her desire to make pain disappear as if it never existed in the first place. Who those girls may be is unknown to me, perhaps two of the other girls Orihime usually hangs out with or maybe a subconscious representation of Ichigo’s sisters who are daughters of a doctor.
Then, the most interesting one of the six, Tsubaki who makes the Koten Zanshun. This tough little fellow blows away everything that may cause pain. At first glance one would think he is the part inside Orihime that wishes to cause destruction, a part many people have wanted to see from her for a long time. In a sense, this seems to be true. If you look at the other five pieces of the Shun Shun Rikka, as I explained them, they all focus on preventing and negating pain, which is something Orihime wants to live and breathe. Tsubaki, in this case, represents Orihime’s hidden desire to get rid of those who cause harm. To compare him with other characters Orihime knew before she obtained the Shun Shun Rikka, it is obvious that this would be Ichigo. A hot headed guy who tries to put up an act of not caring while he actually does, I’d say that describes a first impression of Ichigo pretty well. Whenever Ichigo gets into a fight, he fights because he wants to prevent others (and himself sometimes) from being hurt. The reason Orihime doesn’t like and use the Koten Zanshun is basically because she hasn’t come to accept this side of herself as at least 5/6 of her soul doesn’t want to cause harm as much as undo it. Combine these desires with the hairpins given to her by her brother, and we get the Shun Shun Rikka to channel these powers.
But enough on Orihime now, I still want to go over Chad quickly before continuing with the chapter .

One of my personal favorites has to be Chad. I always did wonder where his powers came from and whether they were something similar to a Mexican version of a Quincy’s ability. Here we learn that it is just a manifestation of his desire for power granted to him by the Hougyoku. I say “just” because I was hoping to see something more on Chad’s past and family with his powers being tied to it. But the way Kubo handled things now; we won’t be seeing a mysterious past of his parents wielding a similar power or him being a Hollow of some sort.
But what can we make of his powers then? Chad did say that the spirit of his grandfather resides in his right fist, which may be a reason to think something else is going on. But looking back at Chad’s flashback to his past with his grandfather, we see how he holds Chad’s right hand as he pleads that Chad uses his body to protect others from harm (if memory serves me right). The left hand, however, still holds Chad’s past desire to cause harm, thus the left arm of the devil. This explains how the two fists have differing effects and how they are unique. But why does Chad feel at ease in Hueco Mundo then? And why does he feel his powers are more similar to those of a Hollow? The only thing I can think of is that Chad’s desire for power was also based on the impression he had from the first Hollow he faced (when he fought against Shrieker). His soul may have remembered the fear caused by the Hollow, in spite of his memory having been swept clean. With logic I can see behind Chad, he may have felt that he had to become a monster to fight monsters. Sadly I can’t go into Chad’s powers as much as Orihime’s powers as I just can’t explain exactly how his arms may work besides what I’ve mentioned here.

What it’s not

Suddenly you know: it’s not peanut butter!

Aizen then tells Isshin he became aware of the Hougyoku’s powers But rather than knowing that the Hougyoku had the ability to grant desires, he knew that the Hougyoku didn’t have the ability to negate the barrier that separates Shinigami and Hollows. The reason he knew this has to do with the Vizards. Due to his own experiments with Hollowfication, he attempted to turn Shinigami into Hollows as he explains here. The experiment practically succeeded as Kensei, Mashiro, and Hiyori were already taken over by their Hollows with the rest soon to follow. But after Urahara used the Hougyoku on them, they became Shinigami/Hollow hybrids, Vizards, rather than Hollow/Shinigami hybrids, Arrancar, which they should have become. As such Aizen may have come to the conclusion that the Vizards are shoddy Arrancar. Because rather than having become Arrancar, as should have happened, they became Vizards, according to Urahara’s desires. The funny thing is that if Urahara had desired for the Vizards to become normal again, it might have happened. But that’s water under the bridge.
Aizen then reveals that his experiments with Hollowfication were all part of his scheme to learn more about the Hougyoku. The reason he experimented with Hollowfication was so that he could draw out Urahara, who was interested in the same thing. Besides that it would give Aizen information on the mysterious object that could empower souls. Based on the results he saw in the Vizards due to Urahara’s interventions, he concluded that the Hougyoku had the ability to grant desires. With his theory of the Hougyoku being capable of doing this, he sent out Rukia to Karakura town where his perfect material resided.

A guiding light

Who needs a rainbow to find a stupid pot of gold?

But if the Hougyoku is such a powerful object, why didn’t it cause more things to happen to others? The reason for this is that the Hougyoku needs Reiatsu and the potential of the user in order for it to materialize the desires. Same as how it required Aizen’s Reiatsu to turn Hollows into Arrancar, it requires Reiatsu to grant other desires as well. Hollows already had the potential to turn to Arrancar before the Hougyoku came into play, so that was covered as well. But why would he then need Ichigo? Well, it seems that living creatures, in this case humans, are capable of obtaining their desires in spite of their stunted hearts. At least that’s what I got from Aizen’s words, though I don’t understand why Shinigami or other souls wouldn’t have the same ability other than them being in a different world and dead. The intriguing thing here is that when Aizen spoke of this human desire, Isshin seemed to get rather angry. Is it because he realizes that it involves his son, or does this have something to do with why he became a human? But rather than going into that, let’s get to the protagonist, as all of a sudden we find Kamishini no Yari blasting past Aizen and Isshin. At the end of the blade we have Ichigo, who we can now put into an entirely new light.

Kurosaki Ichigo

Life or death situation indeed…

Again a little sidetrack from the chapter. This time I’ll focus on the main protagonist as he is the one who has been caught up in many of other people’s schemes and desires. Now, let’s see what we have here. We have a half human, half Shinigami child. The Shinigami side gave him plenty of spiritual power, while the human side gave him the ability to obtain desires -or something along those lines, Aizen should learn to speak English -, which made him the perfect subject for the Hougyoku as it requires both to function properly. Thus Rukia is sent to Ichigo in order to make sure Ichigo would activate the Hougyoku’s effect. As Ichigo’s family is about to be killed off by a Hollow, he takes on the wounded Rukia’s power as [I[he desires to protect those close to him[/i]. This awakens his innate spiritual powers -note, not the Shinigami powers- while adding Rukia’s powers as well. Rukia lost all the powers she felt she didn’t deserve until she was forgiven, while Ichigo kicked butt on the streets of Karakura town. All the while, Ichigo’s power kept growing whenever he wanted to protect others close to him all thanks to the Hougyoku’s effect.
Ichigo’s powers were what caused people around Ichigo to become aware of spirits, which in turn led them to come in touch with Hollows, which led to contact with a Shinigami Ichigo as well as Rukia who held the Hougyoku. This may be what led Orihime and Chad to obtain their powers.
Back to Ichigo, his power grew too large for him when he faced off against a Menos, which almost led to his own destruction. Here he desired to protect the entire town with all the people he cares for in it, though he didn’t have the means to materialize that much power at that time due to a bad Reiatsu control. Ichigo eventually faced off against Renji and Byakuya, where he lost Rukia’s Shinigami powers. But he still required the power to protect those close to him, in this case Rukia. As such he went to Urahara, where he obtained his true Shinigami powers along with the powers of a Vizard -though unbeknownst to him at the time. The Shinigami powers were those he had inside of him the entire time, while the Hollowfication came as a side effect of the gas inside the pit he was in. Looking at Aizen’s words in this chapter he stated that the Hougyoku granted the desires of those around it, we can assume the following: Urahara had already been affected by the Hougyoku as well as Ichigo. Their desires then united to create a Vizard Ichigo to create a powerful warrior.
From that time on, Ichigo came across many opponents who meant to stand in his desire’s way. While they were more subtle during the Soul Society arc due to Zangetsu’s appearance and his obtaining a Bankai -which also required a part of Ichigo’s heart, which may be the same as the part the Hougyoku responded to-, the same happened afterwards. When he faced off against Grimmjow, his power increased due to his mastering of the Hollowfication. When it seemed he was about to get hurt while fighting Grimmjow and Orihime cried out in pain, his strength increased again as he wanted to protect her from -psychological- harm. Ulquiorra even noticed this as he tells Ichigo he grew stronger in such a short time -this was shown in this week’s Anime episode as well. This incredible growth Ichigo displayed was something Aizen was cautious about -or that’s what he told Ulquiorra at least- as it was nothing short of miraculous. The reason for Ichigo’s growth turns out to be the Hougyoku, which granted Ichigo’s desire to protect those close to him. The only way to grant this desire, within Ichigo’s imagination of how that desire could be granted, was for Ichigo to keep increasing in power. As such, Ichigo is a great threat to Aizen as the Hougyoku has granted Ichigo the power to defeat anyone who wishes to harm people close to him, which fits Aizen pretty nicely right about now. But remember a few chapters back when Aizen told Ichigo that he didn’t hate him enough? This is probably what prevented Ichigo from defeating Aizen at this time. Ichigo didn’t have a clear image of him as an opponent; as such he didn’t have the desire to truly overpower him. But with the Hougyoku now granting Aizen’s desires, it may just be too late.
I know all of this may be rather confusing, and to be honest it all sounded better in my head . Just remember this:
– Hougyoku grants desires by awakening the user’s potential
– Ichigo desired to protect those close to him ever since he was little, even more so after losing his mother
– Ichigo had the means to activate the Hougyoku (his potential)
– The Hougyoku’s effects still linger inside Ichigo and are able to respond to the effects inside others as well (e.g. Urahara, though this one may be a bit too far fetched)

All of this has my head spinning a bit, luckily Kubo seemed to have anticipated this as Ichigo shows up as he did in the picture above .

Tension breaker

Why is it that whenever these two are in each other’s eyesight, everything goes weird?

Ichigo is struck into a building by the blunt side of Kamishini no Yari’s blade. A frustrated Ichigo kicks away the blade -which looked hilarious- as the blade suddenly retracts in a split second again leaving only a trace in the settling dust. The reason for Ichigo to be so cranky turns out to be Gin, who is having too much fun with their fight. Gin compliments Ichigo on blocking his Bankai, even if it was just a fluke (according to him). This makes Ichigo even angrier as he worked hard to ensure he would be saved from the damage. Isshin then tries to catch Ichigo’s attention as he feels Ichigo may not have noticed him. Ichigo then tells his father to leave him alone as he is almost finished with Gin. This is rather entertaining to see as many people felt that Gin would be too much for Ichigo to handle, while Ichigo doesn’t even think about this.
Isshin looks at his son with some disbelieve, which makes sense after hearing something so serious from Aizen about how his son had been affected by his schemes. But then he realizes that Ichigo is still his own son and that no matter what Aizen did it didn’t change. Or at least that’s what I get from his look after Ichigo tells him that he can handle things . We then see Gin standing next to Aizen as he apologizes for ruining his speech. But Aizen doesn’t mind as he was as good as finished, which is emphasized due to the Hougyoku suddenly responding as some form of cloth spreads from the crystal.

Screwing around

Only one other goofball can play around in a situation as serious as this…

As Aizen is covered by whatever it is that’s coming from the Hougyoku, Ichigo asks his father what it is. Too bad for him Isshin can’t give him any answers as he is still trying to grasp everything Aizen just told him along with this new development. As Isshin admits he plain doesn’t know, Ichigo gets angry at the fact that he doesn’t know. Isshin had been fighting Aizen this entire time, so he should know. Isshin then gives what may be one of the most sensible, yet ridiculous, responses yet as he tells Ichigo he should just plain ask Aizen. It almost seems as if Aizen reacts to Isshin’s idea as we see here. But rather than responding to Isshin’s suggestion, he is confirming his suspicions about the Hougyoku. As he is now undergoing the Hougyoku’s effects, he realizes how appropriate the name is for the crystal as it is breaking down the limit between the earthly and the divine. However, before he can enjoy his transgression to Godhood, a flash of light pierces through his chest. And how many people do we know that are capable of shooting such beams at someone as Aizen?

The other goofball

If he and the Kurosaki’s clash, we may never know a serious moment in this manga anymore!

Aizen turns around, now almost entirely covered by the substance that came out of the Hougyoku, as he notices that Urahara has finally arrived. It seems even Isshin is surprised at the sudden appearance of the storekeeper judging from his look. The fact that Ichigo is surprised isn’t all too strange though.
Aizen meanwhile looks rather strange as it almost seems like he’s gotten a cape now. I wonder whether the cloth-like substance will serve as a cocoon in which Aizen will be able to transform, or whether this is the actual transformation -similar to a Zanpakutou release. Part of me hopes that it is the first as I don’t know if I can take Aizen serious if he suddenly starts wearing a cape as the one he has now. But what is intriguing here is that Aizen didn’t notice Urahara and that Urahara’s attack actually connected. Urahara may not have released Benihime from her cane state, which could explain why he wasn’t sensed, but that still doesn’t change the fact that the blast was strong enough to pierce through Aizen. Does this mean that Urahara will be able to beat Aizen? Judging from Urahara’s face I’d say he feels he has to give Aizen a good beating. I was expecting a remark of some sorts from Urahara right about here, but I guess that has to wait. We’ll have to wait for the next chapter before we find out about Urahara’s intentions.

Awesome. Just, Awesome. Personally I enjoy chapters that give answers and that make things click, and this chapter did just that. Aizen has started his transformation as he reveals two important things about the Hougyoku. For one, it has a consciousness. Secondly, it has the ability to grant desires, assuming the wielder has the potential to achieve this desire on his/her own. With this tying in with everything that happened with Ichigo and his friends throughout the story, it answered a lot of questions. Gin and Ichigo showing up for a bit was great too, though I’m afraid their fight has come to an end right now. The father/son moments were great fun again. In fact, Ichigo started to act strange again from the moment he came in his father’s vicinity again… Urahara showing up in the end was something that had to happen sooner or later. Kubo chose sooner instead of later .
The only thing I didn’t really go into in this review was how Rukia was able to regain her powers after losing them due to the Hougyoku. I have my own hypothesis on that, but as we have Golden week coming up (I think it’s next week?), I’ll leave it to you guys to maul about in the following section:

How did Rukia regain her powers when she got rid of them with the all powerful Hougyoku?
I believe my own answer can be found in the review now that I think about it, at least indirectly. Still, think about it for a bit along with the rest of the review .
Also: Can you venture a guess as to why Aizen embedded the Hougyoku inside himself?
This is something Aizen has answered himself in the chapter, so it may be obvious.
On to the predictions!

Urahara will somehow manage to rough up Aizen a bit as Urahara reveals his own thoughts on the Hougyoku. This will take up the entire next chapter before we go into a small arc with a few new minus chapters which show both the time when Urahara created the Hougyoku as well as the time Isshin decided to give up on the Shinigami job to settle down in the real world.

Congratulations, you’ve made it through a hastily written review. 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 by poking in Kon’s eye below! I believe next week there’s no Shounen jump. If not, I’ll be seeing you in two weeks, if not I’ll see you next week. Let me know if anything isn’t clear in this review, then I’ll try to explain things a bit better. I’ll see you guys again next time!

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 24, 2010.

4 Responses to “The Underscore’s Bleach review 401”

  1. Hello there ! Thanks for the review again. Reading it somehow makes the waiting for the next chapter period less long.

    —How did Rukia regain her powers when she got rid of them with the all powerful Hougyoku? —

    Well, it was a bit surprising that Hougyoku was the reason Rukia gave up all her powers especially if you consider that Urahara showed up and offered her that gigai (in where the Orb was hidden) after Ichigo’s debut as a shinigami. Rukia had nothing to do with Hougyoku until then so how did the Orb was responsible for this incident ?

    Onto the question, my answer is simple : Hougyoku again. After her rescue during the SS arc she probably found a reason again to have her powers back. And that was to protect all those friends who came to her rescue by risking their lives. Hougyoku granted this wish too. Another version of that theory is Ichigo’s resemblance to Kaien. Rukia wanted her powers back so she could protect him. She does not want to suffer a new Kaien’s death again.

    I’ll write my own ideas about the second question later. It’s very interesting.

  2. You’re welcome.
    This chapter gives you so much to think about it should be able to keep us entertained for at least another week -or at least I hope so :).
    Now for when Rukia got the Hougyoku implanted in her soul, I think that was before the Gigai. I can’t say for sure when that was, but I’d say that she had contact with Urahara before she met up with Ichigo. The Gigai was used to turn her into a human in order to hide her along with the Hougyoku, or that’s how I think it is supposed to have happened. But hopefully Urahara will give us a bit more information on that one.
    As for how/why she regained her powers, you have two interesting options here.
    Now to see what you think the reason is for Aizen to embed the Hougyoku into himself ;).

  3. — Can you venture a guess as to why Aizen embedded the Hougyoku inside himself?–

    My guess is two words : Understanding and exclusiveness.

    Aizen himself stated that “fusing” himself with Hougyoku made him understand it’s will and it’s true purpose. Fully understanding the abilities of an object allows you to use it at it’s full capacity, doesn’t it ? Aizen probably learnt the desiresand all the secrets of the Hougyoku in exchange for his own secrets and desires. And that’s why he has an advantage against Urahara despite the second one being the Orb’s creator.

    Also, exclusiveness. As we’ve learnt from the latest chapter, Hougyoku affects and materializes the desires of people who had a sort of “contact” with it. Aizen fusing with the Orb into a single soul means that he can now “choose” whose desires Hougyoku will try to materialize and it’s not other than his own. He is going to use this tremendous ability only for himself. The Supreme Being that Aizen wants to become will be able to erase the limits between eartly and godly, and make himself a God. That’s my guess at least.

    Tbh, remember when I told you that I see Aizen’s and Hougyoku’s relationship similar to a master-tool one rather than a “fusion” ? After the latest chapter I am not sure anymore. It’s probably both of them. Aizen (Master) wants to use Hougyoku (Tool) fusing with it into a single soul.

    In any case it will be very interesting to see what’s Urahara’s say in all this. Is it possible that Aizen misses something that only the creator of the Orb knows ? Possibly. If Urahara appeared now that means he has a sort of plan. In the next chapter new info await for us.

  4. click me to watch bleach movie.. 😀

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