The Underscore’s Bleach review 402


402 Deicide 4

Hey there, welcome one and all to The Underscore’s Bleach review for chapter 402, Deicide 4. After two long weeks we finally get another chapter to quench our thirst for Bleach -just don’t try drinking actual bleach – though I wonder if it is enough. Personally I enjoyed the previous chapter, but there were a lot of people who didn’t like what happened apparently judging from the chapter rating. So who knows what will happen now. Before looking at the rating of the previous chapter, thanks go out to Binktopia and Mangastream for their scanlation.

Bleach chapter 401, Deicide 3, after being rated by 517 voters gets an average score of:

4.5

Bad

In spite of the chapter receiving the lowest rating since I added the rating to the reviews, some people did like a thing or two. To the 68 voters that chose an option, these are the things they thought were the best of the chapter:

Only one voter felt the warmth shared by Aizen and Gin in the previous chapter, where Gin apologized for interrupting Aizen’s speech. Perhaps not the most interesting thing on its own, but special nonetheless right?
Two voters were mesmerized by Aizen’s whoopsie cape. Perhaps they too are intrigued by the hidden secrets that the cape hold, or maybe they are easily captivated by anything that moves -like myself .
Coming to a tie, we have five voters who loved Ichigo’s response to Gin’s attack, where he bluntly kicked away Kamishini no Yari even though that stunt could have cost him his life. Admittedly it is classic Bleach, even though it might not have been the right time .
The other five voters in this tie, however, couldn’t chose what they thought was the best of the chapter, as they thought it was bad. These five voters apparently voiced the opinion of the majority in the chapter rating as the rating resulted in the chapter being judged as Bad.
Though the father/son moment shared by Aizen and Gin wasn’t something people enjoyed on its own, the same can’t be said about the father son moment Ichigo and Isshin shared. Eight voters loved the way Ichigo put his father at ease, while the father frustrated his son to no extend .
Ten voters felt the same way about the chapter as me as they felt the information on the Hougyoku was the best of best in the chapter. Though it is possible that this same explanation caused a lot of people to dislike the chapter as well, but who knows.
We then have eleven voters who couldn’t pick anything good from the chapter as everything was just amazing. From the interactions to the information, they loved it. I’m honestly baffled there weren’t more people who felt the same way .
But the coup de grace turned out to be Urahara at the end of the chapter according to 24 voters. With the wacky scientist making his appearance on the stage, we should expect plenty to happen. This chapter shows us exactly what it is that happened:

Cigar blues revisited

Ringing in the real final conclusive last, did I say final yet, battle of this arc!

After two long weeks, we get Isshin in color. Or three colors at least . This picture is used to ring in the final conclusive battle of this story arc. To be honest I’m not that impressed by this picture considering that it is supposed to ring in a final battle of an arc. Still, this picture is rather peculiar if you think about it. Isshin is smoking here, which he only does once a year ever since the death of his wife, Masaki, in front of her grave. It is possible that this is supposed to be an older Isshin, one from the time that he was still dating Ichigo’s mother, though I highly doubt it. Maybe this page is a hint for an upcoming arc which will focus on Isshin’s past, or maybe Kubo just wanted to prove that Isshin can look cool even if he isn’t wearing his Shinigami robes. Either way, this picture is one of the few (if not the only) colored page we have of Isshin, which I guess is good for the fans who like to see him act cool. Speaking of goofballs who suddenly act cooler than you’d expect them to…

The humble storeowner

Don’t even think about stealing his wares

After being shot from behind, Aizen turns around to welcome Urahara Kisuke, the creator of the Hougyoku, much to the surprise of Isshin and Ichigo. Though, to be honest, Ichigo doesn’t look as surprised at the sight of Urahara as I expected, while Isshin looks more surprised than I expected. I guess that Ichigo can hardly be surprised by anything at this time after suddenly seeing his father standing in front of him as a Shinigami. That and it isn’t the first time Urahara suddenly shows up during one of his fights. Isshin, on the other hand, seems more surprised than expected as I thought he probably got through the barrier with help from Urahara. But if Isshin did receive help from Urahara to enter the barrier, he probably didn’t exchange ideas on who would do what to Aizen.
Aizen and Urahara greet each other after seeing each other for the first time in over a century. The first thing Urahara notices is Aizen’s strange outfit. Though one can wonder what right a man wearing wooden sandals and a bucket hat has to say about other people’s clothes, Urahara certainly makes a good point here. But Aizen writes this off as the ugly part of an evolution process, as incomplete evolution is something that is rather ugly according to him. While he gives Urahara his view on aesthetics, the hole in Aizen’s chest created by Urahara closes up. This doesn’t go unnoticed by Urahara as he apparently knows it isn’t a Hollow’s high speed regeneration. The sparkling Hougyoku in Aizen’s chest probably helped him deduce that something else is going on. We see this when Urahara tells Aizen he never said he looks ugly, but that he looks strange due to the fusion with the Hougyoku. Somehow it seems like Aizen would be happier if you say he’s ugly rather than that he’s fusing with the Hougyoku.

Aizen’s Ego

Not even the Hougyoku will be able to fix this

Aizen specifically points out that he isn’t fusing with the Hougyoku as much as he made the Hougyoku follow him. No matter how we look at it, Aizen has never been one to admit he needs anyone or anything as much as they are under his control. The thought of something that he didn’t create himself becoming an equal part of him is something one shouldn’t even be thinking about. Because Aizen is such a supreme being that he managed to become the Hougyoku’s master, which not even his creator was able to do. This is something he gladly points out to Urahara who doesn’t even attempt to deny that he wasn’t able to control the Hougyoku. Simply because this inability to control the Hougyoku is all in the past. That’s right; Urahara apparently knows how to control the Hougyoku now -judging from what he said-, which intrigues Aizen a bit. Aizen feels that Urahara is a sore loser who should admit defeat, which is actually kind of funny.
Aizen really dislikes the idea of having to rely on other people or things that he hasn’t made through his own effort. But what he seems to dislike even more than that are people who are superior to him in some aspect. This was seen in his battle with Genryuusai, the only man he felt should die to sound in the era of his reign. We can even see it here, now that he is facing Urahara. Urahara, the man who created the Hougyoku which plays a major part in everything he has done for over a century. Perhaps this is why he wants to hear Urahara admitting his defeat, but Aizen then realizes there’s an easier way to prove his superiority: Killing Urahara. Aizen pierces Urahara with Kyouka Suigetsu as he tells him he won’t ever have the chance to control the Hougyoku ever again.

Bubbles Bursting

That’s why you should get your head out of the clouds Aizen.

Urahara suddenly pops like a balloon, which isn’t something Aizen was expecting. Instead of feeling Urahara at the end of his blade, he feels Urahara’s hand on his back. Aizen then remembers the battle record he got from Yammy on Urahara’s inflatable Gigai. But Urahara captures Aizen in a Rikujou Kouro before he can react to this unexpected turn of events. Aizen then admits that he never thought Urahara would use his inflatable Gigai in a direct confrontation with him as he feels it is a rather petty tactic. Aizen then wonders what Urahara thinks he has accomplished now that he has Aizen trapped in his Rikujou Kourou, showing off more of his ego by hinting this Bakudou alone isn’t enough to stop him. But Urahara has always been thorough, which he shows us by using two more Bakudou to ensure Aizen’s captivity. Bakudou 63, Sajou Sabaku, captures Aizen in chains, while Bakudou 79, Kuyou Shibari, creates several orbs of dark energy which surround Aizen and cover his chest including the Hougyoku. With Aizen kept firmly in place, Urahara goes on the offense as he starts his chant for Hadou 91, Senjyu Kouten Taihou. While Urahara is chanting the spell for the Hadou, Aizen starts to threaten Urahara by saying he won’t allow him to use it. But Urahara finishes the chant before Aizen can free himself from the Bakudous. The Senjyu Kouten Taihou fires several blasts of light at Aizen, presumably dealing plenty of hurt as it is a Hadou in the 90s.
Without releasing Benihime from his cane and using only Kidou, Urahara managed to do more than Genryuusai and Isshin before him. The power Urahara displayed using only Kidou was so impressive that even Ichigo and Gin were in awe. In fact, Gin was so impressed that he didn’t even have his usual smirk on his face, so that should be nothing short of impressive . Of course, we have come to a point in the story where we should expect these levels of attacks, both in the Kidou department as well as any other department. In spite of everything Urahara pulled out of his hat, it seems to be lacking a bit.

Unscathed

Rudobone’s more evil twin brother twice removed!

After dealing a few blows to Aizen, Urahara concludes that Aizen has become careless due to his newfound power. Aizen then appears behind Urahara, admitting that he has become careless. After being ensnared in so many Bakudous and being blasted by a Kidou in the 90s, the Hougyoku decided to help Aizen out by further enveloping Aizen in the cocoon like fabric. This is most likely a defensive response by the Hougyoku in order to protect itself as the change in Aizen’s appearance was a lot quicker than the rate it has been going at since the start of the transformation.
In spite of Aizen almost entirely being covered by the Hougyoku fabric, he doesn’t seem like someone who will be stopping his fighting any time soon. The interesting thing here is that Aizen’s face also is being covered by the Hougyoku in a rather peculiar way. Rather than tightly covering Aizen’s face, the fabric forms a helmet like object which is connected to the rest of the fabric. It is almost as if it is preparing to form a mask or something along the lines. The strange extensions on his shoulders and the bottom part of the “coat” covering Aizen also raise the question of what they’re for. For now it seems like they are just to show that the Hougyoku is still creating the fabric to cover Aizen, but especially the shoulder parts could suggest that they may serve to give Aizen wings -though I hope not. Besides this it reminds me a bit of Rudobone’s release .
Back to Aizen and Urahara, Aizen cuts Urahara down using his bare hand. This time it is the real Urahara who is struck down. But as if that wouldn’t hurt Urahara enough, he now has to endure Aizen’s little rant on how great he is becoming. Aizen feels he doesn’t have to be careful anymore as the Hougyoku has now been subjected by him. The Hougyoku has strengthened him to the point where he doesn’t even have to dodge Kidou in the 90s as he is even more powerful now than he was in Soul Society. This is impressive as he was already the strongest entity in Soul Society (according to himself of course).
Notice how Aizen isn’t just becoming more careless about what attacks he dodges, he is even starting to show more of his emotions. The fact that he admits that not even he would be able to take on a Kidou in the 90s head on before -which explains why he was taken back by Genryuusai’s last attack- along with the energetic face he is showing while talking about his development make for something interesting. Now I can imagine that there are plenty people out there who don’t like this sudden outburst of emotions by Aizen, though I think it is only something temporary. Let’s face it, the entire makeup of Aizen’s soul is being transformed here, it makes sense that he gets a bit hormonal . The fact that he is finally achieving something he has been waiting for over 100 years also should explain why he is so overjoyed at this development. But Aizen showing “weakness” and taking on the Kidou aren’t what make him careless according to Urahara.

The unexpected turn

Perhaps Aizen finally noticed where that crack in the Hougyoku reached

The “old” Aizen would have prevented Urahara’s attempts to use his attacks one at a time. The “new” Aizen, however, is careless in this department as he allowed Urahara to try out his attacks one at a time. Though with the average Shinigami it probably wouldn’t be a problem, we are dealing with the man who founded the Shinigami research institute and created the Hougyoku amongst other rather impressive inventions such as an inflatable Gigai. Letting a man like that have his way isn’t something anyone should do. Sadly, Aizen’s ego makes him think he is the exception to the rule, which results in him being caught up in something Urahara came up with. As two energy cuffs form near Aizen’s wrists, Aizen notices that he may be in trouble right now.
Apparently this is an Urahara special as Aizen doesn’t recognize the technique. We learn that this is a sealing technique that seals the Reiatsu that comes from the target’s wrists, a common exit point for Reiatsu amongst Shinigami. But unlike Wonderweiss’ ability, which sealed Ryuujin Jakka’s flames inside the blade and his head, this seal doesn’t lock away the Reiatsu; it immediately uses it against the target. What it comes down to is that Aizen’s own Reiatsu backfires on him in a huge explosion, forced self-destruction if you will. This is exactly what happens at the end of this chapter as Aizen’s Reiatsu suddenly bursts out into a pillar of energy. With the seal taking away power from Aizen, while blasting him with it, it means that Aizen doesn’t have the energy to protect himself from the blast. The fact that Aizen’s silhouette seems to be disappearing inside the explosion doesn’t bode well for him either. So has Urahara found a technique to force Shinigami to self-destruct? Is Aizen still Shinigami enough to actually be affected? That’s what we’ll find out in chapter 403!

This was a decent chapter in my opinion. Perhaps not as splendorous as it could have been, but it was entertaining nonetheless. The problem here had to be the two stars of this chapter: Aizen and Urahara. The reason I say they are a problem is because these are two characters are too reserved in their body language. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it was a bit too much for my tastes. On the other hand, the emphasis did lie in the characters faces this time, mainly their eyes, which really showed what was going through their minds. Besides that, with this being the start (and the end) of the (conclusive) final battle of this arc between the inventor and the thief of the Hougyoku, the chapter showed what one could expect from the two of them. Urahara and Aizen stayed in character, which is a good thing, while Urahara proved that he wasn’t as much of a failed genius as Aizen claimed him to be. With three new Kidou shown along with a bit of hidden frustration from Aizen added with a Gin that stopped smiling as if he was concerned, I don’t think it was a bad chapter. I’m just hoping we’ll get more in next week’s chapter as this just didn’t get enough out of it as I believe it could.

Urahara claims that he is now capable of controlling the Hougyoku, yet he hasn’t shown any signs of this before other than the fact that he created the Vizards. He had the Hougyoku until about a year ago, put it into Rukia only to lose it to Aizen, who now claims to have subjugated it. So:
How is it that Urahara has managed to learn how to control the Hougyoku in the time that he didn’t have it?

A few possibilities cross my mind this week.
Assuming Aizen survives the blast: He could continue on a rampage against Urahara while the Hougyoku continues to cover him in the fabric that will evolve Aizen. Aizen and Urahara will battle until the point that Aizen can’t move for at least a little while where Gin may take over the battle for a moment. Either that, or Gin and Aizen will retreat for a short while as Aizen transforms inside his cocoon. This will give Soul Society and co. the opportunity to regroup while Urahara and Isshin tell Ichigo how things came to pass.
A second possibility that comes to mind is that Aizen is destroyed by Urahara, while the Hougyoku remains intact. But with the Hougyoku having conformed to Aizen’s will, it keeps Aizen’s will hidden inside of it. Gin takes the Hougyoku back to Las Noches where he forces Orihime to use her ability to restore Aizen to his former glory, possibly creating a brand new Aizen in the process. Rather than the reconstruction process that has been taking place until now that is. That way Orihime has a greater purpose than to force Ichigo to develop his abilities as a backup for Aizen’s schemes.
A third possibility has Aizen killed where the Hougyoku’s will uses the information from Aizen’s soul to create its own body to do whatever it is a Hougyoku would want to do, but that’s just a bit too far fetched.

That’s it for this week’s review. I hope you guys enjoyed it even if it was a bit surmise. 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 Kon 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 May 8, 2010.

One Response to “The Underscore’s Bleach review 402”

  1. okay chapter, im looking forword to seeing what happens next, but i would really like to see what is happening in hueco mundo sometime soon. i miss seeing ichigo’s nakama, and im so tired of seeing this pathetic excuse for a plot. aizen vs everyone! cut, slash, maybe a kido, and a “just as planned” speech, then rinse, wash repeat, it got old after he did this with shinji and the rest, now its really a bit much. i like to entertain the idea that urahara will kill aizen and be revealed as the real final boss, just because, even though it wouldnt be consistant with kisukes character, he would be a much, much more interesting big bad. however, i fully excpect aizen to pop out unharmed and resume his cycle of deus ex machina’s. great breakdown, keep up the good work!

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