The Underscore’s Bleach review 415


415 Deicide 17

Welcome one and all to the review of Bleach chapter 415, Deicide 17. With some completely unexpected free time on my hands, along with it raining outside while it is supposed to be summer, I find myself writing a review two days before I usually do. But if you’re reading this I’ll assume you don’t really mind . With this unexpected free time you may be able to expect something different from me soon, though I won’t guarantee it just yet. But that’s for later, for now try to find what’s changed amongst this week’s headers compared to the previous ones. Just do that after reading the review, rating the chapter, voting in the polls, and leaving a comment if you have any -I’m demanding this week, aren’t I . Thanks go out to Mangastream and Binktopia for their scanlation as I’ll be using theirs for this week’s review as well.
Now, let’s get to the rating of last week’s chapter first, where the amount of raters has almost quintupled compared to the average of the past few weeks. Hopefully this will keep up .

Bleach chapter 414, Deicide 16, after being rated by 106 voters gets an average score of:

9.6

Awesome

Last week I was more than happy with Gin’s actions, so I had to know if you were happy as well. As if the chapter’s rating isn’t enough proof, here’s the result of the poll.

Two voters weren’t happy with the chapter at all. Perhaps these are the same two voters who rated the chapter a 1 out of 10, but I guess they didn’t want things to go the way they did. Is it because they feared this was going to happen and saw the consequences coming, or just because they felt something completely different should’ve happened? I guess I could emphasize with this opinion, if it weren’t for the fact that I really enjoyed it .
Then we had eight voters who have taken Aizen’s teachings to heart or something along those lines, if they still have a heart that is , as they think happiness is for feebleminded fools with emotions. They felt nothing about this development, which can happen from time to time.
Seventeen voters were sort of happy. They thought the development was good and entertaining, even if some/all of them saw it coming already. Guess Kubo still did a good job if they still liked it .
But the majority of the voters, 32 of them, couldn’t be happier with last week’s developments. Let’s see if Kubo can keep this up then.

Supremacy throughout the ages

He owned then, he owns now, but will he own in the future?

The chapter starts off with the flashback I’ve been waiting for quite some time, the time Aizen and Gin first met. A young Gin was walking around a forest as he picked up a twig. But as he picked up the twig he suddenly sees four figures on the other side of the bushes where he’s standing. These four figures are none other than Aizen and three nameless Shinigami who are bowing down to him. It is hard to discern whether these three Shinigami are members of the fifth division, with one of them possibly being the third seat Gin killed in -105, but it shows us that Aizen had people under his control nonetheless. Though having people bowing down to Aizen isn’t all too strange to see, the following is rather surprising. The Shinigami in the middle, whom I shall call Curly for the time being -as in Larry, Curly, and Moe, the three stooges-, presents Aizen with a shining substance/object which almost seems to be comprised of three small orbs of white energy. Aizen takes the substance from Curly, examines it, and puts it into a small glass box containing a black crystal, much like the Hougyoku. The first thing that came to mind after seeing this scene had to be: Whut!!!???
We know for a fact that Urahara was the one who was in possession of the Hougyoku for over a century as he was its inventor and kept it with him until a couple of months before the Deicide chapters started. Yet now we see Aizen with a crystal, similar to the Hougyoku, inside a transparent box, similar to the one the Hougyoku was kept in, during what has to be a time that Aizen didn’t possess the Hougyoku or even knew of its possibilities. Gin doesn’t seem to be a member of the Gotei 13 at this time either, judging from his clothes. But what’s even more interesting is that Aizen seemingly obtained something from the three stooges’ Curly, which seems to be added to the box with the crystal. This could just be Reiatsu to fuel the Hougyoku, but why would the three stooges have to be the ones to provide it? Whatever the stooges brought Aizen, it was enough for Aizen to give them a smile. This smile is most likely the look Aizen usually gave to his subordinates to thank them for a job well done, so we shouldn’t have to look too much into it as we usually have to. The only thing that we should know is what is actually taking place right now. Whatever is happening, Gin witnessed everything, making this the first encounter he had with Aizen, though possibly unbeknownst to Aizen.

Fall of a deity

When in need of a surgeon, steer clear from Gin

As Gin comes back from the flashback, we witness the same scene we saw last week. Aizen’s chest was corroded from the inside by Kamishini no Yari’s poison, leaving the indestructible Hougyoku intact as Aizen drops dead. While Aizen is falling to his death, we catch a small glimpse of Gin’s past where we see a shed with footsteps leading into the snow, possibly the same image we saw from Rangiku in one of her flashbacks to her and Gin’s past. Judging from the rest of this chapter, this probably was the same scene as we saw back then, though I can’t remember which chapter it was. This is probably the point in time Gin set out on his hunt for his greatest prey, Aizen. Whatever it is, it apparently is a glimpse of the truth…
Where we just saw Aizen holding a Hougyouku 100 years ago, we now see Gin reaching for the present Hougyoku, which is floating in the air. The look on Gin’s face as he reaches towards the Hougyoku is a peculiar one. It isn’t one of triumph, or one of a maniacal fiend who just lost his long lived prey, but instead a face of someone who’s worn out. It is almost as if grabbing the Hougyouku was something he worked hard for, yet isn’t the reward he sought. Whether he wants to claim the Hougyouku as his price or not, Aizen won’t give it to him, even in death.

Betrayed

Yes Aizen, when someone close to you leaves, it often feels like there’s a hole left where your heart should be…

Just as Gin’s fingers wrap around the Hougyoku, Aizen suddenly finds the strength to reach out to the Hougyoku again. Gin uses some acrobatics to secure the Hougyoku before he Shunpo’s the heck out of there. Having spent his last energy on trying to grab hold of the Hougyoku, Aizen’s knees succumb to the pain and fatigue of having one’s chest gouged out -it must be hard to breathe without lungs, a heart, esophagus etc.- as he goes down for a second time. Aizen’s lifeless body hits the ground for a brief moment as he quietly says Gin’s name… A scream suddenly rises from Aizen’s mouth as he suddenly finds the strength to not only get up, but to regenerate the gaping hole in his chest as well. But rather reserving a space to put the Hougyoku back into, Aizen’s body regenerates with a hole in his chest with a cross in the center, where the Hougyoku once resided. Waking up from the dead is clearly something we haven’t seen Aizen do yet as we can see from the rather unusual expression of pure rage on Aizen’s face. My guess is that regenerating ones vital organs and flesh is painful when counteracting a deadly poison . But new flesh isn’t the only thing that comes into Aizen’s chest as a blast of energy makes it way out as well. In spite of Kamishini no Yari’s deadly venom killing Aizen, it wasn’t enough to kill him dead -yes, there’s a difference . Apparently the fusion between Aizen and the Hougyoku is stronger than a simple symbiosis as Aizen now shares the same invulnerability as the crystal from what we see here. But can we say for certain that Aizen is still the same old Aizen as before, or could this be the Hougyouku seeking revenge? Whatever becomes of Aizen now, we can at least say that this wasn’t an illusion. It would seem that Gin actually managed to find out Kyouka Suigetsu’s weakness for real!

Ichimaru Gin and the Hougyoku

Not to be confused with Harry Potter and the Philosophers’ stone

As Reiatsu pours from Aizen, we find Gin hiding inside of Karakura town in the shadows of an alley. Like we saw at the start of this chapter, Gin has a rather uncharacteristic look on his face again. Going by the Gin we all know and love, by now he should be looking towards the area Aizen’s at with a smile with a “yare yare Aizen-taichou”, followed by a snappy remark. Instead, Gin has his eyes on the Hougyoku which he still holds in his hand. We then see that Aizen can be just as deadly to powerful Shinigami as he can be to mortals as a part of Gin’s arm disappeared after Aizen reached out to him. But it seems that the missing part of Gin’s right arm was worth the price of obtaining the Hougyoku. Gin affirms he obtained the Hougyoku as he tightly grabs hold of it as he suddenly thinks to himself that everything’s finally over now that he has it. But what is over now? What could Gin have obtained or completed by getting the Hougyoku from Aizen? Sadly we get no answer as all of a sudden a bigger blast of Reiatsu takes shape behind Gin. One thing I have to point out here is the picture I put up above this paragraph. Looking at Gin’s face on the right panel, he looks like a completely different person to me for some strange reason. Somehow he doesn’t look like the fox he pretended to be, or the snake he claimed to be last week. Instead he actually looks… you know… like a good guy of some sorts… I really can’t place it, but there’s something about that panel that really piques my interest… Perhaps this is where we finally get a view of the real Gin, the one only Rangiku knew.

Oberon, king of the fairies

Just when we thought Aizen couldn’t look stranger…

From the pillar of light comes another brand new Aizen. The long hair and white are still there, though slightly different, along with Kyouka Suigetsu. But this time his legs are still wrapped by the white material, making it look like he’s wearing a dress -a kilt would have been manlier-, there’s a black hole in his chest with a cross in the middle, and three sets of Hell-butterfly wings growing from Aizen’s lower back. We have to hand it to him; Aizen really took the butterfly stages all the way. The other thing that changed is around his neck and his forehead. From the black hole with the cross in Aizen’s chest -or four openings if you will- there comes a black pattern which reminds me a bit of a tree or a crack that’s made by the Hougyoku’s restoration. At first I thought it was residual damage from Gin’s attack, but assuming Aizen actually has a hole in his chest -which is plausible with this being Bleach and Aizen technically having become something similar to a Vizard/Arrancar minus the mask- this black pattern coming from it may be similar to the ones Ichigo has on his mask. But the only thing Aizen has on his head right now instead of a mask, besides even more hair than before, is a small protrusion on his forehead, almost like a horn. Still, some part of me hopes that Aizen now has a Hollow hole in his chest now. Even though it is unlikely that Aizen can be killed by Gin in spite of Kamishini no Yari’s ability and Gin’s power, I’d be satisfied by Gin leaving a hole in Aizen’s chest just because Aizen hated the idea of becoming anything similar to a Hollow .
I mentioned the possibility that Aizen actually died and the Hougyoku’s consciousness took over instead a couple of paragraphs back and in past predictions I actually saw that coming. But the sheer arrogance of Oberon Aizen’s -tentative title for this form- words confirms that it is still the same old Aizen we love to hate. Aizen tells Gin that he already won even without the Hougyoku inside him as it still belongs to him. The fusion with the Hougyoku apparently made it unnecessary for Aizen to actually have the Hougyoku inside of him. Gin looks at the palm of his hands as he finds the Hougyoku glowing in a bright light, much to his surprise. Aizen seems to react to this light as all of a sudden nothing is left of him in the sky except for some strange outlines of his wings. Perhaps this pattern of light are the remains of light that was reflecting from Aizen, meaning Oberon Aizen actually traveled faster than the speed of light, while negating light at the same time. Aizen suddenly appears next to Gin with a bright light shining from the hole in his chest. Perhaps the opening is waiting to be filled with the Hougyouku again, or maybe it is just a tracking light. All we know is that Gin’s tracked down already as the hunter became the hunted.

Deja view

Where puppy love started…

As Aizen appears in front of Gin, we catch another glimpse of what we saw at the start of this chapter. We once more see how Curly hands the mysterious object over to Aizen. Gin was apparently thinking back to what he just saw, especially recalling how Curly was holding the strange light close to him. We then see a somewhat younger Gin walking through the forest. The reason I say it is a younger Gin is because he is now wearing a different outfit from the one he wore at the start of this chapter, yet there’s still something that has to take place. Let me clear things up a bit as this can be somewhat confusing. On page 18 we see Gin standing behind a tree looking at the three stooges. This Gin with the black robe is carrying some food with him rather than the twigs we just saw him with at the start of this chapter. As the stooges walk away, Gin suddenly sees none other than Rangiku lying on the ground. Rangiku is lying next to the remains of a burnt down tree, beaten up and collapsed due to hunger. How do I know she collapsed due to hunger? Take a close look at chapter 129, where you will see the same Rangiku we see here, though we now find out that this is moments before the two of them met. Apparently this was a flashback of flashback Gin, who is still hiding in the bushes looking at Aizen and the three stooges. He then looks at Aizen and sees that Aizen is the boss of the stooges, concluding he’s the guy he has to-…
With this we have the following things:

  • Three stooges who are working for Aizen
  • A collapsed Rangiku due to a lack of spiritual force (see chapter 129)
  • Gin finding the starving Rangiku (who was starving due to her losing her reiatsu) and introducing himself to her
  • Three stooges presenting a light that can be added to the Hougyoku(?)
  • Aizen adding that light to the Hougyoku(?)
  • Gin finding out Aizen was the one behind the stooges and swearing to [blank]

Well then my dear Watsons, let’s see what we can deduce from these events then, shall we? The three stooges were most likely gathering Reiatsu around Rukongai, an area that was probably left in their care. This Reiatsu was being kept by Curly, the one who kept giving it to Aizen who added it to the box containing a crystal that looks like the Hougyoku. One of the stooges’ victims was Rangiku, who was attacked and robbed of her Reiatsu by them only moments before Gin and Rangiku first met. Some time after Gin and Rangiku got to know each other, he was out gathering twigs. There’s a small chance that this was taking place during winter, though we can’t see any snow right now. Of course, Gin was gathering twigs inside a forest with plenty of trees, so it is still possible that it is winter when he first saw Aizen. This could mean that this flashback is happening just moments after Rangiku woke up to find Gin missing. The way Gin reacts to Aizen’s presence, where he actually opens his eyes to take in his visage, suggests that he has a good reason to make him his prey. His words suggest that something happened with the three stooges, and he blames Aizen for that as the mastermind behind this scheme. The only victim Gin knows, that we know of, is Rangiku. Could this mean that Gin made Aizen his target for Rangiku’s sake?

Divine retribution

Cutting it out is just a saying Aizen, just a saying…

The decision Gin made at that time, for whatever reason it might have been, has resulted in this. Gin joined the Gotei 13 and came out as one of the best while clearing the training to Shinigami in only a fraction of the required time. This probably caught Aizen’s eye, which resulted in the slaughtering of the third seat of the fifth division we saw in the Turn Back the Pendulum arc. Since then, Gin has stayed by Aizen’s side in order to learn his weaknesses and to find the right moment to strike. To achieve this, he became a merciless killer, a cold-blooded snake, who posed as an unreliable wicked fox for 100 years, instead of the kind boy Rangiku first met. In these 100 years Gin probably killed countless people, betrayed all of Soul Society, only to attempt to murder Aizen after 100 years and obtaining the Hougyoku for that single purpose. He threw everything away he ever was and ever had, for that single moment. In spite of all of this, he now meets his end at the Aizen’s hand who cuts down the only man he ever thought he could trust, if only a little, with the blade whose secrets Gin learned after decades of work. To make matters worse, Gin’s even had to betray the person for who he probably did all of this and had to deceive her for over a century. I’m honestly surprised that he didn’t get along better with Tousen who also sacrificed everything for his revenge. I guess Ichigo was right on the mark when he said he couldn’t read Gin. It is hard to find the real man behind someone who is pretending to be a devious fox, while pretending to be a murderous snake, while actually being something completely different. With almost everything about Gin revealed and Aizen seeking revenge, does this spell the end for our beloved treacherous fox? Guess we’ll have to wait until the next chapter to find that out.

I really have mixed feelings about this chapter. On the one hand we seemingly lost a great would be villain. On the other hand, we’ve found a person so desperate for revenge he gave up everything he had. Somehow I’m going to miss the psychopathic murderer Gin could have been, yet this true Gin has something about him as well. Seeing the moment Gin set his sights on Aizen and decided to follow him was what I’ve been waiting a long time for. The only disappointing thing about all of this is the fact that Aizen suddenly possessed what seems to be the Hougyoku at a time he shouldn’t have it. Still, it adds to the mystery of Aizen, which I don’t mind all that much. Gin then taking the Hougyouku from Aizen before killing him once was pretty awesome as well. Aizen coming back as Oberon Aizen, king of the fairies, wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for as I just don’t see him fighting Ichigo in an epic battle. But the fact that Aizen came back from the dead while transforming suggests that Aizen will keep improving himself every time he is killed, meaning we’re probably -hopefully- far from Aizen’s final form. Aizen cutting down Gin at the end of the chapter certainly looked like the end of something great, but does it really end here?

This chapter gave us some material to speculate on several things. I’ve worked out the part on Gin throughout the review, so I’ll leave it up to you guys to help me fill in the blanks and whatnot. But this chapter gave us a new mystery altogether, the would-be Hougyoku. As I pointed out, Aizen shouldn’t be in its possession at this time as it should have been with its inventor Urahara. Is it possible that the Hougyoku Aizen had in his possession during this flashback was stolen from Urahara and later returned, or could it be a pseudo-Hougyouku Aizen tried to create by himself?

Well then, a prediction… I’ve got one!
Next week Gin will fall -duh- though he’ll still be alive. Aizen will take the Hougyouku from Gin as he gives a lifelong speech on how Gin betrayed him along with the usual Aizen arrogance. Gin will try to stay alive as long as he can, but not before Rangiku makes her appearance for one final time. Aizen will then deal a fatally fatal wound to Rangiku -same as with the killing dead, there’s a difference – as she drops near Gin. Gin will panic as he once more tries to get up to kill Aizen, but to no avail as the cut in his chest is too much for him to handle. Rangiku will then ask Gin the question she had to ask him on top of the building, or perhaps we’ll find out what really happened on top of the building through another flashback. We will find out the answer to Rangiku’s question, only moments before she tries to declare her love/gratitude/both to Gin, only for Aizen to kill her dead, for real. Gin will then fly into a rage in order to kill Aizen, only for Ichigo to show up to stand between the two of them. Ichigo will ask Gin what the hell happened, learning the weakness of Kyouka Suigetsu in the process, only for Gin to die and Aizen’s scheme moving forward once more.

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! Rumors have it that there’s no Jump next week, so we may have to wait a while longer. Whether it’s next week, or the week after that, I’ll see you 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

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~ by The Underscore on August 5, 2010.

4 Responses to “The Underscore’s Bleach review 415”

  1. GODAMIT KUBO!
    sigh,… well at least it wasnt an illusion. but if gin really dies like this…
    personaly, my hope is that aizen is wrong about the hogyoku only obeying him, and that gin made contact with its will and got it to listain to its will. then maybe when aizen remerges with it, it will attack him from the inside or something. but no, aizen cannot ever lose at anything, he wins all battles and mind games just cause hes aizen. and cause he can. just… fuck you kubo, fuck you.

  2. Hello ! Long time no see. I am glad I found some time to read and reply to your reviews. It’s the first time I read so many Bleach chapters altogether and I can say the last ones definitely managed to impress me.

    First of all, Deicide is definitely the mini arc that Kubo promised us at some point of the previous Winter. Things became much clearer about what the title means. Gin’s attemp to kill Aizen. Since this last week’s chapter was a Deicide again I am wondering if Kubo will continue this title. It’s very important cause if he continues with the Deicide pattern then we can make some assumptions about a certain’s character “health”.

    Anyways, let’s try to give you my ideas about the “head-spinning” question which shortly is : “Why the fuck is Hougyoku into Aizen’s hands at this point of the storyline”.

    My first thought was that it’s not Hougyoku. But Gin proved this a bit improbable with his phrase :”With this, it’s all over”. That thing in vice-captain Aizen’s hands must be Hougyoku, the one that Aizen is fused with in the present time. Gin saw his old master here taking Hougyoku in his hand, and that was the time he realised that this “guy” was the boss, the one who should kill. Killing Aizen and taking Hougyoku from him is what completes his plan, the one he had for more than 100 years. Gin was sure about that and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t believe him too.

    Another thought : no one said that Aizen made only one attempt to steal Hougyoku from Urahara. Maybe at a point he managed to temporarily steal the orb only for Urahara to reclaim it back. I doubt this theory’s validity tbh. I find it a bit difficult to believe that Aizen stole Hougyoku using 3 thungs and more than 100 years later he needed a meticulous, complicated, Xanatos-Gambit plan to do it. Neither that Urahara could simply “reclaim” it back. What remains ?

    There is no Hougyoku. There are Hougyoku(s). Really, the theory itself doesn’t have any in-manga clue to be supported. It is simply suggested by the argument that every other theory seems improbable. And see I didn’t limit Hougyoku Orbs to only 2 but there maybe more. Aizen may be a collector and he is after Hougyoku for more time than we thought. I’ll be no surprised at this point to see Orihime and Ishida getting into Aizen’s chamber at Las Noches and finding there another Hougyoku (and all this according to Aizen’s plan). Seriously, this theory is nearly cracky and it doesn’t go well with some of the story (if Aizen had other Hougyoku then why during the TBTP arc he was experimenting hollowification and not only that but later admitted that the Orb was the only way for a perfect hybrid?)

    That’s all I can think of. I am pretty sure Kubo will clear this issue and I hope he’ll do it soon.

    One note : I hate Gin. I am kidding of course but I am waiting so many years for Aizen to make the Key and literally introduce the Royal Realm into the story. When Aizen finally decided to make it Gin betrayed him. (Argh…). And assuming that Ichigo is going to join the fray pretty soon this will be postponed or maybe cancelled. I am pretty worried about Aizen in this form. Every other person who changed his form from a human to a “monster” he ended up dead. But since Aizen is so much wrapped up to the plot and right now he seems to be too important character to be killed, he may survive the upcoming battle with the hero. I mean that latest flashback of Gin only added more to the mystery called “Aizen”. I can’t see him dying now. Unless a possible death comes with an explanatory flashback.

    Ah, that’s for now. There are so many things I want to discuss about the psst chapters but you’ll probably have discussed it with others so I am not gonna make you repeat some things. I think I’ll take a look into your previous reviews. Excuse my poor spelling/grammar, it’s pretty late here.

  3. @takashid: Since you’ll be going to Japan to hit Kubo anyway, would you mind getting me his autograph first? 😉
    Going by my personal prediction, Gin won’t be dying yet. Heck, for all we know he actually did get a Hollowfication and he might regenerate… Too bad we have to wait two weeks to get the answer…

    @Kuroi: With the Deicide chapters already closing into the 20’s, it’s save to say that this is the mini-arc Kubo spoke of. Doesn’t change the fact that I was hoping for something different, but the arc is still interesting.
    This matter with the Sousuke brand Hougyoku really is troublesome. But now that you mention the possibility of multiple Hougyokus, it reminds me that we don’t know how and when Urahara created the crystal. For all we know the process left multiple crystals/crystal shards, of which the majority were duds due to a lack of Reiatsu. This could explain why Aizen and Urahara both had one and why Aizen is gathering Reiatsu…If only time could fly a bit so we could get the next 100 chapters of Bleach 😦 -that’s right one hundred, I want more Bleach :p-.
    As for Gin and Aizen, guess we’ll have to wait and see how things’ll go during this mini-arc. I believe we could expect two more arcs after this one, if memory serves me. Aizen could die at the end of the first of these two arcs, leaving an opening for a true final villain -perhaps the real ruler of Hueco Mundo- to reveal itself. But as we’re talking about Aizen I doubt it will happen any time soon.

  4. Underscore: im on the wall about that actually. i did like some things about this chapter, like the fact that aizen did not just pop up and say “lol illusions. also, lol you suck and i am awesome. did i mention im awesome? yeah, awesome. now die” and kill gin. he actually took damage and looked really pissed and hurt about it. my problom is that he immediatly digivolves himself into another form, losses all the damage, and apparently kills gin. if this is really it for gin then kubo wasted his whole character just to fake us out (again) with aizen maybe dying. i will be furious if this happens, even if gin has an emotional death scene and a flashback. but dont worry, 🙂 ill make sure to get the autographs first (one for me obviously!) if the time comes.

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