The Underscore’s Bleach review 416


416 Deicide 18 [The End]

First chapter review on my shiny new computer with a great chapter to boot and the time to review it on a Thursday after finally getting my last grades and officially getting my master’s degree. Could things get any better? One can always hope, right? Thus we come to the final review I’m going to write… for the Deicide arc () as the title of this week’s chapter suggests that this is the end of the Deicide chapters. After 18 chapters, this mini-arc most likely will have come to its end, and it goes out with a bang. Enough about this, let’s get to this week’s chapter using the Mangastream/Binktopia release. Thanks go out to the three of them who managed to give us this week’s chapter and of course to Kubo for this awesome arc.

Bleach chapter 415, Deicide 17, after being rated by 54 voters gets an average score of:

7.4

Great

Gin revealed a whole other side to himself in the previous chapter. Going from the merciless psychopathic fox snake to the merciless psychopathic boy who did everything for a girl he liked certainly was great to see in my opinion. But what did 72 of you think?

Two voters gave their take on Gin as they left a reply. Be sure to check out their replies in the review for Deicide 17.
Two others felt they could finally relate to Gin now that they finally know why he did it. Let’s make sure not to get these two angry .
Three voters felt Gin had been ruined by those pesky things called “emotions”. Gin’s performance was so great that people wanted more, but like all plays it has to end at one point.
Four voters felt Gin could have been an awesome villain with all he had going. But they still think Aizen’s a better villain. That doesn’t bode good for Gin, now does it?
Then we have five voters who don’t really care about Gin. Guess the story of one man pales in comparison to the overarching story of Bleach.
Eight voters were pretty clear on their thoughts: ‘ I want my treacherous snake Gin back now!’, need I say more?
The other side of the Gin fans, nine of them, still hold undying love for Gin, whether they liked these developments or not.
Eleven voters were impressed by Gin’s character development, but they didn’t really like the way it was worked out. Part of me agrees with this lot, though I already gave my opinion in the review of course .
Twelve Gin fans were happy to finally have witnessed the real Gin. Perhaps he was all they hoped he would be, or maybe his true self only made their love for him grow.
That leaves us with one final option and sixteen voters. Most of the votes went to this option as these sixteen voters believe Gin had great character development and thought Kubo worked it out great.
Hopefully this chapter’s developments keep all the Gin fans satisfied.

Bleach Year

It’s raining strawberries!

2010 is the year of BLEACH for Jump and with only three and a half months left, Kubo is reminding us of this little fact by taking the cover and giving us this four (!!!) page color spread. Where has the time gone? Starting with the 15 year old student who just happened to be able to see spirits around 10 years ago only to end up as a being who surpasses the limits of any creature in the Bleach universe 10 years later. Most of the seven Ichigo’s we see in the color spread all represent a phase in Ichigo’s development where he has mastered that ability. Let’s quickly glance at the phases, shall we?
First we have student Ichigo, who has the ability to interact with all spirits, including Shinigami and Hollows, in spite of being a living being. When he was young, he wasn’t even able to distinguish between the living and the dead. After his mother’s death, however, he made sure he would be able to distinguish between both, which resulted in the guy who stomped on four guys who knocked over a small offering to a girl in chapter 1 -oh, how nostalgic… anyone ever notice Shinji was already shown in chapter 1?- just because he’s a good guy.
Then we have the first stage Shinigami-Ichigo. He started off as a kid with an oversized Zanpakutou after obtaining his powers from Rukia, only to be trained by her to work in a manner befitting of a member of the Gotei 13 under her guidance. Without the access to any Kidou, of course.
But things couldn’t stay that way as a meeting with Renji and Byakuya forced him to immerse himself even further into the Shinigami realm. Under the tutelage of a wacky storekeeper he regained his old Shinigami powers and finally got to learn the name of his Zanpakutou, Zangetsu, which resulted in his permanent-Shikai state Zanpakutou. During a fight with Kenpachi, he learned how to become one with Zangetsu and managed to (miraculously) knock down the undead captain. But Ichigo’s luck ran out as it was impossible for him to rescue Rukia from the Gotei 13 with only a Shikai.
Going from the tutelage of a wacky storekeeper he began to train under an exhibitionistic female cat in order to obtain the greatest power a Shinigami could get: Bankai. Using a training method developed by the wacky storekeeper, he eventually obtained his Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu. The final battle to free Rukia made Ichigo use his Bankai to the fullest, but the fight already showed us signs of what could come when Ichigo’s inner-Hollow interrupted the fight for a moment…
The fifth phase of Ichigo’s development is the Visored Ichigo. With his inner-Hollow threatening to take over, Ichigo is suddenly approached by a wacky palm-tree who offers to help him crush that monster. Ichigo crushed that monster and then went on to be trained by a frustrated monkey in order to gain control over his newfound power. But it was not until he faced off against the destructive panther for the last time that he came to master the Hollow’s power… or did he?
The sixth phase of Ichigo’s development is the monster known as Neo-Ichigo/Ichigonator. When Ichigo practically died at the hands of the nihilistic bat, a cry for help from the princess summoned the only power Ichigo hasn’t controlled by his own will. Being unable to control that power, Ichigo started to fear his own power and lost control over his Hollow side once more. But with the arrogant schemer revealing how he had a hand in everything Ichigo experienced over the course of the story, he had to obtain the power to defeat that man. Enter the bearded daruma.
This brings us to the seventh phase of Ichigo’s development of which we only catch a small glimpse as this phase seems to be far ahead of any power Ichigo had until now. This is an Ichigo who trained for three months under his father’s watchful eye in order to surpass a Godlike creature. This final Ichigo, who was also trained by someone with ties to Urahara, same as most of the other accomplishments, would be the result of about 10 years of Bleach. Does this mean Ichigo managed to defeat the Arrancar-Zangetsu and obtain the final Getsuga Tenshou? Or is this only a glimpse of what will come with the ten-year anniversary of Bleach? Let’s take a look-see, shall we?

Fall of the villainous hero

To die at the hands of butterflAizen… so long foxy snake

Last week’s chapter ended with Gin being cut down by butterflAizen -the best name given to this Aizen I’ve seen on forums – after he revealed his true nature to Aizen and killed Aizen followed by taking the Hougyoku. We see Rangiku, alive and crawling under the Bakudou Hakufuku. As we saw in the last chapter, Gin has done everything he did for Rangiku, so killing her would be rather unproductive. In spite of Gin having left a while ago, Rangiku isn’t able to free herself from the Hakufuku as she is struggling to get to Gin as quickly as she can. We then go back to Gin and Aizen, where Kyouka Suigetsu made its way through Gin’s chest. In spite of Gin’s efforts to separate Aizen from the Hougyoku, the orb is still bound to Aizen even when separated. The Hougyoku in Gin’s hand starts to disintegrate and reconstruct itself in the center of Aizen’s chest making Gin realize that his efforts were futile in the end. With the elusive Hougyoku disappearing once more, Gin thinks back to when he first learned of its true nature.

The mystery deepens

Now he’s just being childish with his: “I thought of it first”.. really Aizen… really?

Aizen is apparently a really sore loser as we catch a glimpse of him standing behind one of the computers of the (presumably) twelfth division. This takes place after the events in the Turn Back The Pendulum arc, as we can see from Aizen’s haori. This is probably one of the conversations Aizen had with Gin after that all took place, possibly following after a question about the Hougyoku. Aizen then reveals that he came to the conclusion known as the Hougyoku before Urahara -hence the sore loser part-, though he admits that his Hougyoku was a failure. This confirms my suspicions of Aizen having made a Sousuke brand Hougyoku, while Urahara made the Urahara brand Hougyoku. It would seem that the event with the three stooges we saw in the last chapter, was indeed part of a scavenging for Reiatsu from people in Rukongai and Shinigami. Aizen used their Reiatsu in order to complete his own Hougyoku. But Aizen’s efforts were for naught as the Hougyoku would not confirm to its creator’s wishes as it wasn’t satisfied. Notice how Aizen refers to the Hougyoku as a sentient being already, proving he knew of a Hougyoku’s will already. But this Sousuke brand Hougyoku was as unsatisfied with what he had as its creator was with what he had, which meant they both needed something even greater. This brought them to Urahara and his Hougyoku. My guess is that Aizen and Urahara both had the desire to break the boundaries of Hollows and Shinigami, be it for two slightly different reasons. Aizen presented Urahara’s Hougyoku to his own in order to complete the Hougyoku, which resulted in something we don’t know yet. But when did Aizen present that Hougyoku to Urahara’s? Judging from this flashback, he did it before this conversation between Gin and Aizen took place. Judging from the angle of which we are seeing Aizen here, Gin isn’t much older than he was during the TBTP arc. This would mean that Aizen actually presented the orbs to each other before Urahara escaped Soul Society, as Urahara took it with him. But with Aizen referring to the Visoreds as shoddy Arrancars, I’d say the only difference could be that they weren’t exposed to a completed Hougyoku. But who says there was only one completed Hougyoku? Perhaps the orbs completed each other, resulting in two different crystals. The only reason I believe there is but a single orb, is Gin.

Let’s give Aizen a hand

Just be careful, give him a hand and the jerk takes your entire arm

As the Hougyoku rebuilds itself in the center of Aizen’s Hollow(ish) hole, Gin makes a final effort to take it from Aizen again. It would seem that Gin has to take the Hougyoku from Aizen, no matter what the cost. Something tells me that Gin wants to take the Hougyoku away from Aizen for a purpose, most likely having to do with Rangiku. Of course, this doesn’t confirm that this is the only Hougyoku left, at all. Aizen did show Orihime another Hougyoku before, and the Sousuke brand Hougyoku was the one that was active when Rangiku was assaulted by the three stooges. So for all we know, the Hougyoku that’s inside of Aizen is the Sousuke brand, while the Urahara brand is still hidden in Las Noches. Then again, with Aizen admitting to Urahara that he managed to complete the Hougyoku, where Aizen failed, would suggest that there is a single Hougyoku, where the Urahara brand absorbed the Sousuke brand. But I digress.
Gin reaches out to the Hougyoku with his final strength, showing us the injury he sustained the first time he took the Hougyoku from Aizen. Without even flinching, Aizen then cuts off Gin’s right arm -it seemed like he tore it off the first time, but with a piece of Gin’s sleeve still being there I’m going with the cutting- only to stab him a moment later. Aizen then deals a final blow to Gin, Aizen-style. Gin’s attempt to murder Aizen was an actual threat to Aizen, or so it would seem. Aizen explains that he needed fear of annihilation in order to evolve. This explains how Aizen evolved so rapidly throughout the past few battles, but also shows us that Aizen actually confirms that he had fears during all his scheming. Gin, being the snake he pretended to be, was always lurking behind Aizen, always looking for an opportunity to kill him and take back what Aizen took from him and Rangiku. Aizen knew that Gin had the potential to actually accomplish this, which turns out to be the exact reason he always kept him with him and why he saw him as his one true vice-captain. Aizen then thanks Gin for everything he’s done for him before he deals the final blow. This final blow sends Gin flying towards Keigo and the others as he is thrown into the rubble.

The first farewell

Tousen would have been proud of you Gin…

As Gin and Aizen arrive in the same street Keigo and the others are, everyone but Keigo starts losing consciousness as they struggle to stay awake in ButterflAizen’s presence. With Gin being taken out it is obvious that only one man can stop Aizen now… KEIGO vs. AIZEN!!!… can you really blame me with what Kubo’s done here? Keigo is the one who is in the best shape right now, so blame Kubo for making me bring up Keigo vs. Aizen again .
Before the epic battle can ensue, Gin thinks back to the moment he became the poisonous snake that would pretend to be a fox. We see Rangiku running towards Gin, asking him where he’s been and how he obtained Shinigami clothes. Gin then reveals to her (and us) that he’s decided to become a Shinigami in order to obtain the power to change things without Rangiku having to cry. A simple idea, be it incredibly difficult to pull off. Apparently it is necessary to kill Aizen in order to achieve this goal, but that’s beside the point. What we see here is Gin, without a Zanpakutou, wearing a Shinigami robe while he has a couple of blood spatters on his face… Last time we saw how Gin caught a glimpse of the Three Stooges after they met up with Aizen again. Now we have Gin who, in spite of not being a Shinigami, has a Shinigami robe while his face is covered in someone else’s blood… We haven’t even seen all of the Three Stooges since then, so I’d say it isn’t too much of a long shot to conclude that Gin actually murdered at least one of them only a short while before he met up with Rangiku here. This means that an untrained boy managed to kill a fully equipped and trained Shinigami with his bare hands (!). To make matters even more interesting, there’s something that Ramirez pointed out in a reply. Remember Curly from last week? Ramirez pointed out that he looks an awful lot like the fourth division vice-captain who has been revealed recently in the Masked data book. Let’s face it, we’ve only caught a glimpse of him in the second TBTP chapter, which was at least a while before Gin joined the Gotei 13, possibly years before that. We don’t even know what happened to Yamada that made Unohana choose a different vice-captain. We don’t even know whether he was there after Gin joined the fifth squad and killed one of the seated officers as the final meeting we saw in the TBTP arc had no vice-captains present. So taking all of this into account along with the fact that Aizen was scared of Gin, it is possible that Gin killed a vice-captain before receiving any training at all. I must say, this Deicide arc really is showing off just how impressive Gin actually is/was.

The final farewell

Talk about a wasted century… he could’ve had the girl but instead spent time with a man turned butterfly…

Gin is called back from the flashback by the present day Rangiku who cries out to him. As Gin feels his life ending he sees Rangiku for one last time. After giving everything up for her sake, all his plans failed due to Aizen’s unprecedented power. All he wanted to do was make sure she’d never have to cry again, but now that his life is coming to an end he can’t see to that anymore. He wasn’t able to take the Hougyoku from Aizen, which apparently was a requirement for Rangiku’s happiness. Going by Gin’s final thoughts, the Reiatsu that the Stooges took from Rangiku was more important than we thought at first. Unless it is just Gin giving more value to everything that’s part of Rangiku than it is, seeming as how Rangiku managed to become a Vice-captain even after some Reiatsu was taken from her in the past. With his energy spent, Gin can’t even hear Rangiku’s final words to him, though he realizes that it’s a good thing he apologized to her in the end. Rangiku wasn’t even able to hold Gin for a last time as he dies after he sees her for a final time as she realizes that Gin has now passed away. As Rangiku bursts out into tears, we see that Aizen isn’t all too happy at this sight at all. Perhaps he is crossed with the fact that Gin had so much trouble with killing Rangiku that he didn’t do it in the end, yet didn’t even blink when he murdered him. Or maybe he is paying his final respects to the man Gin pretended to be, Aizen’s greatest ally. Be it as it may, the deicide has failed as the man turned God is bigger and badder than ever before. Now we have five of Ichigo’s friends/classmates/person he doesn’t want to be his friend (Don Kanonji ) who are about to be killed by Aizen, Af-san, a brokenhearted Rangiku, and a deceased Gin, meaning there’s nothing stopping Aizen from finishing his plans. With Keigo being in the best shape of everyone there -besides Aizen- it is finally time for the most epic battle to ensue! Aizen vs….

The Deathberry strikes back

NOOOOO Where’s my Keigo vs. Aizen , why do you keep doing this to me Kubo!!

Another Shinigami’s foot steps down on the rubble, but this time it’s the Shinigami-substitute we’ve been waiting for all this time. Kurosaki Ichigo makes his entrance at the end of this arc, carrying his dad and with a new look. Where to start? Well, first off, there’s Isshin. Isshin is obviously spent after keeping the currents in the Dangai away from them for three months, so it makes sense for him to be knocked out here.
But I wouldn’t put it past these two that the following happened:
Three months have passed in the Dangai
Isshin: We have to stop now, I’d better get Ichigo back from the Zanken… [stands up, walks back a bit, runs towards Ichigo as he jumps feet first towards his son]. GOOOOD MOOORNIIII~~… I’ll leave the rest to your imagination
Aizen, of course, is looking rather entertained now that Ichigo has made his appearance again. Perhaps this means that he is content with Ichigo’s progress, or just wasn’t expecting him to show up already as time flew while playing with Gin for the last time. Whether he saw this coming, or not, the look on Aizen’s face suggests we can expect another Aizen speech at the beginning of next week’s chapter.
Then there’s the only acceptable substitute for Keigo in this battle, better known as Ichigo. He certainly changed in comparison to the last time we saw him bleeding from the mouth while drowning in fear. Starting from the top, Ichigo’s hair got longer. But let’s face it, he’s been stuck in the Dangai for three months, so it could be that his hair just grew longer as he didn’t have the time or means to cut it. Of course, hair growth somehow seems to be tied to greater power. Take Aizen and Neo-Ichigo for example. Perhaps this is a sign that Ichigo actually underwent some form of permanent transformation after subjugating Arrancar-Zangetsu, same as Aizen. Let’s face it, Aizen already mentioned that fear is important for evolution a couple of pages ago, so to take arms against a sea of sorrow -woops, that’s Hamlet – fear should do the trick as well. Ichigo obviously got more than a different haircut as we could already guess from the color spread. While the Bankai robe seems to have remained the same for most parts, the missing right sleeve suggests that something did change. Going by Ichigo’s conversation with Unohana, the missing sleeve would suggest that Ichigo isn’t at full power right now. But then there’s the chain wrapped around the arm. The small chain at the end of Tensa Zangetsu’s (chained cutting moon) has now grown to such lengths that it actually can be wrapped around Ichigo’s entire arm and then leave an arm’s length of chain to spare. This actually reminds me of the first time Ichigo revealed his Bankai, where the white wrappings of Zangetsu covered his arm. But more interesting than the chain is the glove/gauntlet that is on Ichigo’s hand right now. Is this part of the final Getsuga Tenshou? The glove/gauntlet covers a big part of Ichigo’s hand, and could be the part that the chain around his arm is connected to. Sadly, the picture isn’t clear enough to show Tensa Zangetsu entirely right now as I can’t make out whether it still has the Ban seal as the guard and whether the chain is still attached to its end. If anything, the blade itself also seems to have gotten a little bit bigger, though this could be a small mistake on Kubo’s part. Though most likely he’s just keeping it hidden from us just to surprise us next week . I’m afraid this is all I can cover on this new look of Ichigo’s Bankai at this time, as this single picture only leaves room for speculation and gives us little to no answers. The only thing to point out is the look on Ichigo’s face in the last panel of this week’s chapter. The look in Ichigo’s eye is back to the one we all know and love, full of confidence and determination. But looking at the rest of his face, I see a lot of Tensa Zangetsu in him. Perhaps this Kubo’s way of showing that Ichigo has managed to tame Tensa Zangetsu into following him. Save the slightly tired look on Ichigo’s face, we can expect to see something good in the upcoming chapters. Now we just have to wait for a week before we see what this will amount to…

A lot happened in this week’s chapter. It was actually worth the two weeks wait if you asks me. Gin’s death didn’t go entirely as I had predicted in the previous review, but then again, it still worked out fine for me. The way everyone reacted to Gin’s death and the things surrounding it were worked out great by Kubo, so I’ve got to hand it to him -were it not for the fact that he might take my arm in the same way Aizen did to Gin – that he did a great job this week. In fact, this entire Deicide mini-arc was great in my opinion. Even though a couple of Deicides to place on the same God-like entity, the Deicide failed in the end. We lost a great character now that Gin has died, but luckily his death hasn’t been for nothing as it was great entertainment and the best way to stall for time with Aizen. The only thing that I regret about the Deicide arc is that it left things a bit unfinished with Gin, same as what happened with Tousen before. Hopefully these things will be covered in the Anime, same as Harribel’s story was covered in this week’s episode -confirming that the top 3 Espada were Vasto Lorde- which could also help to prevent another filler arc in the Anime -or at least postpone it a bit. With Gin meeting his end at Aizen’s hand, more information given on a second Hougyoku, Rangiku showing up to force the last bit of humanity out of Gin, Aizen making his way to Ichigo’s friends again, and finally Ichigo showing up at the end of the chapter to conclude the Arc, I’m expecting to see an awesome new arc starting next week. Unless Kubo decides to use a couple of transitional chapters that is…

This week’s chapter revealed that Aizen already came to the conclusion of the Hougyoku before Urahara. I can’t really say whether this has to do with Aizen concluding that the Hougyoku could be used to break the barrier between Hollow and Shinigami, or the Hougyoku’s true power. But the last part of that small flashback reveals that Aizen had put his own Hougyoku next to Urahara’s and that something happened. So here’s the thing to make your head spin: When did Aizen put the two Hougyoku’s together and what happened afterwards?

Next week’s chapter just has to start with a narration from Aizen. Aizen just can’t keep quiet, so he’s bound to give a long speech at the start of next week’s chapter. Aizen will then probably mention how he intended to kill Ichigo’s friends before he makes an attempt to kill them right in front of Ichigo. Ichigo will then reveal the true speed of the real Tensa Zangetsu by moving everyone away from harm’s way at a breakneck pace. He then tells Keigo and Tatsuki to look after his dad before assuring them that he’ll deal with Aizen. Aizen will then appear next to them again as he tells Ichigo that he has more friends that he could lose as he opens a Garganta to Las Noches, revealing Yammy along with the beaten up captains and his friends. Either that, or the scene changes to the fight with Yammy as it has been going on long enough without us seeing anything.

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! My apologies for not giving the “something different” I mentioned in the previous review. But I had quite a few things to do, so I just couldn’t find the time . Hopefully this review makes up for that. Though something tells me I may have overlooked a thing or two… oh well, you know where to reply . 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 August 19, 2010.

7 Responses to “The Underscore’s Bleach review 416”

  1. 2010 is the year of BLEACH for Jump and with only three and a half months ,
    what did u mean by this is bleach ending in that time?

  2. @someoneor:
    Since January 2010, Bleach has had the spine cover of Jump, meaning that when someone puts all the 2010 issues (or perhaps 52 of them) in his/her shelf it gives you one big picture of Bleach. This has been done as a means to count down to the 10 year anniversary of Bleach. Whether Bleach will end by then, or not, is something I can’t be sure about. But with at least one more bigger arc on the way, I highly doubt Kubo will wrap things up before the end of 2010.
    Here’s a picture of the spine cover art: http://i46.tinypic.com/10wse3p.jpg

  3. Better make this a long comment, its probably the only one that will be answered huh?
    first of all, great review as always. always fun to read. as to the chapter…
    and thus do Gin fans join the Ulquiorra, Grimmjow, Nel and all other arrancar fans praying that they will see their favorite characters again. sigh… kubo can redeem himself itseems. i said before that i would not accept gin being offed just to fake us out on killing aizen again, but since aizen did the deed with only a small amount of blabbing about how awesome he is, i didnt mind as much. and the GinRan scene was really sad and tragic. ichigo looks epic, but i really, REALLY hope we go back to hueco mundo mow. as you said, its been far to long since we saw them, and now that Deicide has finally ended, this is the perfect chance. i really have to question though, WTH ichigo is thinking, bringing his dad with him? he is going up against mr “make you stab your friends”(momo) aizen! his dad is ought of comisson, so why bring him to the battlefield where he will just be another target for aizen?

  4. I’m really that bad when it comes to replying, huh?… I’d love to tell you I’m going to check everything on a daily basis and reply at least once a day, but with my track record ‘^_^… At least you enjoyed the review, so at least I’ve done something right this week 😉 -that and replying to this reply ;P.

    It’s pretty strange with Bleach, just when you start liking the character, he suddenly disappears for a long time or dies. You get cranky that (s)he’s been gone for too long only for him/her to pop back again (the dead people being the exception).
    It would seem that Gin somehow managed to kill a part of Aizen, now that you mention it. He actually managed to seal Aizen’s ego, meaning Aizen’s rants on how awesome he is have shortened. Hopefully it will be a lasting change ;).
    As for the GinRan scene being sad and tragic… I was in such good spirits when I read the chapter it didn’t even get to me -I’m a horrible person, I know- the way it could have. Usually I can be a bit more empathic when it comes to characters and their soppy stories, but the chapter came out the wrong time I guess :p. Now to go on to Yammy’s fight (hopefully) so we can have some straightforward fighting that isn’t part of making Aizen invincible -as far as we know, that is.

    As for Ichigo bringing his father to the battlefield… You got me. The only thing I can think of is that he was in a hurry to make sure his friends would be alright. Leaving his dad in the Dangai wasn’t an option, though he could’ve dropped his dad off at home. That makes me wonder… where did the Dangai Ichigo and Isshin used open? Was it in the same location as Aizen and Gin, or somewhere else? More interesting: Did Isshin open the other side of the Dangai with his last strength, or did Ichigo open it like his father told him to a couple of chapters back? In any case, it certainly wasn’t Ichigo’s best idea to bring his father with him. Maybe he’ll leave him with Don Kanonji, as the two of them get along so well, taste in clothes and all :). Only time will tell…

  5. Hello there. Thanks for the review again and congrats for your Masters !

    This was one of your best reviews. I don’t know if it was your good mood or if it’s the new computer that inspired you but you hit the nail in all of your point. But enough with the compliments let me try to give an answer in that spin-head question. “What Happened When the 2 Hougyoku’s meet each other ?”

    First we know that Aizen was presenting his Hougyoku (from now on I’ll use the term Protogyoku – yeah I am lurking at MH forums :p) to hundreds of talented shinigami so he can finally “finalize” his own made Orb. But does “finalize” means “creating the Hougyoku that he is now fused with, the one that allowed him evolve into the supreme being” ? Probably yes. It is suggested from the 4th panel of page 7 that when that “meeting” happened he was then ready to use the Orb the way he is using it now. When he presented Urahara’s Hougyoku to his Protogyoku he finally managed to “complete” the Orb.

    It’s interesting to speculate which Hougyoku is the one on his chest. At first I thought it was Urahara’s but when Aizen said that neither of the Orbs were completed I started having second thoughts about it. We still can’t say if he is currently using his own or Urahara’s for sure.

    But we have a hint. We know that Protogyoku had the ability to “absorb” the energy (or whatever) for the individual that was presented on it. When the 2 Orbs met probably it was Protogyoku that was “finalized” by absorbing Hougyoku. Now by “absorbing” doesn’t necessarily means “merging with”. Even thought that’s a possibility I’d like to think that there are still 2 Orbs around. That would lead to some interesting twists. For a reason, I still believe that Orihime will find one of the Hougyokus back at Las Noches. There’s a reason why we haven’t seen her for a while. Don’t forget that she made a promise to herdelf that she’ll try to erase Hougyoku.

    And thinking about Orihime, there’s a good theory. I was checking this page again :

    http://manga.bleachexile.com/bleach-chapter-249-page-16.html

    When Aizen presented Orihime to the Hougyoku we see that the Orb is “damaged”. Aizen explained the fact as the damage inflicted by the repeated use. But what if that damage to Hougyoku is the result of the “meeting” of the 2 Orbs ? What if Protogyoku was “finalized” by absorbing and damaging Urahara’s Hougyoku ? This is a long shot as I doubt that TK had planned this when he was drawing the chapter 416. But wait, this is a place where we can share our theories right ? Even the crack-iest ones.

    I still believe that those few pages of chapter 416 are very important to the plot. Aizen presented Orihime to Hougyoku/Protogyoku and that’s a fact, I don’t believe that he did it as a “symbol of his trust – my ass – he doesn’t trust anybody. :p

    In any case, no matter how powerful Ichigo had become I can’t see Aizen dying now. Probably the outcome will be an Aizen’s strategic victory but not an Ichigo’s clear defeat. Aizen is way too bound to the plot to die here, no need to mention I can’t see another good way for the plot to proceed other than Aizen getting into the RR and the good guys going after him.

    Tbh I believe we are heading into a big and typical Aizen-ish “Just As Planned” moment again. Aizen wanted Ichigo to become more powerful, he was the one who destroyed kototsu (that train thing). His purpose is obviously to present Ichigo to his Hougyoku, as the last part of his plan. But who knows ? Maybe the first panel of the last page in chapter 416 is Aizen’s check-mate waiting only for his plan to unfold and reach at this stage. 😉

    PS : What is Ichigo thinking? We’ll have the battle of the 2 most powerful Shinigami inside a city full of sleeping people ? They have to change location somehow.

  6. Replace Chapter “416” with “249” in my post. ^^

  7. You’re welcome and thanks.
    I wonder whether this was one of my best reviews or not. But I guess I did do a decent job this time round. I’ve had so much luck the past few weeks that I can’t help but get inspired :). The amount of luck I’ve had may even be suspicious, though :|… Perhaps it’s a bad omen :(… Or maybe it’s something to make up for a crappy start of 2010, who knows :D. But enough about my impending doom caused by my running out of luck soon.
    So you’ve been prowling around mangahelpers have you? Guess I’m a bit more active there than I am over here… But I’m starting to make amends ;). Though I won’t get into the ‘Thing to make your head spin’, as it’s my policy to let you spin without influencing you more than I did in the review, so good luck with that :P. But you do raise some interesting points here and yes, this ís a place to share theories, no matter how crack-y they are -how else do you explain my weekly reviews?-, the crackier the better.
    We don’t really know how long the Hougyoku would take to restore the cracks we see in the page you’ve linked to, so it’s hard to say whether it is the same as the one inside of Aizen right now, or a different one. It could be the same one, as it could have restored itself after the fusion with/being subjugated by Aizen. If you’ve read some of my past reviews (reaaaaaly old ones) I may have mentioned the possibility of Orihime restoring the Hougyoku -though I can’t say for sure whether I wrote it down or not-, and with a second Hougyoku around it still is a possibility. In fact, it could be the best way to change scenes to Las Noches soon, if Ichigo somehow manages to beat the Hougyoku out of Aizen.
    Anyhow, on to non-‘Things to make your head spin’ related matters. I doubt things aren’t going according to Aizen’s calculations as well. A part of me already dreads the idea of having to review another chapter where Aizen reveals some mind boggling scheme that only adds to the mystery. Still, I can see Ichigo winning this round, even if Aizen comes back bigger and badder than ever.
    As for what Ichigo is thinking by fighting in Karakura town: I don’t think he intends to fight there. Let’s face it, Ichigo already attempted a surprise attack on Aizen before, yet he didn’t do it this time. Perhaps it is because he is carrying his father, though that’s just besides the fact as he could have dumped him (for a moment) to kill Aizen with a surprise attack from behind. But maybe he’s so powerful now that it would be bad for the town to be in the vicinity, so he could move the battlefield soon.

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