The Underscore’s Bleach review 428


428 The Known

Busy week for Bleach, with a regular chapter and a One-Shot tying in with the upcoming Bleach movie. This means two reviews this week! Before getting to the One-Shot, though, I’ll cover the regular chapter first. So here’s the Bleach review for chapter 428: The Known. Thanks go out to Binktopia/Mangastream for their scanlation, which I used for this week’s pictures.

Bleach chapter 427, A Delicious Dissonance, rated by 31 voters gets an average score of:

8.2

Great

Last week’s poll had little to do with the chapter, but I was curious whether there were some people out there who were willing to help me out with the review headers. I won’t bother you guys with the results on that poll, though I found three people who were ready and rearing to help out with the new headers. In contrast, there were 11 who never realized the review had headers in the first place… Anyways, to those who are still interested in helping me out with the headers, here’s what you can do:

Make a header for any of the following:
The Underscore’s Bleach review
The Chapter rating
The Poll results
The Chapter Overview
The Predictions
The Chapter rating link
The Posts that were lost, but not forgotten.

Criteria are that there’s Bleach in the headers along with the section’s name. If you can’t think of anything, I’d even be glad if you guys could help out by coloring the existing headers. Take your time working on these headers as I’m aiming to use the new headers in 2011. This gives you about a month to work on the new headers. In due time I’ll tell you how you can submit the headers.

But enough about my reviews, let’s get to my review for this week’s Bleach!

Confusion

Are you saying that the new Bleach movie is impossible to explain within the current timeline?

The chapter starts off with Ichigo’s conversation with Slickback. Ichigo doesn’t understand what Slickback is implying with his question, probably assuming that Slickback is still jerking him around. But Slickback explains that it is exactly as he says: How much does Ichigo really know about his family? Judging from the look on Ichigo’s face, Slickback hit the jackpot.

17 months ago, Ichigo found out that his father is a Shinigami who lived a mortal life. He told his father not to bother with explanations at that time, which was a good call considering the situation. But with 17 months having passed since then, it is safe to say that Ichigo must have been wondering about his family’s situation at least once or twice. Let’s not forget -how could we- that Ichigo was chosen by Aizen due to his origins. His sisters come from the same parents -unless there’s more to Ichigo than we know- yet one of them has no spiritual powers at all, while the other has taken over the family position of ghost magnet. Slickback’s words must be right on the mark. But just as Slickback tries to ask a more specific question, Ikumi displays a -to me- rather unexpected amount of sensibility by cutting Slickback’s question short.

Ikumi tells Slick to pack up and leave as the shop takes his request into consideration. Slickback tries to play it cool, mockingly pretending like he didn’t do anything wrong (yet) as he tells Ikumi he’ll leave her his contact info. Leaving the Unagiya shop with a possible new customer, Slickback gives Ichigo the lowdown to an interesting event taking place around this time. The location? The Urahara shop…

Party of three

Behold, from left to right: Sasakibe’s forgotten brother and Cirucci’s illegitimate cousin!

As Slickback steps out of the store, he is suddenly greeted by a girl mocking him for being treated so distantly by Ichigo. The fact that Slick was rejected by Ichigo, even though he brought him a gift, seems to be righteous according to the girl for not showing Ichigo to his comrades. Someone in the back seems to agree to this, much to Slick’s dismay. He asks Riruka and Kutsuzawa what they are doing there after explicitly telling them not to follow him.

Riruka, the girl who dresses like a maid of some sorts, tells Slick that she isn’t his servant and because of that doesn’t have to listen to his orders. She then starts a rant on how she would be more capable of wooing Ichigo to go along with whatever they are scheming. Looking at Riruka I get the same feel I had when I first saw Slick: FILLER CHARACTER. I’m hoping Kubo doesn’t give her red hair in an attempt to make her more interesting. Not that I have anything against gingers, mind you, it’s just that every Manga or Anime throws in redheads to make characters stand out more, especially when they were made for fillers. Besides, with Ichigo already being orange and Renji covering the redhair base, I’m praying Riruka will be a brunette at most, just to not give her the filler character feel. Other than this, Riruka also reminds me of both Cirucci and Mashiro a bit. Her pose seems to come from Mashiro, though the attitude (and the fact that I can imagine Pesche trying to look up her skirt) reminds me a bit of Cirucci. But I wonder how her character will work out…. let’s just say I’m not putting my hopes up just yet. Especially considering the dull guy in the back.

Kutsuzawa, whose name is just as memorable as Sasakibe’s, looks just like, well, Sasakibe. Sure, he looks a bit more like Full Metal Alchemist’s Bradley, but his posture and eyes remind me a bit more of Sasakibe… you know, the first division’s vice-captain? Exactly, someone easily forgotten. With Kutsuzawa telling Riruka that Slick managed to woo her he at least seems to be suggesting that his personality isn’t something so easily read from his appearance. But with the way Riruka reacts to his remark and his reaction to that, we can see they’ve got a routine going on. A routine you can see in plenty of other filler characters. Before I get more disappointed by these two new characters, Slick luckily shuts the two of them up. The only upside of these two characters appearing is that they at least make Slick look better.

Slick shuts the two stooges up by suddenly appearing behind Riruka and Kutsuzawa, using what can only be described as Shunpo. This is a rather interesting development. We know Slick isn’t a spirit as even Ichigo can see him. This means he at least has a Gigai, assuming that he isn’t a substitute Shinigami like Ichigo. It is possible to use Kidou in a Gigai, as demonstrated by Rukia during the early chapters of Bleach and Urahara in latter chapters. Other Shinigami techniques, however, had yet to be seen in use from within a Gigai. Either this is a continuation on this front, or Kubo just wanted to use it for dramatic purposes. If it was the latter, it seems to have worked on Riruka and Kutsuzawa. Slick then tells his flunkies to come with, as the interesting part is (finally) about to start.

Family Ties

Remember when your father(-ish) held you like this?… me neither

Jinta wakes up from last week’s outburst and immediately starts yelling. Warning Tessai of the fact that he’ll become an idiot if he receives too many hits on the head like that, he is suddenly wrapped up into one of Tessai’s restraining techniques. With Tessai holding Jinta in -what I would like to think is- one of Tessai’s newest holds, Ururu takes this opportunity to torture him. In short, a typical scene in the Urahara shop. Tessai then tells Jinta to be quiet as another conversation is taking place between the shop’s owner and (believe it or not) a customer! Though you’d expect a customer who comes to a candy store to buy candy, this store isn’t planning on selling her anything like that, at all.

The Urahara shop now presents us with great products such as Nobackpainu Alpha, Spiripel X, and (your and my favorite) Zetavoltan!!!
The Urahara shop is not responsible for any plosions, be they im-, inter, or explosions; loss of nose hair; toenails turning into carrots; or the eerie sensation that you’re being watched through a weekly magazine by people from a different dimension. We have satisfied customers for our products, example being none other than Kurosaki Karin!!!

The talk Karin and Urahara are having seems to be a regular meeting between a customer and shopkeeper… not really, but normal by Urahara standards. Be it that the products tend to be a bit different in their workings from regular cleaning products. Though we are new to all the Urahara-products, Karin is familiar with all of them and knows exactly what she wants. Oddly, she isn’t interested in the new and improved Nobackpaunu Theta, with vitamin C. Karin then leaves with all the great Urahara-products, free of charge. The reason Urahara won’t take Karin’s money is simple: Urahara still owes Ichigo.

A Brother’s Pledge

Before Tensa Zangetsu, there was WONDERSCHTICK!

Karin reacts to Urahara’s claim of owing Ichigo with a bit too much nonchalance, enough to have Urahara stop goofing around as he usually does. Urahara probably noticed that Karin noticed something with her brother (remember the first chapter after the time skip, where Karin was looking at her brother strangely at the breakfast table?), causing him to bring up the matter of Ichigo. Karin tells Urahara that her brother is doing fine with a quick “yeah”. But after the question on how her feelings are, she suddenly has a bit more to say.

Karin tells Urahara that Ichigo is fine, even without his Shinigami powers. With or without his Shinigami powers, Ichigo will always do the right thing in order to protect that which needs protecting. Listening to what his parents taught him, Ichigo always looked out for his little sisters. Especially after what happened with his mother, Ichigo decided to live up to his name as a guardian (not the strawberry part). Karin even thinks back to a time where Ichigo is covering for his sisters, with Yuzu in tears and Karin holding in her tears as best as she can. I can’t wait to see this same picture, but then with Ichigo in his full Bankai splendor protecting his sisters from a villain (e.g. Slick) . Karin, however, doesn’t want to see this happening again. After all the years Ichigo protected her and the rest of the family, while helping out spirits and eventually protecting the whole of Karakura town, she feels that Ichigo deserves to be protected for once. This brings us to the products that Karin just bought.

It’s obvious that Ichigo doesn’t know of this yet as he’d beat up Urahara for even considering letting his sister get involved in these matters. Ichigo would raise hell to make sure Karin wouldn’t be burdened with his tasks as is happening right now. He’d even go so far as to take back his powers. But Ichigo doesn’t know that Karin is faced with renegade spirits who try to possess people and (worse) follow her into the bathroom. What’s more, without Aizen’s guidance, Hollows now roam Karakura town more freely, targeting people with high levels of Reiatsu such as Karin. But without Shinigami powers, she resorts to bringing peace to spirits the old fashion way, using tools to keep Hollows at bay (didn’t mean to make that rhyme ).
As Karin reaffirms why she is keeping Ichigo in the dark on these matters, Urahara tells her that if anything strange were to happen to Ichigo, she should tell him.

Cause for Concern

Guys who pretend to be good guys, that turn out to be the ultimate bad guys… Bleach is on the o~~ wait, it’s on this page!

Karin exchanges looks with Urahara, probably suspecting that Urahara might know that something is happening with Ichigo. But she ignores this and leaves the store in a hurry. But as she leaves, another Kurosaki appears. Ichigo took up Slick’s advice and decided to take a look at Urahara’s place. As Ichigo wonders what Karin is doing there, Slick appears to make matters even more complicated. He reveals that Karin has been visiting Urahara’s store frequently, pointing out how suspicious Urahara truly is (as if that wasn’t obvious from the start). Though Ichigo tries to tell Slick that Urahara isn’t a suspicious character, Slick once more asks the right question: How sure is Ichigo that Urahara can be trusted? Does he actually know Urahara well enough to say for sure that he can be trusted?

As Ichigo comes to realize how badly he’s informed on everyone around him, Slick tries to add fuel to the fire by telling Ichigo he has to prepare. If he isn’t careful, his family will get into trouble sooner or later because of Urahara.

Ginjou Kuugo

Or borderline interesting?

After hearing everything that Slick had to say, Ichigo can only ask one thing: What’s Slick’s name? We then find out his name is Ginjou Kuugo. Can’t say it’s anything special. Maybe the name’s meaning has some clues hidden to what we can expect from him, but with my Japanese being nonexistent I can’t say. I thought his name might have something to do with the Noble families or something, but who knows. Anyways, Kuugo has at least redeemed himself a bit from his first appearance. The way he asked the right questions made me mellow up a bit in comparison to when he first appeared. Still, everything that is happening right now still feels like filler material to me. Hopefully that will go away once Chad, Kon, and (if not the most important person of them all) Rukia reappear in the story. But we’ll have to wait a week to see how Kuugo’s questions will impact Ichigo’s behavior.

I’m still not entirely into this new arc. We’re already five chapters in and I’m still not getting as good a vibe as I usually get with Bleach chapters. Maybe it just has to do with the fact that the Arrancar and Deicide arcs left too many unresolved matters. But I guess restarting the series just takes at least one entire volume to do it right. But enough about that, let’s take a quick glance at what happened this week:

Ichigo is (seemingly) starting to become a bit more paranoid about the adults in his life. Kuugo asks the right questions at the right time to force Ichigo into facing reality: Ichigo cannot remain separated from the Spiritual world as he is bound by it through blood and more. Though he gave up his powers for the greater good, it only caused others to take up his responsibilities. With Kuugo trying to get Ichigo to think about matters, Ikumi tells him to get lost. Now that I think about it, it may have something to do with Kuugo practically threatening Ichigo’s family.

Kuugo meeting up with his two flunkies was rather disappointing. If only the characters didn’t feel so familiar in their appearance and behavior… Hopefully it’ll turn out for the better in due time, as I’ve learned to open up to Kuugo a bit. But for now, Riruka and Kutsuzawa just ruined things for me with Kuugo. I would’ve loved to see Kuugo pulling all of this off on his own instead of winding up with two of the most stereotypical flunkies you can find.

Karin meeting up with Urahara wasn’t quite as exciting as I had hoped, though it was interesting enough. Even though Karin has plenty of Reiatsu, she doesn’t have any means of using that power through a special ability or whatnot. In that sense she’s exactly like Ichigo was before meeting up with Rukia. Things at the Urahara store took place exactly as you’d expect them to go. Urahara and his band of merry men are still fooling around, Karin is still capable of handling goofballs (years of practice with Isshin, I suppose), and Urahara can still read simple people like Karin with ease.

Ichigo then witnessing his sister leaving the Urahara store and Kuugo introducing himself while throwing suspicion towards Urahara was pretty interesting. I’m just hoping we’ll get a hint on how this is going to affect Ichigo regaining his powers, soon.

Putting my dislike for the new character designs aside, this was a pretty good chapter. Sure, Kubo is straying down a path we are all too familiar with, but I’m sure he has it in him to turn this thing around and lead us to a surprise or two. Each and every chapter of this new arc has plenty of things going on, from showing us what happened to the people we already know to introducing new characters. Taking that into account we still can’t say for sure how this arc will turn out.

But what does finding out about Isshin and Urahara have to do with a Shinigami representative badge? How will this help Ichigo regain his powers? I still want answers, so I’ll keep reading Bleach in the hope that one day I’ll look back at this skepticism of mine and be able to think to myself: What the hell was I whining about, stupid whiner? So here’s hoping I’m completely wrong about Kuugo and the other stooges!

Ichigo seemed rather worked up this week. From pretending things are just fine in his life, to realizing that he shouldn’t be relaxing at all. The one who made Ichigo uncertain about things: Ginjou Kuugo. From making Ichigo wonder what his father’s hiding from him, to doubting Urahara’s loyalty, Kuugo is really trying to make Ichigo give up on the blind fate he has in the people who helped him out. But Ichigo has never truly been one to doubt his gut instinct. Either meeting with Aizen has made Ichigo more skeptical about trusting people, or Kuugo is doing something else. What if Kuugo is using a (Zanpakutou) technique to make Ichigo paranoid?

Ichigo will demand to know more about Kuugo and how he knows so much about his family and Urahara. Kuugo will tell Ichigo that he should be asking those things about his family and Urahara first, though Ichigo will say he can’t trust Kuugo’s words if he isn’t honest with him. Kuugo will then reveal how he ties in with Soul Society and hint at how he might know of Isshin and Urahara. Perhaps Kuugo will have something to do with the Hougyoku’s as well. With there already being two Hougyoku’s as far as we know, and the world being a rather big place, I wouldn’t be all too surprised to find a third or fourth Hougyoku.
Ichigo will then decide to either face his sister or Urahara on what is going on. Urahara would be the easiest to confront, with Ichigo now (literally) standing a couple of feet away from the store. But Karin seems to be dealing with matters that he should’ve known of sooner and she ís his kid sister, so he might be planning to go to her first. Then there’s a third option: Ishida.
Ishida, working for Urahara, could have the answers Ichigo would want on Urahara. If there’s anyone who is mistrusting of Shinigami related people, it’s Ishida. If anything he can demand that Ishida looks out for Karin to protect her from Hollows and spirits the best he can. If things turn out that way, I would like to see Chad showing up during that conversation offering to help Ichigo in his struggle to protect his family so he can keep up his end of their promise.

That’s it for this week’s regular 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! In half a day I hope to get out the One-Shot chapter review. With that double dose of Bleach I’ll be bribing you guys to be patient for next week’s review. Next week I’ll be busy with some matters which will get in the way of the review. Because of this, I’ll be bringing you guys next week’s review in two weeks in a double review covering chapters 429 & 430 in one go. But the One-Shot will be covered in a bit, so I’ll see you guys in a couple of hours! After that, I’ll see you guys in two weeks!

 

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

Advertisements

~ by The Underscore on November 28, 2010.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: