The Underscore’s Bleach Review 435


435 Panic at the Dollhouse

Welcome one and all to this week’s Bleach review. A rather straightforward chapter once more as Ichigo is training to learn Fullbring. Nothing too dazzling, but not bad either. Let’s get to the chapter quickly, shall we? Before we do that though, let’s not forget to thank Mangastream and Binktopia for this week’s scanlation! Thanks for your hard work guys! On to the polls!

Bleach chapter 434, Berry in the Box, rated by 21 voters gets an average score of:

6.3

Average

Oddly, this week’s chapter followed a lot of things I said in last week’s review. It even got to the subject of what item Ichigo could use for his Fullbring ability. I gave you a couple of options to vote for, here’s what you guys thought would be used:

One voter gave his thoughts in a reply, which came down to one of the options in the poll itself. But at least that voter explained why he chose that item .
Another voter went with a bar of chocolate. Ichigo did say that he loves chocolate, so it isn’t too farfetched. Especially considering he’s fighting a pig at the moment .
Three voters felt the object should be close to Ichigo. What better an object is there than a strawberry for the strawberry?
Three other voters knew what would be better than a strawberry: Kon. Can you imagine Ichigo using the stuffed animal Kon was in as a weapon?
Four voters don’t really care about the item. Possibly as Ichigo probably won’t use Fullbring anymore once he regains his Shinigami powers….
Six voters admitted they don’t know what Ichigo would use for his Fullbring. Some of the options given here were a bit too obvious a choice or were just as plausible as the other.
But the majority of the voters, twenty of you, chose the Shinigami Representative Badge, which makes sense considering the name of this arc . To think we get the answer to this poll in this week’s chapter.

When pigs fight

I know this chapter looks pretty bad, but it’s for you to restore your powers Ichigo

Let’s see, where were we. Ichigo suddenly found himself attacked by a monstrous pig doll that is trying to make him even smaller by squashing him. Like any sensible person would do in a situation like this, Ichigo is running like crazy. As Ichigo is fleeing, he hears a voice coming from the skies telling him to stop running and start fighting. The voice belongs to none other than Riruka who is looking into her box as she watches her pig doll trying to crush her strawberry doll.

With the person responsible for putting him in this situation showing herself again, Ichigo explains that she can’t expect him to fight the pig like this. Even though he’s traveled more dimensions than the average person, being shrunk down and stored inside a box is already something difficult to process. Immediately being told to beat a pig using a power you only learnt about two days ago doesn’t help the processing speed. To help him grasp the situation better, Ichigo wants a better explanation on what happened to him to get him in this situation.

Spreading the love

Think she read last week’s review?

Riruka once more explains how Fullbring works and the requirements needed to use it. Basically it’s just like I suspected the ability to work and I tried to explain in last week’s review. Riruka gives us a more detailed explanation on why Kuugo’s pendant turns into a sword whereas her Dollhouse allows her to shrink and store things she “loves”. In a way Fullbring doesn’t just amplify an object’s properties, but it also enables objects to do the things the user interprets it should do. In Riruka’s case it is to store the things she likes into a box that she can carry around. In Kuugo’s case it might be the ability to ward off evil. This translates in a storage box and a sword respectively. I’m going to quote myself from a reply I posted last week with a bit more details on how I think Fullbring works. If you think Riruka’s explanation is enough for you I’d suggest you skip the next part. But if you’re curious you can just keep on reading .


Going by the explanation given by Kuugo in the previous chapter, the Hollow attack on the Fullbringers’ parents caused them to have greater reiatsu than normal humans. But with Reiatsu crudely being divided into Shinigami (+) reiatsu and Hollow (-) reiatsu, their typing comes closer to a Hollows’ reiatsu. This negative reiatsu apparently can influence people in a bad way, as Kuugo compared it to the situation Ichigo was in with Shirosaki. So the circumstances gave them a new type of Reiatsu, unknown to Ryuuken.

This new form of reiatsu allows Fullbringers to enhance the ability of inanimate objects by influencing their souls. Basically the Fullbringer can input a part of their own soul through Reiatsu to communicate with the object and make it enhance its innate properties. In the case of the alcohol, it enhanced the alcohol’s property to “flow” -yes, I’m grasping at straws here- allowing it to move against conventional forces such as gravity.

Then we have Kuugo’s cross and Riruka’s Doll-house. The wielders and the objects are so close to each other due to an emotional bond that it allows for the objects to enhance their properties to supernatural levels. In the case of Riruka’s Doll-house, it enhances its ability to store things Riruka likes to the point where it can shrink people and fit them into the box. The sticker Riruka used on Ichigo could have something to do with a personal quirk. Perhaps she always used to put a sticker on the things she liked before putting them into the box, in a way affirming her bond with the objects by using the sticker. Note that both conditions for this ability require some form of emotional bond. First it’s the one between Riruka and the doll-house. Second it’s the bond between Riruka and the object/person she wants to keep safe (by using a sticker to mark them). In a way, this has something to do with the Fullbringer’s heart. Which brings us to the tie in with Hollows.

Kuugo explained that the hole in a Hollow’s chest represents the loss of a person’s heart into the despair of not being saved by Shinigami. The heart becomes both the outward appearance and the mask of the Hollow, granting them unique abilities at the same time. The shape and size of the Hollow arguably determined by the negative emotions and darkness in a soul. The heart/individuality of the soul gathers the spiritual power the soul has to transform the + soul into a – soul, a hollow.

This brings us to the case of Chad, which is a rather unique one. Chad’s powers were awakened by the influence of the Hougyoku and Ichigo’s presence. But as stated before, these powers were closer to a Hollow’s than they were to that of a Shinigami. If you look at Chad’s arms, you’ll notice they do look quite a bit like Hollow arms. For now we can assume that Chad’s parents were attacked by Hollows (perhaps weak ones) which gave him the potential to awaken to his Fullbring ability. Going by the Fullbring logic, Chad should only be able to use the ability on his grandfather’s coin. But Chad also has another precious bond with his grandfather, which has to do with his own two fists. The right fist he has to use to protect others, effectively leaving the left to attack in order to protect. In a way, his arms of the giant and the devil reacted to what was in Chad’s heart. But the reason Chad doesn’t need an object to channel reiatsu that takes a new form is more than likely the Hougyoku. In a way, this makes Chad the most advanced Fullbringer there is, as he doesn’t require an object to channel. But this is all speculation from my part .

The gist of what I’m trying to say here is that the Fullbring abilities are a new form of Hollow powers in that they aren’t Hollow powers yet they are. Whether Ichigo can actually use Fullbring or not is something I’m a bit skeptical about if I’m perfectly honest. With him having blasted away all his powers using the Mugetsu, there shouldn’t be any traces left. But the next chapter will tell us more I guess.

Mix-up

Somehow it feels like a demotion, going from Shinigami representative to Xcution representative…

With her explanation over, Riruka tells Ichigo to go ahead and beat the pig. Ichigo is still running away from the pig, though Riruka tells Ichigo it should be easy if he were to use Fullbring. Ichigo then says it all as he tells Riruka it’s nothing short of stupid for her to expect Ichigo to suddenly use Fullbring even though he has no clue (or powers for that matter) on how to use it. Better yet, why exactly is he being taught to use Fullbring when this is supposed to get him his Shinigami powers back again?

Riruka’s explanation on that matter boils down to nothing more than: “Just go with the flow”. Never have I agreed with Kuugo so much on something as he can’t help but notice how unreasonable of a tyrant Riruka is being. As Ichigo keeps on dodging the pig’s strikes, which is rather impressive considering the fact he’s talking to (a rather annoying) Riruka simultaneously. This probably has to do with the fact that Ichigo still has the instincts and reflexes of his Shinigami days. Sadly this chapter doesn’t do this feat much justice, but I guess the most important thing in this chapter is that Ichigo has to try and grasp the concept of Fullbring and how he can use it.

Riruka comments on how Ichigo has gotten better at dodging, which undoubtedly has to do with the fact that he now understands why he’s as small as he is. Ichigo ignores the comment given as he demands to get a hint on how to use Fullbring. Sadly, Riruka can’t give an explanation as using Fullbring is as natural to her as breathing. Even you’ll have to admit it’s hard to teach someone the right way to breathe if you never thought about how you do it yourself. If only Zangetsu were around to teach Ichigo how to breathe again… Anyways, Riruka tells Ichigo he’s an idiot for wanting an explanation on something as natural as breathing, though I can’t help but thinking she’s the idiot for putting Ichigo into this situation without thinking it through in the first place…. With this conversation going nowhere, fast, someone has to stop it. The pig is the one to do this for us.

Man-Bear-Pig’s misery

Behold the half man, half teddy bear, half pig doll creature!

Mr. Pork decides to join the conversation as he tells Ichigo to stop hiding and start fighting him. Ichigo is surprised to find the moving stuffed doll talking all of a sudden -like you’ve never seen one of those before – as Riruka tells him it’s only natural. The reason Mr. Pork is intent on killing Ichigo in such a brutal manner has to do with the fact that Riruka put an old Yakuza’s soul inside the doll. Why a yakuza would want to kill a seventeen year old? If he doesn’t, he’ll be stuck inside a weird stuffed animal for the rest of his life. Ichigo knows that this is obviously a lie as he learnt from his time as a Shinigami that souls can leave objects they inhabit (e.g. Kon and Shibata, the boy stuck in a parakeet), though the time limit is rather odd.

Riruka ignores all of this after hitting the weird stuffed doll for calling itself a weird stuffed doll as she puts a lid on it and Ichigo, literally. As Ichigo demands to be let out of the box, Riruka decides it’s snack time as she demands tea from Giriko. As Riruka’s natural bossiness pours out of her as usual, making weird demands and all, Kuugo and Jackie can’t help but wonder whether Ichigo’s going to be alright. With Kuugo and Jackie not involving themselves with the training and not knowing whether Riruka’s approach will work, I can’t help but doubt the entire group.

Somehow they decided it would be best for Ichigo to learn how to use Fullbring, yet they don’t seem to know exactly how this can be achieved. Admittedly, this situation is similar to the one Urahara put Ichigo in when they were trying to restore Ichigo’s powers way back when. But that was done in a state where Ichigo actually had powers to be drawn from the depths of his soul. Though Ishida has pointed out that he sensed a weird form of Reiatsu from Ichigo, I wonder whether that was a hint of Fullbring reiatsu.

Where is the love?

Sir Mix-A-Lot’s words guided Ichigo to that which he loves…

With the Mr. Pork trying to kill Ichigo before his time runs out, Ichigo tries to decipher Riruka’s vague explanation to think of a strategy of getting out of this situation. He realizes that Riruka’s explanation on how her “love” for objects allows her to use Fullbring is her way of explaining that the object is something someone has to have a bond with. He deduces this as he realizes that Kuugo isn’t “in love” with his pendant. Rather than being in love with his pendant, Kuugo is grown attached to his pendant. Same as when it doesn’t feel right when you somehow forget to put on the watch or the necklace/pendant/earrings you wear every day the object has to feel so natural to have along with you for it to be used as a Fullbring object. As Ichigo tries to think of something like that -which somehow coincides with the poll I posted last week – he suddenly realizes that he does have something like that in his back pocket.

Meanwhile the person referred to by Ichigo as “that bitch” is stuffing her face with cake. Torn between the front she’s put up and her true feelings towards Ichigo she needs some comfort food. As Riruka is eating at a threatening pace, Jackie tells Riruka to just go ahead and help Ichigo if she’s that worried about him. Completely overwhelmed by the fact that Jackie realizes her affection towards Ichigo she tries to change the subject by saying that Ichigo dying in a situation like this would only show that he lacked potential and reached his limit as a man -somehow this makes me think of One Piece’s Zoro…-. Jackie is not convinced at all. Jackie then tells Riruka she shouldn’t forget the timer on the doll. This timer seems to be so threatening that even Riruka gets serious for once in this chapter. Whatever the timer will do, it doesn’t sound too promising for Ichigo. Though for us as readers it sounds a whole lot more interesting.

Use the Fo~~Badge young strawberry

Listen to Yo~asutora master, you must.

As the timer is brought up, the door to the Xcution office opens showing Chad with some groceries. Chad sees Riruka’s box for the first time as he wonders what it actually is. Jackie tells Chad that Ichigo’s inside there doing his Fullbring training. Chad suddenly decides to say more than he usually does and actually yells it out. The way Chad reacts only makes me doubt Xcution more as it seems that Chad already has a good idea on how to have Ichigo learn Fullbring. He feels Riruka is rushing things, though she believes they shouldn’t postpone things.

Chad completely ignores Riruka and rushes to the box. Though Riruka wants to stop Chad for some reason, Chad just takes off the lid and tells Ichigo to use his representative badge. Both Chad and Ichigo realized that the object Ichigo keeps closest and never leaves home without is his representative badge. Even if Ichigo were to carry a bar of chocolate around every day, it wouldn’t be as useful as the representative badge to use in a battle situation. Seeing that Chad, who has experience with Fullbring, believes that the representative badge is the best item to be used like he believed at first, Ichigo feels a lot more confident now. With Ichigo clearing the first obstacle towards Fullbring, he probably wanted to discuss with Chad what his next step should be. But it seems that Ichigo’s time is up now.

Watch out, it’s man-bear-pig-gorilla!

Yes Squat, being attacked by a Yakuza stuffed inside a doll who thinks his life is in danger and went into a “mad beast mode”, nicely fits into the bad things category

Just as Ichigo takes out his representative badge, an announcement is made by Mr. Pork. The time limit has been met and Ichigo failed to produce a form of Fullbring for the pig to recognize. But rather than sealing the Yakuza’s soul inside Mr. Pig permanently, a so called ‘Mad Beast Mode’ is activated. Like the name suggests, this isn’t a good thing. The yakuza begs for someone to stop the Mad Beast Mode as he feels it is something bad. Ichigo looks on as he suddenly sees a pig doll on steroids standing in front of him. Giriko and Riruka are somewhat surprised at this turn of events as Giriko states that the timer has been activated.

Admittedly, I was hoping the limit would be the time before the pig would explode and create a small blast resulting in a mushroom cloud. Instead, we get Man-Bear-Pig-Gorilla. I wonder whether there’s a Hollow inside of the stuffed doll right now. More on that in this week’s headspinner . Anyways, the chapter ends with Ichigo trapped with a pig doll gone mad and having his Representative badge on him. Can you venture a guess on what will happen next week?

Take all the trainings Ichigo has had throughout Bleach, shuffle a couple of characters and change the order around a bit, and you’ll have this chapter. Honestly, I found this chapter to be rather mediocre. I suppose for those who solely read Bleach, this chapter gave a good explanation on how Fullbring works, but as I -and I believe many of you as well- have already figured this out based on the previous two chapters, it didn’t add too much to the fun. Ichigo finally getting into the groove of his training is a good thing and the pacing of the overall story is pretty good considering this is Bleach we’re talking about. I have little left to say about this chapter, really. Artwork is good, as expected, the story progression is good, which is never a certainty with Bleach, Riruka was annoying again, as expected, and Chad told Ichigo something he could’ve said two days ago, which is rather strange. There were quite a few funny parts in the chapter, but nothing that really stood out. I’m seeing this as another one of those chapters which you’ll have to read along with the next couple of chapters before it really shows its worth. On to this week’s headspinner!

This week we learned that Riruka put a timer on Mr. Pork. The timer apparently was a bad thing as its activation caused Mr. Pork and the Yakuza soul inside to go into Mad Beast Mode. But let’s not forget that Fullbring is an ability born from Hollows. So who’s to say that the ability doesn’t affect souls, forcing them to turn into Hollows? What if the Fullbring Reiatsu causes normal Souls to fall into despair quicker, turning them into Hollows in the process? Basically what I want you guys to think about is: Do you think Mad Beast Mode is a stepping stone to turning the Yakuza into a fully fledged Hollow?

The obvious thing to happen would have to be Ichigo activating his Fullbring next week and stopping the Yakuza gone mad. Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if Chad intervened by stomping on the pig himself, deciding to train Ichigo himself during the chapter following the next one.

That’s it for this week’s review. I cut it a bit short this week as I wasn’t really feeling the chapter. 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 make some predictions. Maybe those will make me notice something I’ve missed or something. Anyways, please don’t forget to vote in this week’s poll and to rate this week’s chapter! You don’t have to sign in to rate the chapter! 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 February 5, 2011.

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