The Underscore’s Bleach review 438


438 Knuckle Down

GAAAH, so swamped with everything. Time to indulge myself with some Bleach to get my mind off things. Here’s this week’s review for your reading pleasure. Thanks go out to Mangastream and Binktopia, of course, for providing us with this week’s scanlation. On to the polls!

Bleach chapter 437, Swastika Break, rated by 16 voters gets an average score of:

7.8

Great

Last week, Shishi came round and asked Orihime if she would mind dying. I just had to know what you guys thought should happen. Luckily, plenty of you were kind enough to roll with the idea of someone actually dying in Bleach before picking the options . So, should Orihime allow herself to be killed?

No one felt Orihime should die for the sake of the plot. Guess people don’t really mind the fact that hardly anyone dies in Bleach. Either that, or they just don’t want to see Orihime dead .
Two people wouldn’t mind Orihime dying. She’d just become a ghost or a Shinigami anyways. When you look at it like that, it really isn’t that big of an issue as she could just hang around with Rukia in Byakuya’s crib .
Three voters would think it disastrous for Orihime to allow herself to be killed as they could only reply with a “NOOOOOOOOO!”. That’s right people, life’s too precious to just give up like that. Unless you believe Aizen…
Five of you were just too cruel in that respect. They feel it’s about time she kicked the bucket. What good could come from her dying?…She did die in the pilot chapter of Bleach, though… (read Bleach chapter 0)
Eight of you just don’t care either way…
Twelve of you knew what options there are. Die, or be kidnapped (again). The twelve of you’d rather have her die than to be kidnapped again… Could it be that by reading and learning from Aizen we’ve lost our ability to empathize with the concepts of life and death? could it be that we’ve become just as cruel as Aizen by reading too much Bleach?… hehe, reading too much Bleach. I crack myself up sometimes .
Luckily, the majority of the voters (thirteen) at least saw an opportunity here. They felt Orihime should just beat up Shishi and leave it at that.

Blown Away

Not the bodily fluids you want to exchange

Ichigo took out Mr. Pork 2.0 last week using his Fullbring. With the pig down and out, Ichigo feels he’s done with Riruka’s Doll House. Annoyed, Riruka agrees to let Ichigo out. Giriko, however, warns Riruka not to let Ichigo out just yet. With his ‘Time tells no lies’ still active, Ichigo leaving the Doll House with an incomplete Fullbring would spell certain death. Just as Giriko reminds us of this rather requirement, Mr. Pork 2.0 starts to shrink back to its original size.

Somewhat surprised by this sudden transformation, Giriko has no reason left to keep Ichigo in the Dollhouse. Confirming that he’s done, Ichigo demands to be let out of Riruka’s box. Riruka, almost reluctantly, decides to let Ichigo out. She takes a tissue and winds it round after grabbing Mr. Pork. Wiggling around with her back turned on Ichigo, she suddenly turns to Ichigo to sneeze on him. The heart shaped tag on Ichigo suddenly is inscribed with the letter R, most likely referring to Riruka, as Ichigo and the mobster return to their original forms. Riruka then happily explains that her snot undoes her Fullbring, which even Ichigo was capable of understanding as he’s now covered with sputum.

It seems that Fullbring has a lot more depth to it than it seemed at first. ‘Time tells no lies’ already seems like it’s too powerful as it is only bound by Giriko’s ability to focus and dictate what he wants to do. The only limitation I can find right now is that Giriko has to create loopholes in order for people to escape his ability. Riruka’s Fullbring, however, is only bound by her affection towards the object or person that is influenced by it. The fact that she has to sneeze on it to deactivate her Fullbring almost makes me believe that there’s something in Riruka’s past that made it so. Perhaps she was forced by her parents to take out whatever she sneezed on or maybe she’s someone who only likes clean things. Then again, if it only was a matter of cleanliness she could’ve just used something else besides her snot to undo it… Whether it’s snot or just filth, I can’t help but think that Riruka’s Fullbring won’t be undone if she’s knocked out cold.

In any case, Kuugo offer Ichigo a towel, where Ichigo gives a hilarious response. As Ichigo cleans himself up a bit, the Shinigami Representative Badge shows us it has more up its sleeve than the Getsuga replacement.

Calling all strawberries

Lose the Fullbring, seek the Shinigami powers

As Ichigo is still holding the Badge in his right hand, the Fullbring was still activated. But it wouldn’t be useful if the Fullbring would be active the entire time Ichigo was holding the badge. In response, the Badge automatically retracts the Reiatsu, though Ichigo doesn’t know whether it has something to do with his own desires or whether the Fullbring’s time just ran out. Besides the retractable Swastika, the Badge has more to offer Ichigo.

Instead of the usual Hollow alarm making a lot of ruckus, Ichigo hears a familiar sound. Not just any sound, though, but the sound of Rukia’s voice!

“…What? … Of course not!… Ichigo would never-“

It seems that Ichigo really got himself in a mess again. Whoever it is Rukia’s talking to, that other person seems to be convinced Ichigo is doing something he shouldn’t. The most logical explanation would have to be that Ichigo learning Fullbring is something that’s forbidden in Soul Society, though that would raise the question why Chad wouldn’t be a problem. Speaking of Chad, notice how he’s suddenly disappeared? Back to what Rukia said, though. For all we know Rukia is just surprised to learn that Ichigo is trying to regain his powers without consulting Urahara or to hear that Ichigo is missing while Ishida’s hospitalized. At least we know that Rukia has reason to visit Ichigo now .

After hearing Rukia’s voice, Ichigo wants to know more -don’t we all?- even though the Badge decides to quit just as things start getting interesting. While all of this is playing out, Kuugo looks too conspicuous for his own good. Speaking of looks too much for one’s own good…

Complete Knock Out

Not the KO I was hoping for…

We go back to Shishi (Shishigawara) who just asked Orihime if she would mind dying. Shishi has a flashback to the point where he got Orihime as his target. We learn that Shishi really isn’t eager to take out Orihime, her being a girl and all. But Ishida’s assailant has decided Shishi to be the only target left. That’s right, Shishi’s allied with the Bookworm. The fact that he happens to go to the same school as the punks at the start of this arc seems to be a coincidence (at this time, I might add). But what are the odds of a punk from that school mugging Kuugo, forcing Ichigo to act, causing their first face to face meeting, and there being at least one more Fullbringer in that very same school who is now assaulting Orihime after getting an order from the person who attacked Ishida? Coincidence indeed…

Anyways, after assigning Orihime as Shishi’s target, Bookworm remembers that Shishi can’t attack girls. But Shishi is eager to proof the Bookworm wrong. We then go forward in time to the moment where Shishi found Orihime in front of Chad’s house. We learn that the Bookworm’s name is Tsukishima. Apparently, he’s impressive enough for Shishi to want to follow him and to prove himself to. Familiar? Obviously. This doesn’t change the fact that Shishi is preparing to take the initiative in his attack. A sense of honor prevents him from attacking Orihime from behind, which is why he called out to Inoue. The second she turns around, is the moment he intends to knock her down with his fist.

Orihime turn around as Shishi is leaping towards her. But the moment their eyes meet, Shishi becomes completely useless. So useless, in fact, that he’s literally blown away just by looking at Orihime. As Orihime can’t help but wonder what’s going on, Shishi tries to regain his composure by breaking down what just happened. He deduces that he was just blown away by Orihime’s beauty because he hasn’t seen girls for a long time. Using that logic, he tries to look at Orihime again, only to be knocked back by her beauty again… Moron… As he decides to give up on his mission, he suddenly thinks of Tsukishima again, making him regain his composure while putting his pride as a man on the line. He tells Orihime he’s going to drop her -revealing his name is Moe-, which is slang Orihime doesn’t get at all. Somewhat upset that Orihime doesn’t understand something so basic, he tries to explain that she’s going to end up the same way as Ishida.

Round 2

PLEA~~SE~~ Orihime, just beat him up, just this once

The moment “Moe” mentions Ishida, Orihime turns serious as she realizes that this isn’t just your ordinary punk. She then demands to know whether Shishi was the one who attacked Ishida. With this sudden change of atmosphere, even Shishi can’t goof around as much as he was just moments ago. Now that Orihime’s stopped acting like a gullible girl, Shishi can prepare himself to take out Orihime. He puts up an attitude as he avoids the question by asking two other questions. Orihime then puts her hand to her chest, ensuring she can use her Shunshun Rikka.

It’s odd that her hairpins weren’t visible in most of the panels, which makes me wonder whether Orihime only recently decided to take them with her again, or that I just plain missed them. Maybe it’s a bit of both, who knows. Anyways, it seems that Orihime is prepared to do what needs to be done to apprehend Ishida’s attacker. Then again, her asking where Shishi’s from could mean she had a different tactic in mind. I wouldn’t put it past Orihime to flee from the battle while distracting Shishi. Her asking where Shishi’s from would be her way to make sure she could find him again, but with backup that time. Or at least with some preparation so she can turn over the situation in her favor.

But Shishi -who turns out to be almost as moronic as Kensei and Ikkaku mixed together with the mohawk Shinigami- won’t answer her question. He will only answer Orihime’s question after she manages to beat him. I’m really liking this moron . No chitchat, just fisticuffs. Finally an opportunity for Orihime to flat out defeat someone as Shishi doesn’t look all too experienced with supernatural fighting. Orihime, on the other hand, has trained with Rukia in preparation to face off against Arrancar. Sure, she never did anything in the end, much to almost everyone’s annoyance, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s a natural black belt with amazing spiritual abilities. Shishi is the perfect opportunity to finally have Orihime take out someone without having to kill him.
Too bad this opportunity had to be ruined…

Aizen’s body double

First a dude with Aizen’s demeanor, now one with his looks…

Tsukishima suddenly appears behind Orihime, telling Shishi and her that’s enough. Not to say anything actually happened at all… Tsukishima is still reading his book and hanging around casually. This time, however, he decides he can spare a few words for his opponent. As Orihime turns around in surprise, hinting that his presence couldn’t be felt, Tsukishima reveals that he was, in fact, the one who attacked Ishida. Which leaves Shishi in a bit of a shock as he realizes he’s just lost his chance to take on Orihime.

What to say about Tsukishima… I’m not impressed. Really, where Kuugo started with the suspicious Aizen glances, Tsukishima decides to take the rest of Aizen’s character and use his charm to have people do his bidding. What’s next? His Fullbring is executed with the book he has with him, which causes his opponents to be trapped in a perfect illusion of the world described inside of it? I suppose Tsukishima being in the lead is only natural, considering he managed to take out Ishida. But really, what’s up with Tsukishima being so much like Aizen? Guess we’ll find out next week…

Ichigo’s training is over; Riruka exchanges bodily fluids with Ichigo and a Mafioso; we get a hint of Soul Society being aware of what’s happening around Ichigo; Orihime’s assailant turns out to be a moron – the entertaining kind-; Orihime shows us that she can get serious; and Aizen’s illegitimate son shows up in the end. An entertaining chapter for sure, but I wonder how well it’s going to be received amongst others.

The fact that Ichigo’s Fullbring is now complete suggest that he only has to learn how to use Fullbring to up his movement. Let’s face it. It’s not like he’ll be able to get back his Shinigami powers this easily, right?

Riruka’s snot on Ichigo was an entertaining way to show that Fullbring doesn’t necessarily just work by inserting Reiatsu inside an object. What’s odd is that the Mafioso spirit is so calm after all that’s happened to him. Putting that and the lack of Chad aside, the most important part with Ichigo was the part with the Badge. It acted as a receiver, giving Ichigo a glimpse (of sound) of what’s going on with Rukia. The plot thickens…

Shishi’s flashback to his mission was interesting enough. Nothing too spectacular, though. The fact that he’s so blindly dedicated to Tsukishima is just a bit annoying to me as he’s otherwise a rather amusing character. The shtick with Orihime was funny and all, but it took up too much of the chapter’s content. It could’ve done with a page less, though I doubt Kubo could really use the single page for anything useful.

Orihime finally getting a bit serious was good to see. It saddens me that she doesn’t get the opportunity to be in an actual battle. Perhaps that’s the reason why I’m a bit annoyed with Tsukishima, besides the fact that he copies Aizen too much when it comes to his flunky management. Can’t say this was a bad chapter, though. I find it entertaining enough for a transitional chapter. At least it laid down plenty of things to follow up on in the upcoming chapters.

Something that bothered me in this chapter:

How could Chad suddenly disappear, while he was hanging over the Doll House only moments before Ichigo activated and used his Fullbring?

No, really, this is this week’s headspinner. Remember the concept of deception and illusions? Try rolling with that and you’ll understand how this can be an actual headspinner .

Orihime will be kidnapped after hearing Tsukishima’s motives… Let’s face it, that’s the most obvious thing that could happen. Then again, she could end up in the hospital as well forcing Chad and Ichigo to hunt down Tsukishima and Shishigawara. I’d love to see Chad mopping the floor with Shishi, while Ichigo gets to toy around with his new Fullbring for a bit. Obviously, Ichigo won’t be able to defeat Tsukishima, due to the lack of experience with Fullbring. This might force the Badge to awaken even further, reawakening Ichigo’s Shinigami powers in the process. Ichigo uses some of his classic Shinigami Shunpo and beats the crap out of Tsukishima. However, we’ll find out that Zangetsu is in its sealed state for the moment, due to the rude awakening. What’s could happen as well is that after Tsukishima is beaten, it is revealed that he was in fact the Shinigami/Human hybrid that preceded Ichigo and that Xcution is the one to be wary of…

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 and predictions that you may have and to vote in this week’s poll. Don’t forget to rate this week’s chapter! I’ll see you 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 26, 2011.

3 Responses to “The Underscore’s Bleach review 438”

  1. “How could Chad suddenly disappear, while he was hanging over the Doll House only moments before Ichigo activated and used his Fullbring? ”

    kubo didnt need him to do anything this chapter, so he didnt draw him.

    moving on…
    This chapter was actually enjoyable. hopefully Bleach will start picking up here. i like a story thats unpredictable, where you are never able to guess what will happen next. (ONE PIECE FTW!!!) Bleach has never been very impressive in that regard, but this chapter is making things more interesting. Shishi was funny, though i bet there is more to him if he fights someone who isnt female. There has to be a reason Tsukishima has him as his subordinate and sends him to kill people after all. Orihime FINALLY acted a little tough, and the fandom exploded in happiness. Personally, im still not pleased. When i first read the chapter, i was practicly cheering that Orihime was actually talking tough, but now it just seems sad. We are happy that Orihime DIDN’T FAIL! That’s how far she has fallen, that’s how low (my, at least) expectations were. it’s a little sad. anyway, as i said earlier, i like the story to be unpredictable, and now its getting there. i was glad we had that part with Ginjou ths chapter, it only increased my suspicion of Xcution being villains. any bit of Rukia in a chapter is always good, especially when it implies that ichigo has done something evil without knowing. hey, look at that! i think i managed to do a long comment that didnt have a rant against bleach! (though i nearly started one about how Orihime DIDNT FAIL, low expectations, but stopped myself) i think ive matured a little 😛
    Good breakdown as always underscore, lets hope Bleach keeps getting interesting.

    P.S my current theory on Xcution (if they are actually evil) is that they are connected to aizen and are using ichigo to get to SS and break him out. it would be great if Ichigo was used to free aizen, after he helped seal him up.

  2. @takashid:

    To think your rants~~ err replies would return so soon :D.
    I can’t really say anything about the headspinner, but your theory on Xcution being related to Aizen and Chad vanishing in thin air could be a hint of what I was trying to get at ;).

    I’ll admit that unpredictable can be great fun. But you can’t say Bleach hasn’t pulled off one of the biggest surprises in Manga. At least I was pretty shocked to find out the awesome captain Aizen was the biggest jerk in the history of jerks.

    This chapter did do some good things as it gave the arc plenty of things that linked to previous plot developments and offers plenty of new options. Shishi oddly being the best of the new characters as he is the first that I didn’t dislike the moment I saw him was quite the surprise as well. Though I call him a moron, he’s one of the good kind. I agree that he has plenty of potential, being assigned by Tsukishima and all. Then again, it could be that Tsukishima was underestimating Orihime for all we know…

    Anyways, Orihime wasn’t beaten or kidnapped in this week’s chapter! Now to see whether she can win while playing 7 to 2 (Orihime + Shunshun Rikka vs. Tsuki + Shishi).

    As for Xcution playing with Aizen, I wonder about that. In a way, Aizen and Xcution are both seeking the same material -Human/Shinigami hybrids- for differing purposes. Then again, that’s just under the assumption that everything Kuugo said about regaining Ichigo’s powers works like he told us….

  3. oy, oy, oy! it wasnt i rant i said! 🙂

    sure, when the aizen thing happened, it was one of the most unexpected things ive ever seen. but after the SS arc, it started getting fairly predictable, and by he time we were deepe into the HM arc, i could have told you what was going to happen almost every fight. so its nice to see some uncertainty coming back to the manga.

    I didn’t like Shishi last chapter, but this chapter changed my mind. im hoping he isnt fodder, because it would be interesting to see him fight chad or ichigo. its clear he has fought before, because Tsukishima said Orihime as his next target, not his first.

    “Now to see whether she can win while playing 7 to 2 (Orihime + Shunshun Rikka vs. Tsuki + Shishi).”

    lol right, because the fairies have an excellent track record at taking on threats so far. im just hoping she actually fires Tsubaki for once. I had a thought about how Orihime might escape though. i doubt kubo would do it, but i have heard that he plans to bring back some plot points from the HM arc. Anyway, so my thought was, why not have Orihime escape from Tsuki and SHishi using that bracelet Ulquiorra gave her? i know it was probably a throway plot device, but i always thought how useful it would be if Orihime kept it. only arrancars could see or sense her, so then she could escape from these two. i doubt Orihime can win, so escape would be the best option, then go talk to Urahara or Ryuken. anyway, i doubt kubo will do that, just a thought i had.

    “Then again, that’s just under the assumption that everything Kuugo said about regaining Ichigo’s powers works like he told us….”

    so, far im not trusting anything Kugo says, he’s way too shifty. if all he really wanted was to give his powers to Ichigo, then there would have been no reason to manipulate him into not trusting Urahara and his dad. there has to be something else going on.

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