The Underscore’s Double Bleach Review


Double Bleach Review

A double review this week. The project finally I was working on came to an end, so I can finally sit down to write a review. I’m still exhausted, so don’t expect too much from this week’s review, but I did say I was going to post the review today. Anyways, there’s no jump next week, I think. So instead of a new chapter of Bleach I’ll be reviewing a different title next week. Vote for the title I’ll review in this week’s poll . Thanks go out to Mangastream and Binktopia for this week’s scanlation.

Bleach chapter 439, Keen Marker, rated by 13 voters gets an average score of:

7.8

Great

The answer to the previous poll was revealed weeks ago… Still, this is what came out of the poll. I wanted to know whether you thought Orihime had been kidnapped or not. The gist of the poll’s results is as follows:

22 of you thought she had been kidnapped. For 12, the question was considered to be rhetorical as it is almost too obvious. nine voters went as far as to say that Orihime’s only been good for getting kidnapped since the Soul Society arc. One voter just thought that it was the most probable thing to happen.

Seven of you were hoping she wasn’t kidnapped. One of you thought she probably went with Tsukishima of her own accord. Four of you were right on the mark by saying she hasn’t been kidnapped.

Finally, one voter couldn’t care less whether Orihime was kidnapped or not…
Good thing things were still happening on the balcony.

Chapter 440: Mute Friendship

Bleach seems to be going back into the right direction

Chapter 439 ended with Chad noticing something wrong with Orihime’s reiatsu. It turns out that Orihime wasn’t attacked in front of Chad’s apartment as Chad senses she’s still in a tense situation. We only learn this after Ichigo takes out his cell phone and wants to call Orihime. Luckily, Chad notices Ichigo taking out his phone and after learning what’s going on tells Ichigo not to dial the number. This only shows us how hard it is for Ichigo to be without his powers. No matter how you cut it, Ichigo was a speed freak as a Shinigami. With Tensa Zangetsu, Ichigo would easily be able to go across town in an instant after sensing Orihime’s reiatsu. If he were to call her, he’d even be able to get there only a moment after the phone would ring. But now, all he can do is keep running in a general direction while hoping that he will get there in time.

The problem here lies in Chad’s reiatsu perception. It turns out that he still lacks in that department. In a way he’s just like Ichigo used to be when it comes to sensing reiatsu. The only thing that seems to be worse than that, is his sense of orientation. You’d think Chad would already notice he’s going towards Orihime’s apartment, yet it’s Ichigo who points this out.

It’s good to see that Orihime’s confrontation with Tsukishima hasn’t ended yet. Chapter 438 made me think that Orihime was taken by Tsukishima from in front of Chad’s apartment. Looking back at the previous chapters, however, Orihime wasn’t taking the bread to Chad at the time. But that’s all in the past now, for Orihime’s finally doing something in the present!

Fatality?

Not exactly what one would call an unexpected result…

Orihime decided to step in between Tsukishima and Sushigawara, using Tsukishima’s responsibility for attacking Ishida as an excuse. Tsukishima feels it’s a dull excuse as it wouldn’t fly in a novel. Can’t really blame him for thinking that way, but Orihime is rather simpleminded when push comes to shove. Nevertheless, Tsukishima appears to be the type that wants things to be interesting and to go according to what could be written in a novel. In that respect, a princess protecting a fish using the assault on an archer as an excuse just doesn’t work in a novel. In either case, Orihime is carefully observing Tsukishima’s words and actions to discern what she should do to get out of this situation on top. But the demoted lion is too impatient.

Shishigawara, now demoted to Sushigawara, warns Orihime of the current situation. He tells Orihime that she isn’t just going to be murdered by Tsukishima, as he’s being serious now. Luckily Orihime isn’t paying too much attention to Sushigawara as she tells him to be quiet. Sushigawara is surprised to hear what Orihime just said to him. Not only is she selfishly protecting him from Tsukishima’s disappointment, but she even got his name wrong! In a way, Shishi is like Riruka. The difference between the two of them is that Shishi doesn’t have such an annoying ego or an obvious hair color meant for filler characters. Either way, they both seem to be “bonding” with the main characters of the story (Riruka with Ichigo (and Chad) and Shishigawara with Orihime). This could make for some interesting developments in the near future. Especially considering the information we get in chapter 441.

Either way, Orihime is still observing Tsukishima as closely as she can. While considering her strategy, her priority lies in disabling Tsukishima’s attacks without risking a counter attack. Tsukishima suddenly just turns around, catching Orihime off guard. She tries to recover by calling out her Santen Kesshun only to be attacked a moment afterwards. This brings us to the second greatest weakness of the Santen Kesshun. The greatest weakness had already been pointed out by Ulquiorra as the hairpins are rather frail. The second greatest weakness has to be the area of effect. No matter how you cut it, it’s still a wall in front of herself and the assailant. All that’s needed is to make sure you go around the barrier in order to attack, which is exactly what Tsukishima did. This results in Orihime’s left side being slashed by Tsukishima. As the blood spatters round, we have a shocked Orihime, a bored Tsukishima, and a surprised Shishigawara.

Unharmed

SHE’S A ZOMBIE~~E!!!

Chad and Ichigo arrive at Orihime’s apartment and run up the stairs to see what is going on. As they get to the right floor, they find Orihime sitting on the floor tightly gripping her left shoulder. As Ichigo calls out to her, Orihime is still trying to process the fact that she felt a blade cutting through her only moments ago. After she realizes that Ichigo and Chad are standing right behind her, she suddenly reacts like nothing happened. As she asks what Chad and Ichigo are doing at her place, they explain they noticed something strange with her reiatsu and someone else being present as well.

It is interesting to learn that reiatsu seems to “vibrate”, according to Chad. Even though Ishida and Ichigo both manifested Reiatsu as ribbons to track people, it turns out that those who don’t use that technique can sense waves. This also explains why Chad had trouble determining the exact location of Orihime and how he noticed something was wrong with her. Orihime tries to write this off as her just getting a sudden stomach ache, but Chad doesn’t just buy that due to the second reiatsu that was present. Orihime then comes up with the excuse of that being a friend. Surprised at her own choice of words, she comes up with a story of meeting with a friend and getting a stomach ache. But as she tells the story, she feels confused about calling Tsukishima a friend while reminding herself that he attacked Ishida.

Acting as whimsical as ever, Orihime apologizes for worrying her friends and assures them that she’ll give a shout if something were to happen to her. In return, she wants to be kept posted on anything that might happen to them. Ichigo and Chad accept her story for now as Orihime decides to only tell Chad later. Where Orihime tries to keep Tsukishima’s attack hidden from Ichigo, Ichigo isn’t really eager to tell her about his experience with Fullbring. I could go on about this, but Chad already beat me to the punch in the chapter itself. There’s little else to say about this.

As Chad and Ichigo walk away, Orihime clarifies her surprise a bit further. It seems she wasn’t surprised by the fact that she called Tsukishima her friend, but that she felt that he is her friend. The most obvious explanation would have to be that Tsukishima’s ‘Book of the End’ rewrote Orihime’s feelings by slashing her. Perhaps that’s what has happened to Shishigawara before and what he intended to do with Ishida. My guess is that he wanted to slash Ishida through the heart as well, though unlike Orihime, he managed to prevent his heart from being struck. This resulted in the injury Ishida now has due to the Fullbring not being activated as it was supposed to.

With Orihime wondering what she was slashed by, Chad and Ichigo are talking about what just happened. Chad already deduced that Ishida’s attacker might have targeted her and that she kept quiet because Ichigo’s around. As Ichigo wants to ask Chad about his thoughts on the matter, he too denies everything as he knows that Ichigo is far from ready to help in these matters. In spite of Chad’s attempts to keep Ichigo in the dark on these matters, even Ichigo reads through these lies.

Calling for Xcution

If only that phone would flash bright red every time it rang… Batman reference, look it up 😛

As all of this is taking place, Kuugo is sitting behind the bar casually trying to get drunk. For all the bravado he shows in front of Ichigo he’s a bit different behind the scenes. Celebrating the fact that things are actually working out as he wants them to, he tries to get Kutsuzawa to pour him another drink. With Kutsuzawa seeing acting like a proper bartender and Jackie seeing through the reason for Kuugo’s happiness, he deflects by annoying Riruka. Riruka, however, completely ignores Kuugo’s attempt at starting a fight, most likely thinking back on her day with Ichigo inside her box… Annoyed by this, Kuugo wants to take a drink, only to remember that he was running on empty. Somehow this gives a really good impression of the day to day life at Xcution headquarters….

Kuugo then gets word of the phone ringing. He actually seems surprised to hear what Ichigo is telling him on the other end of the line. As Ichigo enters the room, Jackie and Kuugo are there to greet him. Ichigo then reveals he knows Orihime was just attacked by Tsukishima and that his friends are hiding it from him. Jackie then asks Kuugo if it is who she thinks it is. Kuugo confirms and reveals that Tsukishima is a Fullbringer and a former ally…

Chapter 441: Brocken Spotlight

‘Broken nose’ seems to be more appropriate

The Unagiya shop doorbell rings as Ikumi opens the door. Slamming the door open, right into Ichigo’s face, the chapter starts off with a lighter mood than the previous ended. Ikumi immediately ignores the fact that she almost broke Ichigo’s nose as she gets angry at Ichigo for not showing up at work for such a long time without giving any notice. She continues to ignore Ichigo’s pain as she tells him to get inside to give whatever excuse he might have. Ichigo declines the offer as he only came there to tell Ikumi he wants more time off from work. As Ichigo and Ikumi continue their conversation on how Ichigo wants time off and he’s a slacker, Kaoru decides to take a peek at what’s happening.

Most likely, Kaoru is curious about his mother’s true nature, with her acting completely different now than when she’s around him. The focus on Kaoru is rather odd, and I wonder what Kubo’s goal is with this attention given. Perhaps it is to emphasize the way Ikumi is somewhat mothering Ichigo here. As Ichigo decides he’s told Ikumi enough, she suddenly grabs him to put him in his place. Juvenile as she may be acting right now, she’s still the adult. Ichigo, being a 17 year old, doesn’t have to tiptoe around her as she can easily handle the truth. She even asks of Ichigo to depend on her and other adults more. With Kaoru silently listening to everything and hearing Ichigo thanking his mother, we wrap up a seemingly useless part of the chapter.

The most important thing to get out of this is that Ichigo comes to the realization that he hardly ever relies on adults. Where he used to be dependant of his mother, he was forced to figure things out on his own under his father’s guidance. Though Isshin isn’t necessarily a bad parent, he never was the type to treat Ichigo as gently as he tries to with his daughters. Where his every action towards his daughters emphasizes that they can rely on him to do anything for them, Ichigo could only rely on him after he asked him to specifically. Even then, Isshin would most likely tell Ichigo to just figure it out on his own and only keep an eye on him from the shadows. But Ikumi’s words mostly pointed out the fact that Isshin is still missing right now, during the one time where he actually needs him.

Xcution: Origins

Magneto/Tsukishima betrayed Xavier/Kuugo to form the brotherhood of Fullbringers!

The reason why Ichigo wants to speak with his father probably has to do with what he just learned from Kuugo. It turns out that Tsukishima was the founder of Xcution who not only gathered other Fullbringers, but came up with the way to dump their powers onto a Shinigami hybrid. I’m not too surprised by the fact that Tsukishima was one of the founding members. Him being the founder and leader, however, is something I didn’t really expect. The fact that Tsukishima killed the Shinigami representative and the Xcution members who gave their powers to him is even more intriguing than that. What’s also interesting is the fact that the outline of the Shinigami representative we see in the flashback looks a bit similar to Isshin.

In any case, Ichigo is quietly listening to the story. But in spite of hearing all of this, Ichigo doesn’t really seem to be realize the impact of the story. Perhaps it has something to do with the murdered Shinigami representative. Kuugo then shows Ichigo the Shinigami Representative Badge, which is enough to make Ichigo pay attention to what Kuugo has to say.

The only thing that Kuugo knows, however, is that he wants to keep Shinigami representatives away from Xcution, meaning Ichigo as well. The means by which he wants to achieve that is (for some strange reason) to attack Ichigo’s friends. Tsukishima is doing all of this, solely to grab Ichigo’s attention. Annoyed by this, Ichigo demands to move on with his Fullbring training. But Kuugo already understands and tells Ichigo to wait as Xcution prepares for the next step in his training.

So we finally learn a bit more about Tsukishima. But Kuugo’s explanation is a lousy one no matter how you look at it. Tsukishima setting up Xcution and everything around it is plausible. But for him to suddenly murder the Shinigami representative after a random amount of Fullbringers gave their powers to him just doesn’t fit. Why bother waiting until those Fullbringers gave up their powers to kill the representative? Could it be he was afraid of specifically those Fullbringers’ abilities? Or could something have happened to the Shinigami representative after receiving all those Hollow based powers? What’s more, how does attacking Ichigo’s friends help in Tsukishima’s supposed plot? Why would he want Ichigo’s attention if he’s just a powerless human anyway? Guess we’ll have to wait for Tsukishima’s side of the story to know what really happened.

Midnight meeting

A mortician and a candy store owner in a dark alley… they must be preparing for Halloween!

Still frustrated by everything that’s going on, Ichigo is thoughtlessly strolling towards his house. All of a sudden, Ichigo sees his father standing in an alley. Rather than confronting the father that left his children alone for days, Ichigo decides to hide and see what Isshin’s doing there. Isshin did notice something, though he probably wasn’t able to discern Ichigo due to Ichigo’s current state.

As he looks at the place where Ichigo just disappeared, Isshin is greeted by Urahara. Isshin immediately tells Urahara that he wants to go somewhere else, who doesn’t really put up much of a fight as he apparently realizes that someone is around. Ichigo is shocked by the current situation. Both his father, whom he has been trying to find for days, and Urahara, the man who has been blamed of treason by Kuugo, are now at the same location, having a secret meeting.

Ichigo then thinks back to the reason for him to doubt Urahara. With everything Kuugo said, Ichigo (for some reason) started to question Urahara’s allegiance. My guess is that if it were a couple of years ago, Ichigo wouldn’t have dreamt of doubting him like this. But with the way his friends keep him in the dark, Urahara doing business with Karin without him knowing, and now his father meeting with Urahara for some strange reason, it is no wonder that he feels insecure about Urahara’s intentions.

Though I’d have loved to see Ichigo confronting Urahara and Isshin right now, Ichigo’s suspicion makes him so wary that he decides to get back his powers first. The reason for this is simply because he wants to be prepared for the situation where Urahara turns out to be an enemy. For that, Ichigo needs to move on with his training.

Fish tank

Ichigo’s greatest results did come from training under water….

Early next day, Ichigo arrives at Xcution to find Riruka with a fish tank. As she tells Ichigo he’s going for a dip, Ichigo doesn’t really care either way. Riruka is surprised at the lack of resistance Ichigo is showing. But with Ichigo’s new found determination to get his powers back, he just wants to get started as soon as possible. Riruka, Kuugo, and Kutsuzawa are a bit surprised as they probably don’t know what has gotten into Ichigo. Riruka then allows Ichigo to get into the fish tank using her ability. I guess the fish tank is as precious to her as the doll house for it to be so compatible with her ability.

As Ichigo is sucked into the fish tank, he lands in the water. Inside the tank Ichigo finds Jackie waiting for him. Seeing her standing there, I can’t help but wonder how much she and Ichigo have shrunk due to the doll house ability. The water’s too shallow if you look at the picture above. Of course, It’s possible that Ichigo and Jackie just have less space than Ichigo had in the box. Either that, Or Kubo hasn’t paid too much attention to the proportions in the fish tank (and the doll house for that matter) .

Jackie introduces herself as Jackie Tristan as Ichigo gives her his full name as well. But with this newfound eagerness, Ichigo also immediately introduces his Fullbring to Jackie as he demands to get started immediately. Jackie doesn’t seem to mind this at all .

These last two chapters were pretty good. Finally we got more information on Xcution and the relations between the Fullbringer factions. Not only that, Isshin and Urahara finally show up again to remind us of what Ichigo has been ignoring all this time. Both chapters were rather straightforward and self explanatory, which isn’t a bad thing from time to time. For now it seems that Ichigo will be picking up the pace with his training, which is a good thing. Let’s just hope that Kubo will keep up a good pace in the chapters as he is doing with Ichigo’s latest training.

In the latest chapter, Isshin and Urahara had a secret meeting. These two obviously did something in the past which helped Isshin to become a “human”. There are a couple of reasons for Isshin and Urahara to meet, of course. One is for old times’ sake. Second, there’s for what’s going on with Karin and Urahara. Third, there’s Ichigo. But what if this is related to Tsukishima? We know Isshin was forced to use a Mugetsu of his own. Could it be that Isshin fought Tsukishima at one time in the past, giving Tsukishima his scar in the process and causing his urge to get Ichigo’s attention?

The next chapter will focus on the next step of Ichigo’s training and most likely Chad’s meeting with Orihime on what happened with Tsukishima. Perhaps this next step in Ichigo’s training will be related to Tsukishima’s ability and more importantly how to counter it. While Jackie explains the purpose of the training to Ichigo and how it relates to Tsukishima, Chad and Orihime will discuss Tsukishima’s latest assault and its effects on her.

That’s it for this week’s review. I hope you guys enjoyed it even though I wrote it while being half asleep. I’m sure I’ve overlooked quite a few things in the latest chapter, so be sure to point those out to me. Further thoughts on the chapter and general theories on Bleach are welcome as usual. Don’t forget to rate this week’s chapter and to vote in the poll! I’ll see you guys again next week! (Hopefully awake then )

 

 

Click on the pictures above to rate these chapters!

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 March 20, 2011.

2 Responses to “The Underscore’s Double Bleach Review”

  1. Good review (again, is it a bad habit?) but it felt shorter than your single chapter ones!

    Evryone is taking Tsukishima as a reader or as a writer. What if he is reviewer like you!!? He is disturbing the plot just like any good editor will do.

    Can you see some Tsukishima inside of you, I wonder?

  2. I guess it must be a bad habit :p. I know this review was rather short in spite of covering two chapters, but the chapters were rather self explanatory.

    As for Tsukishima being a reviewer…. he complains about Orihime’s actions and how they don’t fit a story, pretending he knows better than whoever writes her story… maybe he’s my evil twin? :o.

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