The Underscore’s Bleach review 449


449 Not be a Drug

Quite the intriguing title for a chapter. I’m not entirely sure what the title implies, though I’d like to think it’s a reference to Orihime and her actions in this week’s chapter. Anyways, this week’s review has the pictures from the Mangastream and Binktopia scanlation as usual. Let’s get to the review!

Bleach chapter 448, Loading to Lie, rated by 24 voters, gets an average score of:

8.0

Great

With two girls having a major crush on Ichigo at this time and both of them meeting during last week’s chapter, there was only one thing I could ask you. That’s right, which of these two will end up with Ichigo according to you! That’s why I asked you which one of the two is more annoying .

One voter felt that both Orihime and Riruka were tied when it came to being annoying. I suppose they both can be annoyingly attached to Ichigo for reasons we can’t really grasp.
Three voters felt Orihime is more annoying. This probably has something to do with the fact that Orihime has been considered to be useless by many for many arcs.
Four voters felt I forgot the most annoying character in Bleach, but I didn’t catch their replies on who they felt is the most annoying. Perhaps it was Omaeda?
Four voters ignored the point of this poll by saying that they feel Riruka’s prettier than Orihime. WHY’D YOU IGNORE THE POINT OF THIS POLL!
Seven voters felt that both characters aren’t annoying at all. I guess this can be argued for as well. They are both just girls in a Shounen manga, which gives them a disadvantage.
Eight voters, however, just felt that Riruka’s more annoying than Orihime. Can’t really blame them for that one as I’m probably one of the most headstrong people in claiming she’s annoying and whatnot -just look at the picture for the chapter rating at the end of the reviews .
But of course, as I should have expected from people who can actually read my reviews entirely, eleven of you also decided TO IGNORE THE POINT OF THIS POLL! . As such, the conclusion of this poll on which character being more annoying is that Orihime’s prettier… Admittedly, this latest chapter adds to her charm .

 

Unmasked announced and 50 volumes!

WHY ISN’T CHAD SHOWN!

The colored opening we were promised last week. The chapter first starts off at the Urahara store, continuing after the intriguing revelation from the previous chapter. Whatever the mysterious trio is plotting, they are now putting the final touch on their Ichigo related project. All that’s left for the Shinigami, whom I shall refer to as the Really Unknown yet Kind of Intriguing Appearance, or RUKIA for short – I don’t care what you guys think, I thought this was brilliant-, to do is to put some Reiatsu into -what appears to be- a bottled glowing orb on top of a table -it would make my year if this table were to be the table for joke purposes only from chapter one . RUKIA tells Urahara that she knows what to do.

This moment is interrupted for a moment by the color spread celebrating the 50th Bleach volume and the announcement of the Bleach data book ‘Unmasked’. Good news indeed . In spite of the color spread revolving around the Xcution members -for some reason Ichigo is considered a member, yet Chad isn’t?- I’m actually quite pleased by this spread. Just by seeing the legs of the characters it is almost too easy to see who they belong to. Sure, the fact that small colored pictures of the legs’ owners are shown helps -thank Kubo that I finally have physical proof of Yukio not having white hair -, but just by looking at the feet (or rather, the style of the shoes and the way they stand) you could already tell who it is. To me, this is a perfect example of how well Kubo’s character art is. Plenty of distinguishable characters, which you can see just by looking at their feet! Though this doesn’t hold always hold true, with plenty of Shinigami having the same uniform .
As for the Unmasked data book, it seems we’ll be getting quite the information of Ulquiorra. Too bad no one bothered translating Kon’s points…

Urahara then spurs RUKIA on to put in some Reiatsu to complete the process. Without the slightest hint of hesitation, RUKIA steps forward to complete the process. Sadly, we don’t see whether this will work, or not.

Looking at this first part of the chapter, we learn that it’s important for RUKIA to use some Reiatsu in order to complete the process of the experiment to affect Ichigo’s future. Let’s take a quick look at the facts: Urahara and Isshin are involved, spoke of Ichigo’s future changing, and are working with an experiment that involves the insertion of Reiatsu. Isshin is a bit reserved about this experiment, yet knows that it must be done. RUKIA’s Reiatsu is needed, which could mean that her Reiatsu is related to Ichigo’s Reiatsu. Something like RUKIA’s Reiatsu having awakened Shinigami powers in Ichigo once before or something along those lines. Not to mention, RUKIA knows Urahara and Isshin well enough to trust them and she has reason to be involved with Ichigo. Taking these facts, it is obvious that RUKIA’s true identity is none other than… Ichigo’s sister Karin!!!

Bloody hell

Why does this give the impression Kuugo forgot that they need Ichigo alive?

Inside ‘Invaders must die’, the story continues from where we left off in the last chapter as well. Orihime starts off with her usual introducing of herself -she’s got manners, you’ve got to give her that- only to be interrupted by Kuugo telling her to get to work. Orihime then notices a bloody pulp with orange hair -you disappoint me Ichigo. Orihime immediately runs towards Ichigo while activating her Souten Kisshun to heal him.

There are three things I have to mention here before moving on. First off, I feel I was right about the Hit Point system that had been set by Yukio being a disadvantage for Ichigo. Just look at what we’re seeing in the frame above. Second, Kuugo is a lot more impressive than I’ll ever give him credit for. Sure, Ichigo isn’t at his best, but for him to go unscathed against Ichigo while Ichigo has been beaten to this extend is something worth praising him for. Thirdly, I have to retract something I mentioned about Kuugo’s Fullbring. I thought the white part around Kuugo’s feet after releasing his ‘Cross of Scaffold’ was ‘Invaders must die’ being undone at that part due to the Fullbring. But seeing Orihime and Ichigo here, it’s obvious that it’s just a form of shadow created inside the video game.

Ichigo isn’t all too fond about seeing Orihime as he deduces that Chad brought her with him. As Chad enters ‘Invaders must die’, he admits to bringing her with him because they need her powers. Chad also points out that he knows full well that Ichigo doesn’t want Orihime involved. Though Ichigo probably still wants Orihime to not be involved, he knows that he needs to rely on her in his current state. Also, -I hope- Ichigo probably realizes that Orihime would feel the same as he did during the confrontation with Tsukishima.

As all of this plays out, Kuugo wants to tell Chad not to get involved. But Chad already tells Kuugo that he isn’t there to back Ichigo up. Instead, he’s arrived to do some training of his own inside of a special room inside ‘Invaders must die’. The reason for this is because Chad feels that he isn’t ready to take on Tsukishima as he is right now. Interesting to note is that he first wanted to say that “we” weren’t ready, yet changed it to “me” not being ready. It’s almost as if he’s admitting that Kuugo is far stronger than Chad is. This somewhat pisses me off… Kubo should throw Chad a bone once in a while… Kuugo tells Chad to just do whatever he wants -for a leader, he tends to say that a lot- as Chad leaves through a door that appears.

The Tiger’s trials

Someone’s been watching too much Dragon Ball Z…

As Chad stands inside the room, he thinks back to the moment where Yukio was showing Tsukishima some attitude. As the event draws to the end we saw a couple of chapters back, we now see what happened after that as we learn that Chad was watching everything while standing behind Yukio. We learn that Tsukishima didn’t leave empty handed in the end as he suddenly appeared behind Chad and cut him down.

We finally learn a bit more about Tsukishima’s ability, mostly because unlike Orihime, Chad has more experience in battles (and being cut down ). Chad did sense that he had been cut down by Tsukishima, yet no one around him noticed anything. What’s more, there was no sign of injury and Chad himself is almost doubting whether it actually happened. Looking at the other two known attacks, Chad’s is a bit different from those as well, with only the perpetrator being the same. While Orihime had been slashed through her heart, Chad has been slashed through the right side of his chest. In contrast, Ishida had his arm cut. Ishida, however, is the only one who was left with physical injuries after the attack, whereas Orihime and Chad only have the mental recollection of being attacked. Sadly, Chad doesn’t let us know whether he suddenly considered Tsukishima to be his “friend”, though he says it’s ‘exactly as Orihime said’. But apparently, he’s mostly implying that Tsukishima’s ability is a true mystery.

My guess would be that Tsukishima uses a more evolved ability of his own, possibly what he obtained from killing the previous Shinigami hybrid. With ‘Book of the End’ supposedly being able to “cut through anything”, it’s possible that he has now obtained the ability to cut through a person’s soul without physically touching them. This could explain why Chad (and Orihime) felt that he was being cut while no one else saw it happening. Whatever happened, it turns out that Tsukishima’s plan to attack either Ichigo or Chad has worked out perfectly as this suggests that Chad was Tsukishima’s primary target all along.

Chad, however, doesn’t know what Tsukishima did or how he did it. Because of this, Chad can only strengthen himself in order to make sure he can face Tsukishima in the future. In order to improve himself, Chad has now entered a room inside ‘Invaders must die’ that has the same properties as a desert with increased gravity. For those of you who don’t work with centigrade, 48.2 degrees Celsius equals ‘It’s friggin hot, turn off the heater during summers you idiot’, or 119 degrees Fahrenheit. With hardly any wind and the humidity, I wouldn’t want to be in Chad’s shoes.

What goes around comes around

So this is why they say ‘Karma’s a bitch’

Kuugo demands that Orihime hurries up with Ichigo’s healing as he feels it’s taking too long. Admittedly, it took Orihime less time to heal Grimmjow’s entire arm that it is taking her to heal Ichigo, but we have to remember that this time she’s healing more than a spiritual body. In any case, Orihime asks Kuugo to wait a bit longer for her to finish up. But rather than listen to Orihime, Kuugo just plain asks Ichigo if he’s ready to go. Ichigo, still being as impatient as ever, just nods his head and tells Kuugo he’s ready. Orihime tries to reprimand Ichigo for thinking like this, but Kuugo already leaps to attack. Orihime then takes out the remaining four faeries of the Shun Shun Rikka and creates a before unseen pyramid shaped barrier. Ichigo, trapped inside the Souten Kisshun, tries to warn Orihime. This makes sense, considering the state Ichigo is in right now and Orihime’s fight rep. Kuugo mocks the use of the Santen Kesshun, feeling his ‘Cross of Scaffold’ can easily rip through the barrier. Orihime then does something unexpected.

Let’s go back to last Thursday. I opened my inbox to find a reply left by a frequent reader of my reviews: ‘ HOLY SHIT ORIHIME FINALLY LIVED UP TO HER PRETTY WORDS. I HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE HAPPY TO HAVE BEEN PROVEN WRONG. AND A NEW TECHNIQUE? FUCK YEAH. ITS ABOUT DAMN TIME, NOW HOW ABOUT ACTUALLY WINNING A FIGHT!?
seriously, holey shit. for the first time since she got her powers, Orihime actually acted badass. i am still in happy, happy shock.
very, very happy about the new chapter. cant wait for you to review it.

Now, I hadn’t even seen the new chapter yet and the first thing I hear about it is that which you just read. With only having 30 minutes to have breakfast, shower, get dressed, and get to the train station in order to get to work on time at the moment I read this message it was obvious I didn’t really have the time to read the chapter… Which is why I read it as quickly as I could -FYI, I did make it in time… somehow. I have to say, I couldn’t have said it any better than takashid here said it. Well, maybe I could… I’m just lazy .

Orihime tells Kuugo that he’s wrong about the Santen Kesshun though Kuugo doesn’t believe it at all. As he strikes the barrier, he is suddenly struck by a blast of energy. Drawing first blood, Orihime’s new Shiten Koushun already proofs itself. By adding Tsubaki -my favorite of the Shun Shun Rikka- to the Santen Kesshun, the Shiten Koushun (The deviant shield of the four heavens) basically turned into one of my favorite Kingdom Hearts II abilities, Reflect. For those of you not familiar with Kingdom Hearts II, Reflect is a barrier that protects you from enemy attacks for a split second and sends the energy behind the opponent’s attack right back at them in the form of a blast of energy immediately after using it. Or as Kuugo puts it ‘a responsive shield that shoots bombs back’.

Kuugo tries to hold on to some of his pride by telling Orihime that’s she’s just plain sadistic, though she doesn’t care at all. When Orihime tells you ‘no’, she means ‘back off, or die trying’. I was hoping to see this side of Orihime’s back during the Arrancar arc. Though it’s much later than I had hoped, at least she finally got to this point. I’m just a bit worried that Kubo won’t do anything with this in the future…

Oath

Is this supposed to comfort Ichigo? Telling him he’s the one who fell behind…

Almost as shocked as most of us readers were at the sight of Orihime in action, is Ichigo. In shock, he asks Orihime when she learned a move like the Shiten Koushun. Orihime then reveals that both Chad and Orihime knew that Ichigo would one day regain his powers in order to fight again. In preparation for Ichigo’s return, Chad and Orihime have been preparing themselves so they would be able to stand next to Ichigo once that time would come. As such, for 17 months, they’ve been developing their abilities further so they would be able to stand next to Ichigo on the battlefield instead of needing to hide behind him when the going gets tough.

Surprised to hear all of this, Ichigo comes to the realization that he hasn’t been shielded by his friends all this time for the purpose of leaving him behind, but for the purpose of him to regain what he had lost so that he would be able to join them again. Not only that, he probably realizes that his friends share the same feelings as him in wanting to fight for those close to them and not wanting others to get hurt in their stead. Of course, Orihime will most likely be less offensive in her endeavors, but she doesn’t want her powers to be insufficient when the time arrives for her to act. As for Chad, I believe anyone who has read all of the Bleach chapters to this point knows what his reason for wanting to stand next to Ichigo is.

Orihime tells Ichigo that he doesn’t have to worry for his friends and that he can just focus on regaining his strength, turning Ichigo back to the same old determined strawberry we’ve grown attached to. Orihime then looks at the spiritually revived Ichigo who prepares to face off against Kuugo.

Haste makes waste

Even Kubo knows that he can just move on to the next part of this arc

As Ichigo prepares to continue a training that is almost as grueling as Ichigo’s training with old-man Zangetsu for his Bankai and Tensa Zangetsu’s training for the Mugetsu, we find Yukio sitting in the hideout on his own. With two minutes to midnight (coincidentally the title of an Iron Maiden song, nice touch Kubo ) Yukio decides to pick up the pace a bit. He pushes a button on his PFP to fast forward the events in the ‘Invaders must die’, ending this week’s chapter.

Before wrapping this review up, I have to go into ‘Invaders must die’ a bit further. I already speculated that Yukio would be capable of manipulating a lot of things inside his console, though I thought (/hoped) that he would change things using cartridges/UMD’s. But this chapter shows us that he can not only manipulate people by giving them life bars, but he can actually create different environments with changing conditions as well. This final part even suggests that he can accelerate time inside the console as well. It’s no wonder that Yukio is so confident about his ability if he can do all of this…

Another excellent chapter for this latest arc. Bleach is finally starting to get back to the splendor it had back in the days. Kubo shows us that he intends to balance powers more and has some plans for Chad, Orihime, and (most likely) Ishida.

We saw that Urahara, Isshin, and RUKIA were wrapping things up, meaning we’ll find out how that plan works out sooner or later. We saw the effects of the training with Kuugo on Ichigo, which weren’t necessarily a good thing for Ichigo. We learn what happened with Tsukishima at the end of the previous confrontation and get another hint about his ability. Chad decides to strengthen himself in a way that’s reminiscent of Dragon Ball Z -Hyperbolic Time Chamber anyone?- which I’ll just consider as a small tribute from Kubo to Toriyama. My personal favorite part was Orihime’s new technique which used Tsubaki, showed her determination for real, and hurt Kuugo in the process (which is a nice bonus if you ask me ). Orihime made herself even more useful by putting Ichigo back in his place -I’ll bet that Riruka will say that Ichigo has the look in his eyes back which she saw in him at first and that she’ll be jealous of Ichigo, and so on. Yukio then being spurred on to speed up things in the ‘Invaders must die’ was more intriguing than I imagined. More on that in this week’s headspinner.

All in all another great chapter. The artwork was slightly off at times, but great nonetheless. There were plenty of developments, references to other things, and events to make this another great chapter. Keep up the good work Kubo!

RUKIA was about to insert her Reiatsu into the glowing orb at Urahara’s place. It’s almost midnight, and I believe I saw a full moon in one of the previous chapters. For some reason I get the impression that Yukio feels that he has to speed things up before midnight. Could it be that something will happen at midnight that involves Urahara’s project and that Xcution wouldn’t want happening?

Next week’s chapter will probably involve Tsukishima and Ishida more than others. Tsukishima will reveal that his plan to attack Chad worked better than he expected. Ishida will then meet up with Tsukishima in his full Quincy gear. At the end of the chapter we’ll see that Urahara’s project will have been completed in the form of a Soul Candy as he hands it to RUKIA to reveal her true identity. The final frame of the chapter will be Ichigo who will have completed his training with Kuugo.

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! I’ll see you guys again next week!

Rate this week’s chapter by clicking on the picture above!

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~ by The Underscore on May 29, 2011.

2 Responses to “The Underscore’s Bleach review 449”

  1. Very calm and good review, I was expecting opposite, you seem collected after the shocking events unlike others 😛

    R.U.K.I.A. is indeed a mysterious being, good that we learnt he or she (or it??) wearing a sash, that’s a big revelation!

    Orihime showed that she can combine her fairies, then there should be other combos for sure! Do you have any idea what it could be?

    2 minutes to midnight, yet another song reference (from Iron Maiden)… It is amazing that Kubo keep using that much trivia and still able to flow the story.

  2. Wait a sec, are you saying you were expecting an erratic and bad review instead? 😮 Maybe I should try that out next time :p.

    I actually tried comparing RUKIA’s sash to that of others while writing the review. The problem is, too many Shinigami wear their sashes the same way :(.

    I’m not sure how the faeries would be able to combine besides the latest. I guess the most obvious combination would be the Souten Kisshun combined with Tsubaki in order to take the damage dealt to someone and send it at someone else. Besides that, a 5 part shield for healing and protecting is also possible. Perhaps in the shape of a pyramid. Who knows what might happen.

    The reference to the Iron Maiden song may not have been intentional, but I just couldn’t help noticing it. Though quite frankly, I thought about the Linkin Park song minutes to midnight only moments before remembering the title of the Iron Maiden song…

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