The Underscore’s Bleach review 456


456 End of the Bond 2

I know, I know, I’m late. What’s more, this review is a bit rushed as well. There’s a reason for that… I had to get myself a kitten. I know, what was I thinking. If I’m not careful he’ll eat me like the penguin I am… But he’s sooo~ darned cute. The problem is… when I try to get to reviewer mode, he sits on my keyboard… Do you know how hard it is when there’s a kitten scratching your wings as you’re typing a review?

I’d better hurry now that he’s finally napping a bit. So enough about the kitten, on to BLEACH! Thanks to Binktopia and Mangastream for their scanlation!

Bleach chapter 455, End of the Bond 1, rated by 18 voters, gets an average score of:

7.9

Good

With most of the Fullbrings revealed, along with their abilities, I (motivated by other peoples’ request) just had to know which one you guys felt was the most overpowered. Here’s the results:

Chad, Jackie and Riruka’s Fullbrings aren’t overpowered at all, at least according to you guys. In a way it makes sense, considering the other contenders.

Only two voters feel Kuugo’s Fullbring is most overpowered. I wonder what they based this on. I agree that it has done some things that were rather interesting, but it hasn’t shown anything that Chad’s Fullbring hasn’t done before. Of course, the sword in itself is rather powerful if it can stop Tsukishima’s Book of the End.

Giriko’s Time tells no lies is a bit too strong as well. According to four voters it is the most overpowered of them all. I’d agree with this, just look back at when I first analyzed his Fullbring. Manipulating time, causing things to occur that really couldn’t be caused solely by time…

Then we get a tie between Ichigo’s Fullbring, and Invaders must Die, with six votes each. Considering how Ichigo’s Fullbring allows him to bring out his old Shinigami powers, it could be considered to be overpowered. But to say it’s on the same level as Yukio’s ability to store people, then manipulate everything around them is going a bit too far if you were to ask me .

But the most overpowered Fullbring of all, according to 10 voters, is none other than Tsukishima’s Book of the End. And rightfully so, just look at these current chapters. Speaking of those…

All star anniversary

Somehow I get the idea that with Tsukishima cooking, there’s going to be food poisoning

Ooh, color page… shiny! Sort of.. I’m a bit disappointed with the way the Shinigami are shown in their old appearances. At least, I’m expecting some changes in the character design after the 17 month time skip. Then again, for the Shinigami to suddenly make drastic changes to their appearance in a 17 month interval would be a bit odd, seeing as some of them looked exactly the same for the past 100+ years. Let’s just put the old character designs for the Shinigami aside for now and look at the upside. FINALLY we get to see KON and Rukia!!! Of course, there’s plenty of other familiar faces in the crowd.

One thing to notice is how the “living” are serving the “dead”. What’s more, the “living” are serving what Tsukishima cooked up behind the scenes. Perhaps it’s a sign of what’s happening during this arc, or maybe it’s just an excuse of Kubo’s to put Orihime in a maid’s outfit and the guys in butler outfits. Having Ulquiorra and Grimjoww around is an interesting choice. Admittedly, they are two of the most important enemies Ichigo’s ever faced. Speaking of the dead, Gin standing in the back is almost as surprising as Aizen chatting it up with Urahara.

Shinji and Hiyori joining the party is quite fun to see. It just makes me wonder what they’ve been doing since Aizen’s imprisonment. Hiyori and Grimmjow seem to be having a good time. Renji seems to be getting an ear full from KON, though Rukia and Byakuya are more concerned with what Renji’s holding.

Yoruichi and Soi Fon hiding under the tables is spelling some trouble if you ask me. Perhaps they’re responsible for KON’s rage. The table in the back is doing good as well. With Zaraki and his trusted followers enjoying their meal, Izuru getting drunk, and Mayori experimenting with his own dinner (or perhaps with Izuru’s dinner, explaining why he’s turned blue), the party is going great. This is of course thanks to, what I believe to be the funniest part of this entire picture, Yamamoto’s incredible karaoke voice! The way Yamamoto is passionately singing whatever he’s singing, encouraged by his two favorite students just makes me laugh. All in all, they’re having a good time celebrating yet another Bleach anniversary. Too bad things aren’t looking that good for Ichigo right now…

REJECTED!

You could’ve done better Ichigo, here’s another opportunity to finish things quickly

Orihime starts her rejection of Ichigo’s sudden case of madness. As Tsukishima’s left arm is reassembled, Ichigo begs Orihime to stop healing Tsukishima. As he tries to explain that Tsukishima isn’t her friend, he notices the look in Orihime’s face. A look of disappointment and concern is aimed at Ichigo, enough to silence Ichigo instantly. The Shun Shun Rikka -who look more detailed than they’ve been in a while- then wrap things up, giving Tsukishima the opportunity to thank Orihime.

Tsukishima tells Orihime that her healing is as good as ever, completing the illusion that he’s been healed by Orihime before. Orihime is excited to hear that coming from Tsukishima, almost as much so as she would be if Ichigo were to say that. With Orihime glad to know her healing worked, Chad stands between Ichigo and his target.

Ichigo asks Chad how it’s possible that they’ve become just like “them”, referring to his friends and family as if they were unrelated. As if Ichigo isn’t being vague enough, Chad has to make things more confusing by telling Ichigo that he isn’t like them, but that they’re different, which makes it so hard for him to face Ichigo. My guess is that Chad is just trying to point out that Ichigo and Chad are now “different” from each other, which is the reason why they aren’t on the same side in this conflict. The reason for Chad to feel this way is simple: Ichigo has betrayed one of their most reliable nakama. Remember what Tsukishima did? Help save Rukia, beat Aizen. Remember? Ah the good old days…

Part of the crew

Superman video? Tsukishima was in the back

For those of you who read last week’s review, you may have stumbled across the ‘Post that was lost, but not forgotten’. Here I cooked up one of my wacky theories, this time surrounding Tsukishima’s Book of the End. The gist of my theory was that Tsukishima’s ability allows him to insert himself into a memory, by replacing a relatively meaningless memory with other people with a memory of him doing that exact same thing. That way he created the illusion that he’s always been around and that he experienced things with his victims.

In a way, Kubo has proven part of my theory to be right. Two things are unexpected. First, I never expected Tsukishima to be able to insert himself into relatively new memories. Second, I didn’t expect him to just be added into the memory, rather than replacing almost forgotten faces. What’s funny to see, is that Tsukishima added himself to some of the most important events in Ichigo’s life, events which greatly attributed to the bond created between Ichigo and his friends. What’s most impressive, however, is that Chad and Orihime believe Tsukishima over Ichigo. You’d think their bonds were stronger than that, but it would be odd for someone to doubt his/her own memories when there are other people around to confirm it.

As Ichigo tries to get how Tsukishima could ever possibly fit into the past experiences, Tsukishima asks him if he understands. Ichigo reacts as quickly as he can, only to be thrown out of the room by Tsukishima, right through a wall that is. It’s almost as if Tsukishima’s arm never needed to be cut off…

Special delivery

Who ordered the Sushigawara?

With Tsukishima suddenly having no trouble with Ichigo, Kuugo wants to go and help Ichigo. But Kuugo is stopped in his tracks by the all too familiar issue of chandeliers dropping from the ceiling -don’t you just hate it when that happens? -. But is seems this isn’t a natural occurrence as Shishigawara enters the room. Kuugo reveals that Shishigawara isn’t someone he knows from the past. Whoever Shishigawara is, Tsukishima picked him up after betraying Xcution. The question, however, is why he’d bother to do so? Could it have something to do with the chandelier dropping Fullbring?

Whatever the case, Shishigawara is feeling confident enough to tell Kuugo to keep focused. Because if Kuugo doesn’t focus on the fight, he will lose. Though I have to say, I’m curious as to how Kuugo is supposed to fight off the whole of Xcution without focusing in the first place. Sure, he knows all of their abilities, but it works both ways. What’s more, with another Fullbringer added to the fray, one whose abilities are unknown to him, this could be considered to be a bad situation for Kuugo. As Kuugo analyzes the situation, the thing he feels is more important than Shishigawara’s name, is what his Fullbring does.

If I were to take a guess, I’d go with something of a screwpunching Fullbring. Something that can make things spin around, even from a distance. That could explain how the screws got loose. Then again, it’s also possible that his Fullbring has the ability to deconstruct things, which would be the reason for him to be so confident when facing off with Orihime. He’d be able to undo most of Orihime’s barriers anyways.

Successor?

I feel I’ve seen this pose before… add the confusing speeches…

As Kuugo gets the chance to finally knock some sense into people, Ichigo regains his balance in the next room. Tsukishima follows suit, immediately starting to explain the so called ‘Butterfly effect’. In a way it’s how I felt his Book of the End would work. But apparently, it doesn’t quite work like that. One thing his Fullbring does, is split things. This could explain why Ginjo was led to believe that Book of the End could cut through anything. But what it really does is split the target, insert the bookmark, and get it out without leaving a trace. Much like how a bookmark works within books. The book closes with the bookmark in it. It’s visible while it’s inside, and splits the book into the part you’ve read and the part you’ve yet to read. When the bookmark is removed, it’s almost as if it was never there in the first place, though its existence had been inserted. Replace the book with Tsukishima’s target, and the bookmark with Tsukishima, and that’s what you get. This explains why Chad and Orihime were visibly cut for a moment, only to be “whole” again in a split second -bad pun intended-.

Oddly, Tsukishima believes that this is enough to explain everything. He only added his existence into other people’s lives while maintaining their past experiences yet adding himself as if he’s been playing a major role all along. This reminds me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer all of a sudden… when she suddenly got a sister, Dawn… I wonder how many of you watched Buffy the Vampire slayer though .

After hearing Tsukishima’s explanation, Ichigo concludes that Kuugo was right. Tsukishima is somewhat surprised to hear this as he claims that Kuugo always seemed a lot dumber to him. Tsukishima just ignores this and tells Ichigo that he and his friends now shared two completely different pasts.

Confuzzled

Ichigo’s first thoughts: ‘Does this mean I never actually saw Yoruichi naked?’

Ichigo tells Tsukishima to shut up. Tsukishima’s only telling him that he changed everyone’s past with his ability, but is doing it in a far too complicated manner. But Tsukishima decided that he’d run for Aizen’s spot as the vaguest villain in Bleach, which is only possible because Aizen’s on a small sabbatical for a couple of centuries. He tells Ichigo that he didn’t change the past, but that Ichigo is the one whose got the wrong recollection of the past.

With everyone else remembering Tsukishima, and Ichigo not remembering him, it’s obvious that Ichigo’s in the wrong. Being the only one around could make you feel lonely, especially when all your friends have something you don’t. But Tsukishima has the remedy for that. In a few moments Tsukishima will do him the same favor he’s done to all of Ichigo’s friends.

Here’s where things are starting to get a bit weird. What does Tsukishima want from Ichigo, really? I mean, at first it seemed like he’d wanted him to die, but now he wants Ichigo to become another one of his zombies? Well, that could be true. Then again, it looks more accurate to say that this is another one of those elaborate taunts that often work well on Ichigo. Ichigo gets enraged and charges towards Tsukishima. But this time he doesn’t get to cut off one of Tsukishima’s limbs.

Grievances

How could you Chad?… HOW COULD YOU!?

Orihime stands in Ichigo’s way this time, protecting Tsukishima from Ichigo’s attack. My guess is that Tsukishima noticed Orihime and Chad were catching up to Ichigo and him, which made him taunt Ichigo into attacking him. If Ichigo hadn’t moved, he probably could’ve talked things over with the two of them, but that wouldn’t fit in Tsukishima’s plans. With an Orihime/Chad combo, Ichigo is pushed back again.

What’s odd is that Ichigo is keeping up with so many experienced Fullbring users like this. Chad isn’t a pushover, yet Ichigo is capable of blocking one of his punches with a single hand. Admittedly, Ichigo has always been sharp when it came to fighting, but that doesn’t change the fact that Ichigo has only recently regained abilities after having none at all. Of course, there’s never been an indication of Reiatsu power levels in Bleach, and I’m certainly hoping there won’t be one in the near future. But this doesn’t change the fact that Chad should still have the upper hand for now.

Ignoring this small difference in powers -though Chad could be holding back-, Ichigo blocks Chad’s strike and begs him to stop. But before he can tell Chad to stop, Chad can’t help but express how much he despises their current situation. After all this time of him trying to obtain the power to fight alongside Ichigo, to help him, he had to turn those powers against Ichigo. Ichigo tries telling Chad that things haven’t changed between them, that this is all Tsukishima’s fault, but Chad already made his resolve. With the Brazo Izquierda del Diablo taking shape, Ichigo takes a full blast from Chad’s most powerful attack.

The reason

Because you were just being selfish as usual?…

As Ichigo gets out of the blast, he curses the situation he’s currently in. He reminds himself that he only wanted to regain his powers in order to protect all of his friends, but now he has to use them against those he wants to protect. But did he really need to? Weren’t his friends doing fine without him around? Ichigo doesn’t have the time to think things over as Tsukishima suddenly stands in front of him. Seeing the person who caused both him and Chad to experience this agony standing in front of him, his rage is fueled again as he once more aims for Tsukishima.

End of the bond 2 continues the set up for what is most likely the final confrontation of this arc. Perhaps these chapters will go on like the Deicide chapters. Whatever the case, I’m eager to see this chapter in the anime. Ichigo’s Fullbring looks better the more I see it in action.

Anyways, the most important thing this chapter did was explain how Tsukishima’s ability works. There’s no doubt in my mind that there’s more to it than Tsukishima told us right here, but that’s okay for now. I’m curious how Kubo is going to handle Kuugo’s fight. If he shows Kuugo’s fight, it would mean that there’s no other purpose for him after this arc. But if Kuugo just emerges victorious without seeing anything of his fight…

Anyways, with Orihime and Chad getting determined enough to fight Ichigo, Tsukishima no longer holding back, Kuugo facing off agains Xcution. Things are on a roll now. Guess we’ll just have to wait until next week to see how this will work out for Ichigo.

Tsukishima seems to be quite the actor if you ask me. He knows exactly how to act whenever it is needed. No one’s around? Tsukishima’s the villain. Someone might pop up? He taunts Ichigo to turn him into the villain. In a way, he’s doing what Aizen’s done, only he’s doing it on a smaller scale. But how is he so capable of manipulating Ichigo to this extend when he never met him until a week ago? What if Tsukishima’s Book of the End also allows him to “read” his target’s past experience and learn those immediately?

I’m sticking to last week’s prediction (again). Chad and Orihime will start off next week’s chapter by telling Ichigo they’re disappointed in him. Ichigo will try to have Chad and Orihime remember that they were attacked by Tsukishima before and they were fully aware of what was happening at that time. He will ask his friends to trust him, which will make them back down for a bit. Jackie, however, will step into the fight, confident of her speed and power. This will be the signal for Giriko and Riruka to join in the battle. As the fighting starts, Kuugo will try to finish Tsukishima himself, where he will be stopped by Orihime and Chad. The fighting will continue with a couple of twists and turns, only for Ishida to be the one to solve matters.

Ichigo and Tsukishima will face off, where Tsukishima reveals that he allowed Ichigo to cut his arm off to ensure that his Fullbring would work perfectly on Chad and Orihime as they had their doubts before Ichigo’s attack. Ichigo will be beaten up badly, Isshin enters with the spirit Zanpakutou, and everything comes full circle.

That’s it for this week’s review. I hope you guys enjoyed it. I know it’s a bit rushed, but with this darned kitten bothering me all the time… Because of him there’s also no posts that were lost, but not forgotten this week. It’ll come next week (at least I’ll try). Anyways, 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! If you’ll excuse me. I have a kitten I need to show the awesomeness of Bleach… and not to chew my fingers, err I mean wings, while I’m reviewing… 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 July 17, 2011.

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