The Underscore’s Bleach review 458


458 End of All Bonds

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA~~, man I enjoyed this chapter. Sure, we saw this coming from the moment this arc started, but the way Kubo executed is really made my day. I liked it so much that I’m actually writing this review on a Wednesday for the first time in ages . Well then, without further ado, let’s get to this week’s review! Thanks to Mangastream/Binktopia for their timely release.

Bleach chapter 457, End of Bond 3, rated by 10 voters, gets an average score of:

8.0

Great

Ishida was on his way at the end of last week’s chapter. With five options surrounding his upcoming appearance, here’s what you guys thought:

No one believed that Ishida would be one of Tsukishima’s flunkies. Which makes sense as there’s more hints at Ishida not being allied with Tsukishima.

Two people felt Ishida to be a Zero. Ichigo will end up doing everything, so his appearance is nothing short of useless.

Then we have a tie between the people who believe Ishida to be a hero and the people who just don’t know what could happen with Ishida. It would be nice for Ishida to finally shine as he did during his fight with Mayuri -without the loss of his powers that is. Then again, who knows what Kubo has in plan with Ishida?

But with nine votes, it looks like Ishida will be there as a friend of Ichigo’s. He’ll make sure Ichigo has his chance at Tsukishima. It turns out that these voters were half right .

The last man down

Ri~~ght, we get what you’re saying Kuugo >Wink<

Last week’s chapter ended with Kuugo taking a hit for Ichigo. After getting split in twine, Kuugo is returned to his previous state thanks to Tsukishima’s Fullbring leaving no mark. In spite of there being no physical trauma, the blow did put Kuugo into a shock, preventing him from staying in the air or regaining his balance as he falls down. As Kuugo falls flat down on the roof of the mansion -Ichigo could’ve at least tried to break his fall, couldn’t he?-, Ichigo decides to check up on him. As Ichigo descends to the roof, he prays that Kuugo isn’t affected by Tsukishima’s ability.

During his descent to the roof, Ichigo recalls how Tsukishima’s ability works. Though the ability still is as vague as can be, the gist is that Tsukishima inserts his presence into his target and makes his target create a past with Tsukishima as an ally. With what happened to all the other of Ichigo’s friends, the situation looks grim for Kuugo.

As Ichigo kneels next to the hurt Kuugo, he asks him if he’s all right. Kuugo starts regaining consciousness, showing us once more that the ‘Book of the End’ doesn’t kill its targets once Tsukishima decides to activate its effect. Ichigo immediately tries to see if Kuugo’s still on his side, but Kuugo’s initial reaction makes it seem like he’s too happy to see Ichigo sitting next to him. But the panic is short lived as Kuugo reacts in his usual way by telling Ichigo to shut up and focus. He reminds Ichigo that if he’s struck by Tsukishima it will all be over. No sooner does he say this, or…

Clash of Fullbrings

Tsukishima really is on and off when it comes to his ability, isn’t he?

No sooner does Kuugo warn Ichigo that he might be attacked from behind, or Tsukishima dives in to complete the attack he initiated last week. This time, Ichigo’s hands are free, giving him the opportunity to easily block Tsukishima’s attack. With enough force to blow Tsukishima away a couple of feet, Ichigo turns to Kuugo to ask him if he’s really okay.

Kuugo explains that he isn’t sure, but that he still sees Tsukishima as the enemy and Ichigo as his ally. Ichigo sighs in relieve after hearing this. Though you’d expect Ichigo to be the one to be wary of the time when Kuugo might switch allegiance, it is Kuugo who addresses this matter. Even though Kuugo is alright for now, the same could be said about Orihime and Chad before. It is still unknown when and how Tsukishima’s ability materializes itself and this isn’t the time for Ichigo and Kuugo to find out either. The only thing they can do right now is to finish Tsukishima off right now. Because once Kuugo joins Tsukishima’s ranks, it will clearly won’t be in their advantage.

What’s funny here is that they don’t even consider what would happen if Tsukishima’s ability still works even after his defeat/death. What if Ichigo kills Tsukishima and Kuugo forgets that he contributed to that plan? That would leave Ichigo as a murderer with only his own word against that of the world. Whatever the case, Tsukishima’s a more pressing matter at this time. Then again, he was until Ishida showed up…

Be my friend or not

Ishida did start out as your enemy… why would you be surprised now?

The white archer makes his appearance. Sadly, the traditional Quincy clothing are lacking. Could this be a sign of the young Quincy being under the influence of Tsukishima’s ability, preventing him from wearing the unsoiled white Quincy robes? Ishida addresses Ichigo, causing Ichigo to instantly analyze his current situation.

The first one to have been attacked by Tsukishima was Ishida. Though he was injured, he is now standing in front of Ichigo unharmed. The only one who could heal him so easily is Orihime. But Orihime is also under the influence of Tsukishima! But did she heal Ishida while thinking Tsukishima is an ally, or was it before that happened? If she did think of Tsukishima as an ally, would that mean that Ishida was healed to be part of Tsukishima’s attack force? Boy did I enjoy this little mental rant by Ichigo . Usually, Ichigo isn’t exactly wary of such psychological intricacies surrounding friends and foes. Of course, after the psychological warfare done by Aizen and all that he’s seen in the last couple of hours, Ichigo is forced to think this way. The gist of it all is that Ichigo has only a few moments to decide whether Ishida’s on his side now. But Ishida spares Ichigo the trouble of figuring it out.

Treachery

Rhymes with archery…

Ishida pulls out his Ginrei Kojaku and points it in Ichigo’s direction. Though Ishida’s case seemed to be different from the other of Tsukishima’s victims, this proves that Ishida was affected as well. This is the only conclusion Ichigo can come to as he can’t hide his disappointment at seeing Ishida aiming at him.

Ishida finally decides to say something more, only to tell Ichigo to come to him. Ichigo sees this as one of Ishida’s taunts, staying on guard. Ishida explains that he’s seen what has been happening to Ichigo. Even though he saw Ichigo fighting Chad and Orihime who were protecting Tsukishima -did he really?- he is still on Ichigo’s side as he understands the situation somewhat. But Ichigo doesn’t trust Ishida’s words as he is the most likely person to be under Tsukishima’s influence. But Ishida doesn’t understand what Ichigo’s talking about, which makes sense as no one under Tsukishima’s influence understands what Ichigo’s on about.

Ishida ignores Ichigo’s banter and tells him to quickly come to him. Ichigo tries to talk some sense into Ishida as he calls out to him. But just as he tries to do that, Ishida suddenly does the same. And Ishida has a good reason to do so.

The unexpectedly expected

I’ll admit, I never would’ve thought Kuugo would be the one who attacked Ishida

Man did I enjoy this part. Kubo finally decided to show us that Kuugo really is one of the bad guys and he couldn’t have done it in a better way. Though it wouldn’t have been strange for Kuugo to turn on Ichigo after being cut by Tsukishima, Ishida reveals that Kuugo already worked against Ichigo before this time. Though Kuugo told Ichigo that Tsukishima attacked Ishida, Ishida reveals that it was in fact Kuugo who dealt the finishing blow. Surprised by this revelation, Ichigo turns around to see a changed Kuugo.

Ishida tries to protect Ichigo by firing some arrows at Kuugo, but he easily sweeps them away. With this same move of the blade, Kuugo swings it back down to strike at Ichigo. Ishida wants to get Ichigo to safety as quick as he can, but before he can move from his position, Tsukishima reminds us that he’s still around. As Tsukishima strikes down Ishida, and Ichigo succumbs to his injury, a mad man’s laugh fills the skies.

End of schemes

Does this mean that Kuugo was the first Shinigami substitute?

With Kuugo towering over him, Ichigo can’t believe that he has been affected by Tsukishima’s powers. But Kuugo can no longer hide his annoyance towards Ichigo’s naivety as he decides to reveal the truth to Ichigo. As Kuugo takes out his own Shinigami representative badge, he explains that he had been affected by Tsukishima’s powers. But it wasn’t because of Tsukishima’s powers that he turned into Ichigo’s enemy, but it was because of his powers that he became his ally! Much like Yukio hinted to a couple of chapters back, Kuugo now remembers the truth.

As Kuugo’s real memories return, he combines his representative badge with his Cross of Scaffold, adding a skull to the design and what looks like a spine to the second handle inside the blade. As he points he improved blade at a stunned Ichigo, he tells Ichigo that he’s planning on relieving Ichigo of his Fullbring. He then hits Ichigo in an all too familiar spot -remember the volume the broken coda?- as a means to take out Ichigo’s powers. Could this be Ichigo’s end? Did Xcution somehow complete their plans?

I could go over what happened during the chapter like I usually do in this part of the review, but this chapter serves better to take a look at what has happened throughout this arc and how it all ties in with each other.

Let’s start at the beginning. Kuugo introduces himself to Ichigo in an elaborate manner by pretending to get mugged by some thugs. At this point of the story, Ishida was still unharmed, meaning he hadn’t been put under ‘Book of the End’s spell yet. This of course raises one important question, which will be covered in this week’s headspinner along with a second question.

Anyways, when Kuugo first introduced himself to Ichigo he did his best to get him into a state where he would trust him. He tried to do this by throwing suspicion on Ichigo’s father and Urahara. This probably didn’t have the effect he wanted, forcing him to rethink his plans. This made him turn to Tsukishima and his ability.

More than likely, Kuugo wouldn’t be able to act his way into being Ichigo’s ally, as was proven by the first attempts he made. The only way to truly become Ichigo’s ally would be to erase all his knowledge of ever trying to trick Ichigo. The reason he wanted to trick Ichigo for now seems to be in order to get Ichigo to obtain a Fullbring -which still hasn’t been named, which is odd if it were to disappear right now. But for Ichigo to obtain his Fullbring at a good pace, a few elements were required. For one, Ichigo would need to have a reason to want powers. Thus Ishida was targeted. Why Kuugo would personally harm Ishida is beyond me, but it could be that Ishida was too much for Tsukishima to handle. In any case, Ishida fell, leaving Ichigo frustrated with the fact that something like this happened so close to him -both literally and figuratively.

Besides a goal, Ichigo needed a couple of other things. Examples, a reason to trust, and the means to develop his powers. The examples came in the form of the other Xcution members, along with the means/locations to develop the powers. The reason to trust Xcution, however, still wasn’t there. Here’s where Chad came in.

With these elements in check, all Ichigo needed was something to keep him motivated. Something similar to what helped him develop his Shinigami powers under Aizen’s plans. Tsukishima, the only one who would know the truth with everyone else under his Fullbring’s spell, would serve as the perfect antagonist. With the same swipe that made Kuugo think of Tsukishima as an enemy, he rewrote some other memories as well. This explains why Kuugo thought Tsukishima had a different ability in the first place. But with Kuugo not knowing why he never knew, he deduced the ability in the same way he would have otherwise.

Going back a bit before Kuugo solving the ‘Book of the End’s riddle, there’s the convenience of Ichigo being sealed in ‘Invaders must die’ as Tsukishima manipulates the rest of Ichigo’s friends and his sisters. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Tsukishima didn’t plot anything himself, but that it was all Kuugo who planned every move of Tsukishima’s. Thus, as Kuugo trained Ichigo, Tsukishima was able to cause events to which Kuugo would react in a natural way. From using the ‘Dollhouse’ to having Yukio use ‘Invaders must die’. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that Kuugo taking in the blast of Ichigo’s Fullbring completing also had something to do with what happened at the end of this chapter.

With all cards played, everything in this arc led to what happened in this chapter. Kuugo finally woke up from his trance after Tsukishima confirmed that Ichigo had completed his powers. Ishida showing up probably wasn’t intended, but nothing they couldn’t handle. Kuugo then takes out the Shinigami representative badge, which has the ability to draw out a person’s spiritual powers/manifest a spiritual body, in order to draw out Ichigo’s Fullbring powers.

Though Kuugo’s betrayal was something most of us saw coming from the moment we laid our eyes on him, I’m still satisfied with the way Kubo handled it. I can imagine there being mixed feelings about this, as it was in a way almost too predictable. But I can’t deny that Kubo didn’t manage to take away my attention from the whole ‘Kuugo’s the villain’ thing I had going. Sure, I was hoping for Tsukishima and Kuugo to be on different sides, but this was also in the range of possibilities as some of you already pointed out over time in replies and in discussions. Still, the way this chapter wrapped this part of the arc up was more than I was hoping for when I was waiting for this chapter.

The way this chapter depicted everything is just trademark Bleach. The art looks sublime and fits the situations. Ichigo’s despair in every step of the chapter is drawn in a way only Kubo can. Kubo even used several panels without words to depict what was happening, leaving out the use of words. I’m more than satisfied with this week’s chapter and I’m even more eager to see what will happen next week. So on to the headspinners and the prediction!

Like I said in the overview, I’ll put up two headspinners here. Simply because the review is early and it could be that you’ll have to wait for one and a half week until the next one .

Here’s the first one: Xcution set out to have Ichigo obtain a Fullbring as we are shown in this week’s chapter. As I hinted in the overview, Chad’s support of Xcution was rather strange. Admittedly, with the way things are standing now, it wouldn’t be strange for Chad to have been affected by ‘Book of the End’. But here’s my question for you: How many times has Chad been affected by ‘Book of the End and how often has it been?

The second headspinner has to do with Ishida. This one’s rather simple: Why didn’t Tsukishima erase Ishida’s memories of Kuugo attacking him? Could this have something to do with Kuugo’s Fullbring affecting the ‘Book of the End?

Personally, I’m hoping that Ichigo will lose his Fullbring powers to Kuugo right now. Next week’s chapter will be all about how Xcution’s plot was put into place, so I’m not expecting a lot to happen, but I’m hoping Ichigo will be powerless at the end of the chapter. The chapter after that Ichigo and Ishida will learn what Kuugo’s real goal is and they will still try to stop him. As they fail, Isshin and Urahara will show up with the Spirit Zanpakutou in order to restore Ichigo’s powers. Ichigo will regain his Shinigami powers and fight Kuugo as Ishida takes on Tsukishima. Urahara will use one of his wacky inventions to snap Chad and Orihime out of their spell as they will fight the other Xcution members. Isshin and Urahara will be trapped by Riruka’s Dollhouse, leaving Chad and Orihime outnumbered. Kuugo in the meantime will decide to stop Ichigo by destroying his body as he can’t win against a Bankai/Hollowfied Ichigo. Luckily, Rukia appears and inserts KON into Ichigo’s body! At the end of the arc, Ichigo will take back his Fullbring powers and fuse them with his Shinigami powers.

Admittedly, things won’t go this smoothly, but a prinny can hope, can’t he? .

That’s it for this week’s review. I hope you guys enjoyed it even though I had to rush it a bit. On that note, I’ll add a post’s that were lost, but not forgotten section tomorrow. I’m running out of time right now . Maybe I’ll add a few notes as well, but I might as well do that to your replies. So 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!

Advertisements

~ by The Underscore on July 27, 2011.

7 Responses to “The Underscore’s Bleach review 458”

  1. Wow this is fast, i read chapter like seconds ago. Was time passing that fast!

    It is pretty much over. Everyone got marked, Ginjou turned out to be intolerant madman, Ichigo ate Cross of Scaffold to his chest again… Maybe I should be happy that he is saving Ichigo from his weird armor 😛

    About Ishida remembering his attacker, I think Tsukishima can only manipulates things about himself, like being an enemy or ally. So it should mean Ginjou still having that plans on his mind, even though he was seeing dear ‘Shuu-chan’ as enemy. Neat plan indeed.

    Why didn’t Ginjou remember Sushi boy though? Why Ginjou is the one getting that delicous strawberry cake for himself? What Tsukishima going to do now? Where is Isshin and Urahara already!? If only Kon were here…

  2. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HELL YES!!! That’s more like it!!! I love this, it makes so much sense. Ginjou was always a shifty guy, and was clearly playing ichigo. Ginjou’s actions in the recent chapters had started to make me think otherwise, but i never thought about the idea that he had changed his own memories. very death note ish, and i love it.

    However, i have one fear. I swear to god Underscore, if Ichigo goes super Hollow again, i am done. absolutely. I very nearly dropped this series when kubo did it with Ulquiorra, and this is bigger then that. This has been building up since the start of this arc. It was a magnificent, well executed, two man con. If this is undone with a plotkai, i walk away and never look back.

    I think that Ginjou actually was himself most of the time. He aways seemed suspicious and clever, –until Tsukishima took ichigo’s friends. Then he shows up and is completly helpful and freaked out. He no longer has suspicious smiles, but is a serious supporter for ichigo. I think that Tsukishima and Ginjou were working together from the start, and Ginjou had himself “bookmarked” into being “good” at the same that Tsukishima supposedly bookmarked the rest of Xcution. Actually, come to think of it, i have to wonder if the rest of Xcution actually are bookmarked at all. it explains Riruka’s guilty looks. Can’t wait till next week!

  3. Just as pl– predicted… 😛

  4. “Why didn’t Ginjou remember Sushi boy though? Why Ginjou is the one getting that delicous strawberry cake for himself? What Tsukishima going to do now? Where is Isshin and Urahara already!? If only Kon were here…”

    I assume that Ginjou didn’t remember Sushi because his mind had been changed by tsukishima.

    Even though they seem like equal partners, maybe Tsukishima is actually Ginjous right hand man. If Ginjou is the boss then it makes sense that he gets the fruit (lol) of their labors. Another possibility is that, since Ginjou is apparently actually a shinigami representative (the badge merged with his sword just like ichigo’s did with his sword) maybe only he was capable of draining ichigo.

    Tsukishima will probably be the gin to Ginjou’s aizen and be his second in command.

    Isshin and Urahara will no doubt arrive soon to rescue the wayward babes, hopefully RUKIA will be with them and make an epic dynamic entry.

    Clearly kubo removed Kon-sama from the plot because his great power would have put a stop to Ginjou and Tsukishima easily 😛

  5. Can’t lie…I used to think Kuugo was bad, but I trusted him wayy too easy after a few chapters. you guys are sharp. I guess I just wanted to see some new fresh good guy faces. 😦 and it’s a little depressing too considering how much I enjoyed getting to know Xcution. But Takashid had some good points in regards to Xcution’s status of being affected by Tsukishima. I think Riruka actually found Ichigo cute and felt sorry for him…ARRGH I DONT KNOW ANYMORE!!! Kubo has redeemed himself in my book with this chapter. Why? Because he fooled me with something that could be considered predictable, he revealed that Tsukishima probably isn’t the main villian, revealed that Kuugo is probably fall stronger than we believed he was and last but not least, he pwned the hell out of Ichigo.

    BUT I AGREE WITH TAKASHID ABOUT THE FEAR OF A PLOTKAI!!!! I swear guys, Kubo just loves to throw that hollow sh** around. Don’t get me wrong, I love his inner hollow as much as the next guy, but I wanna see Ichigo utilize something new! If he does get his shinigami powers back, have Zangetsu look different or something i don’t know. I honestly don’t miss Soul Society at all. :-/. They are all the same.

  6. @firstreplierwannabe:
    I used to be the quickest Bleach reviewer in the west -self proclaimed title- you know? Admittedly I haven’t been showing a lot of that the last couple of months, but still :p. We’ll probably see the end of this arc before the end of this year, though I’d better not say too much as I would repeat the same mistake I did with the Deicide chapters :).

    Personally, I believe that Tsukishima’s ability does allow him to alter some memories. The only condition it probably has is that the memories have to include Tsukishima as well. That way Tsukishima can remove his existence in the same way he can insert it.

    But that all won’t matter as soon as KON-sama enters the fray :p

    @takashid (1):
    The Xcution (bad pun intended) of this part of the story really has been great by Kubo. Sure, it looks a bit like it’s taken from other stories like Death Note, but I think Kubo gave it his own twist nonetheless. Like you said, a great two man con.

    I’ll admit that I don’t want Ichigo to go Neo-Ichigo/Ichigonator on us. But I wouldn’t mind seeing Ichigo with at least his Shikai and a Hollow mask on in order to show us that he still knows how to handle his old powers. Of course, there’s still the question of what Mugetsu has done with Zangetsu’s forms. Will Ichigo still have his old Shikai and Bankai, or will Ichigo’s Bankai be like it was moments before activating the Mugetsu, affecting the Shikai as well? I wouldn’t mind seeing the latter happening, being a sign that Ichigo’s Hollow side and Shinigami side are still in sync and under control.

    Now that you mention Riruka’s guilty looks, I didn’t consider that to be part of her having full knowledge of what was going on. I just thought back to the moment where Riruka and Giriko were first shown, where her personality seemed to be a bit more villainy than it was from the moment she first laid eyes on Ichigo. Guess we’ll find out in a chapter or two.

    @Kuroi:
    I love it when a pla~~ prediction comes together. 😀

    @takashid (2):
    I wouldn’t be surprised if Tsukishima was the Gin to Kuugo’s Aizen. Or maybe Tsukishima’s more the Gin/Tousen to Kuugo’s Aizen, otherwise Tsukishima would have to betray him :p. Then again, Sushi seems to fill the role of Tousen where Tsukishima is the Aizen.

    I agree, having KON-sama around would make things far too easy. That’s the same reason why Kubo had Keigo sama allow himself to be cut as well. That way he could pretend like he was under Tsukishima’s spell and stay out of things. It would be far too easy to end this arc otherwise. 😀

    @wilborn:
    I was this close to trusting Kuugo as well. At least, in his allegiance towards Ichigo in order to stop Tsukishima. I expected him to betray Ichigo afterwards so he wouldn’t have to stop Tsukishima himself…

    I agree that Kubo really worked his magic in this arc’s plot. From working with living zombies to giving a great twist on something predictable, it’s all been good. If only KON-sama’s whereabouts were to have been revealed…

    Like you, I’d love to see some changes in Zangetsu’s forms as well. Otherwise it would be like everything Ichigo learned and did in the Dangai was for naught. Then again, Kubo may be intending to have Ichigo fuse the Fullbring powers sooner or later and make us wait a bit longer to see a new design.

    As for missing Soul Society. I don’t really miss Soul Society as a concept as much as I miss certain characters -read, Rukia and Renji-, so I’m hoping RUKIA is someone we know. Perhaps someone like… Rukia? :p

  7. It scares me how dead on accurate you were..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: