The Underscore’s Bleach review 477


477: THE LOST 2

‘Tis the season to be jolly… or so I’m told . Apparently this means that people have to bother me during my free time as well, so I’m afraid I have to rush this week’s review a bit as well. But don’t worry, I’m covering every last bit I can find in this week’s chapter! But sadly, this means no ‘Posts that were lost, but not forgotten’ section… Not only that, there’s no new chapter next week! Of course… I still owe you guys a One Piece and Fairy Tail review before the end of this year… Perhaps next week I could….

Anyways, thanks to Mangastream for their scanlation of this week’s chapter! On to the review!

Bleach chapter 476, THE LOST, rated by 16 voters, gets an average score of:

8.3

Good

Last week I couldn’t help but wonder… would Yukio be freed from the ice in which he was trapped?

One voter believes Hitsugaya is so coldhearted as to leave Yukio trapped in the ice, letting him wait to melt by itself or for Yukio to freeze to death first. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see which would happen first?

Four voters, however, believe Hitsugaya is a true and just warrior who would keep his word, freeing Yukio from his ice prison before returning to Soul Society.

Seven people wonder whether Hitsugaya would free Yukio… Let’s face it, on the one hand the boy deserves it… on the other, it’s true Hitsugaya promised…

But the option that received most votes was, rather embarrassingly, the following: Thirteen of you saw the poll’s question and thought to yourselves: “Really, NOW you start to wonder about whether Xcution members are alright?” My answer to this question of yours.. Nu uh! Stoopid Xcution without an E and their stoopid members!!!!11!!~~

Unforgivable

I’d find it to be unforgivable as well if Yukio were to be chosen for the Volume cover over me…

This week’s chapter starts off with Kuugo in color. With most of his design being based in black and white, the only things that have now been made clear are the color of his “manes” and his eyes. That and the color of the ethereal tentacles coming from his back. Purple seems to be the color of choice in this case. I can’t help but wonder whether Kuugo’s furry legs are also in the same color. Quite frankly, I’m a bit disappointed by Kubo’s choice of giving Kuugo the same color fur as Riruka’s hair… At least the eyes could have been given a different color than this tone of purple. Nonetheless, Kuugo looks as good as he could, considering he always gave off a filler character vibe in my opinion.

But the purpose of this page isn’t so much showing off what Kuugo looks like as much as pointing out that Kuugo is seeking a form of vengeance. Though Kuugo hasn’t mentioned a specific target or means, we know that his goal lies in Soul Society. This chapter is the prelude to Kuugo’s past. As such, there isn’t that much happening in this week’s chapter. But more on that later.

Wrapped in thoughts

That’s right mystery person X, this is what it’s like when you think

Rukia’s thoughts about Ichigo came from her heart. Her gratitude towards Ichigo filled her being at the moment she realized that Ichigo was back in his Shinigami state. Though these thoughts are supposed to be private, a certain someone in a certain place (predicted by a certain reviewer and a certain amount of readers) certainly doesn’t mind eaves dropping on these thoughts.

The main point of Rukia’s gratitude lied in the fact that Ichigo stayed true to himself and through this dedication managed to help Soul Society change as well. This reminds Randomly Inclined Rather Underhanded Know-it-all Annoyance, or RIRUKA for short of who did the same for her, I mean, him or her () as Ichigo did for Rukia and Soul Society.

Grounded

Finally the new design comes full circle

Rukia and Renji see Ichigo and Kuugo crashing near them after Ichigo managed to deal a good blow to Kuugo’s chest. But Kuugo doesn’t just give in and immediately resumes the fight with his junior. With swords clashing, Ichigo’s renewed Bankai finally shows just how great it looks. I never should have doubted Kubo’s Bankai design. But in my defense, I only doubted this design because I liked the old one so much .

The clashing of the swords doesn’t last as long as this term seems to imply. Ichigo manages to deflect the first strike Kuugo throws before completely crippling Kuugo’s blade during the second clash. The fang-like pattern on Tensa Zangetsu X doesn’t seem to be just for show as it manages to easily cut off a part of ‘Cross of Scaffold’. Though it may seem odd that this is happening all of a sudden, it is obvious that this was going to happen considering Kuugo’s current state of mind.

During last week’s chapter, we already found some cracks in Kuugo’s resolve. With Shinigami battles being determined by Resolve, Reiatsu, and in a certain cases just plain luck (here’s looking at you Ikkaku ), Kuugo seems to be cutting short on at least two of these factors.

Fall of the fallen

He used to be a fine substitute Shinigami, but then he took a Zangetsu to the chest

Seeing his sword broken, Kuugo’s resolve shatters as well. The cut he received from Ichigo before starts acting up again as he falls to his knees. As Kuugo lies there like a helpless animal, he realizes that he can’t just give up on his revenge. He tries standing up again but his body and soul know what his mind is trying to deny. Kuugo can’t win this because he doesn’t want revenge anymore. Or rather, he never truly wanted revenge in the first place.

With Ichigo standing over the fallen Xcution leader, the Bankai is fading away. Seeing Ichigo standing over him he can’t help but wonder. What would Ichigo have done in his position. Not only that, what would Kuugo have done in Ichigo’s position? What would have happened if Ichigo were the first Substitute Shinigami and Kuugo met Rukia and was guided by Aizen? Would Ichigo be seeking revenge on those that betrayed him? Would Kuugo have accepted Ichigo’s offer to take down Soul Society? Would they be comrades?

Moon zebras and strawberries

For someone whose supposed to be dead, Tsukishima’s looking pretty lively

As Kuugo loses consciousness, Tsukishima suddenly appears behind Ichigo. Ichigo senses the attack already and wants to turn around. The final clash would finally take place. Ichigo vs. Tsukishima, the battle to see whether Tsukishima can turn things around by enslaving Ichigo or whether Ichigo can end this pointless fight.

But in the chaos of it all, something completely different happens. A surprised Rukia suddenly leaps in front of Tsukishima’s path. Ichigo is shocked to see Rukia trying to block an attack he can easily evade while Tsukishima doesn’t seem to care so long as his strike lands. Rukia’s eyes go blank as her chest starts to shine. Tsukishima’s ‘Book of the End’ hits a target. Rukia falls as Ichigo witnesses the person who saved.

Tsukishima then sees the person who saved Ichigo from the attack as well. He is then just as surprised as Ichigo was at the sight of Ichigo’s savior.

Sacrifice

Wait a second… I thought closets weren’t supposed to be cute?

Looking through Tsukishima’s eyes, we see a rather odd scene. Riruka is standing in front of a shocked Ichigo holding a fainted Rukia. Rukia has two doors on her chest that opened up to let out the sliced Riruka. In just a matter of moments, Riruka revealed her location. That’s right, she turns out to be the RIRUKA from the beginning of this chapter! Tsukishima attacked Riruka by slashing her through the heart. Though that shouldn’t be a problem considering this is ‘Book of the End’… or at least, that’s what we were supposed to think at this sight.

Tsukishima, however, is shocked to see that he hit Riruka as she reveals the reason for his surprise. Riruka hasn’t been affected by ‘Book of the End’s’ ability, but has taken a deadly blow instead. Though ‘Book of the End’ hasn’t shown signs of actually harming people directly throughout this arc, it turns out to have been a conscious decision.

The fatally hurt Tsukishima can’t believe what Riruka has done and said as he shouts out in a blind rage. He tells Riruka to tell out of the way before pulling out his sword from Riruka’s chest. A scream of agony follows, but not from the girl who just had a katana drawn out from her heart.

The motive

Look who’s in despair now. Not so much fun once the tables are turned, is it?

Be it the loss of blood, the agonizing pain of having a hole in his chest, or the fact that he just cut down one of his few comrades, Tsukishima can no longer act as the cold and calculating jerk like he did at the beginning of this arc. With everything falling apart, Tsukishima reveals what his real reason for acting the way he did is: Kuugo.

Like a lost child, Tsukishima calls out for his caretaker. Demanding that Kuugo doesn’t die, Kuugo is the only person Tsukishima is worried about. As Tsukishima wants to see a reaction from Kuugo, Riruka stops Tsukishima in his desperate tantrum by yelling that he should get it through his thick head. Tsukishima turns around to Riruka who tells him that they couldn’t save Kuugo no matter what they did. Even though Kuugo saved everyone in Xcution, they couldn’t do the same for him. The one person who could help Kuugo is the one who did just do that: Ichigo.

The first chapter

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away… At the end of road after you take a left and…

Are you alone? A boy with a cut on his forehead, looks up at a friendly face asking him whether he wants to come with him. Because this young man knows the boy’s pain. The pain of being all alone in a world that rejects you… Because of that, they should stick together from now on….

This chapter felt like a really fast paced one. When I first read the chapter I felt like there should be more. Then I realized that Kubo used more panels and pages to depict what happened in this chapter than I thought. Not to say that it was a bad thing. Sure, in the anime this chapter will hardly fill up 5 minutes worth of airtime. But for a manga, this chapter was more flowing than many a chapters I’ve read in a good while. It didn’t take that much effort to imagine what was going on in this chapter.

From Riruka being inside Rukia, as we’ve expected from the moment their fight ended to Kuugo’s fall, everything went the way it was supposed to. Though I’ve never been that great a fan of Kuugo’s, I didn’t bother the amount of screen time he had here. It felt right somehow. It showed us Kuugo’s core. He was faced with a power greater than his, one he couldn’t beat. He tried to fight this power, knowing all too well that he couldn’t win. Realizing that what he was fighting wasn’t what that which he set out to destroy, he knew that he couldn’t keep going the way he did.

Even though Kuugo realized that he should give up, Tsukishima reveals to be more single minded than he appeared to be at first. But Riruka intervened by stopping Tsukishima’s attack on Ichigo. She revealed to be inside of Rukia’s body which she did by turning Rukia into a walk-in-closet. Riruka revealed that the members of Xcution only had one thing in mind: repaying the man who saved them.

Tsukishima realizes that he never could help Kuugo the way he was helped by Kuugo. He then thinks back on their first meeting, starting off the next (couple of) flashback chapter(s) which will follow.

With this arc finally drawing to a close, I’m certainly pleased by this chapter. I’m hoping to see what I’m expecting to see in the flashback. What that is? You’ll find out in the predictions. All in all, a great chapter in my opinion.

Judging by the flashback and Tsukishima’s age, it’s safe to say that this flashback takes place around a decade ago. This means that there was an active substitute Shinigami around not that long ago, during a time where Ichigo was most likely already alive, and a certain mastermind was as well… One with a particular interest in Human/Shinigami hybrids… Why would Aizen not have chosen Kuugo as his test subject? Or perhaps, the better question is: Could it be that Aizen chose to set Kuugo on a different path than Ichigo’s in order to have a back-up plan?

The flashback will center around Kuugo meeting up with the various Xcution members. Kuugo will reach out to the Xcution members because of their shared sense of loneliness. Though the Xcution members find kindred spirits thanks to Kuugo’s efforts of giving them people they could call ‘Friends’ or perhaps even ‘Family’, Kuugo never truly found someone like him. Not a Fullbringer, nor a Shinigami, he was alone. Not only that, he then got betrayed by Soul Society. Through a certain bloke named, say… Aizen?

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 time! Just in case I don’t get around to posting next week, enjoy your Christmas Holidays!

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

 

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~ by The Underscore on December 18, 2011.

3 Responses to “The Underscore’s Bleach review 477”

  1. “He used to be a fine substitute Shinigami, but then he took a Zangetsu to the chest”

    A fellow Dragonbourne I see. Take care of all those arrows with Daedric kneeguards. 😄

  2. He used to be a fast reviewer then he took an arrow to his knee, Deathberry. There nothing can done much about it =P

    About your headspinner, I’ll just say Ginjou even hide well from Aizen’s eyes so he couldn’t track it? Besides having Ichigo will drag him out so it’s two birds in one stone, I guess?

    I’m having doubts Ginjou and Aizen has same path other than going same beauty parlor.

  3. @tanmay Deathberry: I’m afraid I don’t have a copy of the game. I had the chance to play for about an hour or so at a friend’s place. He showed me his own save file, mind you ;). If only I’d have the time to play the game :(.

    @FirstReplierWannabe: Nono, I used to be the FASTEST reviewer around, but then I took an arrow to the knee :p. At least I still write a review every now and then. I even take the time to reply if I have it (a full 50 minutes free time today! :D).

    I can’t really say that much about the headspinner, as usual. But just to keep your head spinning: Do you REALLY believe that Aizen would overlook Kuugo? It’s Aizen we’re talking about, right? 😉

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