The Underscore’s Bleach review 484


484: The Buckbeard

Welcome to Chez Le ‘The Underscore’s Bleach review’. On today’s menu we have Bleach 484. Sadly, we won’t be serving polls in this week’s review. Thus you will just have to do with the soup that is this introduction to the review before going directly to the main course, the review and chapter overview. The drink that’ll be served is Kubo Title 484, made in 2012. Dessert will consist of a headspinner and prediction combo. As an after dinner mint of sorts, there’s the ever bland finishing note. The total costs of this week’s menu will be one answer to this week’s poll, and one rating of this week’s chapter. Don’t forget to tip your waiter by leaving a comment.

Today’s head chef, Genryuusai Yamamoto


Our head chef only serves the foods well done, or charred…

The Vandenreich once more declare the five day time limit for Soul Society. In spite of this news, Genryuusai is more concerned with getting the skewered Sasakibe off his wall. The fact that Sasakibe has been pinned this easily is enough reason for Genryuusai to realize that these men in white aren’t just bluffing. Making sure to make a proper analysis of these intruders, he stares them down good.

The Vandenreicher in the middle, who has been doing all the talking from the moment they entered Genryuusai’s quarters, then “reads” Genryuusai’s mind, saying he knows that Genryuusai wants to know who they are. Not exactly rocket science figuring that one out . What’s odd here, however, is that even though these guys just declared war, they won’t reveal who they are. But apparently, there’s no need for them to introduce themselves, as Genryuusai would apparently be able to guess this easily.

There’s two ways to see this. One, Genryuusai actually knows who these guys are. Whether these guys are Quincy, or whether they’re Quincy-a-rrancar, or whatever. Perhaps there was a group of these beings prior to Genryuusai becoming the commander general, or even the means by which Genryuusai managed to prove his skills. The second way to see this, is that this guy wants Genryuusai to see them as Soul Society’s executioners. The ones who will bring judgment in five days time. Though I’m hoping for the first option, I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy meant the second one.

Considering that these Vandenreichers are confronting Genryuusai, there’s the matter of Genryuusai’s temper. Quite frankly, I’m surprised that Genryuusai took this long to take this action as he draws his Zanpakutou. The Vandenreichers timed their escape well, using their own shadows as gates to escape the inferno Genryuusai sends their way. As the flames reside, Genryuusai notes that the intruders managed to escape the barrier surrounding Soul Society with their escape. Perhaps this is due to the disturbance between the dimensions that has been mentioned at the beginning of this arc. Seeming as how not even Urahara is capable of penetrating the Shakonmaku in one go, and he used to live inside this barrier, this is quite the feat.

Lassie lives!


What is it boy? Lucy’s in a well? They can… Bankai?

Sasakibe apparently managed to survive the arrow to the guts. Though he doesn’t seem to be holding up too well. Being the dutiful Vice-captain he is, he realizes he has to tell Genryuusai everything he knows, in case he doesn’t survive. Thus he delivers the message: They can Bankai. Quite frankly, I’m a bit confused by this message. Mainly because I can’t tell whether Sasakibe is panicking a bit right now, having trouble making complete sentences, or whether Sasakibe delivered his message properly.

Assuming that Sasakibe delivered the message in its entirety, it means that these Quincy/Arrancars are capable of using a Bankai as well. Making them Quincy/Arrancar/Shinigami. Which would also make them Fullbringers, considering how a human with Hollow powers is named as such. So with these FAQS (Fullbringer, Arrancar, Quincy, Shinigami) most likely holding quite the arsenal, it wouldn’t be too strange to find some Hougyoku involvement along the way. Still, if all seven of these guys are capable of a Bankai, it would mean they could pose quite a threat to Soul Society in their own right. But sadly, there’s no reason to assume the Vandenreichers are FAQS. Quite frankly, I’m more inclined to go for what I think is the real message Sasakibe WANTED to give.

My guess is that Sasakibe’s injuries have taken quite the toll, and that what he actually wanted to say is that these guys can DESTROY Bankai’s. Considering how Ivan attempted to destroy Ichigo’s Bankai during last week’s chapter, this is a more plausible to be the real message than those guys being capable of using a Bankai. Let’s face it, if these guys can actually destroy a Bankai, they can effectively reduce the power of Soul Society’s top brass by up to 90%. (Remember, a Bankai can up to tenfold a Shinigami’s power)

Admittedly, a third option can come from what we’ve heard here. Sasakibe delivered his message properly, and these guys can both use Bankai as well destroy them. What better way to know how to destroy something than to know how it’s build, right?

Bankai stain remover


That’s right, all stains will vanish, how else do you think these guys can keep their clothes so white?

Ivan doesn’t look too hot after taking a Getsuga to the face. What’s interesting here is that the mask on his face isn’t showing any signs of damage. This could mean that this isn’t just an ornament if you ask me. But we can’t say this for certain, considering how this is still a Manga . Putting Ivan’s appearance aside, he isn’t too happy about Ichigo’s Bankai still being intact after all he went through.

After Ivan lets out this frustration, the renewed Zangetsu shows exactly how effective its new appearance is. Can you imagine that blade held up to you, with its fangs threatening to take off your head with a single bite? It turns out that Ivan can imagine this happening as he makes his escape after Ichigo finally shows interest in what Ivan could have to say. Ivan’s shadow suddenly appears in the sky. Ichigo is surprised at the sight of this, probably believing this could be an attack similar to Ichigo’s Getsuga Tenshou.

As Ichigo backs off, Ivan tells Ichigo that the shadow isn’t an attack. The shadow’s true purpose turns out to be to ‘hide the chosen ones’. Perhaps this shadow is a clue to the origins of the Vandenreichers. Maybe the chosen ones are people who were on the verge of annihilation, saved by this shadow so they could recover and plot revenge? Who knows, all we know is that this Shadowgate isn’t like a Garganta used by Hollows in spite of its color.

The Ice palace


You know when people talk about a “cool place” to “chill”…

So we get a frozen palace in the middle of nowhere. Perhaps even literally seeing as how this place is neither the world of the living, Soul Society, nor Hueco mundo as far as we can tell. I even doubt this is hell. So Nowheresville it is! Or Vandenreich if you insist .

The Sinister Seven who were at Genryuusai’s place show up in this palace. The talkative one then decides that he’s done with his mask and takes it off. Underneath, we see a smug face, odd hairdo, and the worst case of zits I’ve ever seen. Either that, or those things are piercings/part of what could be a Hollow mask. Whatever these decorative things are, my guess is that they’re the same as Ivan’s mask.

Not worried about his appearance, Chatty of the seven dwarves (yeah, yeah, I went from Sinister Seven to the seven dwarves, but I need a name for this guy ) notices something in the corner of his eyes. Ivan is bowing down to Chatty! Could this mean that Chatty is the leader of the Vandenreich? Not exactly. In fact, Ivan can’t stand Chatty at all, saying no one would bow down to someone like him.

Judging by this conversation, Chatty and Ivan aren’t on the best of terms. Judging by the way Chatty reacts to Ivan’s snide remark, he must feel like he’s superior to Ivan and Ivan must be thinking the same. Perhaps they’re both trying to see which one of them is more suited to be the boss’ right hand man. If that’s the case, things aren’t looking too well for Chatty’s chances for this position.

Thug Management


Fighting’s bad, M’kay, as such I’ll just ruthlessly rip off your right arm without any warning because you were having a vivid discussion.

Grim~~ err, Chatty loses his right arm in an instant. Realizing that he has some trouble holding in his blood, Chatty lets out screams of pain and agony. The culprit excuses himself for this action by saying that he’s warned Ivan and Chatty about not fighting in front of him many times before.

Kuugo’s father makes his entrance! Well, maybe not Kuugo’s father… or a father at all. Whatever the case, this guy’s got black hair and a lousy sense of humor. What’s more, he’s got the power of Vandenreich. Behold, the Vandenreich empire’s ruler! Buckbeard!

Buckbeard here claims to dislike fighting as well as the dwarves and Ivan’s actions to be part of their end goal. He just wants to hear these guys reporting on their progress made for the sake of peace. Now, that doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Peace. Odd how you declare war to a relatively peaceful world for the sake of peace . I can’t say too much about Buckbeard right now, besides him being a bit contradictory from the start. I don’t see anything resembling a Hollow mask on his face though. Perhaps he’s similar to Aizen, not being a hybrid just yet, but still ridiculously powerful?

Whatever the case, for now we have nine villains, unless Chatty doesn’t have regenerative abilities and isn’t treated. Management in this place is reminiscent to Las Noches in that respect. But judging from the size of the palace we saw in this chapter, I doubt there’s only nine people inhabiting this place.

Not exactly rocket science, this week’s title. The Buckbeard obviously refers to the emperor of the Vandenreich. What’s interesting to see here is that the size of one’s beard could be correlated to one’s power in Bleach. Just look at the three examples we can find in Bleach:

Isshin: a bearded daruma who seems to be capable of holding his own judging from the amount of time he could hold out in the precipe world.

Buckbeard: who has a longer beard than Isshin and can instantly remove a person’s arm. Considering that he is the emperor of the Vandenreich, I’d say he’s stronger than Isshin is (at this time).

Genryuusai: Long beard? Check. Strongest Shinigami seen for over 1000 years? Check.

Now, I know that you know that I know that we all know that there’s more examples of beards in Bleach that have a lot of power. So, who else would you add to this list?

Another straightforward chapter this week. The story progresses towards a war with the Vandenreich while a couple of questions are raised that are bound to be answered during this arc. First up is the shadow used to escape Soul Society (and Karakura town). What is it exactly? Then there’s the question of these Vandenreichers. What are they exactly and how could Genryuusai know who they truly are? Can these guys actually use Bankai as well as destroy them? Where’s this Ice palace located that Buckbeard and the gang are? How does Buckbeard envision this peace he supposedly is seeking?

But where’s the straightforwardness I spoke of? Well, the Sinister Seven dwarves just exit Genryuusai’s room while Genryuusai is left to ponder. Ivan survives the Getsuga to the face and retreats as well, while Ichigo is left to ponder. The dwarves and Ivan reconvene when the leader is introduced in a flashy manner, while Chatty is left to ponder where his right arm went. Straightforward, right?

In that respect, this chapter is another one in the series of this arc that is used to make the setting that will be used during this arc. Not to say that it was all that boring, but it wasn’t exactly spectacular either. Still, in terms of Bleach plot progression, this chapter certainly had a good pace. Though the part with Genryuusai frying his own room was a bit longer than necessary.

Character design for the two new characters aren’t that stellar either. Luckily Buckbeard comes over as a credible type of character. The same can’t be said about Chatty though. His uniqueness is too unique for my tastes. Buckbeard’s appearance in that respect is a bit bland, in spite of the beard. But who knows what more’s hidden in the shadow of Buckbeard.

All in all, a decent chapter, but probably better if read in succession with the chapters prior to this one, followed by the upcoming 3 to 5 chapters. Same as Bleach has always been .

So Buckbeard decided to take off an arm just because Chatty was being arrogant. Either that, or Buckbeard was annoyed by the fact that Chatty ignored him while Ivan was so exemplary in bowing before him. Something tells me that Chatty’s arm isn’t the first victim in Blackbeard’s enforcement of the rules.

This brings me to this week’s headspinner: Do you think Buckbeard has already killed off several of his followers, or will his followers have accelerated regenerative abilities?

Next week’s chapter will be all about Ichigo reporting about his fight with Ivan to his friends and (hopefully) Rukia. Ichigo will also hear about the war declaration and be told why Ivan would drag him into a war involving Soul Society and Vandenreich. The chapter will end with a shocked Ishida hearing that there might be Quincy involvement of sorts.

The chapters following that will be preparations for the upcoming war. With both sides taking action to ensure they will end up victorious in five days time. My guess is that there’s going to be one more day of ‘peace’ before the start of a four day long war. Assuming it won’t last longer than that .

That’s it for this week’s review. I hope you enjoyed the read. Now if you would be so kind to pay the bill by voting in the poll and rating the chapter. We accept both your own opinion as well as not your own opinion. I’ve been your waiter, The Underscore. Please leave a nice fat tip in the form of a reply with your own opinion of the chapter, the review, or a note on what I may have missed. Hopefully you guys will return to Chez Le ‘The Underscore’s Bleach review’ again next week. Then we’ll have a fresh batch of chapter 485 for you to enjoy being reviewed.

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~ by The Underscore on March 11, 2012.

One Response to “The Underscore’s Bleach review 484”

  1. Nice review; though I just skipped last one. Guess I’m not into teamwork.

    Why sinister seven now become Snow White’s seven dwarves D: Though gotta admit their charisma really suffering at the moment.

    Did you noticed Snow White ermm ‘Buckbeard’ wears a black cape? Don’t forget the importance of black cape, like Kon’s quincy cross o_o

    In raws Sasakibe said ‘They can *BEEP* bankai’. Since verbs comes at the final at japanese; readers are not meant to learn what now one-handed vice-captain said. Maybe there’s more than just doing bankai or erasing it?

    About Kubo Title, Buckbeard is actually flower that has very similiar shape like Vandenreich’s palace archs and grows in cold weathers. I don’t exactly know flower’s literature aspect, but I guess it’s kind of romantic name for so called peace lover? 😄

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