The Underscore’s Bleach review 494


494: The Closing Chapter Part One

… Hello?… Is this thing on?… Okay, so I haven’t been around since, what, April? With the exception of last week, it wasn’t exactly by choice, mind you . But that’s okay, seeming as how most of you probably have forgotten about me by now… or did you? For those of you who’ve forgotten who I am… here’s the gist:

That’s right, I’ve been at this for give or take three years. As such, I deserve a returning tune… So pick one of the following tunes (whichever you enjoy best/you find most befitting of my return/makes you get your reading groove on), and start reading this review! There’s bound to be at least one song you’ll enjoy with this review .

First option

Second option

Third option

Fourth option

Fifth option

Sixth option

Seventh option

Eighth option

Before I forget: Major thanks to Mangastream for the scanlation!

The Gotei 13 gather

Notice how their honesty involves drawing their Zanpakutou?

Buckbeard and the Sternritter arrived in Soul Society last week, completely ignoring the Shakonmaru. To celebrate their entry into Soul Society, the Vandenreich decide to treat the Shinigami to the same fireworks they did Las Noches and the rest of Hueco Mundo. Pillars of blue flames light the streets of Soul Society, giving the Gotei 13 the signal that the war has already started!

To celebrate first part of “the closing chapter”, Bleach is treated to a two page color spread of the 13 captains all together, ready for war. Straightforward and simple. I like it . Sure, Kubo could’ve thought up other ways to display all the captains using a two page color spread and made it look even better than this, but at least this way we can see the way things are going to be. With Genryuusai leading the way, the captains will all follow him loyally onto the battlefield.

Even though some may lag behind due to their personality (Mayuri and Kenpachi, thus being in the back), they will all answer the commander’s call in the end. At least, that’s what I’m seeing here. The further to the back the captain is in this picture, the later he or she will arrive at the scene where Genryuusai is fighting. Not to say that Komamura, Ukitake, and Kyouraku are disloyal in comparison to others. In fact, they’ll be some of the last ones to arrive because they trust Genryuusai wouldn’t need them next to him while there’s other things to be done. So I might as well go over the captains and the order I’d see them arriving at the scene .

1: Soi Fon: Because it’s her duty
2: Rose: Because it’s poetic to stand by your commander’s side
3: Unohana: Because she’s there to tend to Genryuusai as he’s bound to overdo things
4: Byakuya: Because he’ll finish his other duties swiftly out of pride
5: Shinji: Because, no matter how you cut it, he’s a worrywart yet has to plan things in advance
6: Hitsugaya: Because he’s a big boy who knows he can learn from his seniors, but he has to make sure Momo’s alright and Matsumoto will be doing her work properly
7: Kensei: Because he’ll be occupied saving civilians and others before he can join the captain commander
8: Kyouraku: Because he’s lazy yet doesn’t want to get scolded by the old man
9: Ukitake: Because of his health he can’t rush there immediately. Besides, he has to get Kyouraku to come too
10: Komamura: Knowing Genryuusai will do everything properly, he’ll only come after thoroughly completing his other tasks
11: Mayuri: It might be interesting to watch the strongest Shinigami in ages fight, and getting scolded by the old man is bothersome
12: Kenpachi: Kill everything in sight first. Then go to the old man before he scolds you!

Who knows, I’d say this could well be the order of arrival and their motives . Though Rose is a difficult one to judge if I’m perfectly honest.

On the lookout

This new window certainly livens up the place…

As the explosions prior to flame pillars tremble across the city, all the Shinigami are on full alert. Looking out of their barrack doors and windows, they see eleven pillars of blue flames towering from several points in the town. The spiritual density of these flames doesn’t go unnoticed, but Rukia seems to be the first one to know the true meaning of this. As Rukia runs out, Kiyone and Sentarou want to know where their vice-captain is going.

Rukia explains the basics: Big explosion equals location of enemy army officials. Too bad she didn’t tell her division before running out. In a way I’m a bit disappointed with Rukia here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m more than confident about her being capable of being a vice-captain. But her actions here show just how much of a novice she truly is. Rather than issuing a couple of orders before running off, she just immediately heads out to battle. This is especially important for her to do considering how Ukitake might not be capable of doing this at the time.

Genryuusai is the one to give the right example: Tell the second in command (in this case, the third seat) that he’s in charge while you go out to kick some butt. Simple, right? It’s a good thing that Okikiba paid attention to what Sasakibe used to do. With the first and thirteenth divisions showing what other divisions are probably doing as well, the scene changes to the third division. They’re the ones to have the first encounter with the enemy squadrons.

A second vice-captain falls

‘Tis but a scratch!’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKhEw7nD9C4

Kira and his group are standing by one of the pillars. One member of the spirit particle inspection (SPI) squad tagged along to check out the situation for Kira. But due to the density of the spiritual flames, the readings are difficult to make out. As the SPI tries to get a reading, Kira checks with his third seat to compare notes. Where Kira used to rely on his captain, he apparently decided to involve others more. Rikuu seems to be part of this as well. Besides this third seat, there’s a fifth and sixth seat member of the squads present as well.

In spite of this being a war situation against a group that managed to invade the impregnable fortress for the second time in a row, the members of the third division seem to be rather carefree about all of this. It isn’t until it’s confirmed they’re dealing with Quincy that they get their guard up.

As Kira focuses on the pillar, he suddenly sees a figure standing in the center. Kira issues the command to attack, with the third squad immediately reacting. But this is where Kira made a mistake. After issuing the command, he waited to see what the enemy would do. But the enemy had a basic tactic set up for this situation. Rather than bother to take out the individual Shinigami immediately, he decides to take off the head first. In this case, Kira. A single arrow flies past several Shinigami, hitting Kira in the chest while cutting off his right arm. I’d like to think that Kira actually tried to dodge the attack, mostly because this attack seems like it would otherwise cut him in twine.

FEAR

We’ll talk AFTER you face one of the captains

As Kira falls to the ground, the other seated members of the third division keep their cool. This division had already lost their captain once, so they know how to survive even in a situation like this. Pulling out their Shikai, Rikuu, Taketsuna, and Asuka prepare for the fight. But it is all in vain as the instant the Zanpakutou materialize, Taketsuna and Asuka are already down for the count. Rikuu also doesn’t have a chance as he is taken down only a moment after. With the only four heads present down for the count, the rest of the division flees.

Admittedly, I’d be running away in this situation as well. Then again, I’m not a trained Shinigami who had experienced war preparations not only a half a day ago, but at least 18 months ago as well. Yes, you SHOULD choose your battles wisely, but are you telling me not one of those Shinigami has the balls to at least cover the escape of his comrades? Whatever the case, Kensei’s evil Quincy brother won’t allow the division to escape alive as he’s been ordered to kill every single Shinigami he meets.

Seven of the Stern Ritter reveal themselves now. Besides Kensei’s evil Quincy brother, there’s Yammy’s evil(er) Quincy brother, Chad’s evil Quincy second cousin twice removed, Generic German business man with a moustache, Tatsuki’s evil Quincy kid sister with a Riruka complex, Unohana’s evil Quincy brother with a fetish, and finally Buckbeard’s second in command. Yeah, I’m not that impressed by the character design right now. Though seeing Yammy’s evil(er) twin makes me realize that Yammy might be a good member for the Vandenreich. Or perhaps a counter of sorts even. Yammy sucks up Reiatsu as well, so maybe we can see a sucking contest of sorts .

Strawberry shake

If you can’t beat it, call for the strawberry!

Though Kubo always seemed to dislike the killing of characters, he’s decided to show just how gruesome this war truly is. Seven minutes have passed, yet 1000 Shinigami have already died! This is an insane death count if you think about it. Especially if you figure that there are only 16 known points from which the culprits are acting.

Akon is the one to receive all this information and comes to a simple conclusion: Soul Society can’t win this. How can they? They’re facing a force that can suck out their essence in the blink of an eye. But how unstoppable are these Quincy? That can best be answered using the ‘protagonist’ test. Enter: Ichigo. Will Ichigo find a way to beat the Quincy, or will he fall at the hands of Opie? We’ll find out in next week’s chapter!

Title: The Closing Chapter Part One
Kubo can go two ways with this. Either he’s going to use this title for the next seven to eight years, meaning these are the Closing chapters of Bleach, or he’s talking about the closing chapters for Soul Society. My money’s on the latter, especially considering the current situation. I can see 12 to 24 of these chapters taking place, to showcase Soul Society’s defeat. But more on that in the predictions .

Much like the color spread this chapter started with, we’re talking about a straightforward chapter. What we have here is the Vandenreich putting pressure on Soul Society by thinning out the guards. The fact that not even Vice-captains seem to be capable of going up against the Stern Ritter and Kubo has just killed off a second Vice-captain means the upcoming fights might be more intense than we’ve seen before.

Then again, I can’t say for sure Kira’s dead for certain. Quite frankly, I’d be a bit disappointed if he were dead. His progress as a character was one of the more remarkable ones I’ve seen since the time skip. It felt like actual character development, rather than a slight change in appearance (though he basically looked the same as always).

This chapter introduced quite a number of new characters. Three of them have already been dealt with, so that’s sort of a waste. Especially seeing as two of deceased actually looked rather interesting in comparison to, say, certain Fullbringers. Not to say that all’s good in the world of new characters. I already mentioned I didn’t really feel for the Stern Ritter we’ve seen here. They look rather “familiar”. Of course, it’s only been a single frame for the most of them, so it’s hard to make a good judgment.

Action wise, this chapter certainly showed plenty of things going on at a time. The fact that seven minutes passed in the entirety of the chapter almost seems to long considering the pace of things.

All in all, a rather good chapter. Great art, excellent plot progression, and plenty of signs for some great battles to come.

Yes, yes, it’s been two months. But I haven’t been playing Diablo III all this time. I actually tried to write a triple review, which then had to turn into a quadruple review, which then… Anyways, Incomplete as it may be, I might as well share this rough draft of said review. Mind you, it is a first draft that has been written with great haste and plenty of distractions. In fact, I never had the time to complete it . Still, there’s plenty to keep you guys busy for now . Check it out here!

Next week will be on how Ichigo has difficulty dealing with Opie’s ability. His Getsuga’s will be absorbed every time and fired right back at him. Opie, on the other hand, doesn’t get the opportunity to absorb Ichigo’s essence and is bummed by the fact that he couldn’t destroy Ichigo’s Bankai before he released it. It then turns out that Bankai is the only thing that’s capable of withstanding the Reiatsu absorption, that being the reason why the Vandenreich developed the Bankai seal in the first place. The chapter will end with Ichigo needing to draw on more power, putting his hand over his face while giving Opie a glance…

That’s it for this week’s review. I hope you guys enjoyed the return of my reviews. Be sure to let me know what your thoughts are on this week’s chapter and/or review. Especially considering how rusty I am. Also, give any theories that you may have and vote in this week’s poll. Don’t forget to rate this week’s chapter! I’ll see you guys again next week! For real!

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

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~ by The Underscore on June 3, 2012.

One Response to “The Underscore’s Bleach review 494”

  1. Welcome back Underscore!

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