The Underscore’s Bleach review 496

496: Kill The Shadow

You’d think I wouldn’t show up this time round, right? Sure, I haven’t had time to reply to your comments, but I’m working on it . Still, I have read them all, so please keep on replying. Guess that’s enough for the introductions, save for thanking Mangastream for their scanlation. On to your rating of last week’s chapter!

Bleach chapter 495, Bleeding Guitar Blues, rated by 9 voters, gets an average score of:



With the Sternritter going by alphabetical naming, it wouldn’t be strange for there to be 26 of them. So would you guys mind seeing 26 Sternritter?

Six voters don’t want to see 26 Sternritter. Some because they think that give or take 7 Sternritter are enough. Others probably because they fear there might be more like that snot nosed brat with her heart shaped buckle -Yes, I’ve finally said it. I tried to hide this the best I could, but I was so annoyed by that brat’s buckle…

Then we come to a tie. 12 voters wholeheartedly said they would like to see 26 Sternritter. With the threat posed by the couple we’ve seen until now, having 26 could really bring a new dimension to the story. 12 other voters would like to see 26 of them, so long as they have a purpose in the story or are interesting enough. Though apparently some feel that 26 Sternritter already have a purpose if it is just cannon fodder for their favorite Bleach characters to slash through .

A matter of life or death

Remember when Quincy supposedly only use bows?

The thirteenth squad kicks off this week’s chapter with another confrontation between Vandenreich and Soul Society. The sixth seat, Hidetomo, tells his Sternritter opponent to stop as he will not be allowed to pass. But the unnamed Sternritter is not so much bothered with the words coming from Hidetomo’s mouth as he is by the fact that the thirteenth squad is pointlessly standing in front of him. With the entire squad (including Shino and Yuki) hiding behind a sixth seat, you can guess where this is going. Buckbeard’s right hand man, whom I shall name Gus for the remainder of this review, tells Hidetomo and the rest of the squad to succumb to their fear. For there is no purpose in killing them as they’re so weak that they can’t even serve as a warning to others.

Hidetomo tries to deny his fear by telling Gus the 13th squad would never stoop so low as to flee and let the enemy pass. But Gus knows full well that his opponents have yet come to terms with the severity of this situation. The Vandenreich has declared war on Soul Society. This means people, soldiers, will have to put their lives on the line. Hidetomo, being one of the soldiers, would need to be prepared for this as well. Hearing this, Hidetomo decides to put his life on the line in a rather foolish manner. Rushing at his opponent, Hidetomo soon meets his end at Gus’ hands.

I have to say, Gus is quite the interesting character here. As opposed to his fellow Sternritter, he does discriminate before he kills. Sure, from the looks of it he did kill Hidetomo in the end, but that doesn’t change the fact that he would allow so many Shinigami to escape. But what I like the best about Gus in this chapter would have to be the message he brought. In a way, he was telling us what Kubo wanted us to know. This arc will have battles where Shinigami have to put their (after)lives on the line. Though the majority of the deaths are newly introduced characters, there have been two who we’ve known for years that have met their deaths at the hands of the Vandenreich (I’m counting Kira here as well, because I don’t see anyone in his squad being capable of saving him there). My guess is that Kubo has decided that he will need to off some characters for the story’s sake.

Captain class

Let’s face it, if we’re talking class amongst the captains, we’re talking Byakuya

Byakuya saved Renji’s bacon last week. Surprised at his captain’s sudden appearance, Renji has no words. But Byakuya has plenty to tell his vice-captain. The reason Byakuya told Renji to just kill off his opponents without studying them (see last week’s chapter) was simply because they don’t deserve such mercy. Not so much because Byakuya has been spending too much time with Kenpachi, as much as that the Vandenreich never showed any dignity towards Soul Society. The Vandenreich just showed up unannounced and killed hundreds, including Sasakibe. With one favor deserving another, Byakuya’s got the answer.

Renji, however, wasn’t showing his opponents any mercy. Or so he thought. Äs Nödt, however, seems to think that he has shown mercy to Renji instead by giving him time to chat it up with his captain. As Äs -seriously, this name is annoying – decides to keep on walking, Byakuya decides to stop him. Using Senbonzakura, Byakuya strikes at Äs. Renji tries to tell Byakuya that cutting the opponents is useless. Byakuya and Senbonzakura seem to disagree .

With Äs’ hand suddenly cut open, both him, Renji, and The Wrestler are surprised the technique worked. The Wrestler then reveals that the skill Renji observed last week is named ‘Blut’. Basically the Quincy equivalent of Hierro . The Wrestler then wants to show Äs how he should handle his opponents. But Byakuya learned something from his fight with Tsukishima: It’s fun to set some traps here and there. The wrestler then falls through an opening created by Byakuya using Senbonzakura. With plenty of sewers running below Soul Society, I’m sure The Wrestler will have a great time while the others attend to grown up activities.

A captain’s trust

Also, pick up my dry cleaning once we’re done…

After sending The Wrestler on a trip from which he won’t return until next fall -get it, trip, fall, he fell into the sewers? ….-, Byakuya reveals his true mission. He needs Renji as his back-up so that once his Bankai is sealed, Renji can finish the job with his. Renji immediately wants to stop Byakuya from sacrificing his Bankai, but Byakuya explains exactly why this needs to be done.

With his dying breath, Sasakibe informed Soul Society of the Vandenreich’s ability to seal a Shinigami’s Bankai. Though that in itself should be reason enough not to use a Bankai against the opponents, the captains disagree. The opponents are simply too strong to fight without the use of a Bankai -finally, we’re going to see all the Bankai -, so the key to winning this war is to find the secret behind the sealing technique and to counter it. What better way is there than for a captain and vice-captain to join forces to find this secret?

The captain’s meeting apparently got the message across rather well, with Byakuya, Komamura, Hitsugaya, and Soi Fon being prepared to take this risk. Of course, they have their trusted vice-captains by their side to make sure they can observe, analyze, and undo the seal while holding off the enemy. That is, if the opponent ever gets the chance to use the seal .

Disaster strikes

What are the odds, they all remembered they had left the stove on!

A quadruple Bankai release in a single chapter. For secret techniques that should rarely be used, we’ve all seen Kageyoshi Senbonzakura countless of times. Same goes for Daiguren Hyourinmaru and Kokujou Tengen Myouou. Jyakuhou Raikouben, however, only makes its second appearance (or third if you count the two times it had been used in Fake Karakura town seperately). Honestly, I’m a bit disappointed by Hyourinmaru. I was hoping its Bankai would have undergone some greater changes besides the disappearance of the petals hovering behind Hitsugaya. Then again, I’m not sure whether the Bankai had fully manifested itself.

No sooner are the Bankai shaping themselves, or the Sternritter pull out the same seal that Ivan tried to use on Ichigo. With the seals activated, the Bankai suddenly vanish into those seals. But while the Bankai disappear into those objects, Byakuya concludes that the sealing didn’t take place into his own soul, as much as the Bankai was taken away into the portable seal. Judging by the smile on Äs’ face, he is now the proud owner of Kageyoshi Senbonzakura!

Kill The Shadow sounds rather ominous. But judging by the chapter’s contents, it refers to the killing of the Bankai. With Zanpakutou being like a shadow (always there, though not always visible), the taking of that ultimate manifestation can be seen as the killing of a shadow. Either that, or it’s referring to the shadows under Äs’ eyes as he’s making a futile attempt to smile. Those shadows can be killed by turning that smile upside down.

Kubo’s not wasting any time in this arc. In only a couple of months, Kubo set up the basis of the scenario, killed off a couple of characters, killed hundreds of nameless characters, and even went as to take away four iconic Bankai. All the while Ichigo is in Hueco Mundo trying to help Las Noches. I’d almost be more concerned with Bleach not being able to last another 9 years at this rate. Then again, we still have plenty of warriors outside of Soul Society who can join in, not even counting the zero squad.

Kubo started off the chapter by rubbing in the threat of this invasion. Yes, Kubo is allowing the destruction of Soul Society. He’s mercilessly killing Shinigami through the use of the Sternritter. This is the final arc for Bleach after all.

The next part of the chapter then focused on the plan the captains agreed on and the way they explained it to their vice-captains. Though the focus was mostly on Byakuya and Renji, Hitsugaya, Matsumoto, Komamura, Iba, Soi Fon, and Omaeda also displayed the same level of trust in their vice-captains. The fact that four captains would sacrifice their Bankai at the same time did surprise me at first. Then again, this gives Soul Society four accounts by which they can deduce the seal’s workings.

The third and final part of this chapter, however, showed that the captains’ plan wasn’t such a bright one after all. The sealing technique did seal the Bankai. But the sealing took place in the medallion the Sternritter used. Guess that means they’ll be the ones using the Bankai next.

All in all, this was another interesting chapter. Yet I still feel it lacks a bit. I guess I just want to know what Rukia and Ichigo are doing right now .

With five Bankai now stolen by the Vandenreich, it would seem that Soul Society’s going to be in quite a bit of trouble. But how did the Vandenreich manage to steal the Bankai? When Ichigo’s Bankai was about to be stolen, Ichigo managed to break the sealing process with sheer force (signature Ichigo move, of course ). The only reason I could think of that the sealing didn’t work was because Ivan lacked the Quincy proficiency in the absorption of Reiatsu and the fact that Tensa Zangetsu had fully manifested.

In this chapter, however, it seemed like the Bankai had already manifested themselves before the sealing took place. So I can’t help but wonder… Does the sealing of the Bankai have anything to do with the Letzt Still?

With the way things are going right now… Soul Society is going to fall. Buck and Genryuusai will square off against each other, where they are going to have a flashback chapter on what happened 1000 years ago. Genryuusai will use his Bankai and Buck will fail to seal it. Genryuusai and Buck will fight which will end with Genryuusai’s death and Buck along with a great number of Sternritter severely injured. This opportunity will be used for the surviving Shinigami to make a tactical retreat. After their retreat, the Gotei 13 will make preparations to regain Soul Society within a time span of one week…

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 week!

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


~ by The Underscore on June 17, 2012.

One Response to “The Underscore’s Bleach review 496”

  1. Plentiful review, for a chapter that i read less than a minute.

    When i see your headspinner says they can use bankai with letz stil, everything comes clear. Äs Nödt had thorns, now he has petal swarm, to turn himself as deadly beatiful quincy rose!

    Though it’s hard to imagine Bambibrat with a giant samurai armor…

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