The Underscore’s Bleach review 504 & 505


Double Bleach review 504 & 505

So I missed another week… I have an excellent excuse though. Job being on the line and all… Anyways, the upside to missing one week’s review, is getting a double review a week later! You’ve waited long enough, so onwards to the reviews!

CHAPTER 504: BEYOND THE THUNDER

Aliens are invading, Aliens are invading~~!!!

Koukougonryourikyuu, also known as the ‘brilliant yellow villa of the stern soul’, is unveiled. Sasakibe’s Bankai once more appears in front of Genryuusai, this time wielded by the man who murdered its former owner. A sphere of lightning forms over Driscoll, with pillars of lightning coming from it. Though it should be an impressive sight to behold, I’m somewhat underwhelmed. I suppose I was hoping to see a more solid object as a part of the Bankai, something where Kubo could toy with some wacky designs. But I suppose that Sasakibe himself was somewhat of a wacky design .

Though most people would wet themselves, witnessing such a display of lightning right in front of them, Genryuusai seems to be more concerned with other matters. As he looks upon Koukougonryourikyuu, he remembers the first time he saw it. Driscoll, however, doesn’t allow Genryuusai to just reminisce the times he had with his former vice-captain. Driscoll points out that Koukougonryourikyuu has not been used for over 2000 years. The fact that Driscoll knows of Koukougonryourikyuu and even knows that it hasn’t been used for such a long time only makes my suspicions of a traitor amongst Soul Society grow. Let’s face it, I doubt many Shinigami knew about Sasakibe’s Bankai if he hasn’t used it over 2000 years. So how could a Quincy from the Vandenreich ever learn of this? Of course, there’s always the matter of Genryuusai and Buckbeard….

As Driscoll demands that Genryuusai should be grateful for showing him Koukougonryourikyuu again, Hisagi witnesses Koukougonryourikyuu for the first time. He senses the amount of Reiatsu coming from the Bankai and notices that Koukougonryourikyuu, much like Hyourinmaru, is able command the weather. Being able to command lightning is quite an impressive feat, of course. And Driscoll quickly sets out to show this by attacking Genryuusai. Oddly, Genryuusai doesn’t even show signs of wanting to dodge the attack. Thus, Hisagi witnesses Genryuusai getting quite a charge from Koukougonryourikyuu. This charge is exactly what Genryuusai needed to jog his memory of the (very) distant past…

Eijisai

That’s right, this is taking place BEFORE, before the internet. That’s how long ago this is!

Genryuusai’s memories take him back to a time where he was called Eijisai. Though Shigekuni (as Genryuusai was actually called at that time) did not like that nickname, people apparently enjoyed calling him that. Especially a young man by the name of Choujirou Sasakibe… Apparently, Sasakibe did have some personality when he was young, though he used this personality to stalk Genryuusai .

Choujirou was set on becoming Yamamoto’s right hand man. Though Yamamoto insisted that Choujirou would enlist in his school to achieve this, Choujirou knew better. Choujirou knew that there is no point in Eijisai getting a carbon copy of himself to help him out. What’s the point of Choujirou doing exactly as Yamamoto would, when Yamamoto has limitations that Choujirou can help with by being himself? Yamamoto isn’t exactly impressed by this logic, but Choujirou was more than determined to walk this path. So much so, in fact, that he did something quite amazing.

Though Choujirou had been stalking Yamamoto day after day, he had been gone for one month. In that single month, Choujirou took Eijisai’s words and trained to obtain Bankai. Even though Yamamoto most likely just blurted those words out of annoyance, Choujirou accepted the challenge. Hearing that Choujirou achieved the Bankai made Yamamoto’s spirit burn as he challenges the young man once more: Try and defeat him with this Bankai.

Jyuujisai

I honestly can’t make heads or tails from all these name changes

One of the many scars that Genryuusai has endured over the ages turns out to be given to him by his very own vice-captain. A Bankai, achieved in just a month’s time managed to permanently scar one of the most powerful Shinigami at that time. Though Yamamoto told Choujirou that his Bankai was weak, Choujirou was happy to hear this. Choujirou’s Bankai became a promise between Yamamoto and Sasakibe. Choujirou would stay at Genryuusai’s side for as long as Genryuusai would remain active. In order to be of use, Choujirou would refine his Bankai over the years.

As for Yamamoto, the scar given by Choujirou made it that he received the nickname ‘Jyuujisai’, due to the word being etched on his forehead. But Choujirou kept calling him Eijisai. But with these inconsistencies in his names, Yamamoto decided to take up a name of his own choosing: Genryuusai.

In a way, this glimpse at Genryuusai and Choujirou’s past was quite amusing. It was an important part in Genryuusai’s history. The history shared between the captain commander and his vice-captain was one of friendship. Through the ages, these two remained close friends, where Choujirou would never fail to be of help to Genryuusai. Centuries of friendship, all being brought to an end by an arrogant pup, thinking himself to be worthy of wielding Koukougonryourikyuu. Imagine losing your best friend, one you’ve known for your entire life…. now imagine that times 100. Now imagine the person being responsible for your friend’s death standing right in front of you… Well, in case you can’t imagine your reaction at that time, I’d suggest you read the rest of this chapter again.

Genryuusai

He be ma~~~d

As Driscoll brings down the pain, using Koukougonryourikyuu, both he and Hisagi believe Genryuusai to be knocked out cold by the Bankai. It wouldn’t be too surprising for a Bankai that has been polished for hundreds of years to be able to do something like that to a 2500(+) year old man… Hisagi decides he has to do everything he can to protect the captain commander as he bravely decides to step in. But the old-man doesn’t agree with this course of action, as he tells Hisagi to stand still.

Driscoll is surprised to hear anything out of Genryuusai and then decides to end things with a second strike of lightning. Unfortunately for Driscoll, this jolt of lightning isn’t enough to send Genryuusai into another flashback. In fact, it only helps to fuel Genryuusai’s rage. With Koukougonryourikyuu being stolen from its true owner, who had then been killed, both Choujirou and Koukougonryourikyuu have lost something. Genryuusai understands this loss. It is the loss of pride, honor, and devotion. Driscoll took the materialization of these things, and then uses it in a way that disgraces Choujirou’s soul. For such a foul act, Driscoll deserves to burn. And burn, he most definitely did.

Genryuusai draws Ryuujin Jakka and instantly cuts and burns Driscoll to ashes. Blüt or not, Ryuujin Jakka couldn’t care less. With these purifying flames, Soul Society’s counter attack will begin!

CHAPTER 505: THE FIRE

The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire, we don’t need no water let the motherf*cker burn

Why must Kubo torment me with pictures of KON-sama? Err, I mean, colored pages to celebrate the 11th year anniversary of Bleach! And what a way to start off a chapter named ‘The Fire’. Ryuujin Jakka’s flames burn with a rage that could scorch the earth, and Driscoll is the one who gets those flames all to himself… for now. With Choujirou’s murderer finally been put to rest, Genryuusai can mourn the loss of his close friend.

Genryuusai turns his back on the opponent, now turned ashes, as he says his final farewells to Choujirou. Hisagi is the only person who witnesses this moment, seeing Genryuusai’s face of mourning. Though Hisagi wishes to express his sympathies, Genryuusai knows he can’t take more time than he has to grieve. So both Genryuusai and Hisagi shouldn’t dwell on what happened any longer. Instead, they should look to the future. And in the future Genryuusai envisions, the streets will be dyed black with ashes. For he will personally see to it that the Vandenreich will burn…

Burning souls

Is it me, or are all the captains relieved that for once, they’re not the ones who are in trouble?

Genryuusai decides to do things the right way. What better way to use Shunpo than to wrap yourself in flames of anger? All of Soul Society can sense the old man’s Reiatsu, and all who have ever known him for these past centuries know this: He’s never been this pissed before.

Soi Fon is oddly the first one to show a smile at this sudden outburst by the old man. Where she usually tries to keep a straight face, she can’t help but smile at the thought of Genryuusai toasting some Sternritter. Either that, or she’s just thinking about Yoruichi .

Shinji and Momo are up next in talking about Yama-jii’s course of action. Momo is surprised at the amount of hostility radiating from Genryuusai. Shinji then admits that even he never sensed this amount of hostility coming from the geezer. Judging from the look of Shinji and Momo, they may have actually managed to defeat one of the Sternritter already. But what I find more interesting is the fact that Shinji is calling Hinamori ‘Momo’. I guess I’m just glad for Momo that she finally got the captain she deserves. Sure, he’s rude, creepy, lazy, and so on, but at least he isn’t lying to everyone about himself and his real intentions, nor brainwashing his subordinates… I think . Even though Shinji is lazy, he most definitely likes to enjoy himself. That’s why Momo and him can’t let the old geezer hog all the fun…

Motivation

You can hire Genryuusai as a motivational speaker. He’ll get your people moving (to the fire escape, at least)!

With Genryuusai heating things up, even Hitsugaya thaws a bit. Knowing that the Captain Commander is on the move while he’s still struggling is something Hitsugaya won’t stand for. Even Matsumoto agrees that they should put in some work. Go figure…

The scene then changes to the part that makes me sad that there’s no Anime for Bleach anymore. What I wouldn’t give to see Komamura howling the way he did here, before scolding his subordinates to stand once more. Komamura’s loyalty to Genryuusai is one only surpassed by Choujirou in this respect. This loyalty even rubbed off on his own subordinates as Bambina witnesses the entire division suddenly regaining vitality. I wonder whether Bambina already used Komamura’s Bankai against them or not. The fact that she’s wielding a saber right now would suggest that she has made the preparations to do so. Either that, or her weapon of choice has always been that saber. If not for the fact that she seems to be such a stereotypical brat, with that heart shaped buckle of hers, I might actually be curious about her and her fighting style.

Where most of the captains see Genryuusai’s Reiatsu as a good thing, there’s one captain who knows better. Where the other captains are only thinking short term, the war ending with Genryuusai burning all opponents to ashes, Kyouraku is thinking long term. If Genryuusai were to find out that Kyouraku had trouble with the Vandenreich, he’d get the biggest scolding of his life. Even though Kyouraku has built the greatest immunity to Genryuusai’s scoldings in the history of Seireitei, he has endured plenty of them that he knows what Genryuusai would say once he’s serious. He can already hear Genryuusai saying the exact words that would hurt Kyouraku most: Genryuusai not raising him to be such a coward.

Holy Crap, KENPACHI!

You’d at least expect Kenpachi to put a scratch on the man…

One of the few captains that we hadn’t seen this chapter was Kenpachi. With his match against Buckbeard starting two chapters ago, it turns out that the poll results from the previous review can be confirmed. Zaraki Kenpachi, the number one in strength, has been beaten to an inch of his life at the hands of the Vandenreich emperor. This picture is quite impressive, the way Buckbeard is holding Kenpachi, who isn’t the smallest of Shinigami, up, while still appearing to be bigger than him. Quite the feat from Kubo if you ask me. Buckbeard, however, seems to be disappointed at the result of this battle, and something tells me he isn’t the only one.

With Kenpachi beaten, Buckbeard decides that he has the right to take Kenpachi’s life to usher in the end of Soul Society. But Genryuusai doesn’t feel like having Soul Society come to an end. Crashing down from the skies with the flames of hell following quickly, Genryuusai reveals Buckbeard’s real name: Juha Bach (Or Yuhabaha… Could it be Johan Bach?… darn you Kubo and your naming sense ).

The emperor turns around and looks upon the visage of his millennium long nemesis. As Bach witnesses the enraged Shinigami proclaiming his death, he can’t help but smile at this development. The fight postponed for 1000 years will finally be resumed.

Chapter 504 was a chapter of closure. Whether you liked Choujirou or not, Genryuusai had to finish this chapter. Sure, Choujirou’s death seems a bit cheap if you consider that Genryuusai managed to defeat Driscoll with a single blow of his Shikai, where Choujirou who has been at Genryuusai’s side for 2000 years died so easily. The flashback in the chapter was entertaining enough. I suppose that Kubo decided to throw that one in so that us readers can be emotionally invested in Genryuusai and his current cause. Let’s face it, Genryuusai is tough as nails, practically invincible and all, and all we ever see him do is get angry. So it’s hard to relate to him that easily I suppose. But showing the friendship he held with his right hand man and the way it affects him shows us that he too is a man. Thus, his killing of the man who murdered his best friend is something that can give us readers a good feeling. I personally enjoyed watching Driscoll burn, so I’d say mission accomplished .

Enter chapter 505, the beginning of the Soul Society counter attack. With Genryuusai burning with anger (quite literally at that), the remaining captains and vice-captains find their vigor once more. Part of me is glad to see that Ichigo didn’t have to be the one to achieve this amongst Soul Society. Let’s face it, if Soul Society had to rely on a teen time after time, it would almost justify the destruction of Soul Society. On the other hand, I’m a little disappointed with the majority of the captains. Why wouldn’t they be capable of motivating themselves without Genryuusai needing to light the fires of hope? Heck, Kenpachi was the only captain I can think of who didn’t even need the non-verbal pep talk given by Genryuusai. Though we’ve seen what that resulted in. Kenpachi has met his defeat at the hands of Juha Bach. For now it would seems that Bach still has to deal the decisive blow to the unconscious Kenpachi. But Kenpachi fans can sigh in relieve at the appearance of Genryuusai, who will personally deal with Bach.

All in all, two good chapters which complement each other. As a standalone chapter, 504 is the weaker of the two in my experience. But reading 504 and 505 together really improves the overall enjoyment of the read. Kubo maintained the quality in his artwork throughout both chapters, with little to no flaws in the pages. I had a good laugh seeing a “younger” Genryuusai with his top-knot. At first I didn’t even recognize him, but looking at him it really shows that it’s the same old man who enjoys midnight scolds and burning opponents.

As pointed out in the review, I have my suspicions about there being a spy in Soul Society. Sure, the flashback from chapter 504 stated that Choujirou’s name was known all throughout Soul Society 2000 years ago, but would that knowledge truly remain public for 2000 years? Shouldn’t something that hasn’t been shown for 2000 years fade to obscurity? I mean, Choujirou has been around for 2000 years and doesn’t show his Bankai at all, wouldn’t that make the idea of him having Bankai turn to nothing but rumor and gossip?

Then again, it’s possible that Juha Bach and Genryuusai were friends at one point in time. That Juha learned quite a bit about Soul Society around that time and that the knowledge of the current captains is based on information Aizen had hidden in Las Noches.

Two theories, both easily disproven. But the question remains: Where did the intel on Soul Society come from?

The fight between Genryuusai and Juha will most likely start next week, beginning with a quick recap of what happened 1000 years ago. The fight itself will be even between the two, up to the point where Genryuusai will be forced to use his Bankai. Before using his Bankai, Genryuusai makes sure that Bach doesn’t have a medal to take his Bankai away. But just when Genryuusai uses his Bankai, a certain whitehaired man will make his appearance…

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 these chapters and/or review, and to give any theories that you may have. I’ll see you guys again next week!

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~ by The Underscore on September 2, 2012.

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