The Underscore’s Bleach review 503

•August 19, 2012 • 2 Comments

503: Wrath as a Lightning

Madness, tension, double cliffhanger. Four words to describe everything that happened in this chapter, without doing it any justice at all. Better get another NNNN words into it then! Thanks to Mangastream for their scanlation!

A Kenpachi carol

On the first day of invasion, Kenpachi gave to me: Three dead Stern Ritter, two possible targets, and one big smile to go~~.

Kenpachi gets to do his intro once more, carrying all but THREE Stern Ritter skewered on his blade. Sure, I only noticed two when I wrote the previous review, but given Kenpachi’s explanation on the three victims, it’s an easy mistake to make. Besides, the most important thing to note is simply: Kenpachi’s here! Gus (Buckbeard’s right hand man) seems to think that’s the most important thing to notice. That is, until Kenpachi gives Gus and Buck a special present.

Stern Ritter Y, R, and Q have fallen victim to Kenpachi’s boredom. Stern Ritter R, The Roar, was the first one to fall. This knight had the ability to transform into a gorilla in order to fire off sound bullets with his roars. This makes me wonder, what is Jerome Guizbatt? There’s no sign of a Hollow Mask, as far as I can tell from these couple of images showing him, meaning he didn’t use a Resurreccion to change his appearance. Does this mean that Quincy have the ability to transform themselves? Or could it be that ‘R’ was a Fullbringer that could activate his own body in the same way Chad uses his skin to create his arms? So many questions, so little time that Kenpachi cared about any of them. The Roar couldn’t refrain from roaring at Kenpachi, so Kenpachi couldn’t refrain from cutting him in half.

Inadvertedly, Kenpachi actually managed to kill his target at the exact right time. As explained by Urahara a couple of chapters ago, the Stern Ritter have their Blut ability to strengthen either their offensive or defensive abilities. Obviously, The Roar was busy applying it to the offense, leaving his defensive ability on ‘normal levels’ (whatever those levels might be). Kenpachi thus managed to cut The Roar at the exact right time. Though we could attribute this to Kenpachi’s battle experience, I’d like to see this as nothing more than sheer luck .

Rumor has it

Correction: Kenpachi IS a monster

After cutting The Roar in “two perfect halves”, Kenpachi was confronted by The Question. Bernice Gabrielli took the time to explain to Kenpachi how Kenpachi was supposed to meet his end. Considering the title ‘The Question’, my guess is that The Question uses questions to kill her victims. Too bad for Bernice that Kenpachi wouldn’t even listen to her, even if he wasn’t deafened by Guizbatt’s Roar. He did hear some whispers from her lengthy rant, so he came to the conclusion that she had to shut up. But Kenpachi isn’t one to hit a woman, so he cut her throat instead.

In this case, it would seem that The Question couldn’t raise her guard on time, because she was on the offense. Guess the rant was part of the attack. Perhaps her ability works in a similar manner to Äs Nödt (Stern Ritter ‘F’, The Fear). A psychological attack, most likely revolving around questions in the same way Äs Nödt’s attack works around fear. Perhaps the questions she would ask causes the target to forget anything related to that question. For example, if she were to ask: Do you even know how to wield a sword?, the target would completely forget how to use a sword. Whatever the case, she’s dead .

This leaves us with Y, The Yourself. Loyd Lloyd (seriously Kubo?) most likely uses his third eye to see into his target in order to copy it. Whatever the case, The Yourself was the only target worth remembering as he turned himself into Kenpachi! This apparently gave Kenpachi some trouble, but considering Kenpachi only had to surpass himself it ended up easy enough.

Gus is impressed enough, to the point where he prepares to fight Kenpachi. But Kenpachi only wants to fight Buck. In an instant, Kenpachi slashes at Buck, who quickly blocks the attack using his arm. Guess he isn’t into catching swords with his upper body like Kenpachi. Though the comedy is about to unfold in Soul Society, there’s a tragedy still taking place in the Garganta.

Tension

Next up, the Getsuga Tenshion

Still trapped in his jail, Ichigo contemplates on all that’s happening while he is locked away. Somehow, Ichigo knows that there’s something going on with Byakuya, Renji, and Rukia, even though the connection to his phone was already cut off. Whatever the case, Ichigo knows he needs to get to Soul Society as soon as possible.

Firing off a series of Getsuga Tenshou, the ricochets of the blasts hit Ichigo. As he vows to protect all his friends, things are happening to Ichigo. Though it almost seems like Ichigo’s face is covered with the blood caused due to his attempts to break free, the slivers of Reiatsu in the frames leading up to the one shown above, make me think the pattern on Ichigo’s left side could be part of something old made new.

Perhaps Ichigo will no longer have a Hollow Mask if he wants to power up beyond Bankai. The downside about Hollowfication has always been that all of Ichigo’s expressions had to be done using his eyes. Sure, Kubo has the skills to pull this off, but there’s a limit to how much you can express in a manga using only a character’s eyes . My guess is that the stripe forming on Ichigo’s left side is the same pattern as the final form his mask had. The fact that it appears on his left side probably has to do with the pattern his mask had at first, which also (solely) formed on the left side of the mask. Perhaps this is the time for Shirosaki to make his appearance again, even though he was supposed to have been suppressed 17 months ago…

Overkill

There is a limit to how much you can look like Yammy

Hisagi gets blown into one of the buildings, even though he’s using his Shikai. The Overkill, Driscoll Berci, can’t help but pity his victim. Even though Hisagi is a Vice-Captain, he can’t even hold a candle to Driscoll. Hisagi even admits (to himself) that The Overkill is too much for him to handle. He can’t even call it a match.

Driscoll explains to Hisagi that the difference in power is only natural. Buck gave Driscoll the letter ‘O’ for Overkill, due to his ability. The more he kills, the stronger he gets. It doesn’t even matter what he kills. Hopefully this guy didn’t drive through Southern Europe this past summer, with all the mosquitoes he’d kill along the way…

But Driscoll doesn’t remember all the mosquitoes he’s killed in his life. What he does remember is the amount of Shinigami he’s killed in the past couple of days. 200, including a certain Vice-Captain got killed by him. The way he did this was with the giant lance he makes as his weapon. Hisagi is about to experience the same death that Sasakibe had. The Overkill charges his lance and throws it, adding another kill to his power-up. But Overkill is about to learn that Karma can be quite the grumpy old man…

Karma

This guy’s here to claim his letter

Hisagi gets saved by the man amongst men. Sure, we can enjoy Kenpachi going apes against apes. But when Genryuusai Yamamoto boils with anger, you know things will heat up more than Kenpachi could even hope to achieve. For some peculiar reason, Driscoll is actually happy to see Genryuusai. He somehow got the notion in his head that Genryuusai will die at his hands, only because he holds Sasakibe’s Bankai. Something tells me that The Overkill is underestimating Genryuusai just a little bit…

So, will the strongest Shinigami alive be able to hold off a Quincy who grows stronger with every kill? Genryuusai will have to face a Bankai without being able to use his own. Then again, Genryuusai’s skill with the Zanpakutou is enough to instill fear in Kenpachi, and Kenpachi already killed off three Stern Ritter. Besides that, Genryuusai’s got a score to settle…

Kubo Title

Wrath as a Lightning can refer to quite a few people we’ve seen in this chapter. For one, it could refer to Kenpachi. Sure, he didn’t display as much wrath as he displayed utter joy, but his attack on Buck struck like lightning, and then some. Then there’s Ichigo. There was quite some thundering going on in that jail of his as he released his frustrations.

The most obvious reference would have to be Genryuusai, who was lightning fast as he stopped the person who murdered Sasakibe from committing another murder. Though there’s a fourth candidate. The Zanpakutou arc in the Anime revealed that Sasakibe’s Zanpakutou had lightning attributes. So perhaps Gonryomaru’s the one the title is referring to. Especially now that Gonryomaru’s Bankai is going to be revealed in the upcoming chapter.

This chapter could’ve used a couple of extra pages in order to show us a bit more than what we’ve seen here. But at least it entertained us enough. The chapter started with the revelation of how Kenpachi’s madness resulted in the death of three Stern Ritter to his attack on Buck. Oddly, he doesn’t even get rid of Gus before going after Buck… then again, Kenpachi uses a single, and surprisingly effective, strategy in all his fights: cut down anyone whose worth fighting.

From Kenpachi finally arriving at his Nirvana, the chapter went to Ichigo in his personal hell. Ichigo keeps thinking about how he needs to get to Soul Society, once more thinking of those who have already fallen victim to the Vandenreich’s invasion. Needing to get out of his prison, Ichigo realizes that he needs to draw out all his strength. I wonder where Kubo intends to go with this new development in Ichigo’s powers. Perhaps Kubo will come with an explanation as to why Zangetsu took on a new form as well.

Finally, the chapter ended with Sasakibe’s murderer revealing himself. With quite the extravagant power of increasing one’s strength with every single kill, he would be trouble for most Shinigami who would have to face him. Hisagi didn’t even stand a chance. But with Genryuusai arriving on the scene, The Overkill will have a challenge to say the least. But Driscoll seems to enjoy tormenting his targets. The way he intends to torment Genryuusai is simple: Use his former Vice-Captain’s Bankai against Genryuusai.

All in all a more than entertaining chapter in my opinion. Sure, this is another one of those set-up chapters, preparing us for a result in the confrontation between Kenpachi and Buck, a new power-up for Ichigo in the near future, and of course, Genryuusai getting his revenge. But this doesn’t change the fact that it looked awesome and that some of these developments might be key to the future developments in this arc. So I’m quite pleased with what Kubo achieved here.

Though the Vandenreich seems to consist of more than Quincy, the Stern Ritter seem to consist of solely Quincy. All the Stern Ritter seem to have unique abilities, a lot of which don’t seem to fall in line with the absorption and manipulation of Reiatsu in the same way we’ve seen Uryuu and Ryuuken do. Also, when Opie and Ichigo were fighting, Opie revealed that Ishida should be a lot stronger than Ichigo accredited to Ishida. So: Is it possible that Ishida has an ability unique to him that has yet to be revealed?

The fight between Kenpachi and Buck won’t go so well. Let’s face it, though Kenpachi deserves to kill Buck, I don’t think he’ll be able to hold his own against someone who survived a confrontation with Genryuusai 1000 years ago. Not to say Kenpachi will die at Buck’s hands, because Kenpachi has too much ‘Luck’ to just up and die there. Then again, Kenpachi’s death would be interesting on some level…

Ichigo’s power-up might leave him in a state similar to when he was fighting Ulquiorra. Though in a more controlled state. Either that, or Ichigo will just get a great boost in power, which comes at some price, allowing Ichigo to fight the Vandenreicht to the point where he can hold them back for a bit.

As for the fight between Genryuusai and Driscoll. I’m expecting Genryuusai to waltz right over Driscoll. He’ll take an attack or two from the stolen Bankai, but Genryuusai’s wrath will burn away Driscoll and the smug look on his face. Perhaps next week’s chapter will be named: Wrath as a Flame!

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!

 

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The Underscore’s Double Bleach review 501 & 502

•August 5, 2012 • 1 Comment

Double Bleach Review

Here I was, hoping I’d be writing a triple review by now. Sadly, Kubo seems to have fallen ill, meaning he couldn’t wrap up the chapter in time. Hopefully Kubo’ll be better soon. I can imagine him lying sick in bed now… hugging his KON-stuffed do- ehhr.. action figure, trying to figure out what he’s going to do next. Let’s face it, Kubo has been on somewhat of a roll these past couple of months, so he’ll need to keep up at least this level of quality for this arc. Seeming as how he intended to go on for at least another 9 years from this point onwards…

Anyways, let’s see if my vacation did me any good. I’m afraid not really, as I have far too little time to review today… But I’ll do it anyways .

Chapter 501: Hear. Fear. Here

The Getsuga just hit the ventilator jail

In spite of the fact that some mysterious figure showed up and killed Opie, the jail holding Ichigo is still up and running. I imagined that a good Getsuga to the bars would be enough to free Ichigo, a thought that crossed Ichigo’s mind as well. But Opie didn’t get his jail id-card for nothing. Basically, Ichigo has lost to Opie here, no matter how you look at it. Ichigo underestimated his opponent, thinking he could just leave when Urahara told him to. But the fact of the matter is, Opie managed to prevent Ichigo from getting to Soul Society. Not to say that Ichigo can’t still make it, but looking at this current situation makes it obvious that it won’t be more than… well.. a hollow victory . If only the Vandenreich were Hollows .

But why call this a loss for Ichigo then? Well, for someone who lives to protect people from harm, arriving even minutes later in a situation like the one Soul Society’s in would mean for countless of deaths. Or superdeaths as it’s dead people who are dying here… Not only that, Opie managed to inadvertedly torture Ichigo as well. I mean, Ichigo had to listen to all the screaming and begging before the communications from the 12th division were cut off. But now, all Ichigo could hear was something happening on Urahara’s side. Not knowing what’s happening outside of his jail, only knowing that he’s needed out there… poor Ichigo. He could use some guidance right about now… if only we’d know of someone who could give Ichigo some advice at this point, perhaps even the power needed to escape from this jail… No… I’m not talking about KON (for once ). You guys really should stop thinking about KON all the time, it’s not healthy.

Trust much?

It’s funny because it’s true?

While Ichigo’s doing some jail time, Byakuya is getting a good beating. Renji can’t stand to watch what’s happening and wants to get into the game. But Byakuya won’t allow for this. Hanging on to the notion that Bankai is needed to defeat Äs, Byakuya feels that Renji still needs as much help as he can get in order for this to work. Much like Byakuya pointed out the first time Renji used his Bankai, it takes years for someone to master a Bankai. Sure, Ichigo has such a straightforward Bankai that works with his ridiculous Reiatsu reserves that it worked easily. But we’ve seen Tensa Zangetsu undergo a couple of changes already, perhaps being a sign of it still being completed and/or mastered.

Anyways, the way Byakuya tries to help out Renji is simple: information. Knowing all about the enemy and his abilities should help Renji to defeat his opponent. Hearing about this plan, Renji offers to take Byakuya’s place. But with Byakuya’s pride in the way, he tells Renji doesn’t have his level of skills, which are required to make Äs reveal the extents of his abilities. Byakuya then vows to reveal the opponent’s ability.

He then starts to think about what’s happening to him right now. A certain numbness and discomfort in his arms and legs. An odd freezing sensation, perhaps coming from his sweat… The thorns surrounding Äs have hit him a couple of times prior to this sensation, so it wouldn’t be strange for them to be poisoned. But that would be such an obvious thing to do, or so it seems according to Äs. It’s not poison that’s doing its rounds, but something far more basic: Fear… Those hit by Äs’ arrows will experience a terror so great that they can’t do anything but scream their lungs out, quite literally at that. But Byakuya’s will and experience help him to resist this fear.

Now, I do have one little problem with Äs’ explanation of this… How aren’t his arrows poisoned even if they instill fear? Sure, it’s not a conventional game poison in itself, where the target’s life slowly depletes, but come on. Arrow strikes target, target suddenly experiences something that isn’t supposed to occur at that time. Wouldn’t that mean that the arrows are poisoned by some form of hallucinogenic? I’m just saying…

Whatever the case, Byakuya thinks to himself how he always fought with fear in mind. A fear that he learned to suppress and keep in check using discipline. But just as he’s thinking this, an awful image comes to mind.

Irrational fear

This is what all girls look like to 7 year old boys

An image of the one Byakuya wants to protect no matter the cost suddenly comes to mind. A smiling Rukia, suddenly appearing decayed in front of Byakuya. The shock catches Byakuya off guard, giving Äs the opportunity to deal a critical blow to Byakuya. So what happened here? Irrational fear that is. Being scared of Hollows wanting to devour you isn’t irrational (in the Bleachverse that is ), it’s a fear that all Shinigami have to overcome in order to fulfill their duties. It’s a gentle fear that can be overcome using reason. But irrational fear isn’t as forgiving. A fear of heights, a fear of bugs, a fear of… trees? (yes, I was looking out the window while thinking listing some possible fears) Can you imagine being covered in bugs, with one suddenly climbing into your mouth and… UUOOHHHHHH!!!!

That’s what Byakuya seemed to think while his panicking mind thought of being covered by bugs. Somehow, Byakuya still manages to focus on fighting Äs. With Byakuya not succumbing to fear, Äs has to resort to his latest sleight of hand. Pulling out the medal he used to medalize Kageyoshi Senbonzakura, Äs seems to be keen on ending things now.

The scene quickly changes to Rukia for a moment, as a single cherry blossom petal flies past her. Her gut immediately tells her it’s got something to do with her brother. It seems that the time has finally come. After years of complaining, the skeptical fans finally got what they wanted: A death amongst the captains… but not yet!

Chapter 502: A Cherry Blossom Has Fallen

Yes, this is the last panel of chapter 501, but it looks better than the first page from 502

Kageyoshi Senbonzakura struck down his own master. Äs watches as Byakuya falls to his hands and knees. He then mocks Byakuya, telling him how it’s impossible to defeat his own Bankai using his Shikai. With Äs looking down on Byakuya, he suddenly notices a shadow growing ever larger. In an unstoppable rage, Renji lunges towards Äs, telling him he isn’t allowed to use Senbonzakura. With this, it’s proven that the Sternritter can use the stolen Bankai for themselves. I’m still having my doubts whether this will be a good thing or not. Sure, it makes for a great opportunity to relive certain fights anew (e.g. Ichigo vs. Senbonzakura, Kenpachi vs. Tengen Myou), though I’m not too eager to relive those fights anew considering how we might as well see something new.

Speaking of seeing something new. Rukia senses something is wrong with her brother. She turns away from her opponent so she can run to his side. But her opponent isn’t too eager about this course of action. Quite frankly, neither am I. Sure, Rukia is one to rush to the aid of her brother. But she shouldn’t be so foolish as to turn her back on her opponent. Especially considering the current situation. Whoever her opponent is, (s)he isn’t too happy to be ignored like that.

Desperate struggle

Luckily Renji paid attention to what Byakuya wanted to show him…

Renji continues his assault on Äs in order to protect his captain. But Äs his Blüt can’t be broken with Renji’s Shikai. The one time where it almost looked like Renji would be able to land an attack, Äs uses Kageyoshi Senbonzakura. Though seemingly pointless, there might be more to this than meets the eye. Why would Äs bother to use Senbonzakura to defend himself if he’s already using his defensive Blüt? Could it be that there’s a limit to this skill? Or is it possible that the head can’t be protected by the Blüt without a dire risk? Or is this just an instinctive reaction to an attack?

Whatever the case, Renji’s attacks gave Byakuya some time to get back up again. But Äs is already done with Byakuya. He immediately summons the majority of Senbonzakura’s petals to attack Byakuya. A storm of blades attack Byakuya. Just as Byakuya is about to fall to the ground once more, Äs mercilessly sends another storm of petals to blow Byakuya away. This just goes to show that Äs lives up to his name, because he’s obviously a major A~~nyway. Renji demands that Äs stops his attacks on Byakuya. But Äs isn’t too interested in what Renji has to say, so much as what Renji could do. With Renji falling into despair, he can see only one way to help his captain: Bankai.

Seeing stars

That’s right kids, intelligence and steroids apparently don’t mix

Just as Renji wants to summon his Bankai, a large hand grabs his blade and plants his size 60 boots in Renji’s body. This attack has so much force that it blows Renji through a couple of buildings across at least a couple of blocks of houses. Äs then makes it known that he intended to steal Renji’s Bankai, raising a simple question: Can multiple Bankai be contained in a single medal, or do Sternritter besides Opie carry multiple Bankai on them? Speaking of simplicity, the wrestler ritter reveals himself to be a stereotypical as you’d expect him to be.

Rastler (temporary name for the wrestler until his real name is revealed ) throws away the piece of Zabimaru he was holding on to before he kicked Renji back to the Sixth division barracks (no idea if this is true, but Renji certainly flew quite a bit). Hearing Äs saying he wanted to take away Renji’s Bankai made him doubt his knowledge of whether only captains have Bankai or not. But apparently Buck made sure to get all the information needed for this attack on Soul Society, including the who’s who of Bankai. Could this be information taken from the Arrancar in Las Noches, or is there someone else who provided the Vandenreich with information?

Death of a swordsman

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO~~~~~~!!!!11!!1!1!

While Äs and Rastler argue about the latter one’s stupidity, the focus changes to Byakuya. His final thoughts go out to his trusty Vice-captain and his beloved sister. While his Zanpakutou shatters, as a sign of his own soul breaking, he apologizes to Renji and Rukia. Be it for being too prideful in this fight, be it for not telling them what they needed to know. Who knows what regrets Byakuya had in these final moments. If anything, he regrets dying the way he did here. Giving the opponent his greatest weapon, Senbonzakura, only to be killed by that very weapon all the while not helping to stop any of the opponents. As Byakuya’s corpse is embedded into one of the stone pillars, oddly reminiscent of when Aizen faked his death, his death is made known to Buck.

With Buck’s right hand man telling Buck that Kuchiki Byakuya has died, Buck doesn’t look too pleased. Sure, he’s standing on a battlefield where he managed to wipe out the majority of the opponents without experiencing any resistance worth mentioning. But his Sternritter are taking far too long for such a simple invasion.

You’d think that jerk would somehow pay more attention to Byakuya’s death. To think he’d just ignore something this monumental like this. Loyal Bleach readers won’t be this forgiving. Nothing can bring us joy while we mourn Byakuya’s death… well, maybe not nothing…

NEXT!

Don’t you just love how Kenpachi is unscathed while carrying two corpses on his back?

I was quite bummed when I saw Byakuya died. A couple of pages later, I can’t help but smile at this sight. Who needs to analyze? Who needs to discover an opponent’s abilities? Just put your sword through the opponent’s body. If it doesn’t work? Just try, try again . The sight of Kenpachi like this was just plain awesome. In a way this is also a cruel joke played by Kubo. I mean, a large hairy beastlike guy and a smaller guy stuck to Kenpachi’s sword? Kenpachi vs. Komamura and Tousen anyone?

Then there’s the classic Kenpachi: ‘You the boss of these little shits?’, followed by the smile on Buck’s face. Swirling madness indeed. Of all the times for Kubo to get sick !

These chapters were great, though 502 certainly proved to be superior in my opinion. Sure, I’m not that fond of Byakuya’s death in itself. But the fact that Byakuya has been killed off only proves that Kubo won’t be pulling his punches.

From having Ichigo torturing himself in his jail cell, to Äs instilling fear into Byakuya, ending with the use of Kageyoshi Senbonzakura, chapter 501 did good. Sure, the explanation on fear was somewhat lengthy, but at least it turns out for the best for Byakuya’s end. Even though Byakuya was supposed to be paralyzed by fear, he still managed to push on all this time.

Chapter 502, however, ended Byakuya’s live in quite a merciless way. Renji will have to live with the fact that he let his captain down like that. I can see Renji and Äs facing off eventually. Not only allowing Renji to get revenge for his captain, but also finally being able to surpass Byakuya like he wanted. But that’s for much, much later. The part that made this chapter for me were the last two pages. I want the Vandenreich to suffer for what they did to Byakuya. Who better to do so than Kenpachi? I mean, Byakuya and Kenpachi have always been the bestest of friends, right?

Kenpachi will learn Buck’s name, but will be forced to fight his right hand man. Was it Gus?… I can’t recall what I named that guy . Anyway, Kenpachi will fight the right hand man, while Genryuusai will finally arrive. Kenpachi will tell Genryuusai that he wants to fight Buck, but Genryuusai shuts Kenpachi up with a single glare… Things then heat up, as Genryuusai uses his Bankai, while Buck isn’t capable of sealing a Bankai of that level. This leaves him with no other option than to fight Genryuusai head on.

That’s it for this week’s review. I hope you guys enjoyed it, even if it lacked a couple of sections. This is my last day of vacation, so I have some other things to attend to and no time to do so . Be sure to let me know what your thoughts are on this week’s chapter and/or review and give any theories that you may have. I’ll see you guys again next time!

The Underscore’s Bleach review 500

•July 15, 2012 • 1 Comment

500: Rescuer In The Deep Dark

Ahhh, the big 500… Rather disappointing if I’m completely honest. Sure, this isn’t the 500th chapter, considering how we passed that milestone at least 12 chapters ago, though the chapters around that time weren’t particularly memorable either. Disappointing though this chapter may be from the viewpoint of this being number 500, this certainly isn’t a bad chapter. In a way there’s some classic Bleach taking place right here. So on to the chapter then, provided by Mangastream!

Bleach chapter 499, Rescuer In The Dark, rated by 7 voters, gets an average score of:

9.4

Awesome

Well then, with things looking grim at the end of last week’s chapter, what could happen in Las Noches? Here’s what you guys thought could happen:

Basically, no one could even imagine Chad or Orihime fighting Opie. This is troubling on some level, though it would be pointless for them to even try if you consider what happened with Ayon.

One voter is more interested in what’s going to happen with Ichigo, than what’s going to happen with Urahara, Chad, and Orihime.

Then we have a triple tie in the options. Two votes for each of these options. From Nell fighting Opie, to Opie just having won, to people being more curious about Soul Society than Las Noches. Such a diverse audience we have with Bleach .

Four voters, however, felt like seeing Urahara getting serious against Opie. What, with Opie no longer having his Medal, Urahara could even use his Bankai!

But 12 votes went to the final option. One that may actually have come true, pending on one of the upcoming chapters. That’s right, Grimmjow would make an appearance and slaughter Opie in the process. If this sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because you’ve read this week’s chapter before this review! (I doubt anyone has done that the other way around )

Don’t kill the messenger?

What would this guy do to the postman who brings him his bills?

The communication squad finally makes its appearance. Though they tend to pop up out of nowhere to tell captains and vice-captains what’s going on, they know they can’t afford to do so at this time. Rather than risk distracting those who are in battle (read, risk getting killed while talking), they place transmittal blades near those who are in battle. Rin agrees to this plan as he’s eager to let everyone know that Ichigo’s a coming.

Sternritter M(oustache), however, doesn’t feel like listening to anything the communication squad is offering. Without even looking, he hits his target dead center. Which is impressive if you take the communication squad’s stealth into consideration. But Kyouraku isn’t impressed by M’s shot, so much as he’s probably bothered by the fact that his opponent felt he had the opportunity to take this action. Let’s face it, if M can take the time to shoot the messenger, it means he doesn’t feel all that threatened at this moment in time.

Rin then starts up his message. He tells all those who can hear that Ichigo’s on his way. Renji and Rukia are the first ones to be shown with their reaction to this news. Neither one of them actually looks delighted at this news. Probably because they feel like they’ve been depending on Ichigo too much. Heck, Renji has taken the trouble to be ready to face people of Aizen’s level while Rukia improved herself to the point where not even Byakuya could deny her the vice-captain title. Of course, Rukia’s expression can easily shift to that of joy, whereas Renji’s expression is a lot more stern.

The news that Ichigo’s Bankai can’t be stolen, however, brings forth even more reactions. Most likely, people would otherwise think that Ichigo would be just as useless as the other captains . Most of the people react as expected, feeling somewhat comforted by the fact that Ichigo is on his way, bringing the means to turn the tides. Of course, Kenpachi is more excited about the fact that he can fight Ichigo after this is over… or at least, that’s the impression I’m getting . Mayuri acts like he’s bothered by Akon’s course of action, but I’m guessing that he’s excited to see how Ichigo’s Bankai can withstand the medalization. The last one to react is Yuki. After being saved by Ichigo once before, he knows that Ichigo will be a great asset here. What’s surprising here is the fact that Yuki has taken arms. From what I can tell, Yuki is actually facing an enemy right now, on his own!…

Jidanbou Smash

Let’s face it, he’s the only one of the four guardians who hadn’t been put under someone’s control up until now…

Though Akon hates to be the bringer of bad news, he’s so good at it . Akon notes that Ichigo entered the Garganta, but his Reiatsu disappeared completely. While Akon tries to figure out what happened, we find Ichigo inside his cage. Ichigo tries to smash it to pieces, but it’s to no avail. Akon then tries to reach Ichigo on the phone again. But when Ichigo tries to answer, we learn that Ichigo can no longer send anything out of the cage. Apparently Opie’s cage not only firmly traps spiritual bodies, but it prevents from any form of wave (my guess is that Shinigami phones use spiritual waves, rather than electronical ) from escaping. Though it’s funny to see how things apparently can enter the jail.

As Akon concludes something happened to Ichigo and he prepares to investigate this occurence, something goes awry. Ichigo hears a lot of screaming and crashing, not knowing what’s going on right now. We then see that Jidanbou standing over a giant hole in the wall. With only the white of his eyes shown, it’s obvious Jidanbou isn’t himself. Of course, the 12th division doesn’t have the luxury we have to see Jidanbou’s eyes from the right angle . As the 12th division tries to ask Jidanbou what he’s doing, Jidanbou goes on a rampage.

Hiyosu then decides to get into action. As expected from someone from the 12th division, his focus lies more on the use of Kidou, rather than his Zanpakutou. Sure, Mayuri himself is the exception to this rule, but I doubt there will be a lot of 12th division members now who actually use their Zanpakutou too often. Anyways, Hiyosu tells Akon to retreat as the key member of the research division. But this moment of carelessness doesn’t go unpunished. Rin (admittedly using what’s most likely a Zanpakutou) stabs Hiyosu. Though Rin looks just as surprised by this fact as Hiyosu.

With the 12th division being destroyed from the inside, we see a mysterious figure standing outside the building. Apparently, Kubo decided to throw in a manipulator into the equation. One who enjoys seeing comrades fighting each other… honestly I’m not too fond of this development. Not after Tsukishima anyways. Tsukishima did the manipulating in an excellent manner, crude though it may have been, it had its subtleties. This guy just seems to be plain crude in his manipulation of others. Though someone with these skills is obviously a necessity in a war where one side is outnumbered, it feels unnecessary at this time. But we’ll see how this will work out.

Voicemail

Hi Ichigo, it’s me again, I just called to say hey. You just keep going to voicemail… you must be real busy right now. But if you have the time, could you help me get this arrow out of my knee?

With the 12th division being torn to pieces, some wires cross and systems malfunction, resulting in a mix of communication signals. Ichigo suddenly hears Renji and Rukia who are trying to get a read on the situation. Ichigo realizes that Renji and Rukia couldn’t possibly be at the 12th division during a time like this so he doesn’t quite understand what’s going on.

All the signals from the transmittal blades are being sent to Ichigo’s phone. He hears the screams of war all at once, from the despair to the rage, to the trust in Ichigo’s future arrival. Hearing all of this, knowing he can help if he just could get out of that damned cage is enough to send Ichigo into a rage… hmm that rhymed..

Ichigo tries cutting the cage, firing off Getsuga’s, but all to no avail. Guess that Opie actually did a good job on the sealing here. Though I can’t help but wonder… why wouldn’t the Vandenreich opt for this sooner? They already knew Ichigo’s Bankai couldn’t be sealed and it was one of the few things that they really feared. So why not invade Soul Society, have one person wait near the Dangai, and seal Ichigo there?

Making the cut

Just cut it out Opie, we’re done with you already

Opie notes how Ichigo is going wild inside his jail. But Opie notes that it’s impossible for Ichigo to escape, as Opie is the jail expert of the Sternritter! This makes him Opie ‘Sternritter ‘J” Kirge! Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Buckbeard gave Opie the letter J, for jerk . Being a jerk about being the jail, Opie lets out a moment of madness as he mentions his great king. Whether this has something to do with his Völlstandig (I spelled it right this time ), the absorption of Ayon, or plain old madness is something I can’t say for sure. Though my guess is the latter option .

So Opie revealed that the letters given to the Sternritter aren’t necessarily their ranking as much as they are a description of their purpose. So Bambina (you know, that brat) with the letter ‘E’ is most likely the executioner or something. Sternritter ‘U’ must be given that title for… Uselessly abundant use of the sound ‘Na’ in one’s name!… (NaNaNa Najakoop, remember? ). So unless the letter ‘A’ stands for awesome, I doubt the one with the letter ‘A’ will actually be the leader of the gang. Or even be amongst the Sternritter as there is no longer a need for 26 members to complete the alphabet.

Anyways, as most of you (probably) noticed, Opie’s transformation seems to be running out. Where Ishida had his wing of Reiatsu, Opie had Ayon’s body as an energy source to use during battle. For some reason, Opie feels like he needs that extra energy to take out three critically wounded opponents. Opie charges his blade to deal the finishing blow to Chad and Orihime. Urahara wants to stop him, but with the arrow through the chest, there’s little Urahara can do right now. As “luck” would have it, Opie forgot that he’s in Hueco Mundo right now. And Hueco Mundo isn’t so kind to strangers.

A powerful blow cuts Opie in two, starting from the ear. I have to say, Kubo outdid himself in the level of cruelty he displayed . The cutting of Opie went so fast that Urahara couldn’t even follow it. But the “hero” gladly reveals himself, much to Urahara’s dismay. Is it me, or does that Zanpakutou remind you of Pantera?

Rescuer In The Deep Dark obviously has strawberry written all over it. Where he was left in the dark before, he sank even deeper after hearing the screams of those he wants to protect. However, what if there’s a second rescuer here? One with a different kind of darkness. One who just happened to walk by, cut up a random Quincy, only to threaten Urahara?

Like I said at the beginning of this review. This was a rather disappointing chapter considering the number 500. But if we take that out of the equation, this chapter is another in the list of recent chapters that are pretty good. The level of consistency in quality and plot progression is almost noteworthy, especially considering Kubo’s track record . I’d have expected to see at least two or three chapters by now that would almost entirely devote themselves to a single battle, looking even better than any animation team could hope to draw it for the anime. But ever since the anime ended, Kubo somehow decided to keep a steady pacing. Great for the short term, but in a way disappointing. One of the things Bleach has always done well is make for a great reading marathon. But these chapters feel somewhat more standalone than was the case in previous arcs. Though these chapters do come closer to what we were used to read at the beginning of Bleach.

Anyways, enough ranting about to recent chapters, back to this one. The message being passed around was something that is key to what might happen. Letting everyone know Ichigo’s on the way means that the troop’s morale will greatly improve, while the Vandenreich will probably feel a bit more nervous. Or at least, that’s what could happen at first glance. But receiving news that Ichigo’s on his way over, only for no one to show up could result in the opposite situation.

Ichigo’s time in jail was yet another necessity for the rest of the plot. Akon didn’t really emphasize the importance of Ichigo coming to the rescue. Hearing the things he did, however, makes things a lot more simple for Ichigo. All Ichigo needs to know is that there’s people in need, who he can help. Ichigo’s never been one to care about his opponents’ abilities or whatever.

The invasion of the 12th division was strategically speaking a wise decision. Though I can’t help but wonder whether this assault was intentional or not. For all we know, this was a random attack taking place right now. How would the Vandenreich know that they would need to target the 12th division otherwise?

The end of this chapter was the best part though. Not too sure who cut up Opie, but I enjoyed watching it . My guess is still that this is Grimmjow though . Whoever this is, it’s bound to make for another interesting development in this holy war.

All in all, another decent chapter then. Hopefully Kubo can keep at least this level of quality throughout the rest of this arc. Though I’m hoping for a couple of spectacular chapters soon.

The arrow in Urahara’s chest seems to be enough to incapacitate him to the point where he wouldn’t even be able to help Chad and Orihime. Judging by the location, it’s possible that the Hakusui has been hit. So: Could it be that Urahara’s Reiatsu has been sealed right now?

Just to keep you guys entertained for the next couple of weeks, an extra headspinner: Where’s Kenpachi at right now?

Next week’s chapter will most likely focus on something other than Urahara’s current situation. Or at least, at the start. Ichigo will probably notice that the cage isn’t weakening or something along those lines. This in order to make sure Ichigo doesn’t arrive in Soul Society too soon for some other things to happen in the war. We may finally find out who Rukia’s fighting at this time. Ichigo won’t be out of his jail for at least two chapters as Urahara and the others will need to figure out how to get Ichigo out. That is, assuming that the one who is pointing a blade at Urahara will let him live…

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! This review ushers in another two week break for me. So I’ll see you guys again in august!

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

The Underscore’s Bleach review 499

•July 8, 2012 • 2 Comments

499: Rescuer In The Dark

Another Sunday, another Bleach review. Just to give you the heads up, after chapter 500 I’ll be away for 2 weeks. I’ll be off seeing the world and whatnot during my two week vacation . But let’s not think about the future just yet, let’s look back on what happened during this chapter first! There was no poll in last week’s review, so there’s only the chapter rating. So we’ll get to the heart of the matter soon enough. Thanks to Mangastream for their scanlation!

Bleach chapter 498, The Black Rescuer, rated by 6 voters, gets an average score of:

7.8

Good

Operation 15

Who needs details anyways, just do as you’re told!

Hiyosu tells the rest of the 12th squad to spread the message: Ichigo’s on his way! He’s already escaped Hueco Mundo and is on his way right now! Rather an odd message to spread to the entirety of the Gotei 13. It’s one thing to tell everyone that Ichigo’s coming, being as (in)famous as he is. But why would you distract people with the information that he’s escaped Hueco Mundo? Though weathered soldiers won’t be distracted by news like that, the majority of the Shinigami we’ve seen in the past couple of chapters would be distracted. Whether the mentioning of Hueco Mundo is a wise decision or not, Ichigo’s already heading out!

Chad and Orihime finally come out of hiding, probably having sensed the fight between Ichigo and Opie ended. They find Urahara booting up his laptop, immediately telling them to get him the medal in Opie’s possession. Of course, Orihime needs to know what Ichigo’s doing before she does any more . Urahara realizes this and tells both her and Chad that Ichigo’s gone off to Soul Society. But with time being as precious as it is, Urahara needs to do some analyzing. Guess it’s fortunate that Urahara decided to tag along this time. With information being a crucial factor for this stage of the war, we might as well have a sandal-hat scientist on the case.

While Urahara starts his research, Rin is one of the 12th division members who’s spreading the word of Ichigo’s coming. The fact that Ichigo’s coming is enough to move him to tears. Admittedly, Ichigo’s quite the powerhouse. But with the current state of affairs, it makes one wonder whether Ichigo will be enough to turn the tides.

Mission parameters

The most important thing is: Rukia is safe… and so is Renji… but especially Rukia!

Ichigo’s running through the Garganta, sloppily forming the Reiatsu road he needs to walk. Oddly, Ichigo’s still having trouble with the formation of the road. With Tensa Zangetsu’s current state and the practice he had using Fullbring, I’d have guessed he’d have better control than he does now. Still, the road’s good enough, considering this is only the third time Ichigo’s done this. Also, Ichigo’s mind is probably rather unfocused, considering the news he’s getting from Akon right now.

There are 2302 Reiatsu disappearances as it stands right now, a number that keeps increasing at a rapid pace. Not only that, countless of buildings are being damaged (most likely due to the forming of arrows and whatnot by the Quincy). Not exactly worried about the buildings, Ichigo is more curious about the ‘Reiatsu disappearances’. The basic question is, does this term equal death? The basic answer: Akon doesn’t know for sure. For all the 12th division knows, all these victims have been put into some form of slumber or have been captured. Even though Akon can’t confirm what happened to the 2302 Shinigami he just mentioned, he can tell Ichigo that Rukia and Renji aren’t part of that group.

Though Ichigo tries to deny that he wanted to hear that about Rukia and Renji, Akon knew he had to give Ichigo that information. But then Akon gets to the nitty-gritty, the Vandenreich status. There have been 6 members of the Sternritter who are confirmed to be above captain-class. But besides the Quincy attire and the fact that there have been no casualties on their side, Akon can only reveal one ability: The ability to steal Bankai. Even though Ichigo experienced the sensation, he can’t believe that Bankai could actually be stolen. But Akon has four confirmed accounts of stolen Bankai. This is where Akon’s information runs out, proving just how chaotic this (currently) one-sided war truly is. Luckily, Soul Society has another hidden card besides Ichigo.

Information broker

The data on screen isn’t related to what Urahara’s telling, it’s Urahara downloading the Bleach soundtrack on his media player

With Akon’s part of the information over with, Urahara hacks the phone call using his holo-laptop (’tis the future!). Urahara notes that there are three abilities worth mentioning about the opponents: Völstandig, Blut, and the Bankai stealing.

The Völstandig is basically similar to an Arrancar’s Resurrección. It gives an increase in power, basic abilities, and a notable change in appearance. The abilities gained aren’t necessarily unique from as far as I can tell. It’s more that the weapon of choice influences the manifestation of those abilities (judging by Ishida, Opie, and Kyouraku’s opponent’s occurrences). But this information is something we already found before Urahara explained it to us.

Blut, however, gets a more detailed explanation than could’ve been deduced from reading the previous chapters. Though it was hinted at that the ability could be used for offense and defense, the reason why both can’t work in harmony hadn’t been explained yet. It turns out that Blut works with spirit particle systems in the same way as blood is transported through one’s body. There’s two systems that are connected to one another, yet serve different purposes. Though blood vessels do work in harmony, you basically have “red” and “blue” veins in your body. Where red distributes the oxygenized blood and blue returns it to be reoxygenized… if only I’d have paid more attention during classes .

Anyways, my guess is that Blut can be divided into two similar ways. One to send Reiatsu out (red), and one to return Reiatsu to the core (blue). Though Opie wasn’t able to combine the two in a manner similar to a blood circulatory system (as pointed out by Urahara), my guess is that the Sternritter (or at least some of them) will be capable of doing so. Though Äs Nödt’s encounter with Byakuya would suggest that this isn’t the case. As Urahara pointed out, the “switching” of Blut will be key in defeating the Sternritter. Ichigo’s Tensa Zangetsu, and the Urahara’s timing in attacking Opie are proof of this.

The third and final ability, the stealing of the Bankai, is still the most important of the three. Though Urahara hasn’t had time to analyze the medal that was taken from Opie, he knows two things: Ichigo’s Bankai is off limits, and the enemy waited for him to be out of the picture before they started the invasion. Everyone in the Vandenreich fears the strawberry, which is why Ichigo has to head to Soul Society right now. To instill fear in the Vandenreich and to encourage Soul Society. Once Urahara finishes his research on the medal, he too will come to Soul Society. (Most likely to see if his Bankai guard is working, meaning Urahara will be forced to use his own Bankai!)

The classics

Who needs blood in his body if he can just move his own body like a puppet?

Just as Urahara wraps up his explanation, an arrow flies right past Ichigo up to the portal to Soul Society. The arrow then transforms into a seal, closing the Garganta’s “mouth”. Surprised at the sight of this, Ichigo asks Urahara what’s going on.

The scene changes to Hueco Mundo, where Urahara has an arrow sticking out of his back, Chad has a couple of holes in his body, and Orihime has one on her left thigh. Though it could’ve been the assistance that Opie didn’t want to request, it turns out to be plain old Opie nonetheless! Urahara thought he’d finished the job (admittedly, I concluded the same), Opie manages to use Ransou Tengai to move his body far beyond its limit.

Opie then reveals his conviction to the mission given by Buckbeard. Even if it costs him his life, Opie will hold Ichigo back. Opie fires one more arrow with deadly precision. Even though Ichigo seemingly blocks the attack, the arrow suddenly changes shape. The arrow starts changing into a cage, much to Opie’s delight. The fact that Ichigo would almost be in Soul Society, only to be stopped at the last moment. Admittedly, Opie played his card rather well. Not only sealing the two gates to the Garganta, but Ichigo as well. Even if Ichigo were to escape the cage, he’d still need to reopen the Garganta with knowledge he doesn’t have. In the end, Opie seems to be the victor of this battle in Hueco Mundo.

Rescuer in the dark can be interpreted in two manners. Firstly, it can be seen as the state where Ichigo was in while he was traveling through the Garganta. He was in the dark about a plethora of things. Of course, it’s most obviously a reference to the last part of this chapter, where Ichigo got sealed off in the Garganta inside another cage.

An excellent chapter in my opinion. Sure, the first half was a summary of what we already knew, but it’s interesting to see how much Soul Society knew about everything. Urahara’s explanation of the three newest Quincy abilities was another necessity, especially for the readers who might overlook these things and aren’t active in reading about Bleach on forums and in reviews . At least Kubo went out with quite the bang. Not only did he reintroduce the Ransou Tengai, he sealed Ichigo away (I’m guessing for at least a couple of chapters) and even took out Chad, Orihime, and Urahara in only three pages. Quite the bold move in my opinion. I wonder what’s in store for Soul Society now that Ichigo won’t be there to scare off the enemy.

Opie has been critically injured, to the point where he was forced to use Ransou Tengai. But his Völstandig allows him to absorb Reiatsu beings and make them part of himself. Why didn’t Opie just absorb Chad, Orihime, and Urahara to rebuild his own body?

The next chapter will start off with Soul Society noticing that the Garganta where Ichigo should be coming through is closed. They will panic, just as another fight between a (vice-)captain and Sternritter starts. On the long term, Ichigo will use Jinzen to converse with Zangetsu so he can get answers. Both as to how to get out of the cage as well as why Zangetsu is immune to the medalization.

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!

 

I’ll be replying to the posts you left in the previous review, rather than answering them right here. It’s been too long since I last did that .

The Underscore’s Bleach review 498

•July 1, 2012 • 5 Comments

498: The Black Rescuer

We’re almost at the magical number 500!!! Okay, so we passed the 500th chapter of Bleach at least 20 chapters ago, but that doesn’t change the fact that the NUMBER 500 is almost upon us. If only I could recall at which chapter I started reviewing Bleach… Wait a sec… I think I’ve reviewed well over 100 chapters already!

In any case, it’s time for chapter 498 now. So let’s get to this then! Thanks to Mangastream for their scanlation!

Bleach chapter 497, Kill The Shadow 2, rated by 11 voters, gets an average score of:

8.4

Great

The Vandenreich is capable of sealing up Bankai into medals. But do you guys believe they’re capable of using those Bankai in their Volstandig/Letzer Stil?

Four voters believe that a sealed Bankai remains sealed. After all, if the Bankai is used, it could be taken back easily by the owners, right? What’s more, the weaknesses of the Bankai could easily be exploited by the captains.

Seven voters, however, can see it happening. After all, a Quincy cross is already key to activating the Volstandig, so why not use the medal with the Bankai inside?

But uncertainty rules in this poll, as most of the votes (nine) went to the option ‘Maybe’. It’s possible that not all the Sternritter are capable of such a feat. Or maybe the Bankai is only used as a power source. Who knows, really?

Gone fishing

Who cares about the stupid badge, WHERE’S KON?!

At Akon’s command, the 12th division initiates the contact procedures to get in contact with Ichigo. Honestly, for a division that is supposedly responsible for monitoring all of Ichigo’s activities (according to Kuugo), the 12th division really lacks basic knowledge on the representative badge. Of course, it was the 13th division who gave Ichigo the badge, but still.

Luckily, after being reminded of the representative badge, one of the members easily tracks it. But then he notices that the badge is in the material world, but Ichigo isn’t! But what’s more interesting here is that the representative badge is used as a medium to determine that Ichigo’s Reiatsu trail leads to Hueco Mundo! Guess that Kuugo wasn’t entirely wrong about the badge in that respect .

Though most of the division members are shocked to hear Ichigo’s in Hueco Mundo, Akon seems to be putting the pieces together. He asks where the badge is currently located, which leads to the discovery that the badge is at Urahara’s shop. Once again, the detection device in the badge shows its full potential by revealing that they can determine the location of the badge is underground. Upon hearing this, Akon concludes that Ichigo must be with Urahara. Thus the call can be made.

Quite frankly, I’m disappointed by this. This could have been an excellent opportunity to get KON back into the story. Instead, Ichigo’s badge is left behind in Urahara’s shop, along with Ichigo’s dead body just rotting there -for all we know- rather than Ichigo’s body being misused by a certain pervert to hit on girls! Anyways, we have other forms of comedic relieve given to us.

Science chat

Oh my~~, did you see Discovery last night, it was such a~~ bla bla bla

The 12th division places the call, getting Urahara on the other end. Urahara greets his old pal Akon, asking how things are going while informing everything is going fine with him. In spite of telling Urahara that they’re in the middle of an emergency, Akon can’t seem to be able to get into Urahara’s pace. Angered by Urahara’s casual behavior during this time of crisis, he demands to speak to Ichigo. When Urahara tells him Ichigo can’t come to the phone right now, he explains it’s because Ichigo is busy fighting a Quincy.

The 12th division is shocked to hear that there’s a Quincy in Hueco Mundo. Especially after hearing the Quincy in question is the head of the Hueco Mundo Hunting squad. Akon tries to process the fact that Ichigo noticed the Hueco Mundo situation before the 12th division did. But he just can’t comprehend how a mere Substitute Shinigami is capable of finding out this type of information before his own squad could. Of course, it’s not like the 12th division has Hollows falling from the sky to warn them of such matters .

Akon then wants to know whether his gut was right about calling Ichigo for help. He asks Urahara how the fight is going. Urahara then reveals two important things. First, Ichigo has a slight upper hand in the fight. Second, Opie is trying to seal Ichigo’s Bankai, but he keeps failing. Hearing this news is exactly what Akon could hope for. He then wants Urahara to interrupt the battle as soon as possible so that Ichigo can come over to Soul Society. But Urahara points out that things aren’t that easy.

While Dondochakka and Pessche can’t believe how relaxed Urahara is being during a situation like this, Urahara clarifies his initial questions. He knows full well that Akon wouldn’t try to reach Ichigo if Soul Society wasn’t in a lot of trouble. He also realized that Soul Society is being invaded again, so all he needs to know right now is: How are things going over there?

Full on Bankai

We could attribute this to protagonist power… and Opie being a loser…

Opie reveals the intel that the Vandenreich was given on Ichigo. Basically, Ichigo wasn’t allowed to go into Bankai because his Bankai couldn’t be medalized (sealed into that medal). But what they didn’t bother to tell the members of the Vandenreich is that once Ichigo uses his Bankai, things would be bad for them. Poor Opie is already using his ace, the Volstandig, and even surpassed that by absorbing Ayon. Nonetheless, he can’t seem to be able to deal any critical damage to Ichigo.

After taking another severe blow, Opie tries to get some distance so he can shoot some of his arrows. But with Ichigo’s ability to wipe away Kageyoshi Senbonzakura, I doubt he’ll ever have trouble with arrows shot by someone like Opie. Ichigo seems to be thinking the same thing, as he decides to ask Opie some questions about this medalization. But Opie isn’t in the mood to give answers.

Opie then thinks something that still gives me great joy. He tries to analyze Ichigo’s Bankai by looking at the strengths. Not only are Ichigo’s slashes ridiculously strong, the real issue that Opie has is with Ichigo’s speed. Finally, FINALLY, after all this time, Tensa Zangetsu’s speed is what gives Ichigo the upper hand in this fight. The speed phantom finally lives up to its name!

Opie then starts considering his options. He realizes that he can’t let his guard (Blut Vene) down. But he needs to shift his focus from using his Blut for defense, to offense. But all thanks to the high speed performance of Tensa Zangetsu, he can’t . But if Opie can’t use his Blut Arterie, his attacks don’t have enough strength to beat someone who is using Bankai. That leaves Opie with a single option: ask for help. Oddly, he seems reluctant to do so. Either his pride won’t allow for it, or there could be something else going on.

Luckily, Ichigo doesn’t want to give Opie to ignore him, so he asks Opie the simple question: Are the Vandenreich afraid of Bankai?

To the heart of the matter

Not all candy has to be sweet, but this sure is

Opie tries to deny the fear of the Bankai, and does a poor job at that. His pitiful attempt to deny the fear is so lousy that Urahara decides to free Opie from that misery. A critical blow is dealt to Opie, giving Urahara the opportunity to pass of his phone to Ichigo. Urahara doesn’t waste any time in telling Ichigo to hurry up and go to Soul Society. With the Senkai gate open already and Akon on the other side of the phone, Ichigo is ready for departure!

The Black Rescuer… need I explain it?… Obviously it’s all about Zangetsu

I rather enjoyed this chapter. The first part focused mainly on the 12th division getting information on Ichigo and his potential for kicking some Quincy rear. Akon conversing with Urahara was rather amusing here, though things would’ve been more fun with KON being in the way first…

The second part was all about Opie coming to terms with his imminent defeat. From a revelation on Ichigo’s Bankai being immune to the medalization, to a revelation of the ‘Blut’ being part of the Vandenreich’s true power. Of course, the most enjoyable part to me is the part where he reveals that he just can’t keep up with Ichigo in his Bankai state .

The final part is Urahara taking matters into his hands. Urahara not only managed to take out Opie with a single blow using only a Kidou spell with a sealed Benihime, but he even managed to create a Senkai Gate that directly connects from Hueco Mundo to Soul Society! Guess the sandals and hat aren’t just for show… wait, what did the sandals and hat have to do with anything here? Anyways, Ichigo just about wrapped things up for himself in Hueco Mundo. All that’s left for him now is to move on to Soul Society to purge the Vandenreich stains.

All in all, this was a great chapter. The drawings were excellent, I had some laughs, I had some awes, and the only thing that ruined this chapter for me was the lack of KON… Fine, it’s not that KON would be key to this chapter, but still. The only thing that’s rather disturbing about this chapter, and some of the previous ones, is the rate at which it’s going. Sure, Kubo already planned out the story until the end, so he should be able to keep the pace going. But is this a pace that can be kept for another 9 to 10 years?

Tensa Zangetsu seems to be the only Bankai that’s immune to the Vandenreich’s Medalization skill. Does this have anything to do with Ichigo’s form before using the Mugetsu, where he and Zangetsu became one?

Ichigo will tell the others he’ll leave the rest to them as he departs to Soul Society. Akon will reveal which of the captains lost their Bankai, much to Ichigo’s despair. They will then try to discover what it is that makes Ichigo’s Bankai so special. The only way for Ichigo to find out, is to meet up with Zangetsu in his inner world… or to call Zangetsu out

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!

The Underscore’s Bleach review 497

•June 24, 2012 • Leave a Comment

497: Kill The Shadow 2

So sleepy~~, still need to review this chapter and then read a 40 page paper by the end of this afternoon… Best get to it then…

Bleach chapter 498, Kill The Shadow, rated by 14 voters, gets an average score of:

7.4

Good

With the war going in full-throttle, things could still go either way. With some possibilities listed in last week’s poll, here’s what you guys said might happen:

No one believes that Soul Society will be able to turn the tides any time soon. Considering the rate the arc has been going, it isn’t too strange this option got no votes .

Then we get a tie between a voter who believes Ichigo will come to cleanse Soul Society of all evil soon enough, and one voter who gave his own prediction. Though That prediction doesn’t bode as well for Soul Society, considering give or take 4 captains would have to kick the bucket after a great part of Soul Society got destroyed. Good for the plot, bad for Soul Society .

Then there are two voters who just don’t have any clue as to how this war could work out. Could it be that this war could end with Aizen’s return to power? Could it be that the Soul King decides to end things on his terms? Might we finally see KON again? Who knows?!

Ten voters think things will be rather easy for the Vandenreich. They’ll be able to take over Soul Society with ease, especially without any Bankai powered opposition.

Strangely, there were thirteen voters who had an odd sensation. Something just… hit them. It was the number 0….

The loss of me

The Zanpakutou you’re trying to call is out of the service area, please try to…

The Sternritter gloat as they absorb the last parts of the captains’ Bankai. Or at least, I assume all four of them are gloating in their own special way as two out of four of them have little to no facial expression (especially the one with the mask on ). The joy these Sternritter find in the taking of the Bankai probably lies in what this signifies for the Shinigami captains.

Last week, Byakuya already reacted rather panicky at the thought that his Bankai was stolen. This week’s chapter continues on that note, showing the other captains’ reactions. For the disbelief of the vice-captains hardly compare to the captains’ disbelief. Admittedly, I never considered that the stealing of the Bankai would go as far as we learn here. The Sternritter didn’t take the Bankai’s manifestation as I suspected, but they took the essence of the Bankai.

The captain to explain this situation best is none other than Hitsugaya. With part of his soul taken, he tries calling out to Hyourinmaru. But there is no response at all. The essence of the Bankai has always been a “conversation” between the Shinigami and the Zanpakutou. The only true way to take away the Bankai would then be to prevent the conversation from taking place. Of course, with the Shinigami captains having used their Bankai for years, decades, or (for some) even centuries, the sudden end of this conversation would be disturbing. It’s hard to explain and even harder to comprehend this concept. Especially considering how Ichigo has never been a prime example of these ‘conversations’. Perhaps this arc will bring Ichigo into contact with Zangetsu again, though the use of his Bankai suggests that he already is conversing with Zangetsu of course.

Public announcement

Don’t you just hate it when you get spam-mail that has nothing to do with you? Just imagine if they did that to your mind! -Zaraki Kenpachi-

As Hitsugaya comes to terms with the loss of Hyourinmaru, Matsumoto doesn’t even know what to say. Luckily, Hitsugaya is coolheaded enough to know what the best manner of action is. He quickly tells Matsumoto to warn the other captains using the Tentei Kuura. When the other captains learn that Hitsugaya’s Bankai was stolen, we get to see their reactions. Rose looks like he was just about to use his Bankai, only to stop at the news of what happened. Oddly, Ukitake has his eyes closed at the moment when he receives the new. Could it be that his opponent is using some form of technique that works through sight? Either that, or this is Lilynette all over again

Shinji, however, is agitated by the actions taken by the other captains. He is the first to have reservations about what Byakuya, Komamura, Hitsugaya, and Soi Fon did. Unohana lets us know that it’s possible to sense whether one’s Bankai is taken as she notes that Hitsugaya isn’t the only one who had his Bankai taken.

The one whose most annoyed, and reacts in a way I didn’t expect, is Mayuri. I would have thought he of all people would enjoy all the data he could collect on these four occasions. But he probably wanted to do the experiments by himself, being angry that they didn’t wait for him to finish with this challenge. On the note of Mayuri, his Zanpakutou looks a lot different than before. Almost as if it’s in a cocoon state of sorts. Either Mayuri has found a way to manipulate Ashirogi Jizo, or the new wrappings are part of the Bankai seal countermeasure.

The third person who isn’t too happy to hear about the loss of four Bankai would have to be Genryuusai. Then again, I doubt he’d be happy either way with his current bloodlust. What’s more, he most likely won’t need his Bankai for most of his opponents any way and I doubt his Bankai can easily be stolen. The strongest fire type Zanpakutou, wielded by the most powerful Shinigami seen for over 1000 years, stolen? Please. Even if the Sternritter go from A to Z, I’d say at least N to Z will be beaten with Genryuusai’s bare hand. Then up to G will be easily beaten using a Kidou, and perhaps up to D will require the use of a Shikai from Genryuusai. Of course, that’s going by the Sternritter actually differing in power and being ranked accordingly . For all we know, all the Sternritter are equal in power.

Eye, EYE CAPTAIN!

Guns and Kyouraku don’t mix

For some odd reason, the only one who sees the upside of four disappearing Bankai is Kyouraku. He knows that these four occurrences will provide Mayuri with enough information to counter the stealing seal within a day’s time. But in order to get the information, someone would have to be sacrificed. In this case, four captains made this sacrifice for the greater purpose (willingly, I might add). Especially considering how Bankai will be needed to end this war, this sacrifice was of great importance. Guess that Kyouraku and I think along the same lines about this one . Perhaps I should follow Kyouraku for the time being, now that KON-sama still has to make his return… Kyouraku is a pervert too… NO, I REFUSE TO GIVE UP ON KON! He’ll be back soon enough…

Perverts aside, Kyouraku’s opponent listened to Kyouraku’s information, but does nothing with it. Much like the other Sternritter, this gun wielding Sternritter doesn’t care about the prattling of his victims. Instead, he decides to go for the headshot. But Kyouraku is skilled enough to dodge a bullet at close range, though his straw hat had to pay the price. The fact that the straw hat got caught in the damage, however, is a sign of the Sternritter’s skill. After all, Starrk couldn’t get rid of the hat at first, and he was a gun wielder as well. Though in his defense, Starrk never really cared for fighting seriously at first .

But the Sternritter doesn’t waste any time in activating his Letzt Stil, Grimaniel, to attack Kyouraku from behind with a high speed Hirenkyaku. Firing his gun at point blank range again, it almost looked like Kyouraku might’ve been done for. But somehow, he managed to get away with only the loss of his right eye. Though he also has to admit that he’s feeling a hint of despair as well, even though he tried to play it cool.

Guess that Kubo really wants to point out the danger of the Sternritter to us, showing how even someone as skilled as Kyouraku can’t come out entirely unscathed. Sure, he managed to dodge a fatal blow, but we shouldn’t forget that Kyouraku is most likely the most powerful Shinigami around safe for Genryuusai (and perhaps Unohana?). If even Kyouraku is having some trouble here, what of the lower seated Shinigami?

What now?

Stick em with the pointy end!

The thirteenth squad that was faced by Buckbeard’s righthand man, or Gus as I named him during last week’s review, seems to be in great despair at the sight of their sixth seat member. Part of me is curious as to what happened to poor Kajoumaru that we don’t get to see him at all, while the thirteenth squad is looking in horror.

Gus concludes that the thirteenth squad has lost its will to fight, and he tells Buck so. Buck tells Gus to decide whether he should kill the remaining members of the 13th squad or not. The sense of mockery I get from Buck here makes me think that he was less than happy about the way Genryuusai ended their fight 1000 years ago. I don’t know why, but I just think that the events from 1000 years ago have a lot to do with Buck’s sense of benevolence. Gus then thinks long and hard as to what to do with the thirteenth squad. But we won’t learn of his decision this week.

Meanwhile, we go back to Byakuya and Renji. After losing Kageyoshi Senbonzakura, the sixth division’s captain and vice-captain realize they can’t do anything about the stolen Bankai. Renji then decides that the best way to overcome his panic is to charge headfirst using his Bankai! But Byakuya stops Renji in his track, telling him not to lose his Bankai to the opponent as well. This raises one simple question: How do you stop opponents like these without a Bankai? Well Renji, I hope you like strawberries…

The call

Akon needs his Strawberry shot, NOW!

Hearing all the reports of dying Shinigami and Bankai getting stolen is too much for Akon to handle. This is because he knows exactly what can be done to turn the tides of this war. All they need is a Bankai. What better way to get one than by getting it from a realm where the Sternritter aren’t? This leaves Akon with only one option: Ichigo.

The unnamed twelfth division member tells Akon that they would need the captain’s permission to call on Ichigo. Most likely referring to the communication function on the representative badge. But Akon knows they don’t have any time to waste and decides to take full responsibility for what follows his decision. Of course, Akon has no clue that this war got on the way because Ichigo left for Hueco Mundo and that Ichigo’s fighting one of the Vandenreich soldiers right now. Even if Ichigo were to be called right now, would he be able to answer, or is his badge at home to make sure Soul Society doesn’t know he left for Hueco Mundo?

Kill The Shadow 2, a continuation on last week’s chapter. In a way it is a continuation of the “killing” of the Bankai. Though this could also be seen as the “killing” of the “shadow of death”, the Shinigami.

Another interesting chapter, that just lacks a little something. The focus on the loss of the Bankai was one I quite enjoyed. Like I said in this review, the ‘conversation’ with the Zanpakutou is a crucial part in the Shinigami’s development of the Bankai. It was more than enjoyable to see Kubo referring to this fact, without naming it in the chapter. In a way, Kubo has decided to stop with coming up with new facts and rules for the Bleach-verse, and to just roll with what he’s spent 10 years establishing. And this is something I quite like. Just look at the use of the Tentei Kuura. It’s something that has been established in the Soul Society arc, and once more makes its return. In that respect, Kubo seems to be leaning on more from the first arcs for this final one than he does on other arcs.

The action for this week’s chapter was found with Kyouraku and his opponent. The action was high-paced and short. Quite thrilling in my opinion. It just restates the importance of the Bankai in this war. The small glimpse at Buck and Gus’ situation almost seems pointless, but somehow I see this having greater repercussions to the arc than the duration would suggest.

Finally, Akon’s decision to call for Ichigo was something that was bound to happen. It is pretty good to see how someone else besides Renji or Rukia would call on him. But I wonder what the consequences are going to be for the situations in both Soul Society and Hueco Mundo.

Simple and straightforward question this week, yet enough to make one’s head spin: If the souls of the Bankai disappeared, does that mean the Shikai are gone as well?

Next week’s chapter most likely will shift to one of two scenes: The one I’m rooting for is of course the first one:

At the Kurosaki household, the representative badge is ringing like crazy. With there only being a few in the Kurosaki household who can hear the representative badge, it is obvious who should answer it: Isshin… is out with the girls, meaning only one man amongst men can answer the call. KON!

The second scene is sadly the more plausible one… The badge immediately works as a communicator, with Akon calling out to Ichigo in the hopes that he will respond. Ichigo gets distracted and asks whether Akon can wait. But Akon then explains the situation as quickly as he can. Ichigo then tells Akon he still needs to finish something up quickly and he’ll be there as soon as he can. Opie will mock Ichigo for being so overconfident, but Ichigo then puts his hand to his face and tells Opie it WILL be over soon.

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!

The Underscore’s Bleach review 496

•June 17, 2012 • 1 Comment

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:

8.0

Great

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!