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sahugani
April 22, 2007, 07:50 AM
Sahugani’s Bleach Review 272

http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/2554/untitledfx9.jpg
other than when we get new Kubo originals, after this week, i'll be using deviantart pics for these

I seriously cannot decide whether I love or hate Kubo this week. On one hand, he has created his best chapter in a while and that makes me smile. On the other hand he timed this chapter right after I announce my vacation and its goodness is too tempting to ignore, thus making me look foolish for making such a big deal about a 1 week vacation. Regardless of that, I do have a review this week and here it is. The pics are from blood scanlations’ latest scan and the cover pic is a cleaned Kubo original from a manga-rain scanlation.

Also, I apologize for my reviews being a bit late. There were a number of issues that forced writing these reviews into the background for a while, but I got it done eventually


Ichigo’s Defeat

http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/6193/1aqz9.png
Ulquiorra doesn't give any shred of likability EVER (but he's just so fun to analyze)

At this point, Ichigo’s defeat seems pretty undeniable. Over the past couple chapters, he has hit the Espada Cuatro with the most powerful attack he has ever unleashed in the history of the series only to tatter his enemy’s clothes and then suffered a quick and crushing blow that left him on the floor. Ulquiorra’s reaction to Ichigo’s pitiful state gives another good insight into how he differs from his allies. Once again he displays lack of interest in killing and prefers to continue his battle through words instead. Of all he says in his victory speech, there is only one phrase I am sure is genuine. When he refers to Ichigo not meeting his expectations for growth, it seemed to be more like he was talking to himself. While we have known him, we have seen his tendency to formulate detailed analysis, psychological plots, and theoretical predictions, after which he reviews his previous estimations to see where there was fault. This characteristic leads me to believe that the rest of his speech was not entirely direct. By leaving him to die and taunting him about his weakness, he is trying to unleash Ichigo’s potential. Through his encounters with Ichigo, he has likely come to realize much about Ichigo’s inner hollow through his own analysis, possibly more than Ichigo does himself. He knows Ichigo’s power increases in rapid bursts and is trying to initiate one so that he can fulfill his promise to either recruit a powerful ally or kill a powerful threat.


The Black Curtain

http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/9936/2ano9.png
i really hope Kubo gets more creative than what he is implying here

As Ichigo suffers the cold words of Ulquiorra, his bankai breaks and reverts to shikai while a jagged black shroud falls over him. While this could be a stylistic choice by Kubo, it seems to mean more to me. The way things have been going, it is looking like my prediction of Ulquiorra running ain’t happening and we will see Ichigo kill the cold-hearted bastard. If that is the case, he will need some type of boost to not only bring him out of his current state, but bring him to a level strong enough to match Ulquiorra. Having Hollow Ichigo take over or having Ichigo meet with Zangetsu would seem too repetitive even by Kubo’s standards. We may see a unification of the two themes where Ichigo’s hollow finally decides to cooperate, though even that would seem somewhat expected. While I cannot be completely certain as to what will give Ichigo the power, I do expect that it will revolve around his hollow. This would fit in perfectly with the way Kubo has developed Ulquiorra thus far. As I’ve mentioned before, Ulquiorra likes to make predictions and analyze his mistakes afterward. He saw in his first contact with Ichigo that with the inner hollow acting out, Ichigo was more powerful than him. Ulquiorra declined to kill him both then and now because he wants to see how far Ichigo’s growth will take him, so it would be beautifully fitting for him to die because of one of his “minor miscalculations.”


Demon Children

http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/6969/3abt2.png
those are eyes that make little children afraid of the dark...and psychopathic women

While Ichigo is suffering, Orihime can sense his pain from her room. She remains frozen in disbelief that Ichigo could be the next one to fall. Unlike when she broke out in tears over Rukia, she is simply paralyzed. As far as she can tell, the man she loves is dying in an attempt to rescue her. What comes next is rather unexpected. The two guards who Aizen sent away, Lolly and Menoly, have come to pay Orihime a little visit. I always expected those two to make a return, but not in this context. We have witnessed the immense fear that all arrancar have towards Aizen and while a few are willing to push the boundaries of acting against his will, I thought I would be hard pressed to find anyone who would dare attack his guest of honor. All I can really say here is that Loly is one psychotic bitch.


Outclassed

http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/4861/4aod8.png
Oh my god!!! The freakiness of One Piece's Thriler Bark has infected Bleach

In another of the story jumps I have so missed in the latest chapters, we return to the duel between Renji and Zaerapollo. Suffice it to say that Renji is getting his ass handed to him. Zabimaru is taking just as much of a beating as its partner in its shikai form. The Octava Espada has even resheathed his sword and is still destroying Abarai. Due to the power type abilities of Zabimaru, Zaerapollo is bored and passes of the job of finishing off Renji to his subordinates. Here we get a major insight into the subordinate system of the Espada. Instead of having a simple hierarchy system of captain/vice-captain/soldiers like in SS, the Espada pick and choose the number and individual members of the numeros to serve them. For a cocky ass like Noitora, if he pick any subordinates besides Tesla, he probably killed them already. Zaerapollo on the other hand modified normal hollows before removing their masks to make them his Fraccion (the term for the subordinates). As a mad scientist, he has basically created a whole crew of subordinates fully willing to be his test subjects, so we can assume that while each individual member of his fraccion may not meet the strength of the other Espada’s fraccion, their abilities are a great deal weirder and more unpredictable.


Unlikely Pairing

http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/7029/5amu9.png
i still don't see why Kubo likes Ishida so much more than Chad

Just as Renji is about to be shamed by defeat at the hands of mere arrancar subordinates, we see the return of the long lost final member of the five heroes, Ishida Uryuu. I am happy for this turn of events in some respects, but saddened by others. On the plus side, this pretty much guarantees that Zaerapollo will be killed by Renji’s bankai as I’ve said from day 1. Now that I think about it there is no better person for Renji to have with him at this point in terms of compatibility with the battle situations. Ishida offers two things that are critical for defeating Zaerapollo. First of all, his ability to manipulate spirit particles will be able to disrupt the bankai block set on the room and will allow Renji to use the destructive power that Ishida lacks. Also, Ishida’s intelligence will be able to counteract any measures Zaerapollo takes in trying to prevent the block from being removed. As for negative aspects, it is more just personal preference. At the start of this arc I REALLY wanted to see Chad and Renji combo against an Espada or two to show off a teamwork developed through their training (and because I want Chad back to kick some ass). Also, I’m not a huge fan of Ishida as Kubo seems to love giving him victory and Chad defeat. It’s not fair. Anyways, the story continues with Orihime after Ishida’s flashy entrance.


Unexpected Guest

http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/2842/6aqa8.png
those brats are in deep shit

We return to Orihime being savagely beaten by Lolly. She seems to have a serious superiority complex and is threatened by the attention a mere human is receiving from Aizen. While she is wreaking havoc on the poor girl, Menoly seems to be a bit more level headed and seems scared that they will be caught and punished (which they should be in a very painful manner for what they are doing to the sweet girl). Well those fears become reality as Grimmjow bursts in on them quite unexpectedly. While the rest of the chapter was extremely intriguing and fun to review, this was the clincher that brought me back to this review so soon. His appearance here guarantees the continuation and victory in Ichigo’s fight with Ulquiorra. The biggest reason I had for my theory of Ulquiorra leaving the fight was due to his connection to Orihime, but now it seems that Grimmjow has taken an interest and Ulquiorra is no longer needed for that role. As for the reasons for his appearance here and the direction it will lead his character, I have some thoughts. I have the inclination that his reason for being here was mere boredom as he waits around for Ichigo to come to him as Aizen commanded. He probably just sensed Lolly’s reiatsu as she was beating Inoue and decided to take interest. As she was the one that healed him, he will decide to stay with her for a little bit after sending out the brats. This seems to be leading to the path of Grimmjow converting to the good guys, but I’ve got some more specific thoughts regarding that. A fight with Ichigo would be anti-climactic after the Cuatro Espada fight and since he had that tie to Ichigo, any other fight is highly unlikely. Being that his character is so similar to Renji in so many aspects, I expect him to die in the process of helping the heroes escape with Orihime. His conversion also fits with my theory of Tousen’s death in this arc as a reformed Grimmjow is much better for dealing the finishing blow than a crazed Wonderwiess for story reasons (though I still think the kid will get some ass kicking in on Tousen first).


Overall

Well I must say that was a damn fun chapter to review. It wasn’t quite what my first review was but it was still damn refreshing after the stuff Kubo has been supplying lately. He has given me so much more material with which to analyze and has found a way to shift the former beauty of Ulquiorra’s potential for analysis to Grimmjow, which I would not have thought possible before. Now I just need one thing for complete happiness…CHAD!!!!

Stone
April 22, 2007, 09:00 AM
Good to see the return :-)

pretty interesting how much there can really be at 19 pages...

Thx for the review


Oh and i supose the attention towards Ishida, could be becorse: Kubo might see a stronger version of himself in him.
How he'd liked to have been at that age :p (speculation)

conan
April 22, 2007, 09:06 AM
werent you supposed to be on vacation ( just rubbing it in :) ) actually it was nice that you reviewed, it may have been a fun chapter to review but it was agonizing to read with a horrible cliffhanger, moving on.
about chad, I agree with you almost completely, he is my favourite charracter in the series, but chad is like, well there is nothing that is like chad, he has the ability to endure like no one else, its highly idealistic and very inspiring, he gets through pain without the hint of any change of his facial expression, he stands up with no twitching or hard breathing after being given a death blow and gives his usual " mondainai" no problem, but I have to say I really did wish to see chad and renji fight together after they trained together for so long, and zaulpello's a jerk, I cant wait til renji and ishida beat him up, I loved it when ishida killed one of his subordinates and he had that look on his face, that was good.
about ichigo, well like you and most people I hope kubo gives us something new, whatever it is no problem just as long as its new.
finally grimjow, this is what I think, grimjow hates aizen, wants to defy him, and just as much he wants to kill ichigo, just like zaraki kenpachi was following ichigo all over the place wanting to "have fun" with him, I think grimjow is the same, he wants to kill ichigo and thats all there is to it, he hates aizen but isnt as stupid as to take him head on, although he is not as sharp, he goes doing what he is doing saying its for aizen samam but this time he deosnt even do that, he just gets what he wants, he wants to get orihime just to get to ichigo, which will actually work for the infiltrating team better at the end, just like zaraki gave orihime a piggy back through soulsociety to find ichigo grimjow is doing something similar here.

Gold Knight
April 22, 2007, 01:37 PM
Re: #1 Ulquiorra's disappointment - He's somewhat reminiscent of Kenpachi here to me. He wants Ichigo to be a worthy opponent. Personally, I'm kind of getting tired of this cliche mindset, at least as far as the Bleach manga - I think this is why I prefer Grimmjow over Ulquiorra right now, because Grimmjow just doesn't care, he'll tear through you, whether you're weaker or stronger. So to me, Grimmjow is more of an appealing villain right now, and Ulquiorra is actually somewhat boring.

Re: #2 Black Curtain - I agree, this was meant to be more than just a stylized panel (though nicely done even so.) While I'm not crazy about the scenario of Ichigo having to meet Zangetsu in whatever form YET again to survive a battle, if this is the case (I'd prefer a rescue by Yoruichi again instead or something like that) - I have to say that Tite Kubo has obviously been preparing for Ichigo to grow stronger with his "Hollow" the entire series and I'm hoping this would be the last of it, that we'll learn everything about WHY exactly Ichigo has this power, or at least come to a resolution with it. If that's what will happen, then I'll be happy.

Re: #3 Demon Children - apt title there, this scene reminded me of a horror flick. It sure was creepy.

Re: #4 Zaerapollo's fraccion - I did like this little revelation, we learned more about the Espada culture here. And though Zaerapollo doesn't seem that much different from Kurotsuchi (boy, I'd love to see a battle between THESE two, though), I have to say that Zaerapollo seems a little more "proud" of his subordinates than Kurotsuchi and I think that endears him a little more to me.

Re: #5 Ishida to the Rescue - I agree, I wasn't too crazy about this turn of events. At the same time, though, too many of Ishida and Renji's friends' lives are hanging in the balance and I think it's just as well they team up to defeat Zaerapollo and get him out of the way. Somebody's gotta be standing at the end of it all, after all.

Re: # Dashing Grimmjow? Agreed, this was a very fun way to end the chapter, and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Nice review as always Philip =)

sahugani
April 22, 2007, 02:15 PM
@stone - i could see that being the case, but it would still be better to idolize Chad

@conan - we Chad fans need to keep praying for his triumphant return. regarding Grimmjow, i know that my view of Grimmjow is not going to be the commonly accepted version. I guess i like my version better because it offers a damn good way to explain my theory that Tousen will die durng this arc and also deals with the issue of avoiding an anti-climactic fight after Ulquiorra

@Phil Sr. - regarding Ulquiorra, he was at his peak for analysis during my first chapter and ever since then i've always looked for and found ulterior motives to every move he makes, which is why i loved analyzing him so much. You are right though that now Grimmjow is getting more intriguing, which i think is pretty good evidence that Kubo is ready to get rid of Ulquiorra

i think regarding Ichigo's power-up, i don't know what it will be, but we'll get to see the power now without explanation for a while i'm guessing. i would like an explanation though

Lolly's eyes friggin terrified me

the scientists always have the freakiest stuff. Kurotsuchi prefered to augment himself while Zaerapollo seems to prefer augmenting his environment (and subordinates are simply tools within that environment)

While i'm not too happy about Ishida getting victory time, at least this time he has to share it with Renji

conan
April 22, 2007, 02:23 PM
@conan - we Chad fans need to keep praying for his triumphant return. regarding Grimmjow, i know that my view of Grimmjow is not going to be the commonly accepted version. I guess i like my version better because it offers a damn good way to explain my theory that Tousen will die durng this arc and also deals with the issue of avoiding an anti-climactic fight after Ulquiorra

just a small thing about tousen, I disagree with you completely on him being finished in this arc, I think kubo made too much of a deal of his treason for both hisagi shuhei and captain komamura to be done with him yet I think he still has some time to live yet, just thought it was worth pointing out.

sahugani
April 22, 2007, 02:38 PM
just a small thing about tousen, I disagree with you completely on him being finished in this arc, I think kubo made too much of a deal of his treason for both hisagi shuhei and captain komamura to be done with him yet I think he still has some time to live yet, just thought it was worth pointing out.

i see what you're saying and it is a bit of a thorn in my theory's side. but, its a theory i've held ever since i saw the interaction between him and Wanderweiss, so its something i won't let go of even if i'm the only one who believes it. At first i included SS capture after a severe beating as an option, but the way Grimmjow seems to fall into place here makes me pretty damn certain that Tousen will die. I really need to write the whole theory out sometime cause i've found alot of evidence to support it

conan
April 22, 2007, 05:18 PM
i see what you're saying and it is a bit of a thorn in my theory's side. but, its a theory i've held ever since i saw the interaction between him and Wanderweiss, so its something i won't let go of even if i'm the only one who believes it. At first i included SS capture after a severe beating as an option, but the way Grimmjow seems to fall into place here makes me pretty damn certain that Tousen will die. I really need to write the whole theory out sometime cause i've found alot of evidence to support it

well the thorn is a pretty big one if you ask me but who knows, mangaverse never makes sense anyway :) .

Serpent
April 23, 2007, 07:42 AM
Well they had no chance of getting Orihime back in the first place, Ichigo's defeat was expected the thing i didn't expect was Orihime getting beaten up and Grimmjaw coming , I sure hope grimmjaw will make those brats pay , I appreciated the inside on the HM hierarchy . Ishida and Renji will beat the crap out of Zaerapollo . Can't really make a prediction right now but i hope they get some help soon or they're all going to die :)

sahugani
April 23, 2007, 10:20 AM
@Serpent - ya besides Ichigo getting defeated, this chapter was full of pleasant surprises (Ishida's arrivial has some Chad related anger issues though). At this point it is somewhat hard to make a prediction, especially regarding the whole Grimmjow matter, so i go with the only thing i have that fits, my Tousen theory.

Here is my Tousen theory in a nutshell

As i've said before, my theory stemmed from viewing the relationship between Kaname and Wanderweiss. We have seen the way Tousen has treated those who care for and love him by his betrayal of his best friend Komomura. Now he has someone completely innoncent under his influence. If any situation came up that put him in a choice of his principles or loyalty to Wanderweiss, he would no doubt abandon the kid. Wanderweiss is commonly held to be a powerhouse, but lacks the mental capacity to do much, so if he is double-crossed, he would act like a little child and throw a tantrum, most likely aimed at the one who hurt his feelings, thus leading to my initial theory of Tousen getting his ass kicked at the very least.

Also, you must consider the roles of him compared to others under Aizen that we have seen so far. As shown by Gin when tousen cut off Grimmjow's arm, Aizen played Kaname's emotions like any other one of his tools, showing that he is not exactly a trusted member of his employ like Gin. He was approached by Aizen out of neccessity as he could have revealed the plot to SS, so its not like he was a perfect man for the job to begin with and now that he is no longer in that threatening role, he is disposable to Aizen.

With Grimmjow's new direction, i have leaned more to the side of him dying than a simple ass kicking because with Ichigo's Cuatro Espada fight, it removes the chance of him fighting the hero later to avoid anticlimactic battles, so he needs somewhere to shine. Other than Ichigo, Grimmjow's main other beef has been with Tousen, so if his experience with Orihime does help him turn, i can see him taking over when Wanderweiss is disabled and he uses his release to finish off Tousen and give the heroes a chance to escape (not for Ichigo's sake but for Orihime). If it does end this way, i could see him giving his last words to Ichigo as something similar too "if i survive this, i'll be coming to kick your ass, so be ready"

Now as for the issue of the Komomura and/or Hisagi issue. It is the major thorn in my theory because Kubo did such a great job of setting up Tousen's friendship and subsequent betrayal, so it is hard to kill off Tousen without adressing this. First of all, its not exactly uncommon in Kubo's history with the series to have an issue dealt with even if all players are not present. We would have loved to see Ukitake's reaction to Aaroniero's Kaein face, but Rukia dealt with it on her own because it was a matter of the present instead of the past (Orihime's capture > the past events). In a similar fashion, we will see Wanderweiss and Grimmjow deal with the asshole actions of Tousen in the present instead of Komomura and Hisagi for those of the past. The best way i can think of to tie this up is if Ichigo rescues Wanderweiss as well while Grimmjow fights and the kid holds Tousen's glasses or something, so in the after-arc events, Wanderweiss is the one that helps bring closure to Tousen's friends in SS

this is by no means complete and i actually need to spend a good chunk of time to sit down and find more connections and link them together, but this is the basis of it as i can recall at the moment

Stone
April 23, 2007, 12:33 PM
Hmm... just some speculation, could Lolli & Menoli have been Luppi's fractions???
Looking at Luppi's personallity i wouldn't be suprised. Else what do you think happens to the fractions of a former espada?

Still must say Lolli's expression compared with in 249 is a bit confusing, unless she dosn't think Aizen will notic.

Serpent
April 23, 2007, 02:52 PM
The Tousen theory is kinda of a long shot.
The thing that's been bothering me is why did Urahara let them go in the first place , yeah I mean he couldn't have stopped them but i don't think he would just let them go on a suicide mission, Urahara is a smart man, he fought with Yammy, Wanderweiss , Luppi and had a blast from Benhime deflected by Ulquiorra that was more than enough to let him fell their reiatsu and asses their power , a power that was beyond Ichigos level (let alone the others) so I'm expecting something from Urahara, I'd hate to think he'd just let them throw their lives away.

Anyway moving on to the Grimmjaw matter I think he's there just to bring Orihime to Aizen (maybe to apologize about what happened) I also think that losing two espadas is kinda to much we'll have Noitora step in and beat Ishida and Renji and then take them to Aizen where Chad and Rukia will be and Orihime will have to dedicate her life to serving Aizen in exchange for letting her heal the others to have them set free after. The others being sent back in shame being thus more motivated to get stronger.

Now what i would really like to see happening is Aizen telling Ichigo that if he wants his friends to be set free, he will join him now that would be really something (very less plausible seeing how it's to risky for Aizen)(Aizen having both Ichigo and Orihime just too much i guess :P)

Well we'll just have to wait and see.

Luckas
April 23, 2007, 03:21 PM
Do I am the only one who can never imagine Grimjow doing a good action? Wouldn't it seem completely out of character?

sahugani
April 23, 2007, 03:28 PM
i've accepted for a while now that my theory of Tousen's death will not exactly be well recieved. It is based mostly on interpretations of the various relationships surrounding the idea, so there is little actual proof at this point. If it does happen though, i'll get some major bragging points

regarding Urahara, we can never tell quite what he's thinking, but i think he knew what he was doing when he let them go. As evidenced by his actions keeping Orihime from fighting, though he miscalculated, he took steps to avoid danger for her

Your idea on Noitora may come to be as Ishida seemed to be the only person left to be the one Noitora referanced. i hope not though as i want to see Renji destroy Zaerapollo

I would not want that to happen with Ichigo as it is basically the same thing that happened to Orihime, though the goals for each's recruitment would be different

CopyNinjaKakashi
April 23, 2007, 04:16 PM
I have a wild theory, that is more than likely not true, just intriguing. What if the strong reiatsu Noitora was sensing was Shinji? Shinj comes and goes full out vizard mode and beats Noitora around, although probably not killing him. This would show how truly powerful vizards can be. However I do doubt this, just because for it to really have a meaning, Ichigo would have to witness this battle, and at the moment, he is pretty much incapacitated. We have seen Shinji save Ichigo before, just thought I would throw this theory out there. As I said, I really don't know how to feel about it, just came to me and wanted to get some input.

blackenedeath
April 23, 2007, 06:02 PM
i think tousen may have more of a key role in bleach then him being killed off in this arc, i may be wrong but i thought tousen may be the person that Aizen's release has no effect on considering he is blind, etc. I think Tousen has a reason for joining up with aizen and may include betraying him later on. That is my opinion though, and i may be wrong.

Boogymanx
April 24, 2007, 01:46 PM
i think tousen may have more of a key role in bleach then him being killed off in this arc, i may be wrong but i thought tousen may be the person that Aizen's release has no effect on considering he is blind, etc. I think Tousen has a reason for joining up with aizen and may include betraying him later on. That is my opinion though, and i may be wrong.

Tousen's Bankai's the perfect counter for Aizen's Shikai, aswell. Although Aizen needs a Bankai.