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gigantor21
June 01, 2007, 10:44 PM
277. Corrosion of Conformity

I’m switching back to the psuedo-essay format. The point format was too dry.

This is the first chapter in a while that was interesting from a plot standpoint, as opposed to visuals (Rukia vs. A’rroniro) or grindhouse-style awesomeness (last week). The main reason for this, obviously, was that Kubo finally spent a chapter on something other than the Zaeruapollo fight, which happened too late to avoid writing himself into another corner. But that’s no big deal yet, since he focused entirely on the most important subplot in the arc.

Now, unlike many people here, I didn’t want Ichigo to have another visit from Shirosaki or Zangetsu and didn’t expect Kubo to do it. And if he did, I didn’t expect him to handle it in the only way it’d seem legit—that is, Shirosaki taking control again, forcing Ulquiorra to release, and then getting his ass kicked. That way, as I’ve said a billion times by now, Kubo wouldn’t be able to “deus him up” whenever he liked, and Shirosaki would figure out that he needed to help Ichigo for their mutual benefit.

I never bought that “crushing the Hollow into your soul” crap, because it sounds so similar to Bankai but makes less sense and yielded far less useful results. The idea that a tentative subordination of Shirosaki will be Ichigo’s last hope is backwards—how can he fully tap into his Hollow power when he keeps it at arm’s length? He has to be strong enough to EMBRACE the Hollow side without losing himself, not use it in limited doses under a time limit. That ties into my belief that Tensa Zangetsu is a hollow shell of Ichigo’s real Bankai, and that he needs to tap into his full potential as a Shinigami before becoming a true hybrid, as opposed to a Shinigami with a mask.

In an interesting aesthetic dichotomy, similar to the situation in 271, the art was great in some aspects while strangely flawed in others. On the one hand, there were a few great looking panels and sequences, such as Grimmjow kicking Ichigo and the layout from pages 12 to 15. But at the same time, the pacing was all over the place, the flow of the story compressing and decompressing like an accordion. The parts with Nell’s guilty rambling and Grimmjow explaining his intentions were wildly rushed, while the 12-15 sequence and the last 2 pages were tightly controlled and much more effective. Kubo could’ve easily made up for that with more pages, so there’s no excuse for someone with his level of experience producing such haphazard looking work.

Kubo’s handling of the story here, however, was very nice overall. For the majority of the chapter, it looked like we were about to get the most commonly anticipated result of Grimmjow’s insubordination; a rematch with Ichigo that Grimmjow was sure to win. But at the very last moment, Ulquiorra popped in to say hello--while that was the main culprit in the turbulent pacing near the end, it dashed my fears away all at once. A few people predicted that Ichigo and Grimmjow would team up, but no one said that it’d happen this soon or that Ulquiorra would be up to bat so fast.

For the first time in weeks, I’m really interested in where Kubo will take this for legitimate reasons. Unlike the last few chapters, it’s because of what was in the chapter, as opposed to what wasn’t. That’s probably the most important marker of any issue of any comic, and that’s what we got here.

Rating – 4 out of 5 (Very Good)

yanniv
June 02, 2007, 01:33 AM
Very good review. I can relate to most of it.

I think the Szayel and other character like supporting character fights are bound to happen. Kubo is just trying to give other fans some enjoyment from their favorite characters. While I didn't like the last few chapters all that much, I must say it was still worth the download. His art is always something to admire.

Now that we have Grimmjow vs. Ulquiorra, we are going to see the next few chapters devoted to this fight, or at least I hope they fight. I can see the fight between Szayel and the other two coming up, but it won't take center stage like this conflict. I'm just hoping for a fight between the two Espada... something refreshing for a change.

The only thing that is still puzzling me is the fact that Noitora has gone AWOL. Like, where on Hueco Mundo did he go? I hope Kubo integrates him well within the plot. It would be a waste of 15 chapters of him just running around just for him to be worthless.

Quartz-pebble
June 02, 2007, 05:06 PM
Great review, as usual.

Hmm....a battle between Espada 4 and 6? Could be too close to call. What would Ichigo's, and even Noitora's relevence to this be? I don't have a lot to say about this one, so we'll have to see next week.

gigantor21
June 02, 2007, 05:43 PM
Thanks a lot, you guys.

A match between the Espada would be a delightfully fresh twist, both in terms of the arc and Bleach in general. We have yet to see 2 real villains go at it after one defected--the Soul Society arc doesn't count in that regard, since they were simply antagonists to Ichigo and co. because of Aizen. Not only that, but it'd be between the 2 most prominent Espada in the series right now, so it'd be like the Las Noches version of Mayweather-De La Hoya.

I think Kubo's leaving Noritora out of the picture in case this confrontation falls through, since the Zaeruapollo fight is basically dead. There aren't many plot avenues left to follow, so I bet he'll leave that option on the table in case he can't come up with anything else.

Luckas
June 02, 2007, 06:31 PM
Very good review and I like the new structure.
I really don't know what to expect, but I can't wait to read the new chap.

Quartz-pebble
June 02, 2007, 06:32 PM
the Soul Society arc doesn't count in that regard, since they were simply antagonists to Ichigo and co. because of Aizen.

I've often wondered: What if Ichigo and Co. had actually killed anyone during the arc?

EDIT: Actually, now that I think about it, isn't it a tad unreal that during such a bloody invasion, NO ONE died? AT ALL?

gigantor21
June 02, 2007, 09:20 PM
^ Of course. Kubo was just as jumpy about killing well known characters as Oda back then, so it wasn't particularly surprising even though they had enough blood spilled to start a donor bank.

But the fact that Kubo had no qualms with killing off Luppi after Grimmjow got his arm back shows he isn't entirely adverse to death. Considering that it'd be ridiculous not to have any casualties during the war, even the profiteering whims of the editors wouldn't be able to save everyone. So whether it works out depends on how well Kubo can keep the losses from seeming gratuitous or shallow-minded.

CopyNinjaKakashi
June 03, 2007, 11:13 AM
Not only that, but it'd be between the 2 most prominent Espada in the series right now, so it'd be like the Las Noches version of Mayweather-De La Hoya.



The battle between Uli and Grimmjow better be more entertaining than that fight. I have a feeling it will be though, so I am not worried.

Nice Review, keep it up.

gigantor21
June 03, 2007, 03:42 PM
^ Same here. I was speaking more in terms of precedent than how the actual fight will be.

And thanks.

Quartz-pebble
June 03, 2007, 04:23 PM
But the fact that Kubo had no qualms with killing off Luppi after Grimmjow got his arm back shows he isn't entirely adverse to death. Considering that it'd be ridiculous not to have any casualties during the war, even the profiteering whims of the editors wouldn't be able to save everyone.

Of course, he can kill most of the entire cast without a second now that he has his "Deus Ex Orihime". I know how much you hate -that- idea....

gigantor21
June 03, 2007, 04:47 PM
^ Oh, you have NO idea.

The logistics of that would be ridiculous, though, since I'm sure that the bulk of each side's forces will be involved and Orihime can't be accountable for every single casualty. I'd like to say that Kubo wouldn't do something stupid like mass reincarnations, but I thought that about Orihime being able to ressurect people, too. And look what happened there.

But this is assuming, of course, that they actually manage to get Orihime back. If that becomes a serious possibility, then there's no way the Primera Espada or even Aizen himself won't get involved.

Quartz-pebble
June 03, 2007, 04:53 PM
^ Oh, you have NO idea.

But this is assuming, of course, that they actually manage to get Orihime back. If that becomes a serious possibility, then there's no way the Primera Espada or even Aizen himself won't get involved.

True. Hell, he could just interupt Ulquiorra and GJ -before- they fight and end the whole arc.

gigantor21
June 03, 2007, 05:10 PM
True. Hell, he could just interupt Ulquiorra and GJ -before- they fight and end the whole arc.

That's been a possibility since the arc started, which has made it seem so hollow overall.

I just had the hilarious thought of Aizen meeting them at the tail-end of the Garganta when they arrived, re-opening it, and calmly telling them to leave if they didn't want him to follow them back. The entire arc would've been, like, 2-5 chapters, depending on where you consider the beginning of the arc to be.

Quartz-pebble
June 03, 2007, 05:19 PM
That's been a possibility since the arc started, which has made it seem so hollow overall.

Yep, and it's the only way I've seen this arc ending. It's really just a matter of when. Hopefully it'll be soon.

As to Aizen blocking them from ever entering, I can -totally- see that in my head. XD

yanniv
June 04, 2007, 03:28 AM
I think the Arc will end when Aizen actually gets up and sends them back himself. That or one of the top Espada can escort them to their deaths.

Them leaving with Orihime is like a 1% chance. They are going to need help from the opposite side if they want that to happen.

gigantor21
June 07, 2007, 02:44 PM
^ I don't think anything less than all the Vaizards will do, if that's the case.

Anyhow, at this point I'm much more worried about the other characters on Earth's side besides Ichigo. It seems more and more likely that they'll be as vestigial as the non-Saiyans in DBZ, which I really hope doesn't happen because Ichigo is my least favorite character. I like him even less than Mayuri, and he's even more irredeemable than Aizen.