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sahugani
July 14, 2007, 02:51 PM
Sahugani’s Bleach Review 283

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i was in awe of this piece the first time i saw it

Hello all! First of all, I’d like to apologize for my review last week. As was pointed out for me multiple times, the scanlation I used had a flawed translation that I based a majority of my analysis on. I was intrigued in regards to the dark light that translation cast Ichigo in and didn’t even consider that it could be wrongly converted. This week though seems more promising as I don’t believe any translations contradict the scan this time. The scan I’m using for the pics in this review was done by Bludshock and blood-scanlations. The title pic this week is a piece done by messa (http://messa.deviantart.com/) over at deviantart, so visit her page and take a look-see at the rest of her gallery.


Showoff

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i don't think "OH DAMN" is enough to describe this

Coming out of last week’s self sacrifice on Ichigo’s part to save Orihime from Grimmjow’s projectile elbow spikes, our hero is understandably weakened. This weakness is further explained as Grimmjow shows off the power of just one of those spikes by utterly demolishing a tower with it. This just goes to show exactly how much damage five of those did to Ichigo’s body. The strike was bad enough that Ichigo’s mask has started to crack. When it is noticed by Grimmjow, Ichigo apparently heals the crack by using the same hand movement that summons the mask. Ichigo’s level of control over the mask now is phenomenal. To not only be able to break the time limit, but also heal the mask if it starts to break is a huge step up for him. Before, he had trouble summoning it twice in a short timeframe, but now he can summon the same power to repair it mid-battle. I’m guessing this ability comes at a high cost though. Even if his new mastery of his mask has allowed him to break the time limit, the same rules likely don’t apply to his repair ability for the mask. My guess is that he is draining his own life force to maintain the mask in that condition. Just calling out the mask is supposed to draw out his full hollow power, so unless he is aware of more inner power that he can access but isn’t already applied to his mask, that power must come from somewhere. Knowing Ichigo (or any shonen hero for that matter), he wouldn’t hesitate to shorten his own life if it is to save a friend.


Inoue’s Fear

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Don't Fear the Reaper

Despite Ichigo’s clear intention to protect her, Orihime still cannot shake her fear of Ichigo’s hollow form. She feels like she doesn’t know Ichigo anymore and he no longer truly sees her. She even mentally compares him to her brother from the beginning of the series. The two cases are extremely similar. Both Ichigo and her brother were there to protect her and she put her faith in them. After becoming a hollow, her brother no longer truly cared for her as long as his mask remained. He knew her, but did not see her in the same protective way he always had. Orihime is now feeling the same thing about Ichigo. She has always been able to put her faith in his strength up until now. After all that has happened to her in Heuco Mundo though, she is not exactly trusting against hollows or hollow crossbreeds. When she looked in Ichigo’s eyes, she felt the same way she had when her brother attacked her as a hollow, even though in this case, Ichigo was protecting her. She is extremely conflicted in this situation. From his actions in the battle, she can tell Ichigo is protecting her, but she can’t bring herself to put her faith in his new dark power. His hollow eyes bring back too many painful memories of both the arrancar and her hollow brother for her to see them clearly.


Child’s Words

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Nell can be very sweet when she's not being a potty mouth

After the weakened Ichigo gets beaten around quite a bit by Grimmjow and his mask is reduced to a fragment of what it was, Nell starts trying to cheer him on. Just as I thought, Nell would be the one to help Orihime overcome her fear of Ichigo’s new power. Nell is a very unique character in the story of Bleach and this seems to be the true purpose why she was introduced. She combines childish innocence with an arrancar face. As an arrancar, she doesn’t feel the same fear or shock that would be inherent for any of Ichigo’s human or shinigami allies when they feel his hollow reiatsu. As a child, she stubbornly refuses to see Ichigo lose after witnessing what he has done before when the mask was on. In his fights against Doldorni and Ulquiorra, Ichigo easily had the upper hand when he brought out the mask, but in Ulquiorra’s case was overpowered after it crumbled. From those experiences, Nell sees the mask as a way to make Ichigo invincible, which is a point of view that can only really be seen by those that don’t fear other hollow reiatsus like Nell. After trying her hand at cheering him on, she tries to get Orihime to cheer too. Even as a child, she can see that Ichigo is fighting for Orihime’s sake. She is confused as to why Orihime is not cheering for the man who is fighting to save her life. She explains how Ichigo is pushing himself to the very limit to save her and she should be supporting him. As a hollow herself, Nell is completely ignorant to the kind of fear Orihime has towards the mask, but that works to Nell’s advantage. She sees past whatever is blocking Orihime’s emotions and sees the truth of Ichigo’s intentions.


New Outlook

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And there goes Ichigo's "on" switch

After being scolded by Nell for not cheering Ichigo on, Orihime starts to see the truth. She looks past her fear and is able to finally see the truth of both her feelings and Ichigo’s. when she initially came to Heuco Mundo, she did it to save everyone else by not only cooperating with Ulquiorra, but plotting to destroy Hougyoku. However, she hated it there and despite her fear that she dragged them into danger, she was happy that they cared enough for her to come to save her. The true reason why she fears Ichigo goes beyond him having a hollow’s reiatsu. Like Ichigo, she saw truth in Grimmjow’s words before the mask was summoned. When Ichigo donned the mask, Orihime felt like fighting Grimmjow was the true reason why Ichigo came to Heuco Mundo. She had but one glimmer of a happy thought during her imprisonment that her friends still cared for her. The feeling she got from the mask betrayed that happy thought and she couldn’t face it. The mask is symbolic of Ichigo’s instinct and will to fight, so it is natural that his eyes would only seem to reflect that and his inner feelings towards Orihime are hidden from her as she looks at him. Now that Nell has helped her see the truth, she returns to her true self and proclaims her true desire. At her core, she simply doesn’t want anyone to die or get hurt for her sake. Even if Ichigo is hidden behind a hollow mask, she still doesn’t want him to get hurt trying to save her.


Reborn Power

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Revenge is a bitch

Ichigo takes Orihime’s plea in a strange way. Even with only the top right corner of his mask still intact, he somehow summons the strength to block Grimmjow’s attack. The reason for this strength seems to come solely from his will to fulfill Orihime’s wish. According to Orihime, Ichigo isn’t allowed to get hurt anymore. This change, though mind boggling, is very characteristic of Ichigo’s fights. Even if he is losing while at his maxed out level of strength, he subtlety obtains a huge rise in power with the mere mention of a few choice words. While in his fights with Byakuya and Zaraki, his boost came from direct interference from his hollow and zanpakuto, this fight is most similar to the Renji fight. In that fight, Renji was kicking his ass until he remembered one of Urahara’s teachings that dealt solely with his will rather than his desires. In that fight, he willed himself the power to overcome Renji rather than simply wanting it. The same thing is happening now. Up until this point, Ichigo has merely wanted to protect Orihime and win against Grimmjow. Orihime’s words have once again inspired the idea of Ichigo’s will. Now, he WILL save Orihime and he WILL beat Grimmjow. That is Ichigo’s true power. Once he throws away the option of losing, he is unstoppable.


Overall

I’m very pleased with Bleach at the moment. This fight with Grimmjow is turning out even better than I had imagined. Although Kubo is once again becoming slightly formulaic in his structure of the arc as it mimics the Soul Society arc in many ways, it is working out rather well. The fact that these fights are on a much larger scale alone is reason enough to love it. I also like how the chapter ends with Ichigo’s partial mask. I’ve always been slightly irked by the thought that the mask will hide Ichigo’s facial expression as he makes his important victories, so a partial mask is probably the best way artistically to finish off a fight.

Splat
July 14, 2007, 07:43 PM
Thanks, great review as always, fascinating to see such in depth analysis, it makes the chapter much more interesting.

sephysarkon
July 15, 2007, 09:22 AM
This is a wonderful review. You have a knack for bringing up good, solid insight and analysis to each chapters, and for that, I thank you.

~the seph

mokney
July 15, 2007, 10:03 AM
That was an incredibly deep analysis. I like the idea that if ichigo has something worth going all out for he becomes unstoppable, Great review mate.