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sahugani
August 07, 2007, 03:11 AM
Sahugani’s Bleach Review 285-286

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it's good to see Chad on his feet again

Sorry I wasn’t able to get a chapter review done last week. Luckily the week before I had been able to get my review done before getting swamped otherwise this would be a triple review rather than a double. My One Piece review was not so lucky. Oh well, now that I have gotten around to it, lets start where we left off. Unfortunately, the last chapter that I reviewed fit so well with the one I missed last week that its actually a bit of a shame I didn’t make this a triple. The pics from both chapters came from scanlations by M7 and the cover pic is a Kubo original.



285: The Loneliness of the King

Panther’s Claws

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i like how they fit around his hand to give it a retractable feel like a real cat's claws

The way these claws were shown in the previous chapter gave the impression that they were moving blades of light similar to getsuga tenshou. Now we see that they are simply enlarged claws that Grimmjow is free to swing around. We have already seen the immense damage he did with a simple spike, so you can imagine the destruction he could cause with an attack he calls his ultimate technique. It is really quite fitting for his ultimate technique to be a set of claws. For a while I was afraid that he wouldn’t really have any large scale attacks. Other than his one time use of the ultimate cero and the elbow spikes, Grimmjow has proven to be an extremely up close fighter. He even uses his cero attacks at point blank range in most cases. Ichigo was like this before he started using getsuga tenshou in bankai. Ikkaku and Zaraki are also like this. Outside of Ichigo’s getsuga tenshou, all three of them lack large scale techniques and any time they are pitted against such a thing, they simply put a shitload of power behind a simple attack. Until now, that’s the type of fighter Grimmjow was panning out to be. I couldn’t be happier with this.


Giving Up

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is anyone else reminded of a certain story in the news a while back about an ebay service purchase?

As Grimmjow prepares to strike with his Desgarron, we return to his flashback with his followers that points out some things that before were unclear and two things downright confusing. Apparently Grimmjow had accepted Shawlong’s offer to join them and since that day the group had devoured thousands of menos. Despite the logic in eating menos to achieve the next level, none of them feel any stronger from it and decide to give up. Apparently D-Roy’s chance at reaching the next level had already been shot to hell when Grimmjow took a bite out of him. As he was not only the largest (other than Nakim) of the group from the outset but also was bitten before he could power up with his allies, it is obvious why D-Roy was so weak compared to Grimmjow’s other fraccion after they became arrancar. Since none of them feel capable of reaching the level of vastrolord, they decide to allow Grimmjow to eat them and use their power to become a vastrolord themselves. However, I’m pretty sure this didn’t work and Grimmjow remained an adjuca. I think the reason they couldn’t reach it is because they assumed vastrolord status was obtained the same way as adjuca status, but in all actuality, it is a separate process altogether. I have always thought that Ichigo’s inner hollow was a vastrolord and if that is true, then it means that unlike the lower classes of menos who are a fusion of hollows or a hollow that eats its own kind, a vastrolord is born of a single very powerful soul and can only be created when an extremely high powered person like Ichigo becomes a hollow. Due to the rarity of individuals like this, it is easy to see why vastrolord are so rare in Heuco Mundo.


Contradictions

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That would be one hell of a halloween costume

As I mentioned, there are two severe contradictions apparent in this chapter relative to previous information. First of all, in this chapter, Shawlong calls himself and his allies adjucas while it had been deemed by both Hitsugaya and Aizen that they were only gillian. The second issue is the fact that they are still alive as arrrancar though Grimmjow supposedly devoured them. These two issues may actually work together to explain how they are not contradictory to the story. We know that with one bite, Grimmjow was able to halt D-Roy’s growth and we also know that if an adjuca becomes too weak, he reverts back to a gillian and loses his mind. When Grimmjow bit D-Roy, it was a simple wound. If Grimmjow was to do near-fatal damage to a fellow adjuca, the result would likely be the same as if they had starved themselves of eating other menos and they would revert to gillian. This explains both of the contradictions this chapter threw at us perfectly. The only remaining flaw in the idea is that if they lost their minds, how did they regain their exact personalities when becoming arrancar? There are two theories on the table for this, but I don’t think Kubo will go into the issue so it doesn’t really matter. The first idea is related to the fact that gillian are a fusion of many hollow’s consciousnesses. Just because the dominant personality lost control after losing adjuca status doesn’t mean its not still swimming around within the idiotic mass. After becoming an arrancar, the dominant personality within the gillian takes over and since the lost personality was dominant once it has a better chance of resurfacing. The second idea is that as the former adjucas were lying in a pool of their own blood after being fatally wounded by Grimmjow, Aizen’s group saved them by turning them into arrancar before they could lose their personalities.


Feeding the King

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I NEED an "Animal I Have Become" AMV after the anime reaches this fight

With his new attack being unleashed on Ichigo, Grimmjow once again has what seems to be an insurmountable lead in this fight as Ichigo is being overpowered by the gigantic claws. As he basks in the glory of his apparent victory, he recalls his slaughter of his allies back before joining Aizen. He recalls how disgusted he was by their cowardice when they gave up on their goals and sacrificed themselves to him. In his misguided anger, he tries to relate his rage at Ichigo to his pity of his allies. Grimmjow’s true hatred lies in those who disregard his strength like Ichigo, Tousen, and Ulquiorra. Despite the cruel words he threw at his now deceased followers, the fact that he still refers to himself as King like they did proves that he did have some level of affection for them. They had respected his strength, so he allowed them to follow him and eventually he probably started to like the company. Now he feels threatened by one of the people who disrespect his strength, so he recalls the loyalty of his allies to give him courage. I’ll expand on this in the next chapter as it is applicable to a theory I’ll state there.


Fighting Back

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how come energy weapons are always portrayed as crystaline or glass-like?

Once again Ichigo comes back from apparent defeat and shatters one of Desgarron’s claws with Tensa Zangetsu. He throws all of Grimmjow’s speeches throughout this fight right back at him. Ichigo’s reason for coming to Heuco Mundo, though in a large part to save Orihime, was also for the chance to fight Grimmjow. Just as Grimmjow vowed to destroy anyone who looked down on him, Ichigo makes the same vow to destroy anyone who has harmed his friends, namely Grimmjow, Ulquiorra, and Aizen. While Grimmjow has only his pride at stake, Ichigo has the fate of all his friends riding on his shoulders and his will to win is the greater in this duel. Ichigo makes damn clear that he cannot afford to lose.


286: Tooth and Nail

Humble Victory

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Who says nice guys finish last?

Grimmjow is finally beaten, but rather than let the beaten arrancar fall to the ground in disgrace, Ichigo carries him down gently in an act of kindness towards his opponent. He obviously saw something good in Grimmjow as I doubt he would have granted Ulquiorra the same amount of respect. He recognized that Grimmjow, though still an arrogant bastard, was simply misguided. Grimmjow’s feud dealt with Ichigo alone and as that conflict had been settled, there was no more reason to bear any ill will towards the Espada. Ichigo came to save his friends and punish those who caused them harm. While technically Grimmjow did hurt Rukia and nearly hurt Orihime, it was all in pursuit of Ichigo. Since Ichigo knows that Grimmjow is not a direct threat to his friends, he has no problem showing mercy.


Promise Kept

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"Can you feel the love tonight"

After setting Grimmjow safely down in the sand, Ichigo returns to Orihime in an incredibly tender and touching moment. Now that Ichigo has removed from his face all remnants of his hollow mask, Orihime once again recognizes him as the old Ichigo she fell in love with. She even musters up the courage to say thank you to him. Under normal circumstances that thank you would the least she could do given the lengths Ichigo went through to save her. You must remember though all the emotions Orihime forced upon herself throughout her ordeal in Heuco Mundo. Through her own feelings of guilt and Ulquiorra feeding it with psychological manipulation, she had convinced herself that she was the reason why everyone she cared for was in so much pain. This guilt got to the point where she even considered not healing Ichigo just because her actions would lead to more pain for him in the fight. Saying thank you to Ichigo is a huge deal because it means that through watching Ichigo, she has realized that she must forgive herself and rather than blame herself for her friends’ pain, it is better to accept their help and walk through the challenges together. If she had not forgiven herself, I can guarantee you the words she would have said to Ichigo would have been “I’m sorry you got hurt because of me” instead of “thank you.”


Pain in the Ass

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Nell needs a new way to show affection

Well as I said, Ichigo and Orihime shared a beautiful moment…stress the word “moment.” After only sharing a few heartfelt words, their reunion is cut short by a head butt from Nell to Ichigo’s gut (or possibly a bit lower :xp). While the kid’s conversation with Ichigo doesn’t have the same young love quality that Orihime’s did, we mustn’t forget that Ichigo’s new friend cares a lot for him as well and deserves to have her moment. Unlike the few words spoken with Orihime that sat on the surface of a sea of unspoken feelings, Nell got straight to the point as she always does and expressed how happy she was that Ichigo survived. The comedic interruption was really necessary to the story as otherwise, Ichigo and Orihime would have been caught in an awkward silence that wouldn’t have done anything but fill space.


Idiot

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He deserved it

Now that both of the people Ichigo was protecting have expressed their gratitude, Ichigo decides that it is time to go rescue Rukia and Chad. He hangs Orihime over his shoulder and slings Nell under his arm as he can move a lot faster that way. Then he says one of the worst things imaginable. He unknowingly insults Orihime’s weight :modsmack. Thankfully, Nell provides some punishment for this heinous offense in the form of a hard punch to the groin. Unfortunately for Orihime, Nell’s explanation of what Ichigo did wrong does not help her hurt feelings and instead has the opposite effect. While the change from an intense fight with Grimmjow to a slew of comedic moments might seem a bit strange, I think we really needed this humor now. As Ichigo just beat the top member of the Espada’s lower ranks, we cannot expect the story to lighten any time in the near future. However, we have been lacking comedy since Ishida and Pesh’s fight with Chirruchi, so Kubo is giving us one last smile. After building up our spirits with this comic moments, he plunges us into darker battles than we have yet seen to enhance the feeling of losing all hope and happiness.


Broken Pride

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that takes balls

After traveling some distance, they stop and find that Grimmjow had followed them. Even in his battered state, he refused to accept the fact that Ichigo had won. As he is unable to maintain his released state, his hollow powers once again seal themselves back up into his sword and he charges at Ichigo, who deflects the strike and confronts Grimmjow unarmed. Ichigo had seen through the reasons for Grimmjow’s hatred and forgiven him for it, which is why he showed the Espada mercy at the end. He knows that Grimmjow is too stubborn to just accept that Ichigo is better than him, but Ichigo has come to understand him and has no intention to kill him. The only thing he can do is tell him that they can fight as much as is needed later, but Ichigo will not kill him now. If ever there was a foreshadowing of Grimmjow fulfilling some noble action later in this arc, this is it. Grimmjow will come back later and his actions will save the lives of our heroes in some way. I still hope that is killing Tousen though.


A Demon Over a Beast

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I DEMAND VENGEANCE FOR CHAD

Despite Ichigo’s kind words, Grimmjow remains stubborn and tries to continue the fight anyways. I say try because after only a few words, he is struck by Noitora’s double crescent scythe. It has been on peoples minds for quite a while who it was that Noitora had sensed after nearly slaughtering poor Chad. Way more than enough time had passed since his victory for him to reach a new target. In addition, we knew Halibel had been watching the Grimmjow fight, so if anyone was to step in next, she would have been the next logical choice. I guess the only explanation for Noitora’s late response lies in Chad’s initial analysis of Noitora’s fighting style. Chad had said that the Espada was slow. I guess that applied to his traveling speed as well. He seems quite similar to Zaraki in many aspects. He is a fighter who prefers to simply overwhelm his opponents with sheer power. Just like the sheer intensity of Zaraki’s reiatsu had been enough to protect him from cuts and deal powerful strikes with a dull blade. Noitora simply takes his time attacking and taking any attacks that are thrown at him as his body can take it. Outside of the analysis of his abilities, his appearance here also helps place him in the Espada rankings better. Given Kubo’s habit of skipping around the numbers for the fights, I’d say that Noitora is definitely not #5. Since its way too early for the very top teir and I doubt Ichigo will suffer another defeat like he recently did with Ulquiorra, I’d also eliminate at least #1 an option, so I’m guessing Noitora is the #3 Espada, possibly #2. If Noitora is a higher rank than Ulquiorra and I’m betting on Ichigo’s victory (albeit after the scene shifts back to Renji and Ishida) that means a fight between Ichigo and Ulquiorra would be anti-climactic. In that case, I would like nothing more than for Orihime to show off her advancement on offensive capability by dealing a killing blow to her mental tormenter.


Overall

I must say what a surprise ending for the last chapter. Kubo has shown us something fresh and unexpected. Unfortunately, I’m betting that before we get to see anything serious between Ichigo and Noitora, the scene will shift back to Ishida and Renji as they finish up their duel with Zaerapollo and (HOPING!!!) the #7 Espada to keep things fresh. Also unfortunately, with no Jump this week, we’ll have to wait for even that to start back up, so we’re not really going to have to worry that much about Noitora for a while anyways.

Sarmad
August 07, 2007, 09:37 AM
Awesome Review, like always! ^^

I really wonder what'll happen from now on! Well, I guess that Ichigo will get sliced a little by Noitora just to prove us that Noitora is a big one, until someone intervenes. And as i'd love to see Halibel stopping Noitora, i really don't think that she will be the one to intervene. My bets are on Ulquiorra. What'll happen after he stopped Noitara, that i don't know, but i'm sure that Ulquiorra wouldn't fight him unless he has no other choice.
The fighting in Hueco Mundo also has to come to an end (cause we don't want the Soul Society arc being copied) and i'm sure that at one point there will be a turn of events, that will save our heroes in the end - at least for a while. ^^
I always predicted that Urahara, Ichigo's dad and Ishida's dad will be the ones to save the kids from certain death, but i've always been wrong about the time of their appearence. I don't think that one of them will stop Noitora ^^, but they'll hopefully make their move soon as Urahara kinda said it himself ("We started out with a big loss against Aizen" - after they returned from Soul Society + "Now it's time to do my part of the job" - from right after Ichigo and co entered the passage to Hueco Mundo)!
Anyway, i'll be waiting for them ^^

Stone
August 07, 2007, 05:10 PM
Thx for a great review.
I like how you keep going into the unsaid stuff and speculate over the future story, also the word choices above and under the pictures are as good as ever :D

THough for your comment about Noitora beeing slow to arrive there's also another option.
The size of Las Noches.
W have No clue for how long Ichigo & co. have been there other then it's likely several days if not weeks.
Remember Nell's comment when Ichigo and Renji destroyed the wall of Las Noches: "... There's an entrance only "3 days" away".
So how long did it take for em to encouter the privaron... 5 min or perhaps 2 days.

sahugani
August 07, 2007, 11:30 PM
@Sarmad - well the Noitora appearance is kinda left pretty open as to what will happen. The circumstances in which Ichigo left his fights with Ulquiorra and Grimmjow do kinda limit the options for this fight to stay away from repetitiveness. In addition to that, i'm betting that during the next chapter, the story will switch back to Ishida and Renji, so that means we won't even see what Noitora's fate is for a good long while. I will say this though. If you are right and Urahara takes a team to save them, it will be very soon as the setup is ideal for that. Ichigo and Ishida are seperated so they each get their own father-son reunion; Ichigo has just gotten out of a very taxing battle, so he's not ready to face Noitora; Zaerapollo has already been outmanuvered by Ishida, so even if Ryuuken saves him, Ishida has already shown his progress. if it is true though, i'll be sad that Renji doesn't get to obliterate Zaerapollo with his bankai.

@Stone - you make a damn good point and i wish i had thought of that. Since mangas don't generally show time accurately and there is no visual change between day and night in Heuco Mundo, its easy to assume that everything has occurred in a short time span. Actually, now that i think about it, it actually is a very short time span between Noitora beating Chad and now. Even though it is hard to tell how long it took to reach the Tres Cifras, after Chad is taken down, the rapid sequence of events between the characters can be mapped through their reactions to Chad, Rukia, and Ichigo getting beaten. This taken into consideration, if we assume Chad's path had taken him a long distance away from Ichigo's in the indeterminant time before facing the privaron, it could explain the time it took for Noitora to reach Ichigo

Deien
August 09, 2007, 08:16 AM
A good review as always Sahugani.

SOCKSnTHONGS
August 16, 2007, 06:53 AM
great review couldn't think of anything that you might have left out XD
good stuff keep it coming