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sahugani
August 19, 2007, 11:54 PM
Sahugani’s Bleach Review 287

http://img182.imageshack.us/img182/8610/bleachrampagebydothakzag3.jpg (http://dothakz.deviantart.com/art/Bleach-Rampage-62065457)
a bit close for comfort

For two weeks we have been left in suspense and it is finally over. We can now return to reading one of our favorite series and I can continue reviewing. Luckily I’ve got my real life issues under control now so I don’t expect to miss another week for a while and force double or triple reviews, but life throws unexpected turns and we can just hope it doesn’t come to pass. Anyways, lets get on with the review. The pics in this review come from the M7 scanlation. The title pic is a piece by dothakz ( http://dothakz.deviantart.com/) over at deviantart, so check out the rest of his stuff.


Viper Smile

http://img182.imageshack.us/img182/6145/1aoc2.png
how big is Las Noches to have a desert this big within it?

While the first few pages of the chapter don’t have much text to analyze, I think that just looking at the figure of Noitora along with what we know so far calls for some analysis. Snake themes are extremely common in manga series. Bleach alone has a number of snake themed characters who each wear this theme to convey very different aspects of their character. Most of the time, the snake being represented is one of two kinds. The most common representation is a sleek and slender snake with deadly venom to represent a character who is sly and deceitful like Ichimaru. The next most common representation is that of a powerful python who beats down his enemies with unrelenting force somewhat like Renji (think more on the shape of his Bankai more than Zabimaru’s true form). Noitora represents a new kind of snake symbolism. Through his character design and demeanor, he is very similar to both a cobra and a rattlesnake. Both snakes are carriers of a deadly venom, but unlike other species, they make their presence well known before unleashing an insanely quick and deadly killing blow. From his actions toward both Ichigo and Chad, it is clear that Noitora’s actions fit this pattern like a glove. In terms of character design, it is now clear to me that this is exactly what Kubo intended. Noitora’s large circular hood perfectly mimics the hood of a striking cobra. The chain of circles that form a tail to his overly rounded scythe also bear visual traits similar to a rattlesnake’s tail. There will be very little testing of abilities in this fight as Noitora’s personality is too impatient and he will be quick to release in my opinion.


Wounded Panther

http://img182.imageshack.us/img182/9670/2api7.png
don't forget to say thanks

Noitora’s first move rather than to answer Ichigo’s inquiry is to berate and attack the wounded Grimmjow. Luckily for Grimmjow, Ichigo defends the fallen Espada. It seems somewhat odd that Noitora would be so quick to slay an already wounded Grimmjow, but neglected to give Chad a finishing blow. I guess that while Chad was deemed too weak to give a damn about, Grimmjow was a capable fighter who had been disgraced by defeat. In either case, Grimmjow receives further insults from Noitora for being protected by the man who originally put him in this state. Once again we are given evidence that Grimmjow may undergo a change of heart later in this arc. While he will still undoubtedly remain insulted by the shame of letting Ichigo defend him, he will at least see a glimmer of why so many have put their faith in this up and coming shinigami. While I still feel he is too similar to Renji in character to be allowed the remain as a regular character, I can easily see himself sacrificing his life at the end of the arc to allow our heroes to escape.


Uncharacteristic Strength

http://img182.imageshack.us/img182/4599/3aev6.png
i think it'd be better to have the blade on the outside

After Noitora turns his attention to Ichigo, we get a description of how his strength feels that we lacked in Chad’s case due to the quickness of the fight. Ichigo is shocked at how such a frail looking person can wield an enormous weapon with this much strength. In this respect, Noitora is the same class of fighter as Ichigo and Kenpachi where he has so much raw power that he is literally hemorrhaging reiatsu. That explains both his insane strength and the size of his zanpakuto. Despite the different natures of hollow and shinigami zanpakutos, they likely both follow the rule that without proper management, the sword’s size is dependant on the user’s strength. Due to the fact that Noitora’s zanpakuto along with a few others take an unreleased shape other than that of a sword, there are other inherent differences with arrancar zanpakutos. While a shinigami’s sealed sword bears some style variation based on personality that allows for different types of swords and individual tsuba, they are sealing an individual’s inherently shinigami powers that are awoken as the wielder builds a deeper understanding of his own character and thus that of his zanpakuto. An arrancar is formed from a menos, which in the case of Gillian is an amalgam of many souls; in the case of an Adjuca is a Gillian who has fed on other menos; and (in my opinion) in the case of a Vastrolord is simply a hollow born from a soul of infinite potential. As the first two have anatomies easily warped by the addition of other hollows and the third is possibly too powerful to focus his power effectively, warping them further towards shinigami by making them arrancar would warp the nature of their power and thus the symbol of their power, the zanpakuto.


Subordinate’s Task

http://img182.imageshack.us/img182/3296/4aen2.png
pick on someone your own size

While Ichigo is struggling to fend off the powerful blows of Noitora, the new Espada calls Tesla to pin down the now panicking Orihime. For someone as arrogant as Noitora, it seems strange that he would put so much reliance on a subordinate rather than simply slay Orihime himself if she got too close. I can think of a few reasons for this but none of them seem to fit extremely well into my image of Noitora’s personality. He could actually care about Aizen’s plan and wants to keep her unharmed, but that seems very unlikely for someone like him. He could be trying to give Ichigo incentive to fight by betting her fate on Ichigo’s victory, but he seems too impatient for that. The most likely scenario I can think of is that like with Chad, he doesn’t like to deal with weaklings. He spares the weak cause they’re no fun but loves to pick on and demean the strong like Grimmjow and Ichigo. He doesn’t want Orihime to join the fray cause she would just get in the way. However, if Kubo really loves us, this will become an opportunity to see some of Orihime’s growth in battle. We’ve seen her growth in only one of her three skills. She trained for battle before coming to Hueco Mundo, but we have yet to see any of her offensive or defensive capabilities since then.


A New Rank

http://img182.imageshack.us/img182/8617/5air2.png
he may have short term memory problems

After Ichigo starts protesting Orihime’s treatment, Noitora reveals his number in an attempt to show Ichigo the futility of this match. Surprisingly, he is merely number 5. His boast of being the strongest Espada after beating Chad was merely his own arrogance talking and there is not much of a basis for it. It does fit his rivalry with Ulquiorra quite well though as he is jealous that the other Espada has a higher rank than him. This does clarify the future of the fight though. Had Ichigo been fighting the 1 or 2 Espada, it would have been clearly overwhelming and made the arc move too fast, so it would have been inevitable to have someone save Ichigo. Since Noitora is only one rank above Grimmjow, it means that Ichigo’s victory is still feasible. Admittedly, he fought Grimmjow fully healed and barely won. It seems improbable that he could fight a stronger opponent by whatever degree while still suffering wounds from his last fight. Ichigo was able to call upon his mask’s power without a time limit during the last fight. For this fight, he is going to need to call on an even greater strength to win. Up until now Ichigo has managed to keep his hollow in check and won his battles by either suppressing the inner demon or wielding its power consciously. I’ll make a prediction that Noitora will be the first opponent that Ichigo defeats and kills while his hollow is in full control. First of all, assuming that Ichigo is slated to win this fight, Noitora will be the first of Ichigo’s opponents since slaying normal hollows to have a lack of redeeming qualities, so Kubo can’t afford to let him live. Due to Ichigo’s personality though, he would have a hard time intentionally killing someone, which his inner hollow would have no qualms about. Also, as Ulquiorra will be released soon and I doubt Kubo would put Ichigo directly into a chain of fights of 6-5-4, there needs to be a reason for Ulquiorra to leave Ichigo alone rather than deal a final blow. As Ulquiorra is intrigued by the dual nature of Ichigo’s personality, if he witnesses the strength of the inner hollow, he’ll once again believe that Ichigo can be turned to Aizen’s side.


Draining Hope

http://img182.imageshack.us/img182/1889/6alp3.png
dammit he's back

As I expected, rather than continue the fight between Ichigo and Noitora, Kubo has returned us to the story of Ishida and Renji. As Ishida is no idiot, he decided to flee rather than wait around for Zaerapollo to return in fresh clothes. Their main goal was to find Orihime and now rescuing Chad and Rukia have been added to the list of duties. They also have limited capacity to fight in the room Zaerapollo designed, so they would be dead meat by sticking around. Unfortunately for them, their trek through the passageways have led them right back to the very same room, where Zaerapollo is now waiting for them. I’m surprised Ishida didn’t see this coming. During the first segment of their battle, the Espada proved himself a master of manipulating the environment to suit his needs, so it is not surprising that he would use the same area manipulation to make escape impossible. Regardless of how he got the duo back into the room, the fact remains that he is back and has decided to release his sword. The release word for his zanpakuto is somewhat unclear as I have seen it as suck, sip, and imbibe. All three ways to translate it imply the drinking of a substance and given his earlier habit of nullifying powers, I’d guess that his released abilities would be along the same lines to a grander scale.


Overall

While personally I’m more intrigued by Ichigo’s fight, I realize that Kubo has already let far too much time lapse while stalling Ishida and Renji’s fight, so he needs to finish that up before continuing with Ichigo’s story. In all reality though, the only thing I’m really looking forward to in this fight is to see Hihou Zabimaru slaughter Zaerapollo. After that, we can get back to Ichigo or better yet see what Chad’s up to.

fly_metamorphmagus
August 20, 2007, 06:03 PM
thanks dude, great review as always!

amperx
August 21, 2007, 07:47 AM
ulquiorra could be out any time soon, if kubo gives that fight a go signal then it would end quick or ichigo would be really out once ulquiorra gets back, i really dont like that hollow taking control, but i guess it would be good to see it take control once again, and a new mask or form would be great to see.

Stone
August 21, 2007, 11:27 AM
Thx for another good review sahugani

I like your Cobra idea for Nnoitra seem to go pretty well with what we've seen.

I think you already know the meaning of Noi saying "sry, but i already forgot your name.."
Since he said he'd forget the name once Kurosaki was dead(hinting he is dead now)


Yeah Las Noches is HUGE

Quite the walk to do. Or if Aizen really hate or want to lecture a subordinate make em clean Las Noches.