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sahugani
September 03, 2007, 03:05 PM
Sahugani’s Bleach Review 289

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I'm pretty sure the upper left skull is merely symbolic of death

Hi guys. Sorry it took this long to get around to reviewing Bleach this week. A lot of my friends have been heading back to college lately and it’s kinda highlighted the folly of going to a university that starts at least two weeks after everyone else. The chapter itself was one of the most intriguing in a while, so I just wanna get right down to it. The pics for this review come from the scan by mangashare and the title pic is a Kubo original.


Outmatched

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When will Ichigo get smart and go with getsuga tenshou?

As the fight between Ichigo and Noitora continues, it is clear that Ichigo is getting his ass handed to him. Judging from both this chapter and the previous one, Ichigo is fast enough to dodge Noitora’s initial attacks, but when he tries to strike back, Noitora is untouchable and always seems to get our hero on the counterattack. Despite Noitora’s arrogant demeanor and annoying habit of announcing his presence before starting a real fight, his fighting style is actually quite deceptive. While his long weapon seems to imply that his style would work best as a mid-range fighter, in al actuality, its size seems to be more for show than anything else. He uses his weapon for wide swings at his opponent that are easily evadable if the person is skilled enough. For most pole-arm fighters, once an opponent gets past the weapon’s blade and into close-range combat, he is left pretty much defenseless. Noitora’s opponents try to take advantage of this weapon weakness and after avoiding the initial attack, quickly move in for a close-range strike. Noitora is no average pole-arm fighter though. His thin body provides an unusually small target for attack and his extremely dense reiatsu act as an armor for any attacks that do make contact. He expects his opponents to take advantage of his weapon’s weakness, but as he is still untouchable, he simply takes advantage of their close proximity. Once they attempt an attack at that short range, they themselves expose their weak points, which Noitora takes advantage of to deliver counterattacks. Youl’ll notice that any time he actually does damage to Ichigo (or Chad), it has been during a counterattack. Most decent fighters quickly realize that they cannot keep blocking the powerful blows of his pole-arm and thus resort to evading and taking advantage of the pole-arm’s slow recovery time, which in most cases is a good strategy, but Noitora’s style simply uses this as bait to lure opponents towards his own counterattack.


Aizen’s Property

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poke his other eye out

Once again, Orihime is forced to watch while Ichigo is thrashed by an Espada. She knows that while the Espada might be out of her league, the man holding her, Tesla, might not be. However, he senses that she might activate her powers and threatens the life of her weapon should she attempt to use it. While I do have full belief that Orihime has advanced her defensive and offensive capabilities in her time training with Rukia to a similar degree as her healing power, Tesla brings up a very good point and proves his talent as a strategist. He points out that while Orihime’s power contains great strength that is possibly enough to beat him, the individual spirits that comprise that power are not very resilient to attack. If Orihime activated her powers, all Tesla would need to do is strike down the spirits before they could activate Orihime’s shield. Tesla’s intelligence directly contrasts the fighting style of his superior, Noitora. While Noitora arrogantly protests his superiority and wields such a large weapon as a lure to attract his opponents to their deaths, Tesla’s style is much more straightforward. He analyzes the situation and rather than utilize that analysis for a deceptive strike, he flat out tells his opponent what he could do with this information as a way to instill fear and doubt. He only acts when absolutely necessary. This is most likely the very reason Noitora took him on as a fraccion. Noitora likes to hog all the fun in battle, so he required a subordinate who could do his job without interfering. This is apparent from our first encounter with the pair as Noitora was extremely pissed that Tesla stepped in to block Chad’s attack, but Tesla’s actions were planned rather than impulsive.


Lost and Found

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who mocks children like this

When Orihime realizes that Nell has disappeared, Tesla picks up on her concern and also realizes that the child arrancar is missing. Without even loosening his grip on Orihime, Tesla blasts the rock Nell was hiding behind to reveal his existence to the party. After landing another hit on Ichigo, Noitora takes notice of Nell as well. He starts laughing as he recognizes Nell’s name and mask pattern. It has been somewhat unclear why up till now Nell has stood by Ichigo’s side as the vizard took on Doldorni, Ulquiorra, and Grimmjow. Since the fight with Noitora started though, Nell has been cowering in fear behind the rock. The two of them obviously have some history that Nell lacked with the other arrancar. Given the later revealed info of Nell being a former Espada, this brings to light some issues about Noitora. I’ll talk about Nell’s former Espada status in a later section. What is really confusing is that if Nell is a former Espada, why is she recognized by Noitora, a current Espada, but not Doldorni, a former Espada like her. The best explanation I can come up with is that Noitora is theoly one among the current Espada that first existed as a natural Espada. This explanation would actually explain quite a bit. First of all, if Noitora was the Primero Espada among the natural arrancar before Aizen’s reign, it would explain his claim of being the strongest Espada. If Aizen’s unnatural method hadn’t created the new Espada 1 thru 4, he would have remained at the top. As Zaraki has proven to us, high reiatsu beings are born not made, so it seems likely that the same type of creature could have been born among the arrancar naturally and without Aizen’s help. As the only member of the natural Espada to remain after Aizen’s rule, he had a unique view of the shift in power as his fellow natural arrancar lost their titles and he watched as Aizen artificially produced arrancar and selected among them nine others to join Noitora among the top ten.


Dondo’s Worry

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Dondo's face takes alot of punishment

The scene briefly switches back to Ishida’s duel, but rather than view the battle as a whole, we concentrate only on the words shared between Ishida and Dondochakka. After an amusing gag about Dondo’s actions of fear being misinterpreted as attacks against his allies. We get to the heart of the matter as the hollow expresses his fear for Nell. If you recall, he has expressed this same fear to Renji before Nell absorbed Doldorni’s cero. Despite his sheer idiocy, Dondochakka seems to have intimate knowledge of Nell’s life before forming their loose family. He is deeply concerned that Nell is going deep into Las Noches. When he mentioned this to Renji, we assumed that his concern for Nell was due to the fear of Nell using her powers since just after that we saw the eye socket of her skull mask light. This time though, his words carry a bit more weight as directly after we learn that Nell is a former Espada. His concern is not really about her powers, but fear that coming to Las Noches would force her to recall some of her most painful memories. We can assume that her last encounter in Las Noches left her so emotionally crippled that she would not be able to mentally handle it if she was forced to relive those nightmares.


Child’s Past

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DUN DUN DUN!!!

Alrighty then. So Nell is actually former Espada Nerieru Tou Odderushuvanku. This opens up a whole new can of worms for the storyline. As I’ve mentioned before, I think that Noitora’s knowledge of her stems from his existence as the sole member of the natural arrancar to remain among the Espada from the previous regime. This begs the question of whether Nell is one of the naturals or the artificials. We know that she was not recognized by Doldorni, a former Espada, or Grimmjow, a current Espada, so it is extremely difficult to place her on the timeline. Given what we know about Aizen’s Espada, I’m leaning towards her being one of the Hougyoku-made arrancar. We know that Aizen’s intention with the Espada is to eventually fill its ranks with Vastrolord arrancar, so it is safe to assume that whenever he creates a new arrancar that surpasses the current Espada, he is quick to replace them. With this in mind, the most likely time period for Nell’s existence as an Espada is as one of the first created by Aizen to replace the naturals. After he created stronger arrancar or Nell created an incident that forced her resignation, she was dropped and replaced. This would make her stance as an Espada brief enough to only be known by other surviving members of Aizen’s first squad of Espada, which included Noitora, but Grimmjow and Ulquiorra had yet to be recruited. As to what that exactly caused her fall from Aizen’s grace is unknown, but whatever it was resulted in the scar on her face and cracked mask. Since Grimmjow bore a similar scar over his 6 when he was replaced by Luppi, Nell’s might mean that she wore her number on her forehead before her demotion. The fact that Noitora emphasizes the shame of Nell’s cracked mask implies that whatever the incident is, it was extremely traumatic for her. With any luck, we will find out the truth next week.


Overall

This is without a doubt one of the most intriguing chapters in a while. While once again, the plot development is pretty much limited to one event, that event is a biggie. Nell being a former Espada opens up all kinds of doors for the story. Suddenly, Ichigo has a potential ally with him who if she can overcome her fear could be the key to beating Noitora. I guess this does shoot down my theory of Ichigo’s inner hollow slaying the Espada, but I’m liking this better. While the new info does kind of shoot down the Yachiru status Nell held before, it gives us a chance to see one of the adorable characters go badass, which I’m afraid we’ll never get to see Yachiru do. One thing is for sure. This event has pulled my interest in Bleach closer than it has been in a while.

Az3r
September 03, 2007, 08:31 PM
Another review! I've been waiting for this for a while.
IMHO, the highlight of this chapter is definitely Nell. I always knew that Nell is 'more than meets the eye', although the reality spread in the last page of the chapter is kinda shocking to me, but this kind of twist is welcome, anyway. Can't wait to see Nell reaches her Espada potential again.
Nice review there, btw, Sahugani! :)

Kansas_Mac
September 03, 2007, 09:39 PM
Excellent analysis. I was originally pretty unhappy with Noitora being the 5th Espada, because him being well in the middle range didn't seem to fit with his overwhelming arrogance and assertion that he was the strongest; but your theory that he was Primero of the natural arrancar makes it all fit together much better.

If he was once the strongest it makes sense that he would still think of himself that way. Especially since he's still a fairly highly ranked Espada, which means at one time there was likely an enormous gap between him and the next few down of the natural Espada. After all, Dordonii was arrancar 103 which (I assume) means he was either 3rd strongest natural arrancar or 3rd strongest of all Privaron Espada, whether natural or Hougyoku-made.

sephysarkon
September 04, 2007, 09:55 AM
I most definitely adore your theories and analysis into the chapter, and after having read numerous discussions here and on BA, I have to say that I agree with you on all counts. It certainly is more plausible in regards to how Nnoitora's acting, as well as opening up more routes the story could go in.

I concur with you the fact that Bleach has piqued my interest yet again.

~the seph

ttxdragon
September 04, 2007, 11:40 AM
nice review sahugani :)


one thing though,
in the spoiler thread a translator translated the bubbles about nell being a former espada...
but added an extra explanation that nell is not out of the Dorudoni-bunch (former, natural-arrancar-build espada), since different kanji are used for that bunch... she is 'dropped'/'thrown' out of the current espada...
(though it might've been just me misunderstanding it, but i don't think it was that unclear ^^; )


How much that changes in your analysis, I can't tell. But i thought i should say it here to maybe add a further detail into the whole thing ^^



anyway, thanks for holding up the bleach reviews :amuse
though i don't post in them often, they are really appreciated :amuse

sahugani
September 04, 2007, 11:59 AM
Thanks guys

now answering a bit out of order

ttx - thanks for pointing out a translation error, but luckily this time it actually doesn't really hurt my analysis. my theory was already that Nell was an Aizen-made arrancar. all the new translation does is help suport my theory

Az3r - i too can't wait for Nell to regain her former power. as much as i'd love to have her go Yachiru on us, i think in a fight against Noitora, her release needs to be something more badass

Kansas_Mac - ya i was pretty irked as well by Noitora being the #5 Espada cause it just didn't seem to fit. up until now, the only positive aspect was that it meant Ichigo would probably win in the end since its a one rank difference from Grimmjow. If he was the Primero of the previous generation (be it natural or Aizen-made), it would explain quite a bit

sephysarkon - this does seem to be a bit of a pivitol point in the story and is definately the most intriguing twist in a while. now all we need to do is wait to see if these ideas come to fruition

ttxdragon
September 04, 2007, 12:35 PM
hehe, it wasn't really a translation error, it's not really easy to convey into english without the use of translation notes (which sadly often are lacking). ^^;

but good that you thought she is an hougyouku-made arrancar, so it didn't hurt your thoughts :amuse

Nami
September 09, 2007, 12:58 AM
Interesting review! Thanks Sahu.
Somehow it makes my thoughts a bit more focus than running wild.
Looking forward to the new one. :)

sahugani
September 10, 2007, 04:56 PM
unfortunately i wasn't able to get a review out for the latest chapter (which is a damn shame as the twist is so good!!!). I'm finishing up a summer class and getting things together to go back to college, so its hard to tell what my free time for reviewing is like at the moment. i'll try to catch up with a double this upcoming week

gigantor21
September 10, 2007, 05:15 PM
^ That's going to be. like, the most pertinent double release ever. We get the big revelation in this chapter, and then we'll see Nell in action next week. It's genius.

Good luck with college. And I'm sorry I don't comment more often when I read this every week.

sephysarkon
September 10, 2007, 10:36 PM
@sahugani: Don't worry. I know I'll be waiting patiently ^^ And I totally know where you're coming from with the whole college thing--been back for 3 weeks already :/

~the seph

delvis203
September 11, 2007, 06:35 PM
what do you guys think is gonna happen with neil now that has transformed