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sahugani
October 26, 2007, 10:52 PM
Sahugani’s Bleach Review 297

http://img520.imageshack.us/img520/850/kenpachiandyachiroubyslcb2.jpg (http://sleepar.deviantart.com/art/Kenpachi-and-Yachirou-47518089)
Where the big man goes, the little one is sure to follow. let's hope that rings true next chapter

Rejoice!!! For the first time in a while I’m doing my Bleach review before One Piece. There are a couple reasons for this. First of all, THIS CHAPTER IS SO FUCKING INCREDIBLE I CAN’T HELP IT!!! The other reason is that with the fires down here in SoCal, college classes are cancelled and so I’m here for the scanlation releases and Bleach is faster. In any case, let’s just get right down to it. The pics for this review come from the Mangashare scanlation and the title pic is a piece drawn by Sleepar (http://sleepar.deviantart.com/) over at DeviantArt, so go check him out.


Down the Barrel of the Gun

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its painful to watch

At the end of last week’s chapter, Nel’s centaur form wore off and she was reduced to once again being a mere child. Ever the asshole, Noitora jumps on the chance to deal out punishment without fear of retaliation. Instinctively, Ichigo runs to help but is quickly overpowered and taken down by Noitora. Even after getting knocked around by Neliel first as an adult and then as a released Espada, Noitora is still quite easily capable of taking down Ichigo effortlessly. This just goes to show exactly how much damage the shinigami sustained in both the fight with Grimmjow and the short and pathetic duel with Noitora earlier. As Noitora only has a single rank separating himself from Grimmjow, the level of power he displays against Ichigo must be calculated based on the circumstances. In Ichigo’s fight with Byakuya, at one point he determined that his opponent had increased his speed when actually, his own speed had decreased. The same idea applies here as Ichigo’s exhaustion makes Noitora look worlds more powerful than Grimmjow. I think Kubo could have done a better job at showing us how tired Ichigo is, but I guess he refrained for the mere purpose of intentionally making Noitora seem overpowered.


White Beast

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Yarr!! It be the great white...pig?

Since Ichigo is too weak to fight back, Noitora decides to give the task of killing him off to Tesla. He quickly passes off Orihime to Noitora and draws his sword to release. While his sword’s name is Beluga, it is quite obviously anything close to resembling the whale of the same name. I can only assume that this release is all white so that it gives some reference to the name’s actual meaning. Instead, Tesla’s release takes the shape of a massive half-human/half-boar. In addition to the somewhat uncharacteristic name, Tesla’s release seems to drop any reference to the circle theme that has become symbolic of himself and Noitora. While I don’t think this little fact holds any relevance, I do find it a bit odd. Normally, Ichigo would likely have no problem with an arrancar of Tesla’s caliber, in his current state, he is pretty much helpless against the behemoth’s blows. Meanwhile, Noitora corks Orihime’s mouth with his fingers and forces her to watch as his subordinate beats the life out of her protector. This seems to be the main difference between the Hueco Mundo Arc and Soul Society Arc. In Soul Society, every time Ichigo encountered a new enemy, eventually, he’d beat them down. In this arc though, Ichigo seems to be going back and forth between victory and defeat. He beat Doldorni, was nearly killed by Ulquiorra, beat Grimmjow, and is now being destroyed again by Noitora and Tesla. While Kubo hasn’t stopped his habit of almost constantly keeping Ichigo front and center, he’s slowing the rapid pace of his progression with these losses.


Brains Over Brawn

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we need an omake with him as an overdramatic thespian

We return to the Zaerapollo fight to learn that Pesshe and Dondo-Chakka’s attack has failed. Apparently, the Espada has known all along the true identities of the former fraccion. As he had dealt with them years back during his united front with Noitora, he already knew the basics of their battle abilities and reiatsu patterns. After keeping an eye on them while fighting Renji and Ishida, he was able to update his knowledge on them and use the data to predict their current combat strength and techniques. With that, he was able to use the same nullification ability he had previously displayed on Renji and Ishida, thus making the cero cincretio absolutely useless. Since he nullified it, it is only logical that in his released form he is still fully capable of incapacitating the abilities of any of his current opponents, which even before this there was really no evidence against the idea. He has been allowing Ishida and Renji to use their weapons simply so that he can toy with them. With this in mind, victory seems impossibile. There are only two paths to victory that I can see. The first is to destroy his ability to nullify abilities. Since he wielded this ability before releasing, this power is more likely to be a product of his research rather than one linked to his own power. This being the case, if the former fraccion can get rid of it, Renji should have no problem obliterating the Espada (that is assuming his internal damage isn’t so bad that he can’t get up). The second option (which is starting to seem more likely given how the chapter ends) is that a new fighter joins the heroes’ side. Without knowledge of the fighter’s powers, the new guy can easily destroy Zaerapollo if he puts his full power into a single attack, thus not allowing the Espada to get back up and utilize the new data.


Aaroniero’s Failure

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Oh noes!!! someone save Rukia-chan

For the first time in a long while, the scene shifts to Rukia’s inanimate body, which is now at the feet of the unnamed black Espada. As he stands on the ice-covered ground, he looks down on Aaroniero and criticizes him for his mistakes. He also mentions that Aaroniero was the last of the original Espada, which is somewhat confusing for the timeline Kubo has set up. Assuming that Kubo has not made any errors and it is all intentional, it gives us some idea of when Aizen took over Las Noches. Given that Arroniero was the last original Espada (meaning Noitora and possibly Neliel were not) and that he couldn’t have been an Espada till he was reborn as an arrancar, that places the start of Aizen’s rule somewhere between Kaien’s death and Nel’s demise. At this time, he started replacing the Espada of that time with ones that were created or recruited by him with his own powers. These non-hougyoku members of Aizen’s arrancar include at least Noitora and Zaerapollo. After he got the Hougyoku, he improved his process and likely had a large shift in the Espada members. Getting back to Rukia and the other Espada, the shinigami’s fate doesn’t look good. She can’t fight back while he is drawing his zanpakuto. I’ll return to this matter in the last section for obvious reasons.


Clean-Up

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HAHAHA!!! CHAD'S BACK!!! :pmg

Yaaay!!! We finally return to Chad. Technically, we only see his back, but at least he’s back in the story. Like Rukia, he has been granted a visitor that is only there to finish him off, but instead of an Espada, he gets the crew of Exequias. According to the crew’s leader, both Chad and Gantenbien are still breathing, so their job is to slaughter the two while unconscious. While I should expect this from Kubo, I admit that I am still disappointed. Rukia gets an Espada sent to finish her off, but Chad doesn’t get the same respect. After his upgrades, he is certainly superior to her in power, but as Rukia is a female lead and Kubo is notorious for neglecting our Mexican fist-fighter, it really shouldn’t come as any shock. I’m just gonna have to settle for being happy he is back at all. I know this section is a bit short, but I’ll come back to the matter later.


A Demon’s Will

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ZOMG!!! The awesomeness is unbearable :spaz

The story turns back to Ichigo’s subplot and before we see any development, we first get a few pages of solid beatings from Tesla. After breaking Ichigo’s arm and sending him flying, the giant boar attempts another strike that ends up being blocked by none other than Zaraki Kenpachi. Some of us have been expecting a relief squad from Soul Society for quite a while now and it seems that they have finally arrived. Zaraki has not only arrived with perfect dramatic timing, but has luckily come to just the right place. Recall that he cannot sense reiatsu worth jack and so by pure dumb luck he has come to Ichigo and Noitora. When it comes to fighting Noitora, Zaraki really is the perfect opponent. While the two might be seen as very similar to the casual observer with their eyepatches, hard skin, and berserker fighting style, they are near opposites when it comes to their philosophies. Noitora is obsessed with being seen as the strongest and thus doesn’t take any fight that would not gain recognition or that he might lose (the first fight with Neliel years back is anotable exception). Zaraki on the other hand, doesn’t give a shit about recognition and merely fights for the thrill of fighting. He doesn’t fight the weak because they are no fun and is more than willing to fight those stronger than him because he knows he won’t be disappointed. Noitora’s constant put downs that he uses to boost his ego amount to nothing for the 11th squad captain and this is looking to be a very memorable fight. On another matter, given the way Kubo has left Chad, Rukia, and the four battling Zaerapollo all on the verge of destruction, the appearance of Zaraki also spells the return of other reinforcements to help the others. I’ll start off by saying I doubt Hitsugaya will be one of them as Kubo has used him as a hero far more than the other captains already and this is an opportunity for others to shine.

For Renji and Ishida, I’d say the most likely to appear is Byakuya. As he is Renji’s captain, he is the most connected to this fight. I’m not even going to give Mayuri a chance for two reasons. First of all, it is way too fanfic style to have two scientists battle and to even explore that dynamic would mean another long extension of the fight that should be wrapping up. Also, as Mayuri is the research division head, I doubt that he actually leaves Soul Society that often. Byakuya on the other hand, is a specialist at making his battles quick, which is exactly what is needed for this battle in particular. He’ll simply take out Zaerapollo in one blow while other fighters would likely make the mistake of trying to feel him out first.

As for saving Rukia, I know the popular choice id Byakuya as he is her brother, but I’m hoping for Ukitake. The opportunity for him to hear the truth of what happened to Kaien and for him to hear how Rukia has finally come to accept her vice-captain’s legacy will be one of the most priceless moments in the series for me. While his illness might be considered as a reason against this happening, given his personality and the fact that he is both the last one to see Orihime in Soul Society and Rukia’s captain, he personally feels responsible for both. I wouldn’t doubt that Hanataro was sent with him though to maintain his health and to lend medical aid to Rukia. Ukitake is one of the many shinigami who Kubo has teased us with the prospect of his abilities yet failed to deliver. It has been so long since we got to see a new bankai and his is the one I want to see more than anyone else’s.

Now onto Chad’s protector. For this I’m going with Komomura. As the closest thing Chad has to a friend in Soul Society is the guy who cut him down, Kyoraku, his options are limited as to which captains would go out of their way for him. Although Kyoraku is still a viable option as he is friends with Ukitake, who I earlier predicted would come, I think Komomura is the better candidate. While he does not have the same emotional reason for saving our heroes as the others do, his reason for joining the war against the Espada makes up for it. As many of you know, I have long theorized that Tousen will die at the end of this arc. The one thorn in the side of my theory is that he wouldn’t have resolved the issue with his best friend. This Soul Society invasion lends the perfect opportunity to bring Komomura in to allow this goodbye to occur. In addition to this, finding a decent opponent for a team of Exequias is different from the individual Espada like Noitora, Zaerapollo, and the black guy. Given their low rank and Kubo’s habit of ignoring Chad’s story, this battle should be over pretty quick. Who better than Komomura to offer quick intimidation and the strength to destroy everything in a large range?


Overall

I must say Bleach wins at life this week. While the series has a habit of dragging things out, this week we got an unusual amount of development not to mention the sheer awesomeness that is Zaraki Kenpachi. This is the kind of chapter that reinvigorates the interest of those who have grown bored with the series. Lets hope Kubo keeps up this positive momentum.

dedal_x
October 27, 2007, 04:06 AM
Good job. :)

By the way, Mayuri just HAS to be there. He'll come to Chad. The Exequas are pretty weak individaually, but their strength is in numbers. I bet that an overthinker like Mayuri would be rather quick to counter their only chance. And another thing - part of Chad's soul is a Hollow, and he drains power from that Hollow. Being a unique human Chad has 100% chances to make Kurotsuchi interested.

TodaPower
October 27, 2007, 11:01 AM
That was a great review.
I think your ideas on who will be rescuing are probably pretty close.
I just want Noitora to beaten within inch of his life... but instead of Yachiru coming to help I'd like Ikkaku... only to see his bankai again...lol.

Maybe this arc is starting to finish up... but where are those damn Vizard?

Franckie
October 27, 2007, 11:25 AM
Like GK's reviews for Naruto, I also enjoy reading your reviews for Bleach. It looks like this arc is about ready to pick up pace once again, and where it leads to remains to be seen.

noonethere
October 27, 2007, 11:57 AM
Thanks for your review

Glad to see Chad and Zaraki back but a bit sad we didnot see any new attack from Inoue.
I agree with your reasons for Mayuri not to come but the prospect of examining arrancars/espada may be apealing enough for him to come.(Just imagine a talk between
Zaerapollo and Mayuri...)Anyway he would be more of a threat than a help since i am sure he would not hesitate to do some research on Chad, Inoue ,Ishida, Neil and Ichigo.I just hope the story will not lag anymore.

CopyNinjaKakashi
October 27, 2007, 01:12 PM
Great review as always!


About the probable members of the rescue team, I agree on all counts except for Chad. I do think it will be Kyoraku. You listed one reason, being that he is friends with Ukitake. These two have their own sense of right and wrong which led them to fight with their master in the SS arc. They are not afraid to go against the head captain if they believe they are doing the right thing. That is also why I don't see Komomura showing up. He has too much respect for Yamato to disobey him. But then again, the desire to try and save Tousen may be enough to overcome that respect.

Don't you think the espada would have noticed Kenpachi's reiatsu? It just seems a little odd. I don't care too much though. I just Kubo kicks it up another notch next week.

kiddo7
October 27, 2007, 02:53 PM
Don't you think the espada would have noticed Kenpachi's reiatsu? It just seems a little odd. I don't care too much though. I just Kubo kicks it up another notch next week.
I kinda get the feel that soul society opened a gateway directly to where ichigo was fighting. That eliminates the questions about Zaraki finding them by luck, or the espada sensing his approach.

sahugani
October 27, 2007, 03:24 PM
sorry it took a while to get back here to reply. i had to finish up my OP review

@dedal_x - i doubt Mayuri will come. he really doesn't seem the type to me to leave soul society that often. as for coming to research Chad, NOOO!!! i don't want Chad to be subjected to that maniac. keep him away please

@TodaPower - Ya i'd love to see Ikkaku's bankai again (its is one of my favorites), but i actually don't think we'll see any of the members of the relief squad from before (except for Renji and Rukia obviously). Hitsugaya and Ikkaku got more than enough development back then and its time to let others show their stuff. in addition to that, Ikkaku would never show his Bankai to any shinigami but Renji and Yumichika

@Franckie - thanks man and yes it does look like its picking up the pace

@noonethere - i was also hoping to see something new out of Orihime, but alas. hopefully we'll get some Yachiru action to make up for it (i would give up on ever seeing Yamamoto's bankai if i could just see her release and slaughter someone in a fight). as for Mayuri, he would indeed be more of a pain in the ass than anything as he tries to research our heroes

@CNK - granted next to Komomura, Kyoraku is my second choice. however, i doubt this mission is without Yamamoto's approval (or at least a blind eye). with the way Kubo has set it up, we are looking at at least 4 captains invading Las Noches. Even with a few captains being reckless, i doubt you could find 4 out of the remaining 10 that would be willing to disobey the commander on a whim. and if they indeed do have approval, Komomura would be first in line to go
[hr]
@kiddo7 - ya i think the gate directly from SS is likely. when the relief squad was brought back and Renji/Ichigo announced a desire to go to SS, the issue of the difficulty of getting there was never a mentioned. i assume its simpler to get there from SS than the real world and with their technology, they can be a bit more precise with regards to drop location. i do still doubt that they went directly into Las Noches though

JioFreed666
October 27, 2007, 04:02 PM
I smell rematch of Kenpachi and Tousen with tousen FINALLY pulling out his real sword and winning and Kenpachi dying like demons should which will be a big turning point showing ichigo that even if you are strong you still have a ways to go before you can touch the betrayers three

Raijatsu
October 28, 2007, 07:36 AM
Thanks for the great review
one small theory on Tesla's release
it is most likely inspired by a warthog which are overly protective animals concerning members of their pack.
therefore it's quite fitting for him

well it might also be concidence

sahugani
October 28, 2007, 10:24 AM
@JioFreed666 - I'm actually doubtful that Kenpahi will even get the opportunity to cross swords with Tousen. the way i've always seen it, either Grimmjow or Wanderweiss (for entirely different reasons but both pretty justified) will slaughter him near the end of the arc and Komomura will be around to hear his final words.

@Raijutsu - I think you may have a point there. it definately does fit his actions quite well, so it sounds pretty right. honestly though, it was more fun for me to make the Moby Dick joke in reference to his release's name than try to look into the fact that he is a warthog

earthforge
October 29, 2007, 04:22 PM
Think Good review, stupid Kubo.

I still have not heard a good explanation for real Kenpachi saves Ichigo's ass. I mean, seriously. The only reasons I find is that Kenpachi truly has smitten fans. Kenpachi has clearly lost to Ichigo before, and that makes Kenpachi weaker than Byakuya. Byakuya's controlled power blows Kenpachi away, but if Kenpachi learns to control his reiatsu he might do the opposite(Renji said: "what is this power..just like last time...but it's different...he has it under control and it's significantly stronger.")

I am talking about power, by the way, not in the raw but in the controlled. Yes, Kenpachi does have a hell of a reiatsu, but does he know how to control it? Noooo. I think that he hasn't made that much progress in finding his sword's true name, as I think it would take years at least. ( Think about it: it takes centuries for the other characters to get bankai,. I think because Kenpachi is "slow" , it will take the same time for him to get shikai.) '

On Chad: I don't think it's that. chad already had the dignity of getting an espada to visit, and Rukia gets the same (if you want to think of Aaronero as a privaron, because he was a gillian.)

maaru
October 30, 2007, 07:07 AM
Awesome review for an awesome chapter. And since Chad appeared, maybe Kubo does love you after all. XD

I didn't expect that bleach could get this dark that we'll get to see Ichigo's wrist and ankle crushed and everyone else on the verge of death, but at the same time Kubo balanced it out by offering a ray of hope.

Gold Knight
November 01, 2007, 09:29 AM
I don't get to read and comment on your reviews very often Sahugani due to life and all, but I'll try to do a better job of that now that I have a little more free time.

But I agree with your overall impressions of Bleach lately, it truly is getting more exciting. Anyway, given that we now know who's going to appear in the next chapter, I'll refrain from commenting too much on all your observations this time. Next time, I promise.


Meanwhile, Noitora corks Orihime’s mouth with his fingers and forces her to watch as his subordinate beats the life out of her protector.

Something I was surprised that you didn't comment on though - Noitora's fingers in Orihime's mouth - the dude just reeks of a serial rapist aura and every time he touches Orihime, it seems provocative somehow.

BTW, awesome Kenpachi and Yachiru fanart, I had never seen that before. *Saves*

sahugani
November 01, 2007, 09:55 AM
@earthforge - i think Kenpachi having an untamed reiatsu is the entire idea behind his strength and is definately the idea behind his eventual victory over Noitora. Both are clearly high-reiatsu beings who fight with sheer power rather than finesse. however, Noitora shows hesitation depending on the opponent, which makes Zaraki the man who shows hollows the meaning of fear. i doubt he'll ever tame his reiatsu.

also, i guess you're right about Chad, but Chad was taken down by Noitora just because he was closest to the Espada. the new guy actually searched out Rukia specifically, which is much different in my opinion

@maaru - hehe. you might be right about Kubo. maybe he's a fan. and about the other issue, its an example of things getting darkest before dawn. Kubo makes the situation as hopeless as he can before showing us their savior to make it all the more spectacular

@GK - always a pleasure. i'll get around to yours this weekend i hope. i've been enjoying Naruto on the surface lately and need to actually read back through a bunch of chapters as a reviewer to actually start analytical thought. with classes catching up on lost time this week its been a bit hard to do

haha. ya Noitora does kinda give off that impression a bit there. that really was the first time he touched her though. from how he acts around her and talked about her with Ulquiorra much earlier, he thinks of her like Aizen's toy but he wants to play with it before returning it. i definately did notice the action, but i guess i didn't really comment on it for a couple reasons. first of all, i might have been in a bit of a rush to get to analyzing the awesome ending (and can you blame me?). also, my first thought when i saw that was a gag reflex joke and after the earlier penis jokes from Pesshe, i wanted to kind of avoid filth

and yes that is a fantastic fanart thanks to Sleepar. i'm very glad i started the habit of using DA art in these reviews as its mutually befefical to me and the artists