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True Blade
September 13, 2008, 12:44 PM
True Blade's Review...
Bleach 325: Fear for the Fight
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Hello everyone! My name is True Blade, and I enjoy myself a good anime and/or manga! I don't post on here much, but I am mostly active on Sahugani's One Piece reviews. Anyways, I've recently taken a great interest in Bleach's current story arc, and find myself eagerly awaiting the new chapter every week. Seeing as reviews seem to be sparse for Bleach, I figured I would try my hand. If any of you veteran reviewers has any advice or criticism, I'd be happy to hear it. Also, feel free to discuss this chapter, or any theories you might have in replies! I guess I'd better get this started, though, huh?
The scanlation used in this review is from SleepyFans. Thanks for the great work, guys!



Kazeshini
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Last chapter, Hisagi released his Zanpakuto, Kazeshini, in order to compete with Findol Carias' Pinza Aguda. While Kazeshini is, in my opinion, an extremely cool looking zanpakuto, Hisagi seems to think otherwise. He states, much to Findol's surprise, that he doesn't like the shape because it looks like something that's meant to take lives. Well, with a release command of "Reap", twin blades spinning at a high velocity, and the ability to attack quickly at a distance, I'd say it doesn't just look like it! Hisagi has clearly been influenced by his former captain when it comes to morals, and this explains why we've never seen him fight with a released Zanpakuto. After all, his only other fight canonically was against Yumichika, and given what we're learning about Hisagi, he wouldn't use a weapon he feels is meant to kill against a fellow Soul Reaper. You almost think that Yumichika's Ruriiro Kujaku would be a more fitting weapon given Hisagi's ideals.
On that note, I find it interesting that a man like Hisagi, who shares the same disdain for violence that Tosen did, has a zanpakuto like Kazeshini. After all, a Zanpakuto is a physical manifestation of a shinigami's soul. The manifestation of Hisagi's soul is a weapon that he'd have to make an effort not to kill with, despite his obvious dislike of violence? Maybe it represents his internal struggle to maintain a stance of pacifism in a world where fighting seems to be the only way to resolve conflicts.



Hisagi's True Power

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With Hisagi now in control of the fight, Findol decides that to match the Lieutenant's now released Zanpakuto, he'll remove 90% of his mask, theoretically putting his combat abilities at the level of a captain. Hisagi doesn't seem worried, and we'll see why in a moment, but before that I'd like to talk about Hisagi's combat ability.
He hasn't gotten much screen time in Bleach so far, and what we have seen hasn't been very impressive. He's mostly been used as a stock character, occasionally standing in the way of another character, or speaking just a few lines. The most we know about him comes from his relationship with his former captain. As a lieutenant, we saw him get beaten rather quickly by 5th seat Yumichika's shikai, which left me scratching my head as to how this guy became a lieutenant! However, this fight has shown that Hisagi isn't just qualified to be a lieutenant, he may in fact be one of the strongest Lieutenants in Soul Society. His control over his Zanpakuto is incredibly precise, despite his dislike for using it, and after this chapter, we really have to believe that the only reason we've never seen Hisagi completely own up is because he's never had to. I certainly won't be doubting the guy anymore, he's shown that his fighting capabilities approach captain level.

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Oh I'd say captain level, no doubt about it.





The Path of Least Bloodshed
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Where would somebody get morals like that?
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Oh right, that guy.
With Findol utterly humiliated, Hisagi takes some time to reflect on his own philosophy, and the man who taught it to him. "He who does not fear his own sword is not worthy to hold it". A noble view indeed, I'd say it perfectly captures the actions we've seen from Hisagi and Tosen so far in the series. Tosen's dislike of Kenpachi, and his destruction of Grimmjow's arm reflect this perfectly. I can only imagine how shaken Hisagi must truly be after the betrayal of his captain, but not only has he taken over the duties of Captain in Tosen's absence, but his non-violent philosophy has not faltered at all. Despite Tosen's betrayal, I believe Hisagi still holds a great deal of respect for him. Earlier, him and Komamura swore to help Tosen refind his path, but if that doesn't happen, the philosophy will definitely still live on in Shuhei Hisagi. Fearing one's own power is the best way to not use it needlessly.
As Findol tries to run away in fear, Hisagi finishes him off with a single stroke, scoffing at Findol's belief that he ever approached captain level. This is either a hint that Findol's understanding of his own power was terribly skewed and mistaken, or that Hisagi's powers approach a captain's. I'd say it's a little of both, personally. But no sooner has Hisagi finished off his opponent when...




Ikkaku's Loss

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One of the pillars has fallen, and with three of the fights ending in favor of Soul Society, it appears that perhaps the most fighting competent of the four has failed. Ikkaku lays defeated beneath Barragan's fraccion, Po. Po stands seemingly unharmed, towering over the bloodied Ikkaku. Things to note: Ikkaku is still wearing his shinigami garb, so he has not used his bankai. With several captains and lieutenants present, his fear of being removed from 11th squad prevented him from using it. It's an interesting thing to note, that even with Soul Society and Aizen's victory hanging in the balance, Ikkaku's desire to fight and die under Kenpachi shape how he fights. I find it difficult to believe that Ikkaku is truly defeated, and assume he will either stand back up, or that he has in fact already defeated Po. However with the tower destroyed, we can't exactly be sure what happened. I'm sure it will be elaborated on next chapter!


Chapter Summary

Hisagi's abilities are above the average lieutenant. They at least match his badass looks.
Despite Tosen's betrayal, Hisagi still stands firmly by his non-violent philosophy.
The abilities and form of Hisagi's zanpakuto, Kazeshini, have at least partially been revealed.
Ikkaku has lost his battle with Barragan's fraccion, Po. One of the four towers has been destroyed.

ninjaa
September 13, 2008, 09:43 PM
Good review! I was really missing the Bleach reviews lately, especially since the past couple of chapters were pretty good. Hisagi is a bad ass for sure, I really hope he manages to obtain bankai sometime before Bleach's end. So far all 4 of the fighters really represented their division well. About Yumichika vs Hisagi: I think Yumichika won that match easily because of his amazing zampaktou really. Hopefully you keep up these reviews, especially as Bleach continues to get a better and better story :0

True Blade
September 14, 2008, 12:37 AM
@ ninjaa

I'll try to do it weekly. I'm just your average college student, so I've got a good amount of free time. Yumichika's Zanpakuto is actually pretty incredible, isn't it? Every time he releases that thing it pretty much ends whatever fight he's in instantly, and I can't think of any real way to counter it. Maybe someone like Ichigo with a ridiculous amount of reiatsu could shrug it off?

As for seeing Hisagi's bankai, I'd say that depends on how long the series runs. If Aizen is really the ultimate villain, then probably not, unless Hisagi tustles with Tosen. However with the hinting of "Zero Squad", "Soul Society's king" and the mostly renegade Visored, I'd say Bleach still has a lot of things to cover, and a lot of bankais to be seen.

natli
September 14, 2008, 06:25 AM
Good job on the review!
The fact that Tousen's betrayal didn't shake Hisagi beliefs makes me think that he's more independent than Himamori and Kira. He was able to separate his captain from the ideals he preached. Or maybe he understands that sometimes people do the wrong thing for the right reasons.
I was also suprised that a pacifist like Hisagi has a zanpakuto which is ultra-offensive. Maybe Kazeshini represents his true nature which he tries to supress. I think that when he says 'I'm not particularly fond of it' he's saying 'I don't like this part of myself'.

Splat
September 14, 2008, 10:20 AM
great review, definitely hope to see them apparing every week!

just a quick point, i think the form of hisagis zanpakutoh, despite his similar morals to tousen is quite obvious really. he became a shinigami on the strength of his admiration for kensei, and the first thing that he saw kensei do was mercilessly kill a hollow and then shrug it off as though it was nothing, so that inspiration probably helped develop his shinigami powers, however without kensei around to follow as a mentor he was forced to find someone else, which happened to be tousen, who's morals are almost entirely in contrast to kenseis actions

True Blade
September 14, 2008, 11:25 AM
@ natli

Totally, compared to Hinamori, and to a lesser extent, Kira, Hisagi has totally held his own ground. Hinamori adored Aizen like he was her own father, and Kira was definitely lost for a while without Gin to guide them. Hisagi is also the only one who has been acting captain for his squad after the betrayal, if I'm not mistaken. That says a lot about him.
Also, I agree that the disparity between Hisagi's morals and his zanpakuto could stem from some sort of inner conflict.


@ Splat

That's totally possible too! We never take into account TIME when it comes to the development of a zanpakuto, and we've never heard of one changing it's form with it's master's personality. It's completely possible that Kazeshini is a remnant of his former idolizing of Kensei, and that his time with Tosen has caused him to grow apart from it. Good call.

ninjaa
September 14, 2008, 07:13 PM
As for seeing Hisagi's bankai, I'd say that depends on how long the series runs. If Aizen is really the ultimate villain, then probably not, unless Hisagi tustles with Tosen. However with the hinting of "Zero Squad", "Soul Society's king" and the mostly renegade Visored, I'd say Bleach still has a lot of things to cover, and a lot of bankais to be seen.

I think its been said in an interview before that Kubo Tite has many things planned for Bleach still, even after the Winter War. I forget where I read it but I read it lol. Anyways, there are sooooo many things that can be done with the manga, especially when it comes to learning more about the characters. Right now the vice-captain's personalities and their division's views are being revealed. Later on in Bleach there still has to be an explanation of how come Ichigo's father is a Shinigami and all that. Kinda off topic for this chapter but I think Ichigo's dad used to be part of the Zero Squad that was mentioned, and that would explain why no one knew of Ichigo's dad being a Shinigami. This chapter and the previous ones really showed what the divisions in Soul Society are all about. What do you think?

True Blade
September 14, 2008, 07:56 PM
@ ninjaa
I'm glad to hear it's gonna continue for a while. One of Bleach's strongest aspects is the huge and diverse supporting cast, so a longer story will definitely flesh out all of our favorite mysterious characters!
As for Isshin and Zero Squad, that's a possibility! If you check the Bleach timeline, pretty much every Captain's seat is reliably filled at least 100 years back (to the creation of the Visored). Since it's been stated that Isshin stopped being a Soul Reaper around 20 years before the main story begins, and he would have had to have been a captain for some time before that, it really makes you wonder where he was.
With the introduction of Zero Squad, that definitely is a possible place for him to have been. His power has been hinted to be at least Captain level or well above, and it seems that Zero Squad is composed entirely of exceptional captains! It really makes me wonder just how old a soul reaper Isshin is, though. That would mean that at least 100 years back, probably more, he was in Zero Squad, and some time before that he was a regular captain. Or maybe the people promoted to Zero Squad don't have to be captains, just captain level. I wish I knew more about Zero Squad to speculate!
My other theory on Isshin places him as 10th squad's division captain. It's the only squad who's captain isn't revealed in Turn Back the Pendulum, (Besides 11th squad's, but we know the former captain was killed by Kenpachi, so I'm ruling that out), and we know that Hitsugaya is a relatively new captain! As a matter of fact, his special released chapter was "-15", while Turn Back the Pendulum was all numbers surrounding "-100". I like to think of those as years before the main storyline, which means that less than 15 years ago Hitsugaya became 10th squad's captain. Isshin stopped being a soul reaper around 20 years ago. I think it fits pretty well, and... can't you just see him and Matsumoto getting along? But that brings up the question as to why she hasn't realized Ichigo is his son, or stopped by to say hello to him.

Either way, both Isshin and Ryuken are totally mysterious story elements that I'm sure will be expanded upon someday.