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Welcome to my 2nd review of Bleach and first review in a long, long time. This arc is such an awesome ride, isn't it. After the conclusion of the Aizen saga, the XCution arc promised us a fresh start for Bleach, but in truth this last arc is what a fresh start should look like.
Filled with lots of spectacle, meaningful scenes and most importantly new information about the world, this arc aims for the top spot in Bleach, along with the Soul Society arc and the Deicide saga. Well at least in my opinion.
And speaking of opinions, the upcoming wall of text is my take on this chapter, so be nice
But let's not stretch this any further
Taking the most logical step forward from the last chapter and looking at the title, we can definitely guess that this chapter will somehow involve the origins and the creation of Zanpaktous.
From what Nimaiya is telling us, the standard evolution of a shinigami graduate starts at the moment of receiving a Blank hilt or otherwise known as Asauchi. This is the primal form of the Zanpaktou and what makes it special is the ability to mold it into the image of the shinigami's inner spirit.
What is significant to note (and I will expand on this idea later) is the attitude and the appearance of the Asauchi.
They don't look very pleasant, do they? The reason for the apparent mindlessness and hunger is actually the primal and undeveloped state that they are in.
As I see those mouths (the eyes) are the ones that will continually consume reiatsu. But how will the molding happen? Well the theory is that their hunger will need to be matched by the ferocity of Ichigo and Renji. If their ferocity and fighting spirit will outmatch the hunger of the Asauchi, then the molding will slowly beginning to take place.
However as the reshaping occurs, there will probably be a phase, where both Ichigo and Renji will have to come to terms with their Zanpaktous and accept each other depending on their respective personalities, possibly with tackling the topic : What drives your fighting spirit?. This is not something new, we've seen this accepting each other a few times with Ichigo.
How will this actually influence the outer appearance of their blades? Well that's something Kubo will have to reveal.
The key word here is fighting spirit and Ichigo and Renji will have to show the extent of their abilities here.....
....not very unlike to what this terrifying face is promising.
WOW!...that's some transformation to be honest, and Kubo shows us once again that he can create creepy characters if he's in the mood. And this time he's definitely rocking, because one of the most anticipated fights/trainings/crazy slashfests will start in a short while
This person, ladies, gentlemen and bots, is Unohana Yachiru, or Unohana "Thousand Styles". She also has another nickname, which is "Retsu", and that means violent, extreme, or any similar word you can think of in the context.
As Kyouraku tells us, she was one of the original Gotei captains, characterized by Juha Bach as brutal murderers and fighters. Before that though she was craziest criminal in Soul Society. Her talents incorporate the knowledge of all the sword styles that are in existence, and since there are around a 1000, you can probably guess that she tested and perfected these techniques on lots and lots of victims.
Her opponent isn't a slouch either, since he has shown us time and time again that he is one crazy bastard. But even so, Unohana puts Zaraki in the category of babes on their mother's breast, which speaks more of Unohana, than Zaraki, but even more it kind of gives me an awkward image of the two.
As we can notice here as well, the origins or pasts of both fighters are presented, but what is more surprising is that judging from the insinuations, these two have met once before and inflicted damage upon each other.
Well I sure hope we will hear more of that encounter, if it happened, in the following chapters.
The story moves forward at its own natural pace, and I'm glad Kubo managed to find the balance between a quick, alert rhythm and still taking time to explain stuff, revealing information about the world and its characters. And this is where this chapter excels. At revealing relevant information about the origins of key characters and key elements of the world.
Let's take the first origin story of the chapter. The origins of the Zanpaktou. I've mentioned it before, that the key word of Nimaiya's explanation is fighting spirit. As he puts it "The King of the Hill". This notion is not new. Ichigo's hollow called this the "rider and the horse" and how these roles can change as time progresses and as a character changes thanks to certain events.
The second origin story is that of the Kenpachis. Both were criminals who happened to be powerful enough to gain captaincy. Again, we can notice the "rider or horse" relationship, but this time it's "authority or criminal". This motif can be seen even between the two characters, as Unohana is currently the king or shall we say "Queen of the Hill" and during this fight, Zaraki will have to put his entire power into usurping that position.
I think we can see the pattern here, and we can notice how much the title is related to the content of the chapter. Two, seemingly differing story threads, are brought together in presenting an important motif of the manga. And Kyouraku is the one who accentuates it:
One will have to die. This is quite an interesting statement, and Kyouraku is rarely wrong when he sits down and thinks about a problem.
However I do not think that this will be the case. The relationship between the superior(rider, captain, king) and the inferior(horse, criminal) does not guarantee annihilation. One can be powerful enough to let his opponents or enemies survive. Ichigo has done this, Aizen has done this, and both are pretty damn strong.
Unohana is also very strong, and she has an impressive measure of control over herself, and I believe that while she will unleash her destructive powers fully, she will also use her healing abilities as well.
The troublesome issue that supports Kyouraku's statement is that she is teaching Kenpachi the art of killing, and succeeding in learning that, could possibly mean actual killing. However as I've said earlier, Kenpachi might rise to such a height in power, that he won't need to actually kill Unohana.
In conclusion this chapter served to tell us again about the frail relationship between the "rider" and the "horse", which is the origin, or fundamental truth of being a fighter. The way this was presented was also great too. The relationship between Unohana and Zaraki is exciting, the story moves ahead with a stable pace, and the action and the art are stunning as usually. I mean just take a look at this panel
This is viciousness over 9000, and even in their appearance Unohana is above Zaraki.
Great chapter all in all, I think a 9/10. The reason for deducting a point is the lack of more development on Ichigo's and Renji's part. I know a weekly manga can only offer so much, but I think it would've been a little bit better if we got some more of both character's thoughts on what is happening to them and how they will deal with it.
Predictions/Want to happen
I think the fundamental question after reading the chapter, and perhaps the review is that of motivation. Motives and goals for attaining power and consequently the title of King of the Hill. This is the question that is the most important in the battle between a shinigami and his or her Zanpaktou, thus concerning both Ichigo and Renji. And it's also the most important question regarding the battle of the monsters, since the answer holds the outcome of the fight, and the veracity of Kyouraku's statement.
For the first, I think that we know what the motivations are for the two of them. Protection is the most important, but there's also just the pure instinct of evolving. This will definitely bolster their rivalry as well, so I'm looking forward to great humor from those two, but also some measure of teamwork as well. There's rarely any teamwork in this manga, excepting the shinigami/zanpaktou cooperation, and when we had glimpse of such teamwork it was awesome: the captains vs Aizen, Urahara and co. versus Aizen. It was freaking great, and since they don't have any blades with them, Ichigo and Renji will have to work together for a while.
As for the 2nd story thread, as I said before, I don't think they will die. Death as predicted by Kyouraku can even be symbolic, as the final burial of the monster named Unohana Yachiru. So she will succeed in teaching Zaraki enough to hold his ground against the Quincies and attain some measure of control in the art of killing, but she will survive in the end. But that's a more distant prediction, since in the fight should last at least 2 or 3 chapters, if Kubo focuses only on the 2 of them. I think though that we won't see them next chapter, but later on, where we will be close to a conclusion.
Well....this is kinda it...it's been while since I've written a review, so don't mind the eventual logical inconsistencies or perhaps spelling problems. But if there are any please point them out.
And even if the review is perfect, which I doubt it is, I invite everyone to discuss both the review and the chapter, share new points of view, and basically just enjoy the awesomeness that is Bleach nowadays.
Last edited by benelori; January 16, 2013 at 01:04 PM.
great review benelori, you should do it more often.
Great elaboration, bene! Not many flaws to point out, that is, if there any to begin with.
EMS is right on this one. You should do this more often (=
And a nice poll on top of that.
I don't think Kenpachi will kill Unohana, even if he can overpower her. As lunatic as he may be, I don't think he will go that far, because there simply is no reason to do so. He enjoys the battle, and if he defeats Unohana somehow and doesn't kill her, they can battle it out in the future again
even if Unohana and zaraki go crazy, i don't think will be a treat to SS while the can use that incredible power against the quincies but in this training what exactly zaraki is going to obtaing? getting a relation with his zapakutou and obtaining bankai or a greater power.
Great review bene! Keep up with the good work
Unohana is a beast holy shit she looks epic!!!!!!!!!!!...Unohana said the only wound ever to be inflicted on her scream Zaraki's name and Zaraki said the same thing to her about the one over his eye. So what i'm getting from that is they have fought before and the wound that she hides with her hair at times was from Zaraki and the scare on Zaraki eye is from Unohana... Also i don't want her to die, also she was the first Captain commander before yamamoto out powered her damn she Epic!
---------- Post added at 08:42 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:38 PM ----------
The thing is that the nature of the battle is such, that it might demand a victim...that's the motivation behind what Kyouraku said...as the poll says, the art of killing needs a victim...but I hope for the best, because I think that this fight won't be shown entirely, so I'd like to see Unohana go out against the real enemy, and not off panel...
And there's another thing...Unohana doesn't seem to be the type to battle it our in the future...which also means that there won't be a next time...
With every post I make, I grow more and more uneasy about unohana
---------- Post added at 08:45 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:42 PM ----------
If the theory will prove correct, and Kusajishi is indeed his Zanpaktou spirit, then the first prerequisite for bankai is also met....
---------- Post added at 08:45 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:45 PM ----------
---------- Post added at 08:49 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:45 PM ----------
Yup...I got the same impression myself...the question is how are they still alive if they fought?
I have not too much to add, just one thing:
After today looking back at this panel is just too good:
And I think Zaraki and Unohana might have fought back then before she joined Soul Society, later Zaraki somehow lost his memory and his Zanpaktou - which could have actually really materialized as his vice Captain Yachiru. He named her after the unconscious Memory of Unohana.
Last edited by wooticus; January 16, 2013 at 03:09 PM.
Shunsui made it sound like they would die if they kept going due to their bloodlust, and that it was about teaching swordsmanship to Kenpachi. "Art of killing" only appears in some translations, when it makes more sense to teach Kenpachi swordsmanship to stop him from using his berserk style that gets him near death almost every time.
But he still remembers the fight I think and remembers the name, too...I'm so curious about that past engagementQuote:
---------- Post added January 17, 2013 at 12:01 AM ---------- Previous post was January 16, 2013 at 11:57 PM ----------
wow...very nicely written...less words ; much more impact (didnt get bored at all halfway through it...i hate to read long posts)... the way you related "king of the hill" theme with both the situations is very nice... very good writing and presentation sense ... respect
Nice summary, and good review!
As for my takes on this chapter...
I hope (maybe not likely, but still) that it was Yamamoto who gave Retsu that scar and not Kenpachi. Before Yamamoto took her into his newly formed 13 squads, she was known as the most heinous criminal around. What could have changed her mind? Only witnessing an even stronger power.
I hope that when she fought Kenpachi, she did so as she saw him as just a big threat as she used to be (similar mindset). She also spared his life, with little more than a tiny scar across his eye, and showed him that he is nothing compared to her. This would also be similar to Kenpachi showing Ikaku - and saving his life in the same way. Unohana would be suggesting to Kenpachi, that he has to improve to beat her - thus giving him a reason to try and get stronger (and becoming the only person he respects - thus naming Yachiru after her).
I also think that the reason she is in the 4th squad is due to Yamamoto wanting to keep her away from fights, so that she doesn't revert to how she used to be...
But I am glad that the fight has started, and also excited by what may happen to Ichigo and Renji...
Following Zanpakuto training - what can Bonze and Senjumaru Shutara have to show - Body, Spirit and Zanpakuto being done - perhaps Reitsu? Combat training (seems a bit lame...)?
Good stuff my man. I agree, Unohana irked out a major from me too. Thank you for the review
Great review Lolo. Correlating both Kenpachi characters with the "rider and the horse" motif is spot on. Indeed Unohana is the rider and Zaraki will have to throw her off her saddle. Yet, I also see an inner conflict. In spite of her tumultuous and bloodthirsty
criminalpast, Unohana managed to control her impulses and become one of the most feared captains. I guess that, like Ichigo, she conquered the animal within her and excelled in swordsmanship, fighting strategies, and mental discipline. Hope she'll teach Zarachi everything she knows. If he applies her teaching in his everyday life, a bloody hell of a fighter will be born.
Nice analysis and review.
I agree, I don't think the Kenpachi training will result in the death of one of those two characters. I believe it is highly likely though that Retsu will bring Zaraki to a point where he faces death, and gets to decide, whether to cooperate with his zanpakuto/ausachi or die. And I believe it's not a coincidence this plot is shown parallel to Ichigo and Renji, who kind of have to change their attitude towards their zanpakutos' as well.
However, the next few chapters I actually expect to be focused on an other plot, maybe Urahara or the Vandenreich, until we eventually skip back to Soul Society and King's Realm and get some first training results. I hope The Kenpachi fight will not be offpanel'd though as I'm highly interested in that one.
Last edited by Evil3ye; January 17, 2013 at 06:06 PM.