View Full Version : Bleach -103 : a Deadberry review

May 12, 2008, 01:45 PM

Bleach -103 :: Turn back the pendulum 6

scanlation used is by the almighty binktopia

I did briefly ponder how I should start my first review of bleach before concluding that the best way to start was definately with the beginning, so allow me a moment to wax vaguely poetic about that colour spread.

This is actually probably my favourite spread since way back when we had Ichigo amidst the espada in HM, as lame as it makes me sound Hisagi is kinda cute (in a totally non gay/paedo manner yo), bya's yoru hair is excellent, a blood spattered gin under the moonlight is always going to be brilliant and Mayuri actually experimenting rather than just looking mental is particularly nice to see. Soi Fon doesn't really get a mention since she's the one bit of it I don't really like.

Shall we get started on the chapters content itself? it'd probably seem sensible to do so.


Hisagi's first sight of a 69 clearly made a lasting impact

So the chapter starts with Kensei's reactions to the discovery of the empty robes and realisation that its his vanguard who are the victims and he quickly gets to dealing with the situation. I was a little dissapointed with just how ditzy mashiro was here, I know, I know, its entirely in character but still! =p

What did really impress me was Kensei's relationship with his division members, they all answer to him without a qualm and he in term seems to trust them and know them, Its sort of like a big family.

The last bit of the opening scene reveals to us that Kensei has the 69 tattooed across his chest and thus the reason for Hisagi having it tattooed on his face. I'm really happy this relationship is confirmed, not only do they seem to fit but it also gives a lot of possibilities for Kensei and Hisagi interaction in the future. I still like to subscribe to the idea that the tattoos origins lie in the kanji for mu (as in muguruma) being the same as the kanji for 6, and then the 9 obviously being his division number. Anyway good job kubo tite on that one imo.


Lets hope thats not a Nemu in a tube.

And off we go to my all time favourite division combo ever in the history of anything.

I wonder what Mayuri is experimenting on, its not really made clear but I like to think its something vaguely creepy but useful. I think this chapter cements the idea that Urahara has something of a tempering influence on Mayuris occasionally unstable personality, its only after Urahara left that Mayuri seems to have gone off the rails. (just as long as he doesn't become the Soi Fong to Urahara's Yoruichi xD).

Anyways, the Hiyori/Mayuri interaction was fairly hilarious, especially Hiyori's attempts to pull rank on Mayuri and then Mayuri turning that around on her before she called for Urahara, or should I say Kisuke? Its nice to see her using his first name.

Sleepy Urahara arrives (its one of my favourite Urahara modes...along with all the others) with a gigai hung over his back. Could this be the infamous exile causing gigai? I think its more than possible, the interest comes in whether it was just a failing of its function that led to a mis-interpretation of purpose. Its a gigai designed (apparently) to hold together souls with an unstable constitution and thus to stop them vanishing. If it is the gigai he gets thrown out of SS for, it seems possible that the gigai works to hold together the soul but is unable to return their spiritual presence and thus SS misunderstood his aim and result leading to an exile.

Todou arrives shortly after to inform Urahara of whats occurred and after a brief bit of comic relief with chibi Akon (that was an awesome cameo) Urahara talks Hiyori into going. Its a sign of their more developed relationship that she agrees to go (after a bit of sweet talking) but Hiyori being Hiyori still has to part with a bit of backchat hehe.


Kensei was as surprised as anyone that a captain could go down so easily

Jumping back to Kensei and co's camp we see Todou returning with his report and find out how the shifts have been organized. I think this was one of the things I really enjoyed about the chapter actually, the way it switched scenes multiple times.

A very cutesy bit (in a roundabout sort of way) in the chapter followed with some Kensei x Mashiro stuff, I like them as a pair, they're pretty cute xD

and then all hell broke loose!

blood flying everywhere, bodies crumpling to the floor and finally our street punk taichou finds himself with over a foot of zanpakutou jutting out of his chest, Kubo again keeps us in brutal suspense by not revealing just who the attacker was and with the array of candidates it could have been its hard to choose! There's also some interesting stuff up in the air about just why Kensei was targeted, was it because he was too close in his investigations to what was going on or was he seen as a conveniant person to capture for experimenting upon.

Right now it seems like Aizen (and co) is/are probably one of the leading candidates to be the stabber, I can't see it being another vaizard since Kensei sees his attacker, and with that in mind I doubt he'd then be chillin' with them further on down the line. I really hope it isn't something Royal Guard related as that'd come pretty much out of nowhere, I mean they've not had any say in anything till this point. I got suspicious of Urahara when I saw him sleepy straight after but his reactions afterwards seem to absolve him.


There's nothing funny to say about this panel, so I'll just yell URAHARA and be done

Waking to the news Urahara reacts quickly and with concern for Hiyori which I found pretty touching, and as already mentioned seems to absolve him from having anything to do with Kensei's stabbing.

Whats interesting is the way the final page reads, firstly we get confirmation however you've understood it, that Urahara is aware to at least some degree of whats been going on. Secondly the statement can be read in a couple of different ways.

There's the obvious first one, where Urahara is thinking that he should have gone in place of Hiyori and that he's sent her into trouble...but there's always a more abstract way of looking at it, and thats that Urahara is referring to dealing with Kensei, and how if he'd done it it'd have been perhaps less messy, now the captains are alerted to exactly whats going on.

I'll note that I don't really necessarily subscribe to the latter theory, but its an interesting avenue thats still left open for exploration should Kubo want to do something along those lines.


Overall this was one excellent chapter, a great pace, a great mix of action and plot with a healthy helping of comic moments on the side for good measure. How things go down from here on out is anyones guess, and with the presumably limited number of chapters left (at least if we assume kubo's 2 month estimate was correct) we look like being in for some action packed weeks!

Again this chapter really re-inforces my opinion that Kubo is at his best when writing actual dialogue and interspersing things with some minor action, rather than writing action and occasionally dropping in some plot.

Well thanks for tuning in and reading, maybe this'll become a regular thing? who knows.

DB out.

May 12, 2008, 04:09 PM
great review, really enjoyed reading it. the analysis was spot on and the predictions you made were all solid and well thought out.

i hadn't considered that uraharas line at the end could have double meaning, and if we knew for certain that urahara was involved in the soul experiments i'd say the second meaning you described was the most viable. but since i think urahara has nothing to do with the experiments, i have to lean towards him just being concerned for hiyori.

thanks again for the review, hope you decide to keep these up :)

May 13, 2008, 02:53 PM
thanks splat

i have to lean towards him just being concerned for hiyori.

this is what I lean towards too really, I just like to try throw a few more ideas out there at the same time.

I'll hopefully try to do more reviews :3

May 13, 2008, 03:45 PM
always great to see more reviewers

regarding the color spread, it is one of my favorites as well. it is kind of unique among Bleach color spreads as most of them are simply drawn for Kubo's own artistic expression putting the characters in somewhat random artistic poses (which makes him the best mangaka for color spreads to make into desktop wallpapers). this one though actually serves purpose for the story to show off these characters that have been introduced in the gaiden as their childhood or past selves

like you i love the relationship between Kensei and his subordinates as well as the one that was instantly forged in the mind of the young Hisagi. looking at the current Hisagi's personality, it is obvious that Kensei had become his hero and idol and should he ever take up the captaincy of the 9th division, we can expect him to emulate his mentor as much as possible. nice work on finding some meaning for the origin of the 69 as well. Kensei's tattoo is clearly the reason for Hisagi's but we still have no official explanation fro why Kensei has it in the first place

i also loved the interaction between the 12th division's vice-captain and its second head of research. it certainly is one of the most priceless moments of the gaiden. regarding Urahara's gigai, i'm inclined to believe it is not "the gigai" but is a prototype of the later offensive model. i think the gigai that got him exiled was likely created after the vizard incident as a way to fix their souls. the thought behind this would be that if a person with both shinigami and hollow reiatsu is brought down to zero reiatsu, perhaps it is possible to reawaken one without the other.

i think Kubo did a great job here with the 9th division slaughter as given what we know of Aizen's future as well as that of the vizards, we think we know who is responsible, but we cannot be certain. at the very least, i can be relatively certain that Urahara is not involved in it

regarding your two theories of how to interpret Urahara's actions, i am firmly planted with the first one that he feels guilty for sending Hiyori into danger. i personally see that guilt as the basis for the creation of the things that got him banned from Soul Society. as i said, the gigai was likely an attempt to return shinigami souls to normal and i'm guessing the hougyoku was the same way. in order to return a shinigami soul from one that fused with hollow power, first he needed to understand how a shinigami and hollow powers were linked and could be developed simultaneously

this was a great review and i hope to see more out of you in the future