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Meh (no real opinion)
Wait a sec, Ukitake is supposed to be the bad guy now? (confused)
GOO~~D afternoon, afternoon, afternoo~~n. Or morning... or evening... or whatever time it is you are reading this . Yet another Bleach chapter, yet another Bleach review. And what a chapter it is. I'd better not waste any more time with this intro here. So thanks to Binktopia/Mangastream for their scanlation and on to the review! After the poll results, of course.
Bleach chapter 473, Enemies in the Dark, rated by 19 voters, gets an average score of:
Last week's chapter was entitled, enemies in the dark. With Kuugo revealing that he would reveal these enemies, I was curious who you guys thought it could be.
I only got one (wacky) theory in the form of Soul Society and the Soul King being the guilty ones. Which partially coincides with another option. But the Soul King hasn't been mentioned as an option in this poll. Hence the theory.
One vote went to other Xcution members being behind the scenes. So besides the ones we've seen up to now, there could be more.
Two votes went to the possibility of Vasto Lordes pulling the strings. Not the Arrancar Espada Vasto Lordes, but purely evil Vasto Lordes. Who knows...
Five voters don't know who the enemies in the dark could be. Perhaps Kubo will pull out something entirely unexpected.
But with 21 votes going to one option, meaning the other options have nothing on this one at all, the first place enemies in the dark are.... SOUL SOCIETY (again...). Let's face it, if you're going to blame someone, blame the spiritual government! And these voters aren't too far off, as it turns out...
When did Shinigami start using smartphones?
A color page for Bleach again this week. With Rukia gracing it, it's almost like Kubo is making amends for making her look bad in the chapter a couple of weeks ago. A rather straightforward page here. Rukia in a winter outfit, holding a phone with a rabbit themed cover. Though I thought Shinigami used antique phones, judging from the one Ishida got from Urahara... or that could just be Urahara's doing . Who knows what Mayuri came up with during these past 17 months...
I think Ichigo already realized his father is pretty useless some time ago...
With Tsukishima breathing his final breaths, 'Book of the End's' effects start wearing off. Thanks to this, the tortured minds of Chad and Orihime are finally capable of resetting themselves to the original timeline. With Isshin and Urahara watching over them, the two of them may finally be free from the 'Book of the End'. At least we now know what Urahara and Isshin have been doing. But seeing this is a little bit unsettling to me. But more on that in a jiffy.
Urahara confirms that Chad and Orihime are fine and asks Tessai to keep watch over them. Considering Tessai's expertise when it comes to Kidou, I wouldn't be surprised if he were to be able to undo any side effects from the 'Book of the End', were they to arise. Perhaps it would take time, but that's why he's staying behind. As Urahara leaves, Isshin asks him where he's going. Urahara explains that he's going to where the others are, but not to fight.
Isshin insists on going with, but Urahara tells him he's useless right now. With most of the fights being over, the only thing that's really left to do is make sure the aftermath of the fight is put under control. In that respect, Isshin really is useless . Of course, not as useless as he is as a father right now. He left carrying Chad, but didn't bother to try and take his own daughters back? Seriously? I mean, I'd have expected Isshin to have killed Tsukishima three times over after learning Tsukishima pointed a blade at his precious daughters. But not only didn't he bother with that, he left his daughters in enemy territory! Sure, they're under the protection of Keigo's immeasurable strength, but I feel Isshin is failing as an overprotective father... well for his daughters. He's right in not really bothering with Ichigo . Though oddly, he's rather set on wanting to stop the fight between Kuugo and Ichigo.
Urahara reveals the reason for Isshin's anxiety: Ichigo might learn the truth from Kuugo's mouth! As Urahara leaves the room, he tells Isshin that he would have learned the truth eventually either way. Though this doesn't seem to bring Isshin much peace of mind, he must realize that Urahara is planning to do his usual thing. What is Urahara's usual thing you ask? It's waiting for Ichigo's fight to end, where Ichigo is confronted with a "life altering truth" from the enemy's point of view and then add the other point of view to complete the image so Ichigo can decide for himself. But that's not important in this part of the chapter. The most important part here is that this is Kubo's way of telling us that what Kuugo is about to say next isn't just a bunch of lies or twisted truths. Well, there's bound to be a twist or two, but the gist of it will be true! (I rhymed unintentionally...)
10 points for Ichigo!
Ichigo processes what Kuugo told him at the end of last week's chapter. 'The true enemy Ichigo should be facing' who Kuugo wants to tell Ichigo about. This would surely shake Ichigo's resolve! But even Ichigo realizes that this is getting a bit old in Bleach's storytelling. We aren't the only one who's tired of idiots trying to shake Ichigo's resolve like this. Ishida joins in, pointing out that Kuugo's goal is most likely to have Ichigo join him in his fight because he can't win anymore.
But Kuugo isn't one to fall for the 'Ishida mind trap' as he points out that he isn't really in a bad situation right now. Even though it's two against one, Kuugo hasn't had that much trouble handling the two of them. He even dares Ishida to shoot at him from behind while he's talking. Ishida realizes that Kuugo isn't that unskilled and that he should be listening closely to what he's saying. That way he can explain what happened to others in a more accurate manner than Ichigo would (Let's face it, Ichigo's explanation would most likely be: 'It doesn't matter').
I have to hand it to Kuugo, he's holding out pretty well. Like I've pointed out quite some time ago, we don't know how old Kuugo actually is right now, nor how experienced he is. Ichigo has only had about a year of actual Shinigami battle experience (be it guided by Aizen). For all we know Kuugo has had 20 years of Shinigami experience followed by another 20 years of Fullbring experience. Not only that, it's possible that all Shinigami/human hybrids have increased spiritual pressure. Or maybe Kuugo was even part of the Quincy eradication squad of 1609 (I can't recall a specific day and age being mentioned of when the Quincy were eradicated by Soul Society). Besides, Kuugo is (in)famous enough for Isshin to know that there's more to him than we might know at this time.
Whatever the case, Kuugo is ready to reveal something important right now.
Sure, blame the mute slab of wood. How is it going to defend itself from accusations?
To think that I had forgotten why I was intrigued by this arc in the first place. The Shinigami representative badge. Ishida already set this up a couple of chapters ago and Kuugo gladly follows up on the question of why Ichigo would get a badge with such vague terms. When Kuugo asks Ichigo why he thinks he received the badge in the first place, Ishida knows what he's hinting at. But to Ichigo, the answer has always been clear. The badge was to prove that he was an actual Substitute Shinigami which he received for being a positive force for Soul Society.
Kuugo points out that this is a big fat LIE. Ishida acknowledges that the speech given with the badge isn't a very honest one. Sure, it's for someone whose beneficial. But how do you measure that? But as Ishida rightfully points out, what of those who aren't beneficial to Soul Society? Could it be that Kuugo was the victim of this persecution?
But as usual, Ishida is over thinking things here. Kuugo points out that whether someone is beneficial or not, they get the badge either way.
>>SIDENOTE>>Before going on with Kuugo's explanation of the badge, I have to point out that Kuugo standing in the air like this using Fullbring is a bit odd. But again, this must be because Kuugo must be in love with the air he can breathe or something >>SIDENOTE END>>
As Ishida starts to realize he got an answer to the question he just got, Kuugo retells the perks that come with the representative badge. The most important one being that it allows Substitute Shinigami to fight in the real world. But Kuugo then rightfully points out that Ichigo never really experienced that authority.
Ichigo then flashes back to the first time he wanted to use his badge as a means to show his authority. Sure, we could have laughed it off as it being part of Af-san's lack of dedication to his work. But he couldn't know of the authority given if it was never taught to anyone. But if it isn't a sign of authority, the badge must have a different purpose. Even Ichigo realized that this would be the case. Kuugo then reveals what the badge truly does.
For someone so paranoid, I'm surprised Kuugo still kept his on him...
To observe and restrict. That is the badge's true purpose. When Kuugo says it like this, it really does sound like a bad thing. But honestly, when you break it down it doesn't really mean that much. I'll explain as I go over the points Kuugo mentions them.
1. Soul Society knows where you are at all times
Umm, how else would they be able to send you a warning that there's a Hollow in the area? Besides, Ichigo has a cellphone... it's nothing new, really.
2. Your reiatsu doesn't pour out when you are in your living body
Gee, how evil of Soul Society. Why would you want to prevent high concentrations of Reiatsu from affecting "normal" humans? This is clearly a sign of pure evil, allowing a Substitute Shinigami to walk around without having to fear that his Reiatsu might accidentally cause bad things to happen...
3. The badge stores your Reiatsu for analytical purposes
Fine, so Kuugo has a point for once. At least we get an answer as to why Ichigo's power was so great from the moment he activated his Fullbring and how the Fullbring would lead to the restoration of his Shinigami powers. The badge stored all excess power inside itself so it can transfer data. But with Fullbring drawing out the power from the badge, it works in reverse. But that's a bit besides the point right now.
Just taking in Ichigo's reiatsu for analysis without him knowing is a bit lame, I agree. Of course, Kuugo conveniently neglects to tell for what purpose. Though that doesn't make it right, I guess. I'd be pretty pissed if someone took my reiatsu without my knowing and/or consent... I think...
4. You only got the badge so they could control you!!!
With jerks like Kuugo around you can't really blame Soul Society... And to what extend is Soul Society controlling them really? They gave you a wooden GPS tracker that warns you when there's danger in your immediate area, allows you to go from human form to Shinigami form, and protects those around you from excess reiatsu gushing out. Sure, they are monitoring him a bit too well, but if Isshin, Rukia, and Urahara didn't say anything about it, it probably wasn't important.
5. The badge is a sign of mistrust from your friends
Kuugo ends his rant by suddenly going after Ichigo's personal thoughts towards the situation. He tells Ichigo that he probably felt his friends wouldn't betray him. I'm not too sure as to what Kuugo is trying to say with his 'those that you thought, baring your soul, would never betray you'. Perhaps something got lost in translation. My guess would be that Kuugo is trying to say that Ichigo would never believe that people like Rukia and Renji would ever screw him over with a monitor like this because this would be a sign of betrayal. But before Ichigo can give an answer, Kuugo already moves on to his main target in his conspiracy theory: The mastermind!
Just look at him. It's obvious he's pure evil! Aizen did the same thing, trying to act nice!
Ukitake Jushirou is the mastermind behind all of this! The man Rukia puts great trust in. The man who always seemed to be supportive of his actions. Over all a general great guy. Aizen may have had us fooled, but you can't fool us Ukitake! Wait, what? That's right, both Kuugo and Ichigo have been conned by the most peaceful guy in all of the Gotei 13!!~~
The look on Ichigo's face as he hears that man's name already shows great disbelieve. Though I honestly think it's more disbelieve towards Kuugo thinking Ichigo would actually buy this rather than him actually believing that Ukitake would be some manipulative jerk. In either case, the truth is out there now. Both Kuugo and Ichigo received their badge from Ukitake (as it turns out). Both were told it was because they would be a beneficial force to Soul Society. But Kuugo has experienced a different path from Ichigo's. Ishida then thinks back on his theory about what could've happened to past Substitute Shinigami. He already considered an option besides them being out there alive without Soul Society knowing, or them having died already, making it pointless to tell Ichigo. Whether this was it isn't very clear right now.
Kuugo then tries egging on the "truth" of Ukitake just wanting to control them as Soul Society pawns. He then reveals another "truth". Should the Substitute Shinigami rebel, they could just be executed by Soul Society, using the badge as a restraint to seal their powers, leaving them defenseless. Ishida tries to tell Ichigo not to listen because he's convinced that Ichigo can't handle this "truth", but Kuugo just keeps on going. He tells Ichigo that all of his friends in Soul Society know of this and are happily willing to let Ichigo die. Ishida tells Ichigo that he shouldn't listen, but it's already too late... or is it?
When in doubt, BANKAI!
Ichigo tells Kuugo and Ishida to shut up. Obviously, Kuugo was just putting in paranoid theories into Ichigo's mind with can flow from the truth behind the representative badge. Ishida on the other hand is trying to protect Ichigo as if he were a simple child who would actually fall for this. Ichigo then gets to the only obvious answer there is: listen to your own soul. And who better to tell Ichigo what his soul is actually saying than Zangetsu? What better way to get close to Zangetsu than, you guessed it, BANKAI!
Sure, I've been saying that I was hoping for Ichigo to save his Bankai for a different opponent. But what can I say, the thought of seeing Ichigo in a renewed Bankai made me realize that it would be pointless to stall it any further . Heck, if Kubo pulls this off right, I'm willing to forgive Kubo for not showing us KON for such a long time... okay, so I won't forgive Kubo for that, but at least I can muster up some more patience to wait for him reappear again .
An entertaining chapter indeed. Revealing that Soul Society has been using Representative Badges to monitor Substitute Shinigami was a nice touch. It makes sense, explains some things, and gives birth to antagonists such as Kuugo. Well, it can't all be perks . Though I have to say, Kuugo is a lot more entertaining than I tend to give him credit for. Using Ukitake as a villain is something I can't help but find amusing. It reminds me of the time where I read the Soul Society arc and thought Aizen was such a swell guy. Of course, it's quite obvious that Ukitake isn't an Aizen type villain. But more on that in the predictions.
Kuugo trying to manipulate Ichigo as he is telling the truth was done quite nicely here. It's not like Kuugo would just stop messing with Ichigo's mind all of a sudden. Sure, I found it to be a tad too obvious that Kuugo is only giving out the negative points behind the badge. But it's an effective strategy if your opponent doesn't have the time to mull it over.
Ishida trying to protect the mentally fragile Ichigo was something that bothered me for a moment. But then I realized that where we've had weeks pass since Ichigo and Ishida spoke about the badge and Substitute Shinigami, they only had about 10 minutes pass by. It would be stranger for Ishida NOT to worry about this, than that he is doing it right now.
All in all I really enjoyed this chapter. Sure, it was a bit disappointing that there's no major villain set up for a future arc (or Ukitake really has to be a second evil mastermind inside the Gotei 13, either that, or Aizen was actually the only good guy ). But at least it makes sense like this, by involving the badge and the one who handed it to both Kuugo and Ichigo. Still, there could still be more Substitute Shinigami around who have survived persecution from Soul Society in the same way Kuugo did...
Kuugo revealed that the Representative Badge stores Reiatsu and analyzes it. In an earlier chapter, it was said that the badge also stores memories inside itself the moment Ichigo touched it before and after his battles. But Ichigo used the badge not only to get himself into his Shinigami form, but also to get KON out of his own body.
What are the odds of Ichigo's Fullbring being partially influenced by KON?
No, I mean it (well, maybe not that seriously, but still). Just think about Ichigo's prowess when it came to movement techniques in the Fullbring state. KON has a soul with reinforced leg power as well...
Ichigo will appear in his full Bankai glory (please be colored, please be colored). Kuugo will try to taunt Ichigo further, but Ichigo will tell Kuugo to shut up. He'll explain that he does trust his friends and that that's the only reason he's standing in his Bankai state right now. Ichigo trusts his friends and that's all that matters. Perhaps we may even find out what it was that allowed Ichigo to obtain his Bankai...
The fight will go into full gear, with Kuugo activating a greater part of his own Shinigami powers as well.
For a more long term prediction: After the fight with Kuugo is over (whether he was beaten or he made a tactical retreat of sorts), Urahara will show up to explain the actual truth behind the badge. He'll most likely reveal that it was in fact Ukitake's idea. But not to monitor Substitute Shinigami or control them, but because he honestly feels that they could be a positive force for Soul Society. But for security purposes the badge, developed by Urahara, had to monitor them as well so Soul Society would be sure nothing bad would happen with humans who possess great powers.
That’s it for this week’s review. I hope you guys enjoyed it. Be sure to let me know what your thoughts are on this week’s chapter and/or review, give any theories that you may have and to vote in this week’s poll. Don’t forget to rate this week’s chapter! If you're not going to read the 'Posts that were lost, but not forgotten section' (yes, it's finally back ), I’ll see you guys again next week!
Rate this week's chapter by clicking on the picture above!
Just a bit of a different viewpoint, when I read through the chapter, the 'message' of 'restrict and control your powers' actually explained a great deal about Ichigo's power fluctuations.
I mean, I too would be a bit pissed off if I had some jackass controlling how much power I could have at the turn of a dial.
For example, I can just imagine Mayuri standing at a machine during his original fight with Grimmjow, messing with the dial that control how much of Ichigo's energy it absorbs.
"Faster than Byakuya, eh? Wrong." (Turns the dial even lower.) Click, Click.
"Can't even cut through his skin now, can you, insect." Click, Click.
"And now let's see if your facebone can take 30 punches to the face." Click, Click.
Ichigo hollow side comes out and unleashes an unrestricted getsuga, really beginning the fight, until Grimmjow is taken out.
And Ichigo is supposed to trust these people as his friends.
By restricting his powers, they hampered his ability to protect his precious ones.
That would really piss him off.
Someone pointed out to me that if the thing about the badge is true then it would explain Ichigo's weakness.
After the fight with Byakuya Ichigo got the badge after that he seemed so much weaker. Getting his ass kicked by Grimmjow and the like while the other captains could fight on even grounds with them.
The badge would explain why he was so much weaker.
Good afternoon, Underscore! Yep, that's when I'm reading your review; at work. (Work is so lame right now.) Thanks for another amazing review. I really enjoyed this chapter as it progressed rapidly, so much so that we are already at bankai. Sweeeet!
Just as Mysterious Old Guy and MonsterEnvy pointed out, having a device on you that could limit and, therefore, hamper your chance at surviving a fight can be a source for righteous ire. On a similar note, it hardly ever crossed my mind how the other captain-level shinigami had to have limters but Ichigo was given a carte-blanche on his own reiatsu. I guess it never really mattered in the SS arc because most of the fighting happened in SS. But when Ichigo returns to the real world, it followed that his own reiatsu should be controlled on some level. However, he should have been told. This reminds me of the beginning of the Arrancar arc where Ichigo asks Urahara why he didn't tell Ichigo the full story from the start as that was the only thing that really pissed him off. Limiting his reiatsu could also be the reason why his other friends were not affected by the constant flow of reiatsu from him like Chad and Inoue were. If anything Keigo, Mizuiro and Asano were only marginally affected in that they can only see spirits (not sure if Mizuiro can though).
But apart from limiting Ichigo's reiatsu, the badge goes one infamous step further. It seems as if, although SS trusts Ichigo they trust him only so much. The fact that they are analysing his reiatsu could mean that they are devising a means to counter his unique reiatsu in the event of any mal-circumstance; say, in the event Ichigo decides to go rogue. This fact alone is sneaky even by SS standards and is enough for Ichigo to rip them a new one. In all, I feel alot for Ichigo, but I'll get to that later.
Kuestions On Kuugo
This week we are fed yet another dose of the Ginjo-tales where Kuugo spills five (as you listed them) magical beans that grows all the way SS. But with regards to Aizen's Paradox, are those beans truly magical or are they just...beans? This would not be the first time Kuugo would be casting aspersions on reputable individuals. First, it was Ishiin and Kuugo's excuse then was to get Ichigo interested. Then it was Urahara, whom Ichigo actually considered confronting! I have to admit that, though Kuugo's tactic of turning people against themselves is old, I have a grudging respect for the way he does so perfidiously. I guess I'll chalk it up to Kubo's talent for creating villains we love to hate.
Furthermore, you mentioned (in your sidenote) that it seems weird for Kuugo to be airborne as he is. This made me wonder about that too and I could not help but think that he is still a shinigami and all shinigami and other spirit beings can do so. Now, the question is, could he have switched to his shinigami form after Ichigo regained his spirit-sights? Or could he be using a gigai? If it's a gigai he is in, then perhaps that's one link to Urahara. And where is his body if he is in his shinigami form or in a gigai? Can gigai's be used for fullbring action?
We see that the bearded-dorama is worried about what Kuugo might spill. Could Kuugo have been the reason why Ishiin lost his powers? Could Ishiin have been sent in to liquidate Kuugo after he had gone rogue and consequently used his final GT on Kuugo?
I'm just throwing these out there because I'm sure some would end up being meaningless in the long run. But what do you think?
Ukitake's Untold Story
Many yester-chapters ago an enigmatic and sinister arrancar showed on the battle fronts between SS and Aizen. After lazily glancing round, he made directly for one captain and one captain alone. With the developments of this chapter I think I have a theory as to why Wonderweiss attacked Ukitake back then. Remember when he first showed up in the real world, Wonderweiss only attacked when Urahara showed up. This makes me think that Wonderweiss was also designed to go after those Aizen saw as intellectual threats. Aizen personally admitted that Urahara was the only one who rivalled his genious and now we are told that Ukitake is a mastermind in his own class.
So what could be Ukitake's game? Another Aizen in sheep's clothing or an honest sickler just trying to make everyone happy? Frankly, if he really is that sinister then you are right; Aizen might have been the only honest one in all SS.
"It's A Hardknock Life For
Poor dude! He was dragged into a conflict for power that was never really his business, used as a mad scientist's guinea pig, under surveillance since his birth, consistently lied to, repeatedly assaulted, sent as a mercenary into life threatening duels without knowing what he was getting into, controlled, and now, lied to again. Poor dude!!! I would have thought that his bankai was too rushed but considering what must be going through his mind right now I can't blame him for wanting to blast everything in his sights with a super GT (not the final GT, no, that would just be wrong). Now, I really want Kuugo dead.
"In The End..."
Next chapter, I think we'll have some bankai action with Kuugo rallying one way or another. Ishida might sit this one out because of the 'beast-mode' Ichigo is in right now. Then Kuugo might reveal his shinigami powers which allow him, after he has stolen his opponents reiatsu, to mimick their moves and upgrades. So with Ichigo now in bankai, Kuugo too will be in bankai as well. I don't expect we'll see Urahara for another chapter or two, perhaps even more.
Concerning how long this arc mmight go on, I wonder if Riruka possessing Rukia would lenghthen the arc? I just hope her eradication is not rushed.
Nice head-spinner, by the way. I would say that Kon might have had a role to play in Ichigo's fullbring flexibility (that split on the wall was crazy!). Thanks again for the review.
Last edited by Jamil2009; November 28, 2011 at 06:26 AM. Reason: Added some stuff