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498: The Black Rescuer
We're almost at the magical number 500!!! Okay, so we passed the 500th chapter of Bleach at least 20 chapters ago, but that doesn't change the fact that the NUMBER 500 is almost upon us. If only I could recall at which chapter I started reviewing Bleach... Wait a sec... I think I've reviewed well over 100 chapters already!
In any case, it's time for chapter 498 now. So let's get to this then! Thanks to Mangastream for their scanlation!
Bleach chapter 497, Kill The Shadow 2, rated by 11 voters, gets an average score of:
The Vandenreich is capable of sealing up Bankai into medals. But do you guys believe they're capable of using those Bankai in their Volstandig/Letzer Stil?
Four voters believe that a sealed Bankai remains sealed. After all, if the Bankai is used, it could be taken back easily by the owners, right? What's more, the weaknesses of the Bankai could easily be exploited by the captains.
Seven voters, however, can see it happening. After all, a Quincy cross is already key to activating the Volstandig, so why not use the medal with the Bankai inside?
But uncertainty rules in this poll, as most of the votes (nine) went to the option 'Maybe'. It's possible that not all the Sternritter are capable of such a feat. Or maybe the Bankai is only used as a power source. Who knows, really?
Who cares about the stupid badge, WHERE'S KON?!
At Akon's command, the 12th division initiates the contact procedures to get in contact with Ichigo. Honestly, for a division that is supposedly responsible for monitoring all of Ichigo's activities (according to Kuugo), the 12th division really lacks basic knowledge on the representative badge. Of course, it was the 13th division who gave Ichigo the badge, but still.
Luckily, after being reminded of the representative badge, one of the members easily tracks it. But then he notices that the badge is in the material world, but Ichigo isn't! But what's more interesting here is that the representative badge is used as a medium to determine that Ichigo's Reiatsu trail leads to Hueco Mundo! Guess that Kuugo wasn't entirely wrong about the badge in that respect .
Though most of the division members are shocked to hear Ichigo's in Hueco Mundo, Akon seems to be putting the pieces together. He asks where the badge is currently located, which leads to the discovery that the badge is at Urahara's shop. Once again, the detection device in the badge shows its full potential by revealing that they can determine the location of the badge is underground. Upon hearing this, Akon concludes that Ichigo must be with Urahara. Thus the call can be made.
Quite frankly, I'm disappointed by this. This could have been an excellent opportunity to get KON back into the story. Instead, Ichigo's badge is left behind in Urahara's shop, along with Ichigo's dead body just rotting there -for all we know- rather than Ichigo's body being misused by a certain pervert to hit on girls! Anyways, we have other forms of comedic relieve given to us.
Oh my~~, did you see Discovery last night, it was such a~~ bla bla bla
The 12th division places the call, getting Urahara on the other end. Urahara greets his old pal Akon, asking how things are going while informing everything is going fine with him. In spite of telling Urahara that they're in the middle of an emergency, Akon can't seem to be able to get into Urahara's pace. Angered by Urahara's casual behavior during this time of crisis, he demands to speak to Ichigo. When Urahara tells him Ichigo can't come to the phone right now, he explains it's because Ichigo is busy fighting a Quincy.
The 12th division is shocked to hear that there's a Quincy in Hueco Mundo. Especially after hearing the Quincy in question is the head of the Hueco Mundo Hunting squad. Akon tries to process the fact that Ichigo noticed the Hueco Mundo situation before the 12th division did. But he just can't comprehend how a mere Substitute Shinigami is capable of finding out this type of information before his own squad could. Of course, it's not like the 12th division has Hollows falling from the sky to warn them of such matters .
Akon then wants to know whether his gut was right about calling Ichigo for help. He asks Urahara how the fight is going. Urahara then reveals two important things. First, Ichigo has a slight upper hand in the fight. Second, Opie is trying to seal Ichigo's Bankai, but he keeps failing. Hearing this news is exactly what Akon could hope for. He then wants Urahara to interrupt the battle as soon as possible so that Ichigo can come over to Soul Society. But Urahara points out that things aren't that easy.
While Dondochakka and Pessche can't believe how relaxed Urahara is being during a situation like this, Urahara clarifies his initial questions. He knows full well that Akon wouldn't try to reach Ichigo if Soul Society wasn't in a lot of trouble. He also realized that Soul Society is being invaded again, so all he needs to know right now is: How are things going over there?
Full on Bankai
We could attribute this to protagonist power... and Opie being a loser...
Opie reveals the intel that the Vandenreich was given on Ichigo. Basically, Ichigo wasn't allowed to go into Bankai because his Bankai couldn't be medalized (sealed into that medal). But what they didn't bother to tell the members of the Vandenreich is that once Ichigo uses his Bankai, things would be bad for them. Poor Opie is already using his ace, the Volstandig, and even surpassed that by absorbing Ayon. Nonetheless, he can't seem to be able to deal any critical damage to Ichigo.
After taking another severe blow, Opie tries to get some distance so he can shoot some of his arrows. But with Ichigo's ability to wipe away Kageyoshi Senbonzakura, I doubt he'll ever have trouble with arrows shot by someone like Opie. Ichigo seems to be thinking the same thing, as he decides to ask Opie some questions about this medalization. But Opie isn't in the mood to give answers.
Opie then thinks something that still gives me great joy. He tries to analyze Ichigo's Bankai by looking at the strengths. Not only are Ichigo's slashes ridiculously strong, the real issue that Opie has is with Ichigo's speed. Finally, FINALLY, after all this time, Tensa Zangetsu's speed is what gives Ichigo the upper hand in this fight. The speed phantom finally lives up to its name!
Opie then starts considering his options. He realizes that he can't let his guard (Blut Vene) down. But he needs to shift his focus from using his Blut for defense, to offense. But all thanks to the high speed performance of Tensa Zangetsu, he can't . But if Opie can't use his Blut Arterie, his attacks don't have enough strength to beat someone who is using Bankai. That leaves Opie with a single option: ask for help. Oddly, he seems reluctant to do so. Either his pride won't allow for it, or there could be something else going on.
Luckily, Ichigo doesn't want to give Opie to ignore him, so he asks Opie the simple question: Are the Vandenreich afraid of Bankai?
To the heart of the matter
Not all candy has to be sweet, but this sure is
Opie tries to deny the fear of the Bankai, and does a poor job at that. His pitiful attempt to deny the fear is so lousy that Urahara decides to free Opie from that misery. A critical blow is dealt to Opie, giving Urahara the opportunity to pass of his phone to Ichigo. Urahara doesn't waste any time in telling Ichigo to hurry up and go to Soul Society. With the Senkai gate open already and Akon on the other side of the phone, Ichigo is ready for departure!
The Black Rescuer... need I explain it?... Obviously it's all about Zangetsu
I rather enjoyed this chapter. The first part focused mainly on the 12th division getting information on Ichigo and his potential for kicking some Quincy rear. Akon conversing with Urahara was rather amusing here, though things would've been more fun with KON being in the way first...
The second part was all about Opie coming to terms with his imminent defeat. From a revelation on Ichigo's Bankai being immune to the medalization, to a revelation of the 'Blut' being part of the Vandenreich's true power. Of course, the most enjoyable part to me is the part where he reveals that he just can't keep up with Ichigo in his Bankai state .
The final part is Urahara taking matters into his hands. Urahara not only managed to take out Opie with a single blow using only a Kidou spell with a sealed Benihime, but he even managed to create a Senkai Gate that directly connects from Hueco Mundo to Soul Society! Guess the sandals and hat aren't just for show... wait, what did the sandals and hat have to do with anything here? Anyways, Ichigo just about wrapped things up for himself in Hueco Mundo. All that's left for him now is to move on to Soul Society to purge the Vandenreich stains.
All in all, this was a great chapter. The drawings were excellent, I had some laughs, I had some awes, and the only thing that ruined this chapter for me was the lack of KON... Fine, it's not that KON would be key to this chapter, but still. The only thing that's rather disturbing about this chapter, and some of the previous ones, is the rate at which it's going. Sure, Kubo already planned out the story until the end, so he should be able to keep the pace going. But is this a pace that can be kept for another 9 to 10 years?
Tensa Zangetsu seems to be the only Bankai that's immune to the Vandenreich's Medalization skill. Does this have anything to do with Ichigo's form before using the Mugetsu, where he and Zangetsu became one?
Ichigo will tell the others he'll leave the rest to them as he departs to Soul Society. Akon will reveal which of the captains lost their Bankai, much to Ichigo's despair. They will then try to discover what it is that makes Ichigo's Bankai so special. The only way for Ichigo to find out, is to meet up with Zangetsu in his inner world... or to call Zangetsu out
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! I’ll see you guys again next week!
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thanks the underscore! honestly,I think kubo stretched this chapter a bit. I mean, those congrats by akon to ichigo weren't nedded: of course ichigo knew about HM,although they don't know about nel contacting him, but he was the first one attacked. hence,akon's statement isn't exact because there are too many things he didn't know about and that's the reason why kubo stretched,imo. for the plot the chapter was great, nonetheless.
to call tensa zangetsu out and made him fight with right hand of BB
or call zangetsu to fight BB, awesome scene
Kon ain't coming back. He got retconned out of the story because Kubo couldn't figure out what to do with him.
It's basically only anime that keeps reminding us of Kon. I think he hasn't really appeared since pre-HM?
Just kind of glad now that Ichigo had no problems whatsoever with Opie, it would feel a little.. not right if the bankai didn't help.