Bleach 277 Review by Gigantor21

gigantor21

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277. Corrosion of Conformity

I’m switching back to the psuedo-essay format. The point format was too dry.

This is the first chapter in a while that was interesting from a plot standpoint, as opposed to visuals (Rukia vs. A’rroniro) or grindhouse-style awesomeness (last week). The main reason for this, obviously, was that Kubo finally spent a chapter on something other than the Zaeruapollo fight, which happened too late to avoid writing himself into another corner. But that’s no big deal yet, since he focused entirely on the most important subplot in the arc.

Now, unlike many people here, I didn’t want Ichigo to have another visit from Shirosaki or Zangetsu and didn’t expect Kubo to do it. And if he did, I didn’t expect him to handle it in the only way it’d seem legit—that is, Shirosaki taking control again, forcing Ulquiorra to release, and then getting his ass kicked. That way, as I’ve said a billion times by now, Kubo wouldn’t be able to “deus him up” whenever he liked, and Shirosaki would figure out that he needed to help Ichigo for their mutual benefit.

I never bought that “crushing the Hollow into your soul” crap, because it sounds so similar to Bankai but makes less sense and yielded far less useful results. The idea that a tentative subordination of Shirosaki will be Ichigo’s last hope is backwards—how can he fully tap into his Hollow power when he keeps it at arm’s length? He has to be strong enough to EMBRACE the Hollow side without losing himself, not use it in limited doses under a time limit. That ties into my belief that Tensa Zangetsu is a hollow shell of Ichigo’s real Bankai, and that he needs to tap into his full potential as a Shinigami before becoming a true hybrid, as opposed to a Shinigami with a mask.

In an interesting aesthetic dichotomy, similar to the situation in 271, the art was great in some aspects while strangely flawed in others. On the one hand, there were a few great looking panels and sequences, such as Grimmjow kicking Ichigo and the layout from pages 12 to 15. But at the same time, the pacing was all over the place, the flow of the story compressing and decompressing like an accordion. The parts with Nell’s guilty rambling and Grimmjow explaining his intentions were wildly rushed, while the 12-15 sequence and the last 2 pages were tightly controlled and much more effective. Kubo could’ve easily made up for that with more pages, so there’s no excuse for someone with his level of experience producing such haphazard looking work.

Kubo’s handling of the story here, however, was very nice overall. For the majority of the chapter, it looked like we were about to get the most commonly anticipated result of Grimmjow’s insubordination; a rematch with Ichigo that Grimmjow was sure to win. But at the very last moment, Ulquiorra popped in to say hello--while that was the main culprit in the turbulent pacing near the end, it dashed my fears away all at once. A few people predicted that Ichigo and Grimmjow would team up, but no one said that it’d happen this soon or that Ulquiorra would be up to bat so fast.

For the first time in weeks, I’m really interested in where Kubo will take this for legitimate reasons. Unlike the last few chapters, it’s because of what was in the chapter, as opposed to what wasn’t. That’s probably the most important marker of any issue of any comic, and that’s what we got here.

Rating – 4 out of 5 (Very Good)
 

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