sahugani's Bleach Review 264

sahugani

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Sahugani’s Bleach Review 264

Do you know why this is my favorite wallpaper of all time? Guess who's missing

Hehe. I’m back. My computer has come back from the doctor and so I return to do the chapter review. It sucked not being able to do this last week. It is a pretty good way for me to relieve stress and also helps me share my opinions with people where I’d likely procrastinate posting those opinions on the discussion board due to the sheer size of the post that would ensue. Well, enough of that. Let’s get it on.

The Puppetmasters Cross Paths

the clash of creepy vibes

I don’t think that it can really be argued that Gin and Ulquiorra along with Aizen are the most manipulative bastards in the series. Both love toying with people’s emotions. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that Gin loves it and Ulquiorra effectively uses it to reach his goals. A conversation between these two is a rare occurrence as Gin himself stated. This interaction highlights the differences between their two styles of manipulation as well as their targets. During this arc, we have seen Ulquiorra’s mind games put to work on Orihime and have witnessed the cold callousness with which he bends her to his will. His commenting on another’s manipulation shifts focus to the other’s style. We return to Gin’s love of teasing Rukia. While Ulquiorra mentally ensnares Orihime to achieve a goal, Gin simply finds pleasure in Rukia’s pain. We’ve seen this once before in Soul Society as he dangled the idea of saving her before her eyes just to see her resolve crumble. Now he has led her directly to Kaien simply to watch her relive her greatest pain, though he sarcastically denies the manipulation. While most see this meeting as little more than an unexpected meeting to see who is behind the scenes, I see more due to my own theory for the end of this arc. I believe this meeting is also the result of Kubo phasing Tousen out of Aizen’s inner circle to set up his fall by the end of the arc.

how could you break that kid's heart

I won’t write out the theory in full because I still have not completed working out all of its kinks, but I will post enough so that you can get the basic gist of it. Tousen was brought to Aizen’s side because his blindness could cause a problem to Aizen’s plan. However, he was still easily manipulated by Aizen and thus I doubt Aizen has any shred of respect for him and considers him as just another weapon like he thinks of the Espada. Ever since the start of the Arrancar arc, Kubo has been setting up Tousen’s character for a great demise by the end of the arc. The first instance of this occurred when Tousen cut off Grimmjow’s arm. After that incident, Gin commented to Aizen that he knew Tousen would react that way and implied that Tousen was just another pawn that he was manipulating. The second reason I developed this opinion stemmed from his relationship with Wanderweiss. As we have seen with his relationship with Komomura, Tousen is more than willing to abandon friends who put their faith in him if that path goes against his vision of justice. Kubo has put under Tousen’s wing an arrancar child with enormous untapped power but whose innocence leaves him vulnerable. Kubo has not put these two together for no reason. He is foreshadowing a future conflict between the two. It can be assumed that Tousen will betray Wanderweiss’ trust just as he did Komomura and Hisagi. The difference this time is though, that Wanderweiss has the mind of an innocent child and once he is betrayed, he won’t know how to handle it other than to lash out at the one causing him pain. I foresee Tousen’s death or at least brutal beating at the hands of Wanderweiss.

take a good look at who Aizen likes more

This meeting relates to that theory in that it points out Aizen’s new inner circle. While Tosen was easily manipulated by Aizen, Ulquiorra’s level of mental analysis begins to rival Gin’s or his own. Not once has Aizen used Ulquiorra as a tool for his amusement as he has for Tousen. In addition to this, Tousen’s history and bankai have already been revealed and is thus expendable whereas Gin and Ulquiorra are still shrouded in mystery, allowing for further development down the line. Ulquiorra conversing with Gin marks a reversal of their roles in the hierarchy of Heueco Mundo. Before we would see conversation between Gin and Tousen and interaction between Ulquiorra and Yammy. During this arc’s progression though, Tousen’s connections have been moved closer to Aizen’s tools, the arrancar, through his interaction with Wanderweiss and Grimmjow while Ulquiorra has moved to a more central role through interaction with Orihime and now Gin.

Is it Real?

the drawn sword is a pretty good clue not to trust him

For the past few chapters, the big emotional scene has been that between Kaien and Rukia as she tries to figure out how he is not dead and whether or not he is an enemy. After last week’s attack, we don’t really know what to think and this week doesn’t really help the understanding process. He explain the sudden attack as revenge for her killing him before, which she does not question. This is the first clue that he is not in control of his actions. The real Kaien would not have blamed her for his death and all who knew him knew that as well and forgave her easily because of that fact (except Ganju, but he was just a child and could not be expected to think rationally, especially when Rukia’s first guilt-filled words to him were that she killed Kaien). The scene shows us that even after Ichigo helped her move past Kaien’s death, her guilt over the matter is still so strong that she can accept this illogical conclusion. I think that at that point she does suspect that it is not Kaien’s mind in control, but still is willing to die for her guilt by the hands of Kaien’s body. Because of this, I believe there must be some interference at some point to keep her from giving her life willingly later in the battle or afterwards. I’m guessing that that person will be Ichigo as other than Rukia, there are only two people who bear strong enough connections to both Rukia and Kaien to create an dramatic scene that builds on that of Rukia and Kaien. Ukitake would be logical, but his sickness makes it unlikely. Ichigo both would save Rukia and would also allow for some hint as to the similarity of his appearance to Kaien or at least witness his shock at the sight of his face.

how can those eyes not terrify him

The second part of this conversation between the two only drives the wedge between Kaien and Aaroniro’s personalities even farther as he asks Rukia to collect the heads of her teammates. While giving her own life to Kaien was a fate she would happily resign to if not for her mission, the lives of her friends are something more sacred. This act is what sets Rukia over the edge and finally makes her deny Aaroniro’s identity as Kaien. I must say I almost died when I saw this scene due to the deep anger in Rukia’s eyes. While she cannot deny that it is Kaien’s body, she admits to herself that Kaien’s mind is not in control and is now more than willing to kill him for his defamation of her superior’s name. This act proves that she has grown mentally stronger since she killed Kaien the first time. Both before and now, another evil personality has used Kaien’s body to cause pain to others. Both times he has been a threat to others and both times Rukia’s guilt has led her to wish for death. However, before she focused only on her own pain and not on that of Kaien himself, who would have preferred death to watching friends die by his hands. This time, Rukia, though willing to pay for her debt of life to Kaien, refuses to let Kaien’s name be soiled by the deaths of anyone else.

I hope Nejibana's release isn't that trident from the game

As to my beliefs on the truth of Kaien’s being, I believe that it is his body, but not his mind. The mannerisms, knowledge of the past, and appearance of Nejibana all point to his true body and memories. The only question comes as to why is he acting this way or who is controlling that body. It is clear that at this point in time, the Kaien of the past’s mind is in no way controlling the body. Even if he did have partial control during the moments of normal conversation with Rukia, the speech is too fluid as it transitions back and forth for it to be two minds arguing for control. The leading candidate is the hollow who took over his body before as he both had control of Kaien’s body before and has reason to hate Rukia. While this makes sense, I still am unsure of that. Although it all fits very nicely, it does seem a little too simple for the story. It would be much more compelling for the mind to be the real Kaien whose personality warped or the act of his own inner hollow to create a deeper reason for the meeting of him and Ichigo. I guess time will tell as this matter is still so vague at the moment. Hopefully we will see more of this conflict in the coming chapters to shed more light on the matter.

Sodeno Shirayuki is incredible every time i see it

Oh, and as to the chance of Rukia’s bankai being a possibility, I doubt it in this fight. I’ve explained my reasoning in the biblioteca thread dedicated to that so look there if you want to know why. I don’t feel like writing it out again.

_________________________________________________
Edit: here is the explanation i have for why Rukia cannot have Bankai AT THIS TIME that i wrote in the biblioteca "Rukia and Bankai" thread -

sahugani said:
i think it is pretty much impossible for Rukia to have Bankai. think of the methods for obtaining Bankai. one is the whole 10 years thing so thats out of the question. from what i can tell the biggest part of that method is bringing the zanpakuto's true form into the material world and bankai is achieved by interacting with the true form. the method Ichigo and Urahara used simply cheats this step by using a doll to bring the true form out forcefully. after that both methods are pretty much the same except that by using the doll, a time limit is put on that carries a penalty if broken. the ten years normally accounts for both the time it takes to summon the sword's true form and the time to interact with the true form at a safe pace.

Renji (and i'm assuming Ikkaku) had already perfected summoning his sword's true form and so it was his determination to save Rukia that sped up the interaction process (and in Ikkaku's case, i'm assuming that his was sped up by his sword wanting to fight as much as he does). Since Rukia has been in a depression for a long time (before meeting Ichigo) with Byakuya's coldness and Kaien's death, i doubt she had the mental resolve to master the summoning portion of the process. since she didn't have that or Yoruichi's doll, she couldn't even use her new resolve to speed through the second part like Renji did.
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Renji’s Turn

Renji's new tricks better be really cool

Ichigo, Ishida, and Chad got the Tres Cifras fights (and Chad got a little more :crying) and Rukia got to start against Aaroniro, so now it is finally Renji’s turn. We’ve been waiting for quite a while to get to see the results of Renji’s training with Chad and soon we will as he has been paired off against the 8 Espada, Zaeruapollo Grants. Renji has been a bit of a wonder as to how he would get to match an Espada because of the nature of his powers. Ichigo, Ishida, and Chad were left definite room to grow through hollowization, better Quincy toys, and unique powers with an unknown limit. Rukia, though I don’t believe she’ll pull out bankai, is a kido and speed type, so she was left room to grow through development of new shikai abilities. Renji on the other hand not only has already obtained bankai, but the fact that he is a direct combat type limits his potential for technique development. We cannot expect any cool new applications of his power like Byakuya’s imperial sword or Toshiro’s ice prison. I just hope that whatever direct combat technique he comes up with will be cool enough to knock my socks off. I know he will win this fight, but I just don’t know how. After Chad’s total decimation and Rukia’s unfortunate match up, Kubo cannot afford to let another Espada win or he will have doomed every member of the team except Ichigo.

there is definately resemblance

Another interesting aspect of this fight is the fact that Zaeruapollo’s last name is the same as Ilforte Grants, the numberos that Renji killed during Grimmjow’s invasion of Karakura. This gives Zaeruapollo an interesting motivation to fight as it somewhat humanizes him among the arrancar. The fact that he is or will be likely fighting out of revenge for his brother makes him seem less cold hearted than his fellow espada. This may tie in after his defeat as that human aspect rears its head again. We have seen him show some distrust in Aizen and he may reveal some secret to Renji after his defeat in order to throw a wrench in Aizen’s plan. If he is human enough to care for his brother, then it is not out of the question that he could entrust his goals to those who wish to stop Aizen. Besides the reasons of his fight, he seems odd in another way as well. The last page seems to depict him pulling something out of his ear. This could be related to his zanpakuto (as many arrancar zanpakuto seem to have odd shapes) but it seems closer to a headset for communication. If I am right about him revealing Aizens plot, this would make sense if he was removing the tool with which his words could be heard. Even if he wasn’t planning on saying anything at the start of the fight, he is still going against orders to go after an intruder and wants to keep this hidden. As the espada scientist, I can expect him to fight in a manner similar to Maiyuri through use of various tools and chemicals, but don’t want it to end up the same style.

i can't wait to see who he'll terrify next

Zaeruapollo’s match with Renji also throws a kink in my thoughts on Noitora’s next victim as last chapter, he left Chad’s unconscious body for a new opponent. Since Renji and Rukia are busy at the moment, it leaves Ichigo and Ishida. From the levels of power displayed by Chad and the ease with which that power was overcome, I highly doubt that Noitora is the 7 Espada and so if he fought Ichigo, then it would make Grimmjow’s later fight somewhat anti-climactic. At this point my best guess is that Noitora will encounter Ishida, but the fight will go somewhat differently than Chad’s. I know that Ishida will have no chance of beating Noitora, so from Ishida’s general tactics and the fact that Chad determined Noitora to be slow, I expect that Ishida will be able to flee. After fleeing, he will find Chad and help him. As for Ichigo, I expect to see him fight Grimmjow very soon. While I am certain that Renji will win against Zaeruapollo, I doubt Kubo would let him beat an Espada before Ichigo, so I think we may see the fights cut back and forth as they simultaneously take down their opponents. This forces the espada to see the intruders as a threat for two of their members to fall at the same time. This will likely bring about interference from Ulquiorra, Tousen, or other Espada.

Overall

What is there not to like about this chapter besides the lack of answers? The main focus of the chapter was placed on the continuation of Rukia and Kaien’s interaction and though we were left in the exact same state of confusion as last week regarding his control, we got to witness one of the best panels in the history of Bleach as Rukia released her sword in rage. That one moment made everything worth it. I NEED a good artist to make that into a desktop background so I can cherish that memory in color.
 

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