sahugani's Bleach Review 269

sahugani

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Sahugani’s Bleach Review 269


OK. Cleaned version is up

Another week is ending and brings us our weekly chapter of Bleach. In my case, it also brings me only a weekend away from the end of spring break. As the week came to a close I was delighted to see the level of humor that all three major series incorporated in the latest releases. After the recent serious chain of chapters chronicling Rukia’s fight, it feels good to just take a bit of a breather. Thanks to blood Edited Mangas for the pics in this review.

Death of an Espada


the screams of a dying volleyball

As was implied by the way last week’s chapter ended, the Espada 9 has been killed by the third dance of Rukia’s Sodeno Shiraiyuki. As one head lay split in half on the ground the other pleads for Aizen to save him. Aaroniero’s pitiful cries do make this fight seem more believable. As the only Gillian in the Espada, Aaroniero had developed a bit of a superiority complex and felt that since he alone had broken the shackles of weakness that plague his class, he was accepted and cared for by Aizen. In the end, he was just another pawn to Aizen and the other Espada. What is interesting is that he complains about the pain as if it was present when Aizen first gave him his rank. I think that his ability caused his body immense pain as it contained so much randomly assorted reiatsu in one body and that fishtank somehow alleviated that pain.

Victory


that will make an awesome sig

I don’t think anyone predicted that Rukia would have been the first to take down an Espada. This unexpected twist does do a good job of progressing the arc further though. Being that Rukia was far from achieving Bankai, the hope of her beating an Espada was slim to none from the start. Her emotional battle and subsequent victory served two purposes for the plot. First of all, it took Rukia out of the crew of fighters. Had someone else beat an Espada first, her shikai victory would seem extremely anti-climactic. The emotional aspect of her fight gave her fight extra meaning to make up for the lack of bankai coolness. The second reason is that the defeat of an Espada triggers a boost of activity within the Espada and signals the start of more major fights. As I said before, if she had not been the first victor, she would be either decimated by the higher level Espada or her victory over them would seem anti-climactic.

Rukia’s Promise


others have lived through worse wounds

Along with beating Aaroniero, Rukia is also faced with the mere task of surviving. She has promised to live for the sakes of both Kaien and Orihime. With Kaien’s words, “do not die alone,” ringing in her mind she reflects on her life and how she almost let him down. The most important thing though is that she has reapplied Kaien’s belief to Orihime. While Rukia is physically alone right now, she knows Orihime is more alone than she is. While none of our heroes know the exact reason why Orihime went with the arrancar, they know in their hearts that her act was not a betrayal and that leaves the option of sacrifice. Rukia knows that emotion better than anyone as she was ready to sacrifice herself to save Ichigo. She knows all the emotions Orihime has felt while imprisoned in Las Noches and can tell that Orihime is ready to die for the sake of her friends. Now that she has remembered Kaien’s words, Rukia will not let Orihime die alone.

Espada Alerted


Does she realize that the enemy is INSIDE Las Noches

With the death of Aaroniero, we get a quick scan of the responses of the Espada whom we have yet to meet and get to see a couple more subordinates and hear a couple more names. None of them seem fearful from the news (least of all the sleeping one with a pillow on his head) but are instead annoyed or indifferent. Let’s start with the female Espada, whose name is revealed to be Halibel by her subordinate. While she does seem to not care about it, her location seems to betray her intentions. In the meeting from a while back, she more than anyone else worried about Aizen’s warning not to take the intruders lightly. From what I can tell, she is the most directly loyal Espada to Aizen and takes every order extremely seriously. Fitting with his warning and order not to seek them out, she seems to be on the wall eagerly watching and awaiting one of them to come to her directly. As for the other Espada, there is less that I can deduce from the actions of the old man and black guy. As expected, the old man seems to simply be annoyed with the weakness and rashness of the less experienced arrancar. The Black guy seems to simply be the quiet type. He greatly reminds me of Chad in respect to his size and apparent personality, so pray with me that Chad will recover and meet his arrancar self. There were four Espada reactions shown, but the last one was so great that he deserves his own section.

Another Strange Subordinate


what happened to respect for superiors

Well as suspected from his tired appearance during the earlier Espada meeting, Stark is a very lazy guy. Kubo really likes to match the captains and Espada with subordinates who are exact opposites and this is one of the most humorous pairings yet. While Stark is extremely lazy, his subordinate, Lilinet, is extremely hyper and troublesome (kinda like Yachiru). So far it seems that the Espada have a system similar to the Soul Society Captains where each has a single subordinate numeros that acts as their vice-captain and this connection is deepened further by the aforementioned opposite pairing that is common to both groups. As to the particular relationship between them, the nature of Stark makes this pairing the first real comic moment we’ve seen from the Espada’s perspective. This makes me doubt that we will see Stark killed by one of the heroes. He is similar to Captain Kyoraku in that Kubo has set him up as likable and respect for him has been established. If he does end up fighting someone, both opponents will respect eachother by the end of the fight regardless of the winner. As much as I’d like him to fight Chad one way would be too similar to the Kyoraku fight (and it would be sad for him to lose again) and the other would be like Gantenbien. If he fights anyone, it will be Ishida, but I don’t expect to see him fight. At all

Zaerapollo’s Taunt


the teeth at least have to hurt a bit

Once again we return to Renji’s fight with Zaerapollo and from the looks of it, Renji is not doing so well. While Renji is on his knees, Zaerapollo receives the news that Aaroniero has been defeated. This information is passed onto Renji along with the as of now unproven statement that Rukia died along with the Espada. With newly awakened rage at the statement, Renji once again attacks with his shikai and despite Zaerapollo’s statement of superiority, Renji manages to draw blood on the Espada’s forehead with some unseen attack. After Rukia’s shikai victory, a new light can be shed on the future of this fight as well. While before I assumed that a majority of the fight would be Renji’s panicked running until they disabled the bankai seal by dumb luck, it now seems that Renji will actually give Zaerapollo a run for his money first with a mere shikai. We were granted a new shikai ability for Rukia and I foresee another one for Renji and that attack will be what sets off Zaerapollo’s arrancar release. I still believe that Renji and Dondo will release the bankai seal by chance and that Renji’s bankai will tear through whatever Zaerapollo has and will finish him quickly.

Second Meeting


will Ulquiorra ever even pull out his sword?

Well it seems that my dream of having Renji and Ichigo fighting Espada simultaneously may come true after all. Ichigo has now reencountered Ulquiorra and their conversation has been pushed to next chapter. Honestly, I did not see this coming. I thought Ichigo would run into Grimmjow before Ulquiorra, but there is actually still a chance of that. Due to Ulquiorra’s manipulative nature, it is highly likely that his appearance now will lead to a simple conversation before he either leaves or is interrupted by Grimmjow (or possibly a different Espada). I know Ulquiorra promised to take care of Ichigo personally if he should become a threat, but as he seems to be superior to the other Espada in terms of power and Aizen’s respect, it seems too soon for him to fight Ichigo here. I’m personally of the opinion that Grimmjow will butt in and insist on taking the fight before Ulquiorra, to which Ulquiorra will calmly walk away and make some comment about Grimmjow or Ichigo’s death. Other than this future prediction, the appearance of Ulquiorra in front of Ichigo also brings back the issue of Noitora, who went after some target who had not yet been taken. With everybody else either incapacitated or dealing with an Espada, it seems that Noitora is going after Ishida. It is quite clear to me that Ishida is no match for Noitora, so I’m guessing that he will find some way to flee and (hopefully) meet up with Chad to revive him.

Overall

It really felt good to have a laugh at the expense of an Espada as Lilinet woke up Stark. The chapter covered the conclusion of Rukia’s fight and beautifully tied the meaning she got from it to her current goal. It also transitioned the plot nicely into the next level as now the story is once again focused on the Espada. For quite a while, the emotional aspect of Rukia’s fight dominated the story, so the chapter brought us back to the original overall goal. In addition to that, it gave us a deeper look into the Espada and showed us a parallel to Soul Society, implying that they are not so different.
 
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