sahugani's Bleach Review 281

sahugani

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Sahugani’s Bleach Review 281


now i'm really curious as to Ulquiorra's release

Well as we all know, this RAW day has been a little bit odd. We can’t blame Kylara for wanting to take a bit of a vacation. Luckily, most of the sections were pretty tame during the course of the day. We had the Chinese scan to look at, even if we couldn’t get it scanlated. I guess in this case, we’re lucky Bleach chapters are so visually appealing at the cost of plot development. Even without scans, we didn’t really miss a thing just looking at the pretty pictures. The pics in this review are from the scan by blood-Edited Mangas and bludshock and the title WP is a piece done by SasoriSama over at Deviantart, so go check out the rest of his incredible gallery. Let’s get to it.

The Mask’s Evolution


at the very least, he's got Halloween in the bag

At the end of last week’s chapter, there was a bit of controversy as to whether or not there was a change in Ichigo’s hollow mask due to the fact that we lacked a close up of it. Now that we do see it in detail, we can tell that it has indeed changed, but it still seems a little bit strange in the context of the chapter. Well, first of all, lets point out the alterations to the mask. An aspect noticeable from the front is that the stripes on the mask’s left side have deepened. Since the number, position, or length of the stripes did not change, this alteration can be a bit debatable as to whether it’s a real change or just Kubo being inconsistent. I’ll stick with my analysis from the end of last week that the growth of the stripes is intentional and marks a greater degree of control over his vizard form. Another thing I noticed is the shape of the mask itself. While before, the mask was for the most part oval shaped, the mask has now started to mold itself around Ichigo’s face. The upper part has shaped cheekbones that carve inward toward the teeth while the bottom part has extended to match Ichigo’s lower jawbone. Both the expansion of the stripes and the growth of the mask indicate a higher level of unification between Ichigo and his hollow powers. As the mask is molding itself more to his face, it is no longer reminiscent of a simple tool which can be removed with ease. It is now an undeniable part of what he is. As I said last week, I believe the stripe growth indicates a greater level of control over his power, which he needs in order to win this fight.

Inoue’s Fear


When will it be Orihime's turn to kick ass?

It is Orihime’s first time seeing Ichigo in his vizard form, so it is only natural that she is scared when she sees a hollow mask on him. You may recall that she walked in on his vizard training, but when she arrived, Ichigo had already exceeded his time limit and the mask had dissolved, so she had no idea what kind of training he was doing. So far, only Rukia out of our heroes knows about Ichigo’s inner hollow, but even she has not witnessed him or any other vizard use hollow powers at will. With the exception of the friendly hollows traveling with them, they still consider hollow power to be necessarily evil. While she has faith in Ichigo, she has no concept of the vizard and the only type of shinigami and hollow crossbreed she has known are the arrancar. As her experience with them has been less than happy, it is easy to sense her fear as her savior’s reiatsu suddenly becomes similar to that of her captors. Ichigo knows she must be terrified of the mask, but still reassures her anyways. He realizes the stigma of fear that comes along with his mask, but doesn’t have the time to explain it to her. However, he feels he must reiterate his promise to her because otherwise, she would assume something is wrong and would try to help. Just by talking to her, he lets her know that he is still in control and not to worry about what happens to him. After Grimmjow starts to release, Ichigo tells her to form a barrier around herself and Nell as he knows both the unrestrained power he wields could hit her and that Grimmjow will not hold back on her account. I think that within that barrier, Orihime might get a clue to Ichigo’s strength from watching him and talking with Nell, who has seen it before.

Screaming Panther


here kitty kitty

With Ichigo’s mask drawn, Grimmjow is giddy and decides that they might as well both go all out from the start this time. After two fights of suspense, we finally get to hear the name of his zanpakuto and witness his released form. After releasing Pantera, Grimmjow’s form is extremely feline and feral. I can’t say I’m surprised that his release is feline as it has been foreshadowed heavily for a while now. I’m not a translator so I can’t be certain of its validity, but I remember that at his first introduction, his name was translated as Grimmjow Jaguarjack, which is the first hint to his release if it is indeed an alternate pronunciation. In addition to this, his frequent references to killing and instinct give his personality a very animalistic and carnivorous nature. With that type of personality, its easy to assume he has a close combat release in a canine or feline form. As most types of cats are very independent as opposed to the social dog families, this feline release suits the rebellious Grimmjow like a glove.

On the Hunt


I tawt I taw a puddy tat!

Now in his released state, we see the full force of Grimmjow’s release, which seems very well suited to fighting the hollow amplified Tensa Zangetsu. Following a blood-curdling battle-cry powerful enough to create a concussive sonic force, Grimmjow shows us the massive speed increase that his upgrade grants him. He even seems to be surpassing Ichigo, whose bankai’s power is to boost his speed. Following a couple kicks and strikes that send Ichigo through multiple towers in each hit, Grimmjow slams Ichigo through a tower to the ground with a five fingered slash that cut the air around him. Needless to say, Grimmjow’s release is pretty straightforward and completely badass. I don’t think anyone expected anything other than direct melee fighting from his release and that’s what we got. In the future, I personally hope to see some technique that utilizes his “tail” as the problem with straightforward fighters like him and Ichigo is that the moves they use get a bit repetitive, but its interesting when a fighting style uses the very individual aspects of the character or weapon itself to pull out new moves. So far the best example of this is when Ichigo’s inner hollow started spinning Zangetsu by the cloth.

Retaliation


Gotcha Bitch!!!

Though we see Ichigo getting totaled by Grimmjow’s enhanced speed and feral fighting style for quite a few pages, Ichigo is far from done. From the dust of Grimmjow’s last attack, Ichigo is able to get behind Grimmjow and unleash an enormous Getsuga Tenshou. While at first it seemed like Grimmjow’s realease had allowed him to surpass Ichigo in speed, we now see that Ichigo wasn’t even trying at that point and in all reality, his matches or is still a bit higher than Grimmjow’s. However, despite Ichigo’s speed and the power of his last attack, Grimmjow comes out of it without a scratch, but admitting its power. At this point, the two seem to be near perfect matches for eachother. The question now is whether Ichigo can keep his mask on long enough to finish the fight. Despite my analysis of the changes to his mask, there is really no evidence to suggest that he has broken his 11 second limit. The changes to the mask have been pretty much ignored, so it may just be attributed to an artistic change, in which case the mask should break any second now and Ichigo will be screwed. While I do think Ichigo will lose his mask at some point, I don’t think it will happen yet. I still believe that he has broken his low time limit and will continue on like this for a while before his mask is dissolved for different reasons. Ichigo just proved that he is on par with Grimmjow, so before he loses his lead by having the mask shatter, he should have a good chunk of time where he actually has the upper hand in the fight. By the end though, he’ll have regained it as I doubt Kubo would give Ichigo the same kind of lucky kill he gave Rukia.

Overall

Well despite the ever present lack of story development, I must say I loved this chapter. The fact that we finally saw Grimmjow’s release was enough to make it great. However, even though we did see the noticeable changes to Ichigo’s mask, the chapter failed to suggest any reasoning for the change or any circumstance of it, so I ended up having to theorize based on what I hoped it meant. All in all, I can't wait till next week.
 

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