sahugani's Bleach Review 298

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Sahugani’s Bleach Review 298


Kubo's spreads make the best wallpapers :D

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Let me just state for the record that Bleach is officially orgasmic this week from a reviewer’s standpoint (or anyone’s standpoint). Ahem. I don’t really want to waste my time on the intro this week, so let’s just start in. The pics for this review come from the Mangashare Edited Manga as does the title pic, which is a Kubo original.

Concern


i'm surprised there isn't more yaoi for these two, but i guess eyepatches aren't vey bishie

To start off this epic chapter, Kubo has given us a colored page to remind us of last week’s awesome revelation. Ichigo stares in disbelief as the demon captain of the Gotei 13 towers over him. Kenpachi mocks Ichigo a bit for looking so pathetic while Noitora’s demeanor takes quite an opposite turn. He quickly plunges some spirit energy into the ground to remove Tesla’s hand from Kenpachi’s blade. Tesla, quite oblivious to the level of power Zaraki wields, becomes annoyed and tries to smash the shinigami. For the first time, Noitora openly shows that he cares for his fraccion but his warning is too late and Tesla is slain. Up until now, it has been quite obvious to me that both Noitora and Tesla care for each other (and not in a yaoi way) but the Espada has trouble showing it. Despite the countless times that he has threatened Tesla’s life and attacked him for getting in the way, the fact remains that he has kept Tesla around as his sole fraccion for years. Between Noitora’s desire to be in control and Tesla’s repeated disobediences to protect his master, Noitora should have killed off and replaced Tesla a long time ago. The fact that he didn’t is proof that he really does appreciate the care his subordinate shows him. Up until now, I’ve been hoping that Noitora gets killed off, but now I think chances are decent that both will survive in the end.

Invasion


my reaction::spaz :pmg ...:faint

With Tesla gone, Ichigo asks Kenpachi a question that has been burning in all of our minds since last week: why is he here? Yamamoto had previously said that the Gotei 13 would not help in this fight as they wanted to use the next couple moths to prepare for the war in the winter. The fact that Zaraki has arrived implied to some people that some captains had disobeyed orders. The truth is in fact much more interesting. Apparently, Yamamoto himself had commissioned Urahara to stabilize the passage to Hueco Mundo to allow for the shinigami captains to pass through. The date of the battle in winter was previously thought to be based on the assumed time it would take for Hougyoku to awaken. While that is a major factor that determined the latest possible date for the battle, it was mostly based on how long it would take to prepare a gate to Hueco Mundo. Logically, the more time that is given to Aizen to awaken Hougyoku, the more powerful arrancar he can create. Since three months is too short for most shinigami to build up enough strength such as bankai (Urahara’s three day method would likely fail for most if not all of the vice-captains), giving more time would allow Aizen’s strength to increase at a faster rate than Soul Society’s. Luckily, Urahara had taken far less time than estimated to complete this gate, so the shinigami captains could pass through. You may ask if Ichigo’s crew could pass through at that time, why couldn’t Urahara just tell Yamamoto it was done and allow the captains to pass through then. Recall how far away Ichigo, Ishida, and Chad’s entrance was from Las Noches and how unstable Garganta was for Ichigo and Chad to pass through. Kenpachi’s control of spirit particles would never have let him set foot into Garganta at that time and even if he and the other captains did get there, the only reason Ichigo’s crew arrived so early was due to riding Bawabawa. Urahara had not fully completed his work by that time and agreed to let Ichigo through for two reasons. First of all, he knew that Ichigo’s personality would not allow him to sit and wait, so allowing the quick entry would at least allow Ichigo to maintain his focus rather than sit and obsess. The second reason is that Ichigo’s crew would likely cause an uproar in Hueco Mundo that would ease the entrance of the Gotei 13 captains by acting as a distraction.

On a separate note, what really made me squeal about this chapter is the mere fact that Urahara took an order from Yamamoto. He has been banished from Soul Society, so any aid he has lent to the shinigami so far has been from his own intentions. Since Aizen’s betrayal, there are a number of factors that eased the relations between Urahara and his old boss. First of all, with the reasons for his former actions explained and Yoruichi’s friendship with Soi Fong restored, the negativity associated with his name in Soul Society has been greatly diminished. In addition to that, there is the matter of necessity. Since Soul Society learned that Ichigo was no threat and his strength could help them, they officially made him their ally. With Urahara’s name no longer being considered a disgrace (for the most part) the same should apply to him. He alone has the best knowledge of Hougyoku, is the best researched on the matter of the arrancar (short of possibly the vaizard), and his location in the real world allows him better access to Hueco Mundo than Soul Society. We have been assuming all this time that he has been helping Soul Society unofficially due to his own goals simply coinciding with his own, which has been the constant idea behind his whole character thus far. We were blinded to the idea that he could actually be working more directly with the Gotei 13.

Rukia’s Protector


spikey's release better be badass

Ok. Now the part were all waiting for. It seems that for my previous predictions on the savior captains, my mistakes can be blamed on over-analysis and a slight bias for my own hopes. I had hoped to see Ukitake’s reaction to Kaien (who along with Chad and Urahara are my favorites) and tried to put aside the logic of Byakuya being the one to save his sister. I guess I have a tendency to over-analyze toward a more plot-heavy prediction if the reality seems a bit too easy to guess. In any case, Kuchiki Byakuya is the one to arrive at Rukia’s location just as the new Espada unsheathes his sword and reveals himself as the #7 Espada, Zomari La Roux. I had previously guessed that Halibel was the #7 Espada because otherwise Noitora would try the same thing on her that he did to Neliel. I guess that he hasn’t gotten the opportunity (or she’s really a man with boobs).Given that Zaerapollo’s fight looks like its about to end soon, I’m hoping this takes its place as the battle that switches back and forth from the Noitora fight. Ichigo had a somewhat difficult time fighting a released #6 Espada with a bankai and a hollow mask while fully healed by Orihime. With this in mind, we can’t really expect Byakuya to have an absurdly quick victory against an Espada one rank below. I’m hoping we see something new out of him, but I don’t suppose I should hold my breath.

Chad’s Savior


at least i know for sure that Chad will be a-ok

On this front, I admit my guess was purely bias interfering with logic. I had guessed Komomura because Chad really has no allies amongst the captains and I saw an opportunity to bring in Tousen’s best friend. In addition, I figured that if Chad recovered, they would be like the giant duo. Instead, the ones to arrive are Unohana and Isane from the Fourth squad. As the opponents are the Exequias rather than an Espada, I guess the battle captains would be a bit of overkill (not to say anything bad about Unohana’s capability with her yet unseen combat skills). Since technically Rukia seems to be the most injured, I figured any 4th division presence would be with her group and I guess technically Hanatarou could still pop out from behind Byakuya. He was the only one who didn’t bring his vice-captain (since Renji already left before him) and so I wouldn’t doubt if Hanatarou and possibly the Renji fanboy from 6th division Rikichi appeared to take care of Rukia while or after Byakuya fights Zomari. Getting back to Unohana, she tells the Exequias that she is there to heal Injuries and would prefer not to fight, but I doubt her opponent’s will listen. Since the captains’ appearance seems to mark a wrap-up of this round of combat, I’m assuming that her fight as well as Byakuya’s will be relatively short compared to the previous Espada fights. Since these two are the medical division leaders, their battle capability has not been a major issue up till now. We have seen in the Soul Society arc that Isane’s shikai seems to have ice-based combat abilities (from the name and design at least) and that Unohana’s is a giant flying manta that heals people in its stomach. Unlike the other shinigami saviors here (except Yachiru-chan), we are still in the dark as to what they can do in combat. I’m hoping that at the start we will probably see Isane show off some shikai abilities and it will end by the revealing of Unohana’s bankai. While I would love to fit in Unohana healing Chad while Isane buys her time so that he may join the fun, I really cannot see this happening.

Zaerapollo’s Nightmare


now is the time to run you overdramatic bastard

If my error in Chad’s helper was purely bias, my error here was purely over-analysis. This fight has been going on way too long and I expected that the arrival of the shinigami captains would mean some quick victories. I counted Mayuri out as an option because his personality in clashing with Zaerapollo’s would take a hell of a lot longer than Byakuya simply finishing the bastard off. Now I’m thinking that the captain fights won’t take as long as the previous Espada fights but will not be the quick victories I previously thought. Under that logic Mayuri makes sense. I figured Byakuya’s quick victory style would be the best way to win as it destroys the chance for Zaerapollo to disintegrate any second attacks. Since the battle’s a bit longer, Mayuri’s style makes more sense. Zaerapollo is a scientist who manipulates his surroundings to negate his opponent’s abilities and torture them. Mayuri is a scientist that manipulates his own body to attack and torture his victims. The best description is that Mayuri is to Zaerapollo what Kenpachi is to Noitora. As I have stated before, Noitora fights to feed his ego and prove his dominance while Kenpachi fights just for the hell of it. Similarly, Zaerapollo studies his subjects so that he can cripple them and prove he is better than them while Mayuri studies and dissects his victims just because he wants to know. Mayuri and Kenpachi are purists of their dark hobbies and are thus here to crush these imposter arrancar who encroach upon their images. As for the other people scattered around here, while some might worry about the safety of Ishida, Pesshe, and Dondo-Chakka, I’m not. Mayuri has found in Zaerapollo a far more interesting specimen than any of the other people there. While he was interested in Ishida before, it was only for the study of a few techniques while Zaerapollo offers the opportunity to study a whole new class of specimens. Also, by keeping the Espada alive, he can extract the research that Zaerapollo himself has done. While I really wanted this fight to end by Renji’s blade, it looks like he and Ishida will be under Nemu’s care while the captain finishes the job.

Noitora’s New Opponent


this deserves the title "clash of the titans" (unless Chad and Komomura fight in which case it goes to them)

At the end of the chapter, the fight returns to Zaraki Kenpachi and Noitora Jiruga (finally a full name for this guy), which definitely promises to be the central battle of the four. As both exchange names, each admits the strength of the other and seems excited to start (though Noitora’s still seems to waver between thrill and fear just like when fighting Neliel). As for how this fight will progress, I can make a few assumptions. First of all, no matter how much I wish it would happen, I doubt we’re gonna see Yachiru’s fighting strength unless somehow Tesla survived and still has the strength to fight (and while I doubt it I REALLY hope this is the case just for the excuse of seeing Yachiru). Regarding the main fight, it is evident that neither is starting at full strength, but the question arises of what their boosts will be. For Kenpachi, it is easy to say that somehow he reconnected with his sword and can now use shikai (and there are even a few who say bankai just cause of his sheer power). I can say with some certainty that this will not happen. First of all, just for the type of character he is, I just get the strong feeling that it is not in him. As for actual evidence, I say to look at his sword. It has been said before that the jaggedness and uncared-for appearance stem from the lack of a connection between himself and the sword. Since the blade has not repaired, the disharmony between the two still exists and he cannot call upon its power for help, thus making shikai and bankai impossible. For Noitora, the question is what the shape of his release will be. At the start of the fight between Ichigo and Noitora, I pointed out the similarities in characterization and design between Noitora and a cobra or rattle snake and how that differed from how other characters like Ichimaru and Renji use snake symbolism. Some people have taken this theme very far and guess that it is the basis for his release. However, with arrancar releases, the shape and type is not always so obvious as it is based more on the person’s personality than anything. Grimmjow was a bit of a rare case in which his predatory personality matched his feline symbolism, but the same cannot be said of Nel’s unexpected release. Since Noitora’s recent hesitations and care for Tesla don’t really seem to fit with the cobra/rattlesnake theme, it might be something completely different.

Overall

As I said in the intro, the best way to describe this chapter is orgasmic. For the hell of it, I’d also call it fantabulistic and scrumtralescent as real words fall short. This is truly the pinnacle of the series since I’ve been reviewing the series. The way Kubo cut the various scenes together proves he is one of the most cinematic mangakas I’ve seen. In addition to the beautiful artwork, the way it cuts from one location to the next makes it seem a bit more fitting for a climax in a movie (and I hope the anime keeps this cutting style when they get here). And in addition to that, if only you could hear the squeal I gave when I read that Urahara had worked under Yamamoto’s orders. It is now official that Bleach has for the time taken the title of my current top series (though overall, I’m sorry but I can’t put it above One Piece)
 

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