Bleach Chapter 489 – March of The Starcross – Review / Thoughts

April 18, 2012

This week I have to say that without a doubt, Bleach 489 was the standout chapter between this and Naruto. Whereas Naruto was firmly rooted in past events, Bleach was very much in the present, as well as setting up something brilliant for the future chapters.

Last week we got to see what looked like the beginning of Ichigo vs Kirge, but Ichigo instead starts off against a few other Quincy instead as you can see in the picture above. It doesn’t take long for Ichigo to realise that the people who before were only known to him as the Vandenreich were in fact Quincy. Kirge even comments on the fact that he invaded without even being 100% sure of who they were, not that it makes a difference to Ichigo as we all know by now.

Rather than Ichigo fighting, this chapter was more focused on the strange events that have been taking place in Soul Society, and who’s to blame for it. To begin with we just see Rukia pacing the floor in Soul Society where she is waiting for the captain’s meeting, with Renji telling her to calm down and take it easy, only for Kira to appear and interrupt. He tells them that something is bothering him, and explains how he used to think all the Vandenreich / Quincy stuff was connected with the disappearances from Rukongai, but now he realises that’s not the case.

Kira begins to explain his thoughts on the matters, and asks a question as well. When Yachiru answers, it confirms things for him, and he asks Nemu what Mayuri is hiding (having concluded that there was something odd about the way things had been done and investigated by his group). Nemu says Mayuri never told her anything about the disappearances, with Kira saying he will just have to report it to Yamamoto himself. Later in the chapter, we see Yamamoto confront Mayuri about it and asks him what’s going on. Mayuri tells him that it’s true he was behind the disappearances, as he had some Shinigami go in to Rukongai and kill the people to keep the balance between spirits and people even. Yamamoto asks why he didn’t ask for permission, saying that under the current circumstances it would have been approved anyway.

Mayuri says that if things had got worse, his unit would have been held responsible for it, hence why he went ahead and did it anyway. Yamamoto responds by saying that if they had reported things sooner, then maybe things wouldn’t have become so serious in the first place. Without hesitation, Mayuri tells Yamamoto he is wrong. He then says how right back when Ishida first invaded Soul Society along with Ichigo etc he warned him of what could one day happen, but that Yamamoto claimed his fears were baseless and denied it.

Mayuri then says Yamamoto is the one to blame because he didn’t lill “that man”  1000 years ago. Meanwhile, with Ichigo distracted by his battle with Kirge and the other Quincy, the king declares that now is the perfect chance to invade Soul Society, and so they head off to do just that.

 

But yes, that was the main content of the chapter. As you can tell, things are getting very serious with potential consequences being unthinkable. The dischord in Soul Society just reminded me of something Kubo said in the interview he did shortly before the arc came out, that being that Soul Society would be devastated like never before (or something along those lines).

I mean, while I know the Quincy invasion is going to have a huge impact on everything, maybe a part of what will make things so devastating and like nothing they have ever seen before will be that Soul Society will become full of rifts between the Gotei 13. With this chapter we can already see that Mayuri is unhappy with Yamamoto, and Yamamoto doesn’t seem too happy with Mayuri either. Of course we have no idea who “That man” is / was, but he could even come back to play some huge role, whether that be what happened in the past or even if he is still alive and active somehow today.

I was expecting this to be an action and battle filled chapter, but instead we were given something that is playing far more with the distrust and psychological aspect of things, and as a fan of that sort of thing then I enjoyed it a lot. Kubo really has done a spectacular job with this arc, and I can’t commend him enough for it. Kubo gets a lot of stick from people for all his trolling and “asspulls” that seemed to be brought up for every arc, but this time I can’t imagine there are too many fans who would criticise what he has done in this war arc.

This was a pretty awesome chapter, despite not being what I (and I suspect many others were expecting), and I really can see next week being fantastic, especially if the Quincy do indeed reach Soul Society by then.

Advertisements

Bleach Chapter 486 – The Crimson Cremation Review / Thoughts

March 28, 2012

With chapter 486 I feel Kubo did a great job of placing emotion in to Sasakibe’s funeral, while also possibly hinting at some big stuff happening down the line.

As you probably guessed, this chapter has the funeral of Sasakibe in it. I want to praise Tite Kubo though, because considering what an incredibly minor role the character played in the series, it still felt emotional because of the way Kubo wrote it. Byakuya is with Renji and gives a little speech about the kind of man Sasakibe was, and basically it went a long way to showing how loyal and dedicated he was to working with Yamamoto. Yamamoto himself, in a rare turn, is shown to be upset over it too. When he has his back turned to everyone else, it’s clear Sasakibe’s death has made an impact on him, with even Byakuya commenting on how he doesn’t know how Yamamoto must be feeling at the moment.

Moving on, we also found out a little more about what has been happening with Hueco Mundo. As well as Nel’s return, in this chapter we also see that her friend Pesche has come to the human world as well. It’s explained that after the deaths of Starrk and Baraggan, Harribel became the new leader. However, Hueco Mundo was invaded during this time and she was dragged away, while Dondochakka was also kidnapped. Elsewhere, we get to see a bit more from the Vandenreich king, who is seen talking with one of his men. The white haired guy is looking at Ivan’s medallion and comments on how it seems like Ivan couldn’t capture Ichigo’s Bankai. The king then says that it seems like they will need to use a special way to get him, and then orders that the hunting unit of Hueco Mundo is sent out to bring him a few more “idiots” to use.

Back in the human world, everything has clearly been explained to Ishida, Chad and Orihime. Chad immediately knows that this means Ichigo will want to go to Hueco Mundo to rescue the prisoners and says as much, but then Ishida tells them that this time he won’t be joining them. He doesn’t give any reason, but Ichigo doesn’t make a big deal out of it and seems happy enough, saying that he won’t need Ishida’s help anyway. Then, Urahara appears at the window and asks if he should arrange the trip to Hueco Mundo. The chapter ends with a guy in Hueco Mundo ordering some unseen people to keep moving and not to stop. Though with that said, the writing underneath flat out says that next time Urahara and Ichigo will be attacking the enemy army.

This was a really good chapter, and Kubo has delivered once again. The Sasakibe part was awesome as I said, and I loved the Ishida / Ichigo part too. This is a great way of hinting at a possible turn from Ishida, or at the very least having thoughts or doubts about certain things. Since Ishida has helped and backed Ichigo in practically every situation he has ever been in, it does raise questions as to why he is opting out this time. Of course we can guess because he is a Quincy he will play a big role somewhere down the line, and as an Ishida fan I welcome this possibility. I have been wanting more panel time and more of a main role for him for ages, and if he does end up siding with the Quincy it will be very interesting indeed.

I am also extremely excited to hear that Urahara and Ichigo will be fighting in the next chapter. Considering how rare it is for Urahara to physically get involved, this should be a real treat and a real epic moment. It also goes to show how serious things must be if Urahara is willing to get involved again, only previously doing so during the Aizen arc.

I am very excited by a lot of possibilities with this arc in all honesty, Kubo has done a brilliant job thus far and I can forsee that will continue since it is to be the last Bleach arc. A lot of major events are going to happen over the coming chapters, and I can’t wait to see them unfold. With this arc so far, Tite Kubo is showing Kishimoto just how a war should be written.


Bleach Chapter 485 – Foundation Stones Review / Thoughts

March 21, 2012

Let’s see, what can you expect from Bleach chapter 485?  A character’s death? Check. Two characters returning to the story? Check. More info on the Vandenreich? Check.  Kubo has really outdone himself this week, and between this and Naruto the Shonen Jump Manga is doing one hell of a great job to make up for the sadness of the Anime coming to an end.

The chapter actually starts out pretty grim in tone, we find out that Sasakibe really has died from the wound inflicted upon him by the Vandenreich, and Yuki is informed that he is to go back to Soul Society immediately to attend the funeral. Ishida speculates that the reason Soul Society called to inform someone as low down the ranks as Yuki about what has been happening recently is because they know Ichigo is with him, and that it’s a good indirect way of keeping him informed too. Ichigo is clearly upset and can’t rest properly, so he decides to go out and patrol Karakura just to try and clear his mind. Then from out of nowhere, Nel comes falling from the sky and crashes straight in to Ichigo.

I am delighted to see Nel again, and she is back in her child form for those wondering. Ichigo is rightly surprised and asks about why it has taken all this time for her to come and see him, but then we move on to the palace of the Vandenreich where the king is asking for the reports to be given to him.

I am going to cut to the chase here to keep the review brief and fluid. The king of the Vandenreich is a ruthless S.O.B. The guy he was talking to, Luders Friegen, the same person who’s arm was hacked off by him in the last episode, was lying on the floor in agony. He is panting away and trying to get up off the floor, only to be told by the king that he can stay on the floor if he wants. As Friegen is seemingly about to accept, the king says if he won’t be sitting then he doesn’t need his legs anymore and that he will hack those off too. Friegen is obviously terrified and makes some comment about never lying on the floor while talking to the king as it would be so disrespectful. Friegen then gets up and speaks to the king about the plan to take down Soul Society in 5 days, and comments that in the near future Soul Society will lose it’s balance of souls with the human world.

The king then asks him if he is some sort of prophet. Friegen isn’t sure what he means, but the king repeats himself. Friegen hesitates and says he isn’t, only to be asked why he is talking about the future then, and that the king only wants to talk about now. As soon as he finishes saying that, the king slaughters the guy with one fell swoop, and then starts speaking with Ivan. He tells Ivan that he has no reason to praise him, though he has nothing to blame him for either since he at least slowed down Ichigo. Ivan thanks the king, only to be told that his job is now over and that he would serve as a foundation stone to build peace. Again, as soon as he finishes his comment, the king cuts down Ivan without a shred of mercy.

One of the hooded Vandenreich ask if it was really ok to do that, saying that Arrancars are excellent soldiers because they don’t need to be taught how to fight. The king however says he doesn’t care, as he can easily get as many Arrancars as he likes. Then we get to see a full page of just Harribel chained up somewhere (as you can see from the picture at the top of this page), and one of the hooded Vandenreich comment on the fact that they have already taken over Hueco Mundo, while the king says it’s just another foundation stone to invading Soul Society.

Wow, what an incredible chapter this was! So much revealed, plus the return of both Nel and Harribel just like Kubo spoke of in the recent interview! I am delighted to see them both return, though naturally I feel bad for Harribel being held prisoner by the Vandenreich. Speaking of whom, it was nice to see Ivan confirmed as an Arrancar and proving my earlier guess about him right. The way some of the Vandenreich were speaking, it again hints at the fact they are Quincy too. But having taken over Hueco Mundo is an amazing feat, and if they really can create as many Arrancar as they like, I think Soul Society is going to be in an awful lot of trouble very soon. An army of Vandenreich and Arrancar could finally be the thing that takes down Soul Society, and I really can’t wait to see how things turn out during the war!

The king of the Vandenreich really is merciless and I genuinely wouldn’t put anything past him, I can’t wait to find out what’s in store with him either. And of course, for all the people who have made jokes about Kubo never killing off characters, they can now keep quiet for a while at least since Kubo has done just that in getting rid of Sasakibe. Granted he is hardly a big name or an important character, but I get the feeling his death will be the first of many during this arc, and it wouldn’t surprise me if we end up seeing some of the most popular characters losing their lives at some stage.

Anyway, an absolutely fantastic chapter that reintroduced a couple of awesome characters and also answered some of the questions posed in earlier chapters. And of course, as always, feel free to leave a comment below on your thoughts and predictions for this and future chapters!


Bleach Chapter 483 – KriegsErklärung Review / Thoughts

February 29, 2012

So, with the oddly named chapter 483 we continue the final Bleach arc. Last time we were promised war by the mysterious group of people who invaded Soul Society, and this week we see they have the deadline set.

 

This was a pretty good chapter that also threw up a couple of interesting points. Firstly, I will start with Ivan Azgiaro vs Ichigo which took place in this chapter.

We know Ichigo is strong even without using his Bankai, so when Ivan began taunting Ichigo and trying to get him to use it then I am sure many of use were curious as to why he wanted it to happen so badly. When Ichigo finally relents and uses his Bankai, Ivan begans chanting some weird incantation while thinking to himself that this will put an end to Ichigo’s Bankai for good. I don’t know how or what type of attack it was he used or indeed what he is hoping to accomplish by taking Ichigo’s Bankai away from him, but some people have said that it feels like the kind of thing Ginjo already tried in the last arc – ie stealing Ichigo’s power for himself.

Ichigo shocked Ivan though when, despite being hurt by the attack, he still managed to smash through it by unleashing a Getsuga Tensho. I think Ivan must be working alongside the group who are planning on taking down Soul Society, and heck, he probably thinks that if he can take out Ichigo’s strongest power then that will be a massive blow to Soul Society’s chances of putting up any kind of resistance.

Which brings me to the next point, that being not only did we find out the name for this new group of mysterious people – the Vandenreich – but they also set the deadline for when the end of Soul Society would occur. They have already seemingly killed Yamamoto’s assistant Sasakibe, though maybe he will end up surviving a spear/lance through the chest what with this being Bleach, only time will tell.

But I find it interesting that Kubo probably has plans for the next couple of years at least for Bleach, and yet now the people who appear to be the main enemies have declared Soul Society will be destroyed in five days. Now I personally don’t believe that, and I also have a feeling now that the Vandenreich will not turn out to be the main villains or challenge Soul Society will face. Just for the fact there is still no sign of the Arrancar such as Grimmjow or Nel, as well as the fact Kubo himself has said he hopes to show Aizen in the Manga again at some stage tells me that there is no way he will allow things to be settled so quickly. I know in Manga time 5 days can be stretched out a lot, but to continue for any reasonable period of time then there is really no way 5 days would be enough even in Manga time if Kubo wanted to get more from the story.

I predict a good few twists and turns yet to come that will throw this stuff out the window, and despite the amount of criticism Kubo seems to get and being called a shit writer etc, I have faith that he will come through on this arc and do a great job. There is certainly plenty more to come and to look forward to though regardless of what does or doesn’t happen, so Bleach is definitely a series to keep your eye on now.


Bleach Chapter 479 – Goodbye to Our Xcution Review / Thoughts

January 11, 2012

My first Bleach review for this site, since the Fullbring arc is brought to a close with this chapter, I thought this was as good a time as any to start. But anyway, on to the chapter itself.

Well let me start by saying I think the Fullbring arc as a whole has been very good, it’s my favourite since Turn back the Pendulum in fact. While the ending wasn’t the greatest, overall I think it was a great way to start over after the battle with Aizen. But yes, this is the last chapter of the Fullbring arc regardless, with Kubo apparently mentioning a new arc starting immediately.

I want to say I loved the chapter this week, the arc definitely went out on a high note as we see what happens after the conclusion of Ichigo’s battle with Ginjo. Ichigo himself, ever the noble person, goes to Soul Society requesting Ginjo’s body since he wants to bury him in the mortal/human world. Of course it takes the other captains etc by surprise upon hearing his request, but really of course the readers know it’s pretty typical behaviour for Ichigo. A bit later in the chapter we also get to see Riruka’s departure. After sneaking away from Urahara’s store where she was resting, she eventually disappears herself without telling anyone since she knew everybody would remember her anyway, and she silently thanks Ichigo, Orihime, Chad and Ginjo in her thoughts before disappearing.

I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who is yet to read the chapter, but two familiar faces also make an appearance in this chapter and have apparently returned for good, something I quite honestly couldn’t be happier about, especially as one of them is one of my favourite characters.  This chapter did a good job of wrapping up a couple of loose ends and felt like a rather satisfying end to the arc, what kind of impact the returning characters will have remains to be seen, but overall I loved this chapter much like I have the majority of the Fullbring arc.

What does Kubo have in store next? Who knows, but unfortunately Bleach will be going on yet another break, and this time for 3 weeks, so we will sadly have a long wait to find out.