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.

Bleach Chapter 488 – Bond Behind Blast – Review / Thoughts

April 11, 2012

I have to say this was a pretty good chapter. This week I definitely have to say that Bleach was better than Naruto, so needless to say I was pretty happy with chapter 488.

There was a fight with the three Fraccion loyal to Harribel – Sun-Sun, Mila Rose and Appaci in this chapter, and Nel was doing her best to hype them up to Ichigo. Speaking of Nel, she was pretty funny in this chapter as she was riding on Ichigo’s back and doing stuff like covering Ichigo’s eyes so he can’t see where he’s going etc. But there was also some serious stuff in the form of the battle I mentioned above, and also with Soul Society preparing for war with the Vandereich.

This chapter confirmed what everyone knew already, that being that the Vandenreich are in fact Quincy. Mayuri confirms it during a meeting between the Gotei 13 and Yamamoto where they are relaying all the info they have on the Vandenreich and preparing to go to war with them. Yamamoto asks if they have found where the Vandenreich (who from this point on I shall refer to as Quincy since it’s been confirmed now) are located, but he is told that they still don’t know yet. Yamamoto tells them to start preparations for war immediately since they were given the 5 day deadline, with Yamamoto saying that they can’t trust people as despicable as the Quincy to even live up to their word, and that they could strike at any time.

Elsewhere, the trio (who Nel referred to as Tres Bestia) finally stop arguing amongst themselves, and instead start fighting and defeating some of the Quincy soldiers. Nel tells Ichigo that they are really powerful and scary, and tells him that he doesn’t even need to do anything as Tres Bestia will probably wipe out the entire army themselves in no time. Of course Ichigo still continues on anyway, while one of the Quincy runs up to the captain and says they are really strong and that they should retreat for now. The Quincy who said it is then just mercilessly killed, and the Quincy captain tells the Fraccion that he has a proposal for them.

He says that they are strong and that it’s wonderful, as they would be perfect pawns for “his majesty”. He says it’s why he doesn’t want to kill them, and suggests that they surrender instead and become pawns, where at least they would be reunited with Harribel. He then says that there could be no greater joy for them than what he just said, but the Fraccion refuse to listen, telling him not to underestimate them, with them then trying to attack the captain. The Quincy captain says it’s a shame they don’t want to negotiate with him.

Ichigo meanwhile hears a loud explosion, and Nel says it’s probably from the 3 devils and that she won’t make fun of Ichigo if he decides to go back. Just after she finishes saying it however, we get to see the Quincy captain standing on top of a rock or a hill (or something like that anyway) with the three bloody (and presumably) dead bodies of Sun-Sun, Mila Rose and Appaci at his feet. He then notices Ichigo, and comments that now with a Shinigami having arrived that it has been a really busy day for guests.

So yes, that was pretty much the content in the chapter, and it all tied together pretty well. We had the classic mix of seriousness and light hearted scenes / panels which has always been one of my favourite things about Bleach as a whole, and of course it was nice getting 100% proof and confirmation that the Vandenreich are members of the Quincy afterall. No doubt fans of Sun-Sun, Mila Rose and Appaci will be pissed off that they were wiped out so quickly and effortlessly, but I guess Kubo is doing it just to build up some hype and add some feats to the Quincy before they go up against the Gotei 13 and Soul Society.

Speaking of which, of course it was very interesting to see Ichigo being noticed by the Quincy captain, as it means there could very well be a fight between the two of them in the next chapter. Obviously it’s no guarantee as the captain could have other plans, but if it does go ahead it should be awesome, especially if / when Urahara eventually catches up to Ichigo as well. There is still a lot to come and a lot to expect from this arc and the upcoming chapters, and admittedly this chapter didn’t advance things too much, but overall it was still an enjoyable chapter and one that I really liked reading.

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!