Bleach, Vol 12
Author: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Viz Media
American release date: April 4, 2006
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/208 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★
Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes
Renji Abarai, assistant captain to 6th squad’s Captain Kuchiki, after being defeated by Ichigo has only one thing to say to him—“Save Rukia!” Kira and Hinamori come upon Renji and are amazed that he has been defeated, but they are too late to fight Ichigo, as he and Ganju and Hanatoro have already gone. Kira and Hinamori intend to send Renji to be healed by the 4th Company but are prevented from doing so by Byakuya Kuchiki, who instructs them to dump him in a cell! Gin Ichimaru assures Kira and Hinamori that he will send word to 4th Company anyway. Toshiro Hitsugaya appears after Gin leaves and warns Hinamori not to trust the Third Company, especially….
Head-Captain Yamamoto overlooks Gin’s previous actions and declares all-out war on the Ryoka.
Ichigo awakens to find himself being healed by Hanataro of the wounds he suffered fighting Renji. When he insists he’s ready to go, Ganju knocks him out again, proving how weak he really is. Hanataro tells Ganju that Ichigo’s life was saved by a mask in his pocket, one which resembles a Hollow. How did he acquire such an object, though?
Disturbed by the idea of fighting, the peaceful Hinamori, assistant captain of the 6th Company, seeks out her captain, Aizen, to speak with him. His soothing voice and words, his calm smile, relax her so much she falls asleep. When she wakens, she finds Aizen gone and she is going to be late for assembly if she doesn’t hurry. Luckily, she knows a short-cut, but in taking this route, she comes upon a horrific sight!
Hinamori finds herself in hot water when she tries to attack Gin for what she believes he has done, only to be confronted by Kira. Hitsugaya steps in between them and has both arrested, then warns Gin not to ever make Hinamori bleed. Rangiku Matsumoto visits Hinamori in her cell and brings her a letter addressed to her that was found in Captain Aizen’s room, revealing what he has discovered.
Ichigo, Ganju, and Hanatoro approach the high tower where Rukia is being held, which seems surprisingly empty of people, only to feel a frightfully enormous spiritual pressure. The pressure turns out to belong to the soul reaper who Ikkaku spoke of to Ichigo, Kenpachi Zaraki, captain of the 11th Company. He anticipates an interesting fight against Ichigo and is excited to get started. Ichigo tells Ganju and Hanataro to go ahead and continue with their mission while he stays behind to engage in battle with Kenpachi.
Meanwhile, Chad has run into the captain of the 8th Company, Shunsui Kyoraku, a very laid-back fellow in a pink flowered kimono. Shunsui attempts to get Chad to have a drink with him, not wishing to fight, but to no avail. Chad is giving him no choice in the matter.
I love this volume of Bleach for many reasons, but I have to mention first and foremost that I adore Shunsui Kyoraku, and these is his first real scenes in the series, which is exciting. Also the first real scenes with Kenpachi and Yachiru. I was upset over the unexpected and tragic death that occurred in this volume, but you’ll find that happens in Bleach, like it or not. It’s exciting to watch Ichigo work his way through the various captains and lieutenants of the 13 Court Guard Squads in order to reach Rukia. He is far stronger than they gave him credit for being. Uryu and Orihime were absent in this volume, but I’m sure we’ll see them soon.
I just finished watching the anime and am excited that I am still living the Bleach story through the manga. I understand that the manga goes beyond what I saw in the anime, so I look forward to seeing where it takes me. Another great volume of Bleach, looking forward to the next one!