Author: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Viz Media
American release date: August 7, 2012
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★
Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes
Yammy holds Rukia in his hammy grasp, and things aren’t looking good for the Soul Reaper when who should appear, like a glorious deus ex machina? Why, Ichigo Kurosaki, of course! His first comment to Yammy is, “Hey! You’re grown real big since the last time I saw you. I almost didn’t recognize you.” He is always laid back, even in the face of danger. Ichigo has left Orihime in the World of the Living so she can heal Uryu. He’s going to take care of this big guy and then he needs to get back to the big fight, over Karakura Town.
When Ichigo hollowfies, Rukia thinks she notices something different about his mask, and even Ichigo thinks something feels different to him. But things are starting to look bad for Ichigo when two saviors appear on the scene unexpectedly—Byakuya and Kenpachi! And they are arguing over who arrived first! They tell Ichigo to step back so they can fight as he is a major embarrassment. Byakuya tells Ichigo he is needed at home because he is the Deputy Soul Reaper. But Ichigo says he has no way to go…
And then here comes Kurotsuchi, and he sends Ichigo off with Unohana. Kurotsuchi settles down to watch the fight, and wait for the corpses he wishes to dissect afterward. Growing impatient, though, he tells the two Soul Reapers, “Will you please hurry up and kill each other? If you allow him to get any bigger, it will make the dissection harder.”
Now Aizen is facing Shinji, while Komamura and Hisagi are still squaring off against Tosen. But Tosen has another trick up his sleeve! There seems to be no going back for him, much to Hisagi’s regret.
Getting closer and closer all the time. Ichigo is finally on his way. As he and Unohana travel together, she explains to him why no one else can defeat Aizen, and her explanation really makes sense. She also comes to realize that Ichigo is a lot stronger than she imagined, and perhaps he is the savior they are looking for. The appearance of Byakuya and Kenpachi was unexpected and great! Also Kurotsuchi. He’s odd but you just gotta love him (just don’t let him experiment on you!).
I think we’re reaching the climax of this arc now. Does Aizen have some master plan, or is he winging this? How will he react when Ichigo enters the scene? Looking forward to finding out!