Monthly Archives: May 2022

Film Review: Kagemusha

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes


In the time just before the Edo Period in Japan, rival war lords known as daimyo were often at each other’s throats, vying for supremacy. One such lord is Shingen Takeda (Tatsuya Nakadai), while his fiercest competitors are Ieyasu Tokugawa (Masayuki Yui) and Oda Nobunaga (Daisuke Ryu). One of Shingen’s commanders is his brother Nobukado (Tsutomu Yamazaki), who resembles him to such a degree that he sometimes takes his place in the field. One day, purely by chance, Nobukao runs across a petty thief who is about to be crucified and looks even more like Shingen than he is. In fact, they could be twins. So he brings the thief back with him, thinking he’d be useful as a double for the war lord.

The thief (also played by Tatsuya Nakadai) grudgingly accepts his role as double. His presence becomes even more crucial when Shingen is shot in battle. It’s imperative that his enemies not know. When the war lord dies, the thief is thrust into the position of the new war lord and has to learn about a whole new life. Nobunaga and Tokugawa begin sniffing around at rumors that Shingen is dead, trying to learn the truth. Shingen’s son Katsuyori (Ken’ichi Hagiwara) is itching for war but cooler heads prevail. He might be a little salty since he is not his father’s heir, rather his son Takemura (kota Yui) is. He realizes his father is dead but has to pretend otherwise. The angry Katsuyori heads off to take a castle on his own. When Shingen/thief discovers this, he feels he has no choice but to support his “son”:

.Inevitably, the truth comes out, and now the battle begins.

This film is one of Kurosawa’s finest. It’s big and beautiful, with the most amazing cinematography and music. The role of the thief/double was originally given to actor Shintaro Katsu (best known for playing Zatoichi, the blind swordsman/masseuse), but creative differences ended that and Nakadai received the role instead. The production ran out of money before the film was finished, but thanks to a little help from Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas, they persuaded Twentieth Century Fox to come to Kurosawa’s aid, and the rest is history.

In a historic note, less than thirty years later, in 1601, the Battle of Sekigahara cemented Tokugawa’s

position as shogun, and the family would continue to rule for the next 250 years. Kagemusha is a very rich film, and Nakadai gives a stunning performance as the poor thief, caught up in a world he never wanted to be a part of, but his devotion to Shingen during the brief time of their acquaintance led him to do what he considered to be the right thing. I give this film 5 Stars

Film Review: Shadow

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes



An uneasy alliance exists between the kingdoms of Yang and Pei. Yang holds Jing City, which by rights belongs to Pei. The king of Pei (Ryan Zheng) has no wish to go to war, and forbids his commander to do so. However, all is not as it seems. The man who presents himself as the commander is actually another man named Jing (Chao Deng). Years ago, the real commander’s father found him in Jeng City and noticed the resemblance to his son and raised him to be his shadow, training him to fight. The time has come, as the actually Commander has taken a turn for the worse, after being wounded some time before in a battle, by General Yang.

The king doesn’t seem to take the situation too seriously, much to the chagrin of his sister, the Princess (Xiatong Guan). The commander’s wife, Madam (Li Sun) is aware of the situation with her husband, who is hidden where the king cannot find him. She maintains the facade of her marriage to Jing/Commander, but it’s easy to see there is an attraction between them, although they both fight it.


When Jing/Commander insists that they must take Jing City, and that he has challenged General Yang 

to a duel, the king strips him of his title, so Jing makes his departure, with or without the king’s blessing. In the meantime, his adviser Minister Lu (Jingchun Wang) has an offer from General Yang regarding the Princess. But he doesn’t want her as a wife, however he’ll take her as his concubine. A very insulting offer indeed, but the Princess accepts, in order to prevent further violence.

Shadow is a beautifully crafted and directed film by Yimou Zhang. Intrigue and secrecy abound, and the truth is not always easy to see. Jing is led to believe his mother is waiting for him in Jing City, as an enticement to get him to fight. The Commander himself, although not in great shape, helps to train Jing for what he needs to do, with the assistance of his wife, who actually comes up with a clever strategy for fighting involving umbrellas. Although a color film, it employs a black and white palette that is quite beautiful. Who will remain standing when the smoke clears? Ah, there’s the rub.


I give this lovely film 4 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #63 – House II: The Second Story, Phantasm: Remastered, Creep 2

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

House II: The Second Story

I’ll make this quick as I don’t think I got through even ten minutes, put off by the horrendous acting and stupid storyline. This is not a sequel to the first House, it’s not even the same house, definitely not the same characters. I wanted to kill the main character’s girlfriend almost immediately because of her terrible delivery. My only regret is that I didn’t watch far enough to see John Ratzenberger in what I understand was the best scene in the movie. Ironic that he’s in it as George Wendt was in the first one. Coincidence? Maybe, but an odd one if so. Just avoid this one at all costs.

Phantasm: Remastered

Teenager Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) is going through a rough period. First his parents die, then his brother Tommy (Bill Cone). People say he committed suicide, but that’s not even close to the truth. Now all Mike has is his other brother Jody (Bill Thornbury), and Mike’s afraid Jody is going to take a powder on him and leave him all alone. To be honest, he has reasons to fear that because Jody wants to leave town, very much. As a result, Mike tends to shadow Jody wherever he goes, much to Jody’s annoyance.

Jody forbids Mike to go to Tommy’s funeral, but as usual, Mike doesn’t listen, hiding in the woods near the creepy mortuary where their parents and now Tommy are interred.  But after the funeral, when everyone has left, Mike sees something strange. The man who works at the funeral home, the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) single-handedly lifts Tommy’s casket and puts it back into the hearse, then drives away. Mike tells Jody but his brother scoffs since he knows how heavy that casket was, having been a pallbearer. Jody’s friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister) tries to console Mike, but to no avail. He even offers to let Mike ride along with him the next day on his ice cream vending route, but Mike isn’t interested.


Mike is determined to get to the bottom of the strangeness at the funeral home. He goes to consult with his friend’s grandmother, who is a fortune teller, and she gives him some advice. Mike breaks into the funeral home and ends up being attacked by a flying ball with spikes. And he keeps seeing strange squat figures in hoods. What the devil is going on here?


This version of the movie was remastered thanks to JJ Abram and Bad Robot, and I can see the difference. The best thing about this movie is undoubtedly the Tall Man, who is the actual stuff of nightmares. I would not want that man after me. I’m not going to say it’s great moments in acting, but for what they are doing, most everyone does well enough. The friend Reggie is an interesting character, and I think he’s a good counterbalance to the irresponsible Jody. I’ve seen this movie a few times over the years and I still enjoy it. I think it accomplishes what it sets out to do and is well worth the watch. I give it 4 Stars.

Creep 2

Sara (Desiree Akhavan) has a web series called Encounters, where she provides niche services to people in search of them, such as a man who wants a mommy. But she is not particularly successful and is ready to give up when she spies an ad from someone in search of a videographer who is willing to pay $1000 for one day’s work. She decides that perhaps this could be the subject she’s been waiting for and contacts him so they can meet. He sends her an address and she drives three hours into the woods to find him.

The man who calls himself Aaron (Mark Duplass) greets her with a green smoothie which he jokingly claims is poisoned. And thus their encounter begins as she films him from the get-go. Aaron is self-confident and assured, and within the first ten minutes of their meeting has confessed to Sara that he is a serial killer, that he has killed 39 people, but that he will not kill her that day.  He even shows her a video of him killing his last victim. Thrown for a bit of a loop, she goes to the bathroom to regroup and film herself. She is determined she will do this and it will be great, but for safety sake she tucks a knife into her shoe.


Aaron’s attempts at scaring Sara meet with failure, somewhat to his surprise, as he begins to discover that perhaps he has met a sympathetic spirit. Someone who can appreciate him for who he is. And so their day begins.


This film is, of course, the sequel to 2014’s Creep, with Mark Duplass. But he had a different name 

then, having taking Aaron from the name of his last victim. What makes this film particularly interesting is that Sara is not the hapless victim the original Aaron was. She is smart and determined, and she isn’t about to let this Aaron have his way. The film is a bit of a wild ride as we watch these two spar for dominance and at any given moment we are left wondering who is controlling who, and who is actually in charge.

I admit that I really enjoy this film, maybe even more than the first one. There is supposedly going to be a third film in the series but nothing has happened yet, and this came out in 2017. We can only hope Duplass comes up with another great story for the next one. An interesting note, this film was largely an outline, so a lot of what you see is the two actors playing off each other and improvising. I give this film 4.5 Stars.

Film Review: Yojimbo

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes


A wandering ronin (a samurai without a master) who calls himself Sanjuro (Toshire Mifune) allows Fate to lead him where it will and ends up in a small town where two rival criminal gangs are fighting each other for dominance. Sanjuro has a distinct distaste for injustice, and feels for the plight of the poor townspeople, whose very livelihood as well as their existence, is threatened by these hooligans.  The only person who is making any money is the coffinmaker. So Sanjuro decides he will help the town out by pitting the gangs against one another.

Sanjuro takes up residence at the tavern, despite having no money. The tavern keeper, Gonji (Elijiro Tono) thinks he is crazy to attempt to take on both gangs. One side is as corrupt as the other. Sanjuro goes to the head of Seibe (Seizaburo Kawazu) , who owns the brothel, and contracts with him to take care of the opposition for 50 ryo, half in advance. Having struck a bargain, he overhears a conversation between Seibe and his wife in which they reveal they will kill him when the job is done and take all their money back. Sanjuro returns the money and heads to the other side, to bargain with Ushitora.


Sanjuro’s plan is about to work, with both sides taking out each other, when the unexpected appearance 

by a government official in a fancy palanquin brings a halt to everything. The rivals have no wish to be perceived as having trouble in their town, not wishing to bring any scrutiny on themselves, so they decide to play nice. For now.

It doesn’t take long for Tanjuro to figure out why this minor official has such a fancy ride, so decides to

take care of him himself.  Then he learns about the abduction of a woman in the town. Her poor husband, unable to help her, builds a hovel next to the mansion where her captor lives, and can do nothing but witness her nightly ravishment at his hands. Sanjuro maneuvers her escape and gives the couple and their child money with which to leave town. He is caught and beaten up, then held captive.

He manages to escape. In the meantime, a new player has entered the scene, Unosuke (Tatsuya Nakadai). He is a gunfighter, and Ushitora’s brother. It’s inevitable that the two face off as Sanjuro cleans house once and for all.

Yojimbo means bodyguard, which is basically what a ronin is, being a samurai who has no master and thus available to be employed by anyone willing to pay his price. I really enjoyed this film. First off, it’s Akiro Kurosawa, so you know it has to be good. Secondly, it stars Toshiro Mifune, the finest actor to ever come out of Japan. The cinematography is great, and the use of the music in the soundtrack is genius.  Besides the obvious drama, there is an element of humor, especially on the part of the bemused samurai whom Unosuke nicknames the Two Bit Samurai. 


While putting on a tough front, Sanjuro reveals his tender side through his actions, first of all because he feels bad for this town and the hell they are being put through because of other people’s greed. He doesn’t do anything for his own gain. Even when he took money from one side, he ended up giving it to the family he reunited. And when all was said and done, he went on his way.

I will give this film 5 Stars. You can find it at Amazon

Wednesday Briefs: May 25, 2022

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Garret Farm: Part 32 by J Ray Lamb

A few days had passed and nothing on the farm had changed. The tractor that Claire was using had been serviced and repaired. The damage wasn’t as bad as first expected so it was a relatively simple repair.

Sandy and Trent returned two days later after disappearing to the city. Trent had texted Jason that they would be gone and Murphy confirmed that he’d gotten it. Trent had the crops well managed and Sandy wasn’t fully on the job yet. It was affected his internship, but as Murphy thought of it, he was getting his IN-tern-ship from Trent…

Click here to read the entire Brief:

Continue reading

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 61 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 61     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: August 5, 2014

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes


Ichigo is confronted by a truth he isn’t sure how to handle – namely, that Zangetsu isn’t who he thought he was. He’s actually Yhwach, but he’s not Yhwach. That’s clear as mud. He’s neither friend nor foe, but he is the Quincy side of Ichigo. The two have a very heartfelt conversation, after which Ichigo receives his new blades.

Uryu arrives among the Quincies, who wonder who he is. Well, everyone but Yhwach, who announces, to everyone’s dismay, that Uryu is his successor. This is bound to upset the apple cart, at the same time painting a target on Uryu’s back by the jealous Quincies. Meanwhile, Chad, Orihime, Rukia, and Renji all continue with their training, while life goes on back in Karakura Town for Ichigo’s family, albeit without him, at least for now.

Ichigo’s friends unexpectedly encounter Shunsui, whom they recognize from the battle. He has come to tell them farewell from Ichigo. Not that something has happened, but he is looking ahead and anticipates that Ichigo might end up with such power that Shunsui cannot allow him to go back. But just in case that happens, he gives them passes so they can visit him in the Soul Society any time they want.

Back at the Seireitei, things are happening, some good, some not so much. Such as the Seireitei disappearing. And the discovery that the Quincies did not invade, they were there all along. On the plus side, some of the captains have learned to get beyond losing their bankai, but will their efforts be enough?

The plot certainly thickens with the arrival of Uryu (didn’t I say he’d have to come into this at some point? That point is here). I think there is more going on than simply naming him as Ywhach’s successor, both on his part and theirs. I have to hope they have misjudged Uryu and that Uryu will not go along with their agenda when push comes to shove. Only time will tell.

Although the captains have learned to fight harder without their bankai, that seems to have been accounted for, so what next? Ultimately, it all comes down to Ichigo, as always. Something possibly horrendous happens at the end of the volume. I have to wait until the next one to see how bad it really is.

On pins and needles until the next volume!

Saturday is Horror Day #62 – The Imposter, Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles, The Institute, House

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

The Imposter

In 1994, a 13-year-old blond hair, blue-eyed boy named Nicholas Barclay disappeared from his home in San Antonio, Texas. Almost four years later, the family received a call that Nicholas had been, alive and well… in Spain? Everyone was overjoyed, and Nicholas’ sister Carey was sent to retrieve him and bring him home, which she did. If something seemed a little off, such as the fact that he was now a brunet, with brown eyes, he spoke with a heavy accent, and he didn’t really remember his former life… well, no one really questioned that, just happy to have their boy home.

The only problem was… he wasn’t their son. He wasn’t even sixteen. And the reason he looked nothing like Nicholas was because he was 23-year-old Frederick Bourdin, a serial imposter.


This documentary explores the disappearance of Nicholas Barclay and his impersonation by Frederick Bourdin. Bourdi’s, also known as the Chameleon, motive is pretty straight forward. He was in a predicament in Spain and saw the best way of getting out of it was to pretend to be an American, to take the place of a missing child. It was his misfortune to choose a child that he resembled in no way.

And yet the family embraced him.  

This case is not only mind-boggling, it’s confusing. Did the family want so much to believe Bourdin was Nicholas that they could overlook major differences in appearance and personality? Or was it more convenient to pretend he was, because then no one would go looking for the missing boy any more, believing him to have been found. This theory was put forward by a private investigator, who did his own digging, but came up with nothing conclusive. The mother was polygraphed three times, and failed miserably the third time (according to what I read, that was the only one she was sober for)

The documentary leaves more questions than it answers. I believe Nicholas is long dead, and only the family knows where. But proving that is something else. I’ll give this film 3.5 Stars.

Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles

Mysterious tiles have been found in locations across the US, including Philadelphia, New York, St. Louis, as well as in a few sites in South America, such as Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, and Buenas Aires. The tiles speak say Toynbee Idea in Kubrick’s 2001 Resurrect dead on planet Jupiter. But what does this even mean? One man named Justin Duerr was determined to find out.  And so the mystery begins…


The parts of the message seem self-explanatory. Toynbee refers to historian Arnold Toynbee, 2001 is a film by Stanley Kubrick, the resurrection of the dead is obvious, as is planet Jupiter. But what do they mean together? And who placed all these tiles? Justin Duerr and his fellow researchers take us on a journey of exploration to discover the meaning of the tiles as well as the identity of the person who placed them.


The interesting aspect of this documentary is in the search itself, more than in what the tiles mean. The idea that the dead can be resurrected on the planet Jupiter seems rather far-fetched. But figuring out who was behind it is far more interesting. 


It was never explained just how these tiles are embedded in the asphalt, despite Justin’s ideas of how they were laid and by whom. His conclusions regarding the person behind them seem sound, but they never obtained verification. Even so, it’s an interesting mystery, and maybe someday we’ll have a definite answer as to who was behind it. I’ll give this documentary 3.5 Stars.

The Institute

This one will be short because I think I watched maybe 10 minutes before I turned it off. All I know is James Franco is a doctor at some institute for people who need to get away from it all or something like that, it’s supposedly based on true events, and the acting is so abysmal I had to quit watching. My advice is do not watch this.


Horror writer Roger Cobb (William Katt) is having troubles. His son disappeared, and his marriage to his actress wife Sandy (Kay Lenz) has fallen apart. He moves into the large house left to him by his aunt, who apparently hung herself there, and where she raised him as a boy. He still remembers her telling him the house is haunted, but that can’t be true… can it?



Roger is currently working on a new book that chronicles his time in Viet Nam, and the guys in his unit. His agent seems skeptical, but Roger feels this is the story he needs to tell. Roger’s next door neighbor Harold (George Wendt) comes over to welcome him, and quickly reveals that he is a fan. He’s also a bit nosy and doesn’t hesitate to walk into the house at any time. There is a hot blonde living right across the street who sees no problem in using Roger’s pool when the mood strikes her.


Roger had intended to sell the house, but something impels him to move in instead. That’s when he 

begins to see things, and he finds himself being attacked by strange monsters, such as the one in his closet. Maybe if he keeps taking his valium, the things that go bump in the night will just go away, right? Except it’s not working so far.

This was actually a lot better than I anticipated, to be honest. I know William Katt was in a show called The Greatest American Hero, but I never watched it. That should have tipped me off that this horror movie would have a comedic touch, and it did, especially when it came to the monsters in the house. They aren’t your garden variety monsters. Sometimes when he was working on his new book, and reliving it all in his mind, I had to wonder if the monsters were symptoms of PTSD or something.  Or it is, like Aunt Elizabeth said, that the house is simply haunted?


Look for Richard Moll (Bull Shannon from Night Court) as one of Roger’s Viet Nam buddies. And yes, George Wendt is Norm from Cheers. It’s actually a fun watch, and I look forward to seeing what the sequel is like. I’ll give this film 4 Stars.

Book Review: The Cat Proposed by Dento Hayane

The Cat Proposed   

Author: Dento Hayane

Publisher: LOVE x LOVE

American release date: February 23, 2021

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Yaoi Manga/256 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes


Matoi Souta is stressed to the max. Exhausted by his job, his life seems bleak indeed, and for one brief moment, he considers ending it. On a whim, he goes into a Kodan storytelling. The first story is about the legendary Myamoto Musashi, while the second concerns a vampire cat. The storyteller is good and draws Matoi into the story. But when it comes to the second story, Matoi is amazed at what he sees… did the speaker just turn into a cat? Or is he just that tired?  Deciding it was just his imagination, the weary Matoi stumbles out of the place only to collapse… and when he awakens he has no idea where he is or how he got there. Wait, isn’t that the storyteller?

The man’s name is Kihachi. When Matoi tries to laughingly tell him what he thought he saw, Kihachi shows him that was no illusion, he is actually a bakeneko! And by the way, humans shouldn’t know about their existence, but to get around it, he proposes to make Matoi his mate!

This is such a cute manga, I really loved it! Kihachi is the bakeneko who becomes instantly smitten with Matoi and wants him for as long as he can have him. But he is also gentle and never tries to force himself on the other man, who is bewildered enough as it is about this new world he has stumbled into. Why is he starting to exhibit cat-like qualities himself? Kihachi nicknames him his little sparrow, and is very protective of him.  But the arrival of another bakenko forces his hand and he takes Matoi to meet the others. This story is so romantic and sweet! And going after your dreams and what your heart desires! If you’re looking for hot sex scenes, move along. If you just enjoy romance, then come on in!

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 15 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 15   

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: August 4, 2020

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy Manga/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes


As dawn approaches, Tanjiro is concerned that Kanroji’s strength won’t last and the demons will get away once more. The demon tries to evoke Tanjiro’s pity and accuses him of preying on the weak. Realizing he needs to devour human flesh, the demon homes in on nearby humans. Oh no! Tanjiro attacks but his sword becomes stuck in the demon’s neck! What can he do now? Luckily, aid comes in the form of another blade, thrown to him for his use. He attacks the demons with renewed vigor. But now the sun has risen, and poor Nezuko wasn’t able to enter the shade! Oh no, she is lost forever now!

Or is she?

A miracle has occurred! Not only has the demon been defeated and Kanroji saved, but Nezuko is somehow able to walk in the sunlight safely! She hasn’t become human again, though. So is she in the process of reverting to human, or is she evolving as a demon? Whatever the reason, she now has a target painted on her back, and Muzan is determined to devour her so he too can walk in the sunlight.

Tanjiro is healing after the battle. The swordsmith village has been relocated. Luckily, they have spare villages for just such occasions. When Zenitsu returns, he is overjoyed to be able to see Nezuko in the sun and immediately expresses his desire to marry her. He is less than overjoyed, though, when she addresses him as Inosuke, as the boar-headed boy has drilled his name into her by repetition!

The Hashira meet to discuss what has occurred, but unfortunately the Master is too ill to join them just now.  They discuss the meaning behind the marks that have begun to appear, beginning with Tanjiro. Haganezuka visits Tanjiro as he recovers and brings his new weapon, which has been mounted on Rengoku’s hilt. Tanjiro admires the beauty of this blade, but Haganezuka is still salty that it was used before he was done with it.

And now begins the Hashira training!

A lot going on in this volume, but the most amazing and spectacular thing is about Nezuko being able to withstand the sun! How exciting is that? Hopefully she is on the road to becoming human again. But of course this means Muzan will be more determined than ever to catch her and consume her, so I’m sure we’ll see more of him from now on. I feel as if Tanjiro is coming more and more into his own, as he continues to rise in strength and ability. I bet before too long they’ll make him a Hashira. Is there anything stronger, I wonder? If so, he’ll be that too! I worry about the Master, hope he gets well soon!

Another great volume, looking forward to the next one!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 60 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 60    

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: April 1, 2014

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes


Isshin encounters an unusual foe in the form of a black Hollow, unaware he is being observed by the Gruesome Trio, aka Aizen, Gin, and Tosen. Masaki senses the Hollow’s spiritual pressure and is determined to do something about it, but Ryu tells her not to interfere. He says that is the job of mixed breeds such as Katagiri, not a pure bred Quincy such as Masaki. Turns out this Hollow was created, with the use of a Soul Reaper’s soul! Masaki steps in and saves Isshin. She is concerned he might find out she’s a Quincy, considering what he is, but to her surprise, it doesn’t matter to him.

Isshin makes his report to the Soul Society, but conveniently doesn’t mention the Quincy he met. He slips away to the World of the Living, leaving a note for Rangiku, because he hopes to run into the girl again. Why didn’t he think to get her name? When Masaki returns to the Ishida household, Ryu castigates her, but suddenly she collapses. Turns out she was wounded in the recent battle after all. Thinking quickly, Ryu snatches her up and runs out to find help. He runs into Isshin, who is battling another Hollow. Isshin is appalled at what he sees, but doesn’t know how to help! Luckily, Fate intervenes in the forms of Kiskue Uruhara! (funny how that works sometimes)

Kiskue tells Isshin and Ryu what must be done to save Masaki, and only one of them can do it. Ryu knows what must be done, as Isshin agrees to bind himself to her for life, setting the two of them on their own path which will eventually lead to the birth of Ichigo and his sisters. And now his dad has told him everything… except for the night of his mother’s death. Why she was killed when she should have easily been able to defeat that Hollow. Now he can return to the palace to get his sword. But he has another truth he needs to learn.

Hitsugaya has lost his bankai, but he won’t just accept being powerless. He requests to be retrained, starting with the basics. And Captain Komamura decides to face his own past.

Wow, oh wow, this volume of Bleach is filled with all sorts of revelations, truths, and heartbreak. So much to absorb! And undoubtedly there is more to come. We finally get a picture of Ichigo’s mother, and right on the heels of that she is lost to us. And what I predicted before came to pass, but no more mention of that for now until the next volume. This explains so much about Ichigo. I can see both his parents in him. He has Isshin’s eyes and Masaki’s stubbornness, plus their combined commitment to justice and defending the weak.  If this is true for Ichigo, what about Yuzu and Karin? Will they go through the same thing? Now we know more about Uryu’s daddy too. And I got a brief glimpse of Shunsui lol

Great volume, looking forward to the next one!