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!