Tag Archives: Bleach

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 37 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 37           

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 6, 2011

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

The unimaginable has happened to the Soul Reapers of Soul Society! They have a traitor in their midst. Traitors, even. None other than Aizen, Tosen, and Ichimaru. Shinji is not surprised, having been suspicious of Aizen from the start, which is why he made him his assistant captain. To keep an eye on him. But Aizen realized that and set Shinji up in a way he could not have foreseen.

 

Before Aizen and his cohorts can finish off Shinji and the others, Kisuke Uruhara and Tessai arrive. Kisuke is confused at what he sees, recognizing hollowfication when he sees it. Tessai tries to attack Aizen and his pals, but they manage to slip away and Kisuke tells him they need to focus on Shinji and his people for now. Good thing he has something prepared for this –  none other than the Hogyoku!

 

When Kisuke and Tessai are unexpectedly arrested, things are not looking good. The Council has determined to destroy Shinji and the others, as being Hollows, and send Kiskue into permanent exile in the World of the Living, but the arrival of a deus ex machine changes things, hopefully for the better.

 

Back in the present, the Soul Reapers realize that Aizen et al know about the fake Karakura Town, and have made their own plans. The Old Man Captain has anticipated them and has set four trusted Soul Reapers at the four corners of the infrastructure of the fake town – Ikkaku, Yumichika, Kira, and Hisagi. To keep Aizen at bay, the old man surrounds the traitors with a huge wall of fire. It’ll take them time to get out of this in order to aid their subordinates.

 

Let the battles begin!

 

Watching the past, and seeing what happened to Shinji and the others, is just heartbreaking. Makes you want to see Aizen suffer greatly for what he did, the heartless, gutless coward. Good thing they have Kisuke on their side, and he is nothing if not brilliant. Still, makes you wonder about what might have been.

 

I love the battles between the lieutenants and the Fraccions, each memorable in its own way. I laughed at Ikkaku’s comment that he thought he heard Yumichika laugh, but surely not in the middle of a battle.

 

The scenes with Alquiorra and Orihime are great. He informs her that Aizen no longer needs her and that she will die there, but she insists that her friends will save her. He scoffs, but she tells him, “My heart is already with them.” And of course Ichigo proves her correct by his arrival.

 

The battles have already begun, but these are powerful enemies. Can these four handle them, or will the captains need to step in? Another great volume, looking forward to the next one!

 

 

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 36 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 36     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 6, 2011

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Even as the Soul Society rushes to the rescue of Karakura Town, the pendulum swings back, back, back… 110 years back to be precise. Back to what came before.

Shinji Hirako is captain of the Fifth Company, and his assistant captain is Sosuke Aizen. They, along with the other captains, are assembling to welcome the newly promoted captain among them. On the way, Shinji is suddenly attacked by Hiyori Sarugaki, assistant captain of the Twelfth Company, but she is quickly put in her place by Love Aikawa, the captain of the Seventh Company. Among the other captains arriving for the occasion is Shunsui Kyoraku, captain of the Eighth Company, and Jushiro Ukitake, captain of the Thirteenth Company. The captains line up and wait. After a time, a fellow enters through the large doors. He seems a little nervous and unsure of himself, even as he introduces himself as Kisuke Uruhara. He is the new captain of the Twelfth Company. He doesn’t make a very good first impression on the others, and is snapped at by his friend, Yoruichi Shihoin, captain of the Second Company, to enter with confidence.

The next day, Hiyori is outraged to find Kisuke changing his room, and she punches him. Despite her actions, he asks for a favor from her… to please accompany him to the Maggot’s Nest. As he explains to her on the way, the Thirteen Court Guards don’t have a plan in place for members who wish to resign. Also, there are eyes kept on all of them, searching for signs of trouble within the ranks.  Those who display such signs, and those who wish to resign, end up in a special place (translate under confinement) from which they cannot leave. Why does Kisuke wish to go to the Maggot’s Nest to begin with, now that he is with another company? There is a particular prisoner he wishes to speak with, a man by the name of Mayuri Kurotsuchi. Kiskue wants his help.

Something strange is going on in the Rukongai. People are literally disappearing, leaving nothing but their clothes behind.  Members of the squads are sent to investigate. Kiskue asks Hiyori to visit the scene of the disappearances to obtain samples he badly needs for what he is doing. Since becoming captain, he has established the Twelfth Company as Research and Development, with Kurotsuchi as his chief assistant. Hiyori dislikes Kurotsuchi and his disdain for rules, and she doesn’t want to go on Kisuke’s errand, but she grudgingly does.

At a meeting of the captains to discuss the situation, both the Captain and Assistant Captain of the Kido Corp are chosen by the Old Man to investigate. But Shunsui suggests that perhaps this is a dangerous idea. Instead of sending Tessai, he proposes his own Assistant Captain, Lisa, who just happens to be within earshot  (she’s been eavesdropping on the meeting), and she agrees to help so off she goes.

Things go from bad to worse, as the three who are well known in the future as villains, begin to work their evil deeds.

This has to be one of my favorite Bleach volumes ever, this visit to the past where we see our heroes as they once were.  I especially loved the story of Kisuke and Mayuri (who barely looks like himself!). We see the young and volatile Byakuya, as well as those who later become the Visoreds. I have to admit my heart broke, seeing them as they once were, before the perfidy of Aizen and his cohorts cost them so much. At one time I really disliked Shinji (whom I often refer to as the Little Dutch Boy), but I have come to really like him. We watch as Aizen recruits a very young Gin. And also, we see Shunsui meet Nanao, which is so cute in and of itself.

The worst part is watching the drama unfold and knowing how this story will end in much tragedy and sorrow. Yet also hope.

I’m sure there’s more to come, can’t wait to read it! Another great volume!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 35 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 35

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: June 7, 2011

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/208 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Kurotsuchi has shut down Szayelaporro for a long time to come, stretching time to an infinitesimal slowness as he waits in agony for the sword to pierce his chest. So, that being done, on to other things. Meanwhile, Nnoitora and Kenpachi are still going at it. The Espada is confident that nothing Kenpachi can do will harm him. Can the Soul Reaper have met his match?

At one time, Nnoitora and Nelliel worked together for Aizen, but there is no love lost between them. Memories of their antagonism flow through his brain as the battle with Kenpachi reaches an end…

But wait… the regularly scheduled program is being interrupted by an announcement from former Captain Aizen. First, he is done with Orihime and has no further use for her. Secondly… he is about to destroy Karakura Town. He gives the location where he has put Orihime, but a choice must be made. Save the girl or save the town. Can’t be both.

Tick tock, tick tock, the clock is ticking the time away. What to do, what to do, what to do?

What would Ichigo do?

A great deal of this volume of Bleach is concerned with the battle between Kenpachi and Nnoitora, and it’s not always clear who will prevail. The part with Kurotsuchi tickles me, as Uryu and Renji watch in horror at the way he is able to revive Nemu. I must say that Kurotsuchi is very… different. And not in an entirely bad way. Still, I wouldn’t want to hang out with him.

And now we’re getting ready for the next arc, in which the Soul Society, along with Ichigo, work to save Karakura Town, as well as Orihime, and some other heroes are about to take to the stage. Another great volume of Bleach, looking forward to more.

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 34 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 34       

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: March 1, 2011

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Nel’s transformation has taken Ichigo and everyone else by surprise as she goes from young child to voluptuous fighting woman in a heartbeat! Pesche and Dondochakka also turn out to be more than they seem. Indeed they are true friends and loyal followers and protectors of Nel. As Nel battles Nnoitora, in her Capricorn Knight form, you can almost feel the fear that radiates from him. Apparently he hasn’t missed her presence ever since she almost beat him down once before.

Pesche and Dondochakka attack Szayelaporro, who has vastly underestimated them, not knowing they have been training for years. After Nnoitora unexpectedly causes Nel to revert to her childlike state, he tells Tesla to do what he wants with all of them, he is done. Now Ichigo must face the Armored Tusk Warrior, and Ichigo is in bad shape already.

Szayelaporro deals with Nel’s two friends and is about to put an end to Ichigo when salvation unexpectedly arrives in the form of Kenpachi. A confused Ichigo asks how can he be there, since the captains have been forbidden to help him. Kenpachi explains that it has to do with Uruhara, who was working to stabilize a safe path to Hueco Mundo for the captains, but that Orihime being snatched forced them to speed up the timetable.

The other captains begin to arrive – Unohana, Byakuya, and Kurotsuchi. They are faced by Zommari Rureaux, the number seven Espada

Let the battles begin!

Another action-packed, battle-filled volume of Bleach. Watching Nel and her friends reveal their true selves is pretty awesome. Also, the fortuitous arrival of Kenpachi to save the day! Not exactly an altruistic fellow, I imagine he’s saving Ichigo so he will have the pleasure of battling him again. Look for a brief appearance by Yuchiro as well! Byakuya shows why he has the reputation he has with some pretty awesome moves against Rureaux, and also reveals he is not entirely cold-hearted. But, in my opinion, it is the under-utilized Kurotsuchi who steals the show. We don’t get to see him fight very often, but don’t underestimate him. He takes advantage of a bacteria he planted in the unknowing Uryu in order to gain advance information on the enemy, and that move certainly pays off. Not only does he display his devious skill set but he reaffirms what a cold being he is. His coup de grace against Szayelaporro is priceless!

Hopefully we’ll get to see more of the captains in the next volume, especially Shunsui! I enjoyed this volume of Bleach, look forward to the next one!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 33 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 33                   

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 7, 2010

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

 

Ichigo has defeated Grimmjow, but another Espada is waiting to take him on, Nnitoira.  Contemptuous of Grimmjow, and baffled as to why Ichigo would defend his fallen foe, Nnitoira orders his second-in-command Tesla to keep Orihime close to him. (Will these people never learn? Nothing makes Ichigo fight hard than when one of his friends is in trouble, particularly Orihime).

Meanwhile, Uryu and Renji, having thought they’d escaped the cluthes of Szayelaporro, find themselves back where they started, to their frustration. Besides his disturbing habit of eating his minions in order to regain health, apparently he has the ability to manipulate the inside of his palace to his satisfaction, thus sending the boys on a loop right back to him. “Shall we begin the Second Act?” he queries.

And oh, he has other tricks up his sleeves. Even nastier ones.

Orihime is powerless to do anything to help Ichigo. Although Aizen has made it clear she is not to be harmed, all bets are off if she has her Rikka attack.  Tesla wonders where the small Arrancar has gone. When she is found cowering on the ground, Nnitoira recognizes her, to his surprise. Ichigo wonders how an Espada knows a simple Arrancar, and a child at that.  Nel recognizes Nnitoira… and still doesn’t like him. But what is Nel’s secret?  And for how much longer can she hide it?

Renji, Uryu, Pesche, and Dondochakka have their own problems. With multiple versions of each of them running around, it’s difficult to know who is real and who is an imposter. But again, things can get worse… and they do.

This volume of Bleach is divided between two battles—that of Ichigo and Nnitoira and that of Uryu and Renji vs Szayelaporro. Not sure where Rukia is at this point, but Orihime is being held hostage, a witness to Ichigo’s battle. The surprise here is not Ichigo, but Nel, as we learn her back story, and as she transforms into what she once was. Who saw this coming? Certainly not Ichigo, who never expected to encounter a fully grown former Espada once named Nelliel. Her story is very touching, as is the story of her friends, Pesche and Dondochakka, who prove themselves to be much more than comic relief. They are true subordinates and faithful friends. As for Uryu and Renji, they are being tortured by the devious Szayaleporro. Getting out of this sticky wicket will be a problem. If I had to guess, it will be Uryu’s quick thinking and calm demeanor that will get them through this but we won’t know until the next volume. Likewise, how will the encounter with Nel and Nnitoira end? Gotta wait and see.

Another good volume of Bleach, looking forward to the next one!

 

 

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 32 by Tite Kubo

 

Bleach, Vol 32       

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 7, 2010

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Nel and Orihime are stricken at the idea of Ichigo having to face down Grimmjow yet again, but he assures them everything will be all right. Heartened by his words, Orihime reassures the still upset Nel that Ichigo is a man of his word, and if he says he will do something, he will. Grimmjow continues to taunt Ichigo until he releases his inner Hollow, which frightens Orihime. Is this the same Ichigo she has always known? Now it is Nel’s turn to tell Orihime to have faith and to cheer on Ichigo, for if they don’t, who will?

Gillians are the lowest class of Menos. They consume souls to the point where they lose all individuality. But occasionally, one of the consumed Hollows takes control of the others and dominates, continuing to consume until it becomes an Adjucha. If this Adjucha doesn’t continue to eat Hollows, it will regress into a Gillian and then there is no coming back from that. This is the perpetual fear that keeps them going. Grimmjow was once such an Adjucha, who continued to climb in the ranks until he became an Espada. He never wishes to go back again, so he must defeat Ichigo.

Although, if he fails, there is always another Espada waiting in the wings…

This volume of Bleach is concerned with the ongoing epic battle between Ichigo and Grimmjow, both of whom are determined to win. This fight was inevitable, considering their history together.  Orihime and Nel are helpless to do other than cheer Ichigo on, but never underestimate the value of a good rooting section! Reading about how Grimmjow became what he is was interesting, and gives us more insight into the hierarchy of the Hollows, as well as their development.

There is also a bonus story concerning Hitsugaya which I enjoyed.

Looking forward to the next volume!

 

 

 

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 31 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 31     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: June 1, 2010

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Ichigo comes face to face with Ulquiorra, who informs him that Rukia is dead. And so is the Espada she was fighting. Ichigo doesn’t believe him, insisting he will save her. When Ulquiorra asks why Ichigo doesn’t attack him, he says it’s because Ulquiorra hasn’t hurt any of his friends. That quickly changes when Ulquiorra replies,” What if I told you that I brought Orihime Inoue to Hueco Mundo?” And the battle is on…

Meanwhile, Orihime is alone in her room, her solitude disturbed by two young Arrancar girls, one of whom is determined to torture her. But their fun is quickly disrupted by Grimmjow, who sets the torturer straight, despite her threats to tell Aizen what he did to her. But Grimmjow has his reasons for his actions, which he reveals to Orihime.

Renji is still battling Szayelaporro, who has a rather disturbing way of replenishing his health. Renji is at the end of his strength when help arrives from an unexpected source. Grimmjow has taken Orihime with him, for his own purposes, despite the intervention of Ulquiorra. Grimmjow is determined to use Orihime’s healing ability to fully heal the opponent he intends to fight. Orihime doesn’t wish to obey, until she is presented with a good reason to do so.

Another battle-centric volume of Bleach. I imagine that’s what we’ll be getting for a while as Ichigo and his friends make their way to Aizen’s inner sanctum. I’m sure he’s anticipated all this in advance and is waiting for them with plans of his own.

I love the banter between Renji and Dondochakka, and Uryu and Pesche. Not to mention Nel and Ichigo. At the same time, they are more than mere comic relief. If we know nothing else about Ichigo, it is that he will not give up, no matter what the odds, in order to save the people he cares about. Never say never is his motto.

More battles ahead, looking forward to the next volume!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 30 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 30     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: March 2, 2010

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Chad’s newly realized powers stand him in good stead in his battle with the Arrancar, who wishes him well, but suddenly tells him to run. Another opponent has entered the field, Nnoitora, who seems unimpressed with Chad’s strength. The others feel Chad’s loss but there is nothing they can do at the moment as each has their own problems. When Ulquiorra relays the information to Orihime, she confidently tells him that Chad is not dead.

Rukia finds herself drawn into a building by a strange masked man. Once inside, he removes his mask, telling her his name is Aaroniero Arruruerie. But Rukia knows that face too well to be fooled, for he is none other than Kaien Shiba, one time second-in-command. But Kaien is dead. She should know, as she killed him herself!

Renji and Dondochakka fall into a trap and find themselves face to face with Szayel-aporro Grantz, the octava Espada. Renji, confident of his ability to take down this foe, attempts Bankai only to learn that Bankai cannot be performed in this room. What’s a guy to do?

This volume of Bleach is mostly concerned with the battles being fought by Renji and Rukia, especially Rukia. Rukia is forced to confront her demons, and the guilt she continues to feel over the death of Kaien Shiba. Almost to the point where she believes she deserves to die for what she did. We see flashbacks of what happened, and it’s impossible not to feel her pain.  On the other hand, Renji and Dondochakka is like the comic relief of the volume.

And at the very end, two people confront one another. Will this lead to a battle? Gotta wait for the next volume to find out.

Another great volume, looking forward to the next one!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 29 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 29     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 1, 2009

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/208 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer:  Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Renji finds himself being followed by Dondochakka, who thought he was following Nel, while Ichigo squares off against an Arrancar named Dordoni. Dordoni’s appearance is devilishly rakish, and he tries to persuade Ichigo to release his bankai . Ichigo has other ideas, though. He’s saving that move for higher level opponents, as Dordoni is only 103, which makes him low on the totem pole. However, Ichigo is not aware of what his number really means. So a disappointed Dordoni decides to release a Cero, but is surprised when Nel intervenes on Ichigo’s behalf.

Aizen is following the exploits of Ichigo and his friends with interest. One thing he does wonder about is who sent the Exequias after Ichigo? Szayelaporro confesses it was him and prepares to accept Aizen’s punishment. Gin accuses Aizen of having too much fun with the current situation.

Uryu’s first opponent is Cirucci Sanderwicci, Arrancar #105, and her weapon, Golondrina. When she spins Golondrina, she is able to deflect Uryu’s spirit arrows. But Uryu is more than a one trick pony. However, when Pesche puts in an unexpected appearance, will he be a help or a hindrance? And what the heck is Infinite Slick?

Chad is battling Arrancar #107, Gantenbainne Mosqueda, a huge Afro’d man, who think he’ll make short work of Chad. But Chad is a lot stronger than he appears to be. And since Chad’s arrival in Hueco Mundo, he has discovered abilities he wasn’t aware he possessed.

Right now, Bleach is all about the battles against the three digit Arrancars, whom we learn were once Espadas but who have lost their ranks. Doesn’t mean they’re necessarily weak, though. Nel and Pesche and Dondochakka add humor to these battles, as well as assistance which may or may not be helpful. It’s a foregone conclusion that somehow Ichigo and the others will win their respective battles, continuing onward until they reach Aizen, right? We can only hope that they will then be able to put down the renegade Soul Reaper once for all.

Oh who am I kidding? Is it ever that easy? Always something, right?

In a bonus at the end of the book, we get to see the first seaside art competition, which is hilarious! There are also some concept sketches from the anime. Another great volume, can’t wait for the next one!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 28 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 28         

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 1, 2009

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Having arrived in Hueco Mundo, Ichigo, Uryu, and Chad find themselves in the middle of a huge desert, facing Los Noches, Aizen’s residence/fortress. But the structure is farther away than it looks, as they find after running toward it for a long time, seemingly drawing no closer. Ah, the illusions of the desert! Meanwhile, Aizen  has gathered his Espada in order to discuss current events. He tells them they have been invaded and not to underestimate the Ryoku, particularly Ichigo. Grimmjow doesn’t seem to be listening to his commander, and wants to head off to dispatch Ichigo immediately, and has to be reminded of his place.

As Ichigo et al take a break in the desert, a strange worm-like creature emerges from the said, with two other odd creatures on its back. It seems to be in pursuit of a small being, who screams in terror. Of course Ichigo can’t sit by and do nothing, so engages the pursuers, only to learn it’s just a game of Eternal Tag (because there is little to do in Hueco Mundo) and the person being pursued is just having fun. She turns out to be a little girl named Nel, who introduces her companions—Pesche and Dondochakka, all three of whom are Hollows. Nel takes an instant shine to Ichigo. Things seem to be going well until the Guardian of the White Sand appears to take down the Hollows for offering aid and comfort to the enemy.

Renji and Rukia appear unexpectedly, to Ichigo’s surprise. Rukia is angry with him for having left the World of the Living before they came back, saying he should have realized they would return to help. Coming to a crossroads, they decide to separate, in order to cover the different paths, promising to meet up afterward. Although Ichigo goes off on his own, Nel is soon running after him, crying. Dondo and Pesche want to follow Nel, but they confusedly end up going down the wrong paths, separating from each other in the process.

Aizen sends for Orihime and sends the others away in order speak with her privately, producing jealousy in two of his female followers, arousing their hatred for the innocent Orihime. Aizen shows off the Hogyuku to her, so now she knows exactly where it is as he tells her he needs her help. Now Orihime knows what she must do. Meanwhile, the battles with the Espadas begin.

Ichigo is determined to rescue Orihime at any cost… it’s what he does. He faces the challenge with the same relentless determination he showed in saving Rukia from being executed. He just does not know the meaning of failure. There is a lot being set up in this volume, sowing the seeds for what is to come. It’s interesting to note that Ulquiorra believes Orihime is one of them, having given her word to help. Those of us who know and have followed her from the start of the series know this can’t be true… can it? We know how honest she is, to a fault. But she is also timid. Is she going along because she gave her word or because she is afraid? Or does she truly have something else in mind?

Ulquiorra is an interesting character, obviously intelligent, and not insensitive to Orihime’s beauty and charms. At the same time, he is a hardened Espada. An interesting dichotomy indeed. I can find nothing redeeming to say about Aizen, though. Nel is also an interesting character, the sort of helpless innocent that Ichigo tends to attract, and whom he automatically defends.

Another great volume of Bleach, can’t wait to see the battles as they unfold.