Author: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Viz Media
American release date: November 6, 2012
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★
Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes
Riruka sends Ichigo into her doll house in order to train and then takes off, as if she is indifferent to what happens. But we know that’s not true. Ichigo is facing Jackie Tristan. When he doesn’t attack first, she does, as she proceeds to demonstrate what her dirty boots means. It’s not exactly what he expects.
Orihime confides to Chad about her interaction with the strange man who she is positive cut her, and how suddenly she felt as though he was her friend, although how is that possible? Meanwhile that same man, Tsukishima, speculates as to how Ginjo would feel if he were to attack Ichigo directly.
Chad goes to Ginjo to tell him what Orihime said and to question him about Tsukishima’s ability. But Ginjo is cagy and reluctant to speak openly. Even as he tells Chad that it couldn’t have been Tsukishima who stabbed Orihime, the man in question bursts into the room and then inserts himself into the doll house. When the doll house explodes, forcibly ejecting everyone inside, Ichigo finds himself facing Tsukishima, while the others wonder how they are going to explain the damage to the neighbors. Time to move?
Uryu calls Orihime to come to the hospital where he is recuperating. Previously, he rejected her offer to heal him, but he has come to the realization that he should avail himself of her ability, as the situation has changed. Now he detects spirit energy that is Ichigo’s! Is that even possible? Leaving the hospital, Orihime runs into Chad, who tells her about Ichigo’s training, and how he will need her to play a part in it. He brings her to the new headquarters where she is instantly beset upon by Rurika. The jealous Rurika tries to warn Orihime off by telling her that healing Ichigo will lead to greater suffering on his part, but Orihime has an answer for that. Rurika ends up spending time with Orihime while Ichigo trains, and Orihime sees through her tough as nails exterior.
I find it interesting how even in the midst of battle, whether a training battle or a real one, Ichigo finds time to have a discussion with his opponent. This volume is mostly about Ichigo’s Fullbring training, but we are also learning a few things, such as Tsukishima has an agenda, Orihime isn’t as naïve as she once was, and Rurika isn’t as hard as she appears. It’s also becoming clear that maybe Ichigo can regain his Soul Reaper powers. Huzzah for that, if true! Looking forward to the next volume.