Tag Archives: Ichigo Kurosaki

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 11 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 11      Bleach, Vol 11 cover

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: February 7, 2006

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Ganju is still running from the beauty-obsessed Yumichika as Ichigo deals with Ikkaku. Having defeated him, Ichigo waits for him to awaken so he can question him. Ikkaku is surprised to find himself alive. All Ichigo wants to know is where Rukia is, which makes Ikkaku laugh. But he tells Ichigo where to find her, although he doesn’t have a chance of succeeding. Especially if he runs into Ikkaku’s captain.

 

Speaking of which, that same captain is on the trail of Ishida and Orihime. But his directional skills are faulty, as are those of the small lieutenant who rides on his shoulder, and they escape detection. Ganju has exhausted himself running from Yumichika, who savors his impending victory just as they hear a voice screaming for Ganju and realize it’s Ichigo. Ganju points out that if Ichigo is there, he must have defeated Ikkaku, which Yumichika claims is impossible. Ganju manages a few slick maneuvers, finally drawing Ichigo’s attention.

 

Ishida and Orihime find themselves facing Jidanbo’s brother, Jirobo. He seems to be targeting Orihime, for some reason. Ishida shows how much he has progressed during his recent training.

 

After leaving Yumichika, Ganju finds himself running once more, chased by a number of soul reapers. Hearing Ichigo’s voice, he thinks everything will be fine now, only to discover that Ichigo is also being chased by a pack of soul reapers and they’re headed right toward Ganju! Can this end well?

 

Things are really getting exciting in this volume of Bleach. Ichigo is determined to rescue Rukia, no matter who gets in his way. He has that mindset that predetermines that he will succeed and that failure is not an option. Watching him fight the various members of the Thirteen Court Guard Squads is epic! Also, it’s fun to be introduced to characters who will turn out to be very crucial to the story, ones we will come to know and love. I’ve learned, from watching the anime, that first impressions don’t always count, and that the people you think you hate and/or despise often become favorites with time. Similarly, not everyone you like will stay liked, and that’s all I’ll say for now lol

 

I love the dynamics between the members of the squads as well. They are not all friends just because they work together, as evidenced by Kenpachi and Kurotsuchi. Yes, Kurotsuchi is very odd, you have no idea how odd yet, but there is also something about him that I like. Ditto with Kenpachi and Yachiru. Ichigo is growing and developing all the time, as a person and as a soul reaper.

 

Renji Abarai has already grown on me, and the glimpse of his backstory with Rukia is priceless.

 

Another great volume, can’t wait for the next one!

 

 

 

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 10 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 10     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 6, 2005

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Ichigo is confused when he learns that the person who is going to help them get into the Seireitei is a fireworks expert. What use is that? Turns out she plans to use her expertise to launch them through the sphere that surrounds their target. But they all have to be able to create a reishukaku – a spirit core – which means training for everyone. And Ganju is to help them. When the others stop to eat, Ichigo persists in continuing with his training and Ganju remains, to Ichigo’s annoyance. Ganju confronts Ichigo and demands to know why he is working so hard to save a soul reaper.

 

The Thirteen Court Guard Squad captains and their lieutenants have been instructed to assemble in full insignia. The captains question Gin as to how and why he let a ryoku past him, although Gin seems unconcerned by their anger. When the Head Captain asks for an explanation, Gin has none to give. An intruder alarm interrupts the discussion, as everyone rushes out to see what’s happening.

 

After a short rest, the team is ready to be catapulted into the Seireitei! Kûkaku warns them that they must keep their focus and not let their energy level grow too strong. Yuruichi cautions them to stay together inside the Seireitei and avoid confrontations with anyone of captain level. (Famous last words!)

 

Their entrance does not go unnoticed.

 

Despite their best efforts, the group becomes separated into smaller groups. Ichigo and Ganju come up against Ikkaku and Kamichiki. Ganju decides to run, and is chased by Kamichiki, while Ichigo faces Ikkaku in battle. How will Ichigo fare against such an opponent?

 

This volume of Bleach sees our heroes training for entry into the Seireitei in order to rescue Rukia from her death sentence. As usual, Ichigo never stops to think what the consequences might be. He sees what he thinks has to be done and he decides to do it. He has a very strong sense of loyalty and commitment, especially when it comes to Rukia. But then again, we have to remember he’s a fifteen-year old teenager. At that age, they think they’re invincible. Although I will admit that Ichigo has a better sense of life and death than most young people since he can see dead people.

 

Watching Ichigo and Ganju go at it is hilarious! Ichigo makes friends easily but he can also rub people the wrong way until they get to know him. One thing I’ve learned with this series is don’t necessarily trust your first instincts when meeting a character, things are not always what they seem. And that works both ways. The person you thought was so nice and good may turn out to be a major league villain!

 

I love the battle between Ichigo and Ikkaku. And I love what Ichigo tells him when Ikkaku wonders why he didn’t run, like his friend, which he considered a smart move. Ichigo replies: “If your power is greater than mine, then it would be pointless to run ‘cause you’d catch me for sure. But if your power is less than mine, then I just have to beat you.”

 

This is the beginning of a lengthy arc involving the rescue of Rukia, but it’s a very interesting one in that we become familiar with the captains and lieutenants of the Thirteen Court Squads. We’ll be seeing a lot of them, trust me. And when we get to the one I’m crushing on, I’ll let you know lol

 

Another great volume of Bleach, looking forward to the next one.

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 9 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 9     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 10, 2005

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Ichigo, Ishida, Orihime, and Chad, along with Mr. Yoruichi the cat, race through the Precipice in order to get to the Soul Society to save Rukia. If they don’t do it quickly enough, they risk being killed! To make matters worse, the Cleaner is right behind them! Luckily they make it and find themselves in the Slum District, known as the Rukongai, where souls live when they first come to Soul Society, just outside the Seireitei, where the Soul Reapers live. An exuberant Ichigo decides to sprint right into the Seireitei, but quickly learns why that isn’t a good idea when a huge gate slams down in front of him, along with its ginormous guardian, Jindanbô. Yoruichi and Ishida want to regroup and formulate a plan, but Chad and Orihime rush headlong after Ichigo, in order to help him. However, Jindanbô informs them there is only two to a duel, so they have to wait to fight him.

After being defeated by Ichigo, Jindanbô agrees to let them pass, but when he raises the gate, trouble is waiting on the other side in the form of a Soul Reaper by the name of Gin Ichimaru. As big as he is, Jindanbô quails at the sight of Gin, who punishes the gate keeper. When Ichigo protests his treatment of the gentle giant, they briefly skirmish before Gin pushes the giant out of the way, lowering the gate. Guess they’ll need to find another way to get inside!

Ichigo and his group find themselves the object of interest by some of the locals, who usually prefer to keep to themselves. But they are kindly disposed toward Ichigo for standing up for Jindanbô against Gin even as Orihime works to heal him. Chad unexpectedly sees a familiar face among them. But now they have to formulate a new plan and actually listen to Yoruichi. The cat suggests finding Kûkaku Shiba. However it seems this person moves around a lot. Suddenly a wild boar appears, followed by a strange man attempting to catch up to it. Right away he notices a Soul Reaper is present, ie Ichigo, and becomes belligerent. The man’s name is Ganju, and it doesn’t take long for him and Ichigo to get into it!

Before things go too far, one of Ganju’s associates, who are all mounted on boars, reminds him that it’s nine o’clock, and away they all ride. Ichigo is determined to wait for him to come back to finish what was started but Yoruichi puts the kibosh on that idea. They head out to search for the person Yoruichi is sure can help them get into the Seireitei.

In this volume, we get our first introduction to the world of Soul Society. I still have questions about that place. And about Soul Reapers. This isn’t a spoiler, since I still don’t know the answer, even after watching more than 300 episodes of the anime. The people they meet are souls, so they must be dead, and yet it seems like they’re living regular lives here. Also, are the Soul Reapers dead?

The encounter between Ichigo and boar-rider Ganju is hilarious, and you just know they’ll meet again somehow and continue the fight. Assuming nobody interferes or tries to stop them. Ichigo also apparently rubs Ishida the same way. The Quincy doesn’t like to be told what to do and resents that Ichigo assumes leadership of the group, something that Chad and Orihime apparently have no problem with. Mr. Yoruichi seems to be there in an advisory capacity but isn’t always listened to, obviously.

In this volume we see a little more of the enigma that is Gin. Don’t worry, you’ll be seeing more of him. Judging by the way the Seireitei is walled off from everyone else, there seems to be some class division here. Do they think themselves too good to mingle with the others, or is there another reason? I couldn’t tell you. The ending is pretty good and since I know what’s coming, I look forward to it. As usual, Bleach is filled with both action and humor, but don’t discount the author’s ability to delve into his characters. The more we travel with them, the more we’ll learn, layer by layer. Many surprises lie ahead.

Many.

Looking forward to volume 10.

 

 

 

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 8 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 8     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: August 3, 2005

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Kiskue Uruhara is training Ichigo so that he can go to the Soul Society and rescue Rukia before she is executed. But Kiskue’s tests are… well, something else. In fact, some might call them extreme. This one is called encroachment, where the chain Ichigo is attached to at the bottom of a deep hole begins to devour itself. If they get too close to Ichigo, they’ll devour him. If he doesn’t get out of that hole within seven days, he’ll become a Hollow and they’ll have to put him down!

Meanwhile, Mr. Yoruichi, the talking cat, is training Orihime and Chad to prepare them to accompany Ichigo to the Soul Society. But so far results haven’t been the best. The feline tells them to remember what was going on when their powers first manifested, who did they want to protect.

Jinta and Ururu think Ichigo is transforming and want to dispatch him, but Kiskue bids them to wait. Ichigo finds himself in a strange place with a strange man in black, who tries to get Ichigo to realize who he is. A figure is seen emerging from the shaft, but is it Ichigo or a Hollow?

For the third test, Kiskue tells Ichigo to knock his hat off. Sounds simple, but nothing is every truly easy where Mr. Hat-and-clogs is concerned!

Back in the Soul Society, Byakuya pronounces sentence on Rukia, who seems resigned to her fate. Afterward, he is approached by two of the other captains—Gin Ichimaru of 3rd Squad and Kenpachi Zaraki of the 11th Squad. (An odd couple, indeed)

Ichigo is finding that it’s not as easy to knock off Kiskue’s hat as he imagined. Will Uruhara really kill him if he gets the chance? Or is that just a part of his training technique?

And where is Ishida? Why isn’t he training? Or does he really intend to stay out of this?

And what the heck is the Wall of Koryu, and just how dangerous is it?

This volume of Bleach is all about Ichigo and his companions preparing themselves to enter the Soul Society and rescue Rukia, a daunting task at best. There are so many questions that need to be answered! One advantage of reading the manga, even while watching the anime, is that the manga sometimes explains things I wondered about. Like how all these people stand around in the middle of the air as though they were on solid ground. Zangetsu explains to Ichigo that it is the reishi floating in the air that coalesces and allows the Soul Reapers to apparently stand on nothing. Good to know!

Kiskue Uruhara is a very strange and unusual character. The mysterious shop owner must have more to him than we can see, considering the powers he displays when training Ichigo. Who or what is he? Sorry, gotta wait for his backstory. Same with the talking cat.

With Bleach, never assume that what you see is what you get. Or that people are what they seem. I’ve been fooled by that before. More than once. This volume has a lot going on, but there are still questions.

How can Byakuya be so calm as to accept the execution of his sister? Why is she so resigned to such a fate? There has to be more to it than this. I believe, even when this situation is resolved, that the truth goes far deeper, and that even as far as I am in the anime, I don’t know everything. But I have my suspicions, which it’s too early to share. Let me just say that I believe everything happens for a reason and nothing is coincidence.

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

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 7 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 7     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: May 15, 2005

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Rukia has been confronted by two Soul Reapers, newly arrived from the Soul Society, who have announced their intention to take her back to Soul Society—for her trial and execution—when unexpected assistance arrives in the form of Uryu Ishida. Ishida claims to just be in the neighborhood, going to a 24-hour dressmaking shop. No one’s actually buying that. Meanwhile, Ichigo comes across a trussed-up, smelly Kon behind the toilet. Once freed, Kon tells Ichigo that Rukia is gone and left a note, which they have to decipher. Once the message is read, Ichigo decides to go after her, but he has a problem—he can’t become a Soul Reaper without Rukia’s help! What can he do? Luckily help arrives in an unexpected form, and Ichigo is soon on his way.

He arrives just to time to find Ishida laid out flat. One of the Soul Reapers, Renji Abarai, can’t figure out who or what Ichigo is, and Ichigo isn’t exactly forthcoming on details. The other Soul Reaper is Renji’s Captain (or taichou), Byakuya Kuchiki, and he has heard of Ichigo. Renji has to laugh when he learns that Ichigo has no idea what his zanpaku-to’s name is! Renji has seriously misjudged Ichigo, though. In the ensuing battle, Ichigo is felled, presumably killed, to Rukia’s horror. But you can’t keep a good man down (and seriously, what hero dies at the beginning of a manga?), and Ichigo regains his feet, determined to keep fighting. Rukia has to act fast, so she does, announcing rather loudly that she will return to Soul Society with her brother and Renji.

Ichigo is saved by the same savior as before, who is none other than Kiskue Uruhara, whom Ichigo refers to as Hat-and-clogs. Ichigo expresses his frustration at not being able to get to Soul Society to save Rukia. The enigmatic Kiskue says he knows how, but he’ll only tell Ichigo if he agrees to train with him for ten days. Otherwise, he says, Ichigo will die if he tries to save her. Of course Ichigo agrees. Meanwhile, unknown to him, Orihime and Chad and Ishida end up together, also determined to go to Soul Society to save Rukia. They end up with a rather unusual mentor of their own.

Kiskue’s training isn’t easy. The question is, can Ichigo survive it, or will he turn into his own worst nightmare?

Watching the anime as well as reading the manga gives me a somewhat unique perspective, and lets me pick up on things in the manga that I don’t remember from the anime. This volume is a good example. At one point, when it looks as though Byakuya has killed Ichigo, he comments that he somewhat understands Rukia’s motives, that Ichigo does resemble him. Who’s him? And why wasn’t this in the anime? Or did I miss it? Hmmm, keeping an eye on that one.

I have to say that Rukia, at this point in the manga, isn’t nearly as doom and gloom as she is in the anime. I love how Tite Kubo sets up so many questions, many of which won’t be answered for a long time to come. To keep us wondering, I guess lol One such mystery is Kiskue Uruhara. He obviously isn’t just another shopkeeper, despite his attempts to appear innocuous and innocent. But first off, he knows about Soul Reapers and he sells their merchandise to Soul Reapers in the Land of the Living. So why is he there? What about his mysterious employees – the large Tessai, and the children, Ururu and Jinta? And a talking cat? I know there’s a story there.

This volume is the beginning of the Rescue Rukia arc (not sure what the official name is but that works for me). Forces are gathering, plans are being made, and everyone is preparing to fight the entire Soul Society if necessary in order to save Rukia’s life. This is our first glimpse of Renji and Byakuya. They grow on you, trust me. Especially Renji. The jury’s still out on Byakuya, ‘cause frankly he has a major stick up his backside and an attitude for days. Ishida grows on you too, although right now he’s something of a pain too. But Renji is a pretty good guy. Some of my favorite characters have yet to appear, looking forward to that.

All in all, a good volume, and a good set-up for what’s to come.

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 7 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 6     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: April 5, 2005

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

As Ichigo battles Hollows which Quincy Uryu Ishida has lured with his bait, Orihime and Chad awaken to find themselves safe, having been removed from the battle by a mysterious stranger in a striped hat. Chad demands to know what has happened, and what it has to do with Ichigo. Ishida is finding that his plan is going awry. He can’t kill the Hollows with just one shot anymore, alarmingly, and as his strength wanes, the number of Hollows only increases—not quite what he’d had in mind when he began the contest with Ichigo.

Rukia is dismayed to find that her strength is not what it should be. Suddenly beset by what she at first thinks is Ichigo, she realizes it is Kon clinging to her like a leech, she spots Ishida and learns that this sudden infestation of Hollows is his fault and wants to know what he was trying to prove. Meanwhile, Kiskue is revealing the truth about their powers to Orihime and Chad, and how they were activated. Seeing their skepticism, he invites them to come along with him and see for themselves.

Ichigo has finally caught up with Kon and is furious that he didn’t do what he sent him to do, which was to retrieve Rukia’s thingamajig. Ishida is still intent on having Ichigo as his opponent, but Ichigo notices the ominous cracks in the sky. As they watch, Rukia explains to him about the Quincies and why they had to be destroyed.

Despite everything, Ichigo wants to work with Ishida, not against him. Ishida explains why he hates Soul Reapers so much, and Ichigo explains about the death of his mother, and his own war against Hollows. Can these two work together to defeat the Hollow horde? And what the heck is a Menos Grande?

Should they be frightened?

There is a lot going on in this volume of Bleach. Since I’m watching the anime (although I’ve way ahead of where I’m reading), I find it interesting to note things in the manga I would have liked to see in the anime. Such as the scene with Kiskue and Orihime and Chad, where he explains about their powers. Watching Ishida and Ichigo learn to work together is great, as they both have issues to work through, mostly Ishida. Ichigo, for the most part, is pretty laid back, and takes things in stride. Ishida, on the other hand, is rather high-strung and nervous.

The fight against the Menos Grande is pretty awesome, not to mention we get to see more of Kiskue Uruhara and Tessai, although there is much we don’t yet know. I loved seeing Rukia and Ishida assimilate with their schoolmates, and the first appearance of Mr. Yoruichi is priceless.

Another great volume of Bleach, looking forward to more of the same!

 

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 4 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 4       

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 7, 2004

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Ichigo is less than impressed with his family’s obsession with a phony TV spiritualist by the name of Don Kanonji. They not only watch his show with enthusiasm but they gladly cross themselves as he does and give his famous cry of “Bo-ha-ha-ha!” To Ichigo’s dismay, the live TV show is coming to his town for an emergency live broadcast special. Of course, everyone wants to go, except for Ichigo. But he ends up going anyway.

The show is broadcasting from in front of an old hospital. Ichigo wonders to Rukio why, if there’s a ghost there, the Soul Reapers haven’t taken care of it by now. She explains to him about jibaku, which are fixed location ghosts that can’t be detected and won’t show themselves… unless someone invades their territory! Just then they hear a wail from inside the building!

A ghost appears, chained to the building. Rukia explains that he isn’t a Hollow yet, because his hole isn’t completely formed. As long as his hole isn’t irritated, they can safely leave him until after the show ends and then perform a konso on him. Until Don Kanonji makes a grand entrance and does the unthinkable and creates a suddenly dangerous situation for everyone involved!

Ichigo tries to stop him, to the complete embarrassment of his friends and family,  but he and Rukia find themselves grabbed by security. Ichigo needs to go soul reaper, but without Rukia’s help, he can’t do that. Help comes in an unexpected form and Ichigo races toward Kanonji. To his surprise, Kanonji can see him in his soul reaper form, but mistakes him for the spirit of a dead fan. Will Don Kanonji be a help or a hindrance to Ichigo as he tries to deal with the newly-formed Hollow before he kills someone?

Back at school, Ichigo and his friends are called on the carpet for what occurred on live TV, but quick thinking by Rukia gets them out of trouble, at least for now. Don Kanonji shows up unexpectedly at Ichigo’s house, to his dismay, even as he wondered how he got his address? The answer quickly shows herself, along with the rice dumplings the spiritualist bribed her with. Luckily relief comes in the form of a Hollow alert, although Rukia’s phone seems to be acting strangely recently. They go on calls only to find no Hollow there. Will this be more of the same?

After a few false alarms, they head to another sighting, only to meet with an oddly dressed young man who is contemptuous of their efforts. Wait, he can see them? Who is this and why does he hat soul reapers?

The fourth volume of Bleach is a riot. Don Kanonji is a priceless character. You just gotta love him. And there is more to him than what appears on the surface. I love him as much in the manga as in the anime. Kisuke’s appearance at the broadcast was both providential and adorable. I love how Ichigo refers to him as Mr. Hat-and-clogs. I love how Ichigo’s friends are unaware that he makes good grades and are taken aback that he’s 18th in the class. Two people are tied for first rank, Kunieda and someone named Uryu Ishida. Remember that name!

I am thoroughly enjoying reading this as much as watching it. This series is a lot of fun, looking forward to the next volume!