Bleach, Vol 46
Author: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Viz Media
American release date: September 4, 2012
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★
Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes
The battle between Ichigo and Aizen continues! Ever arrogant, Aizen tells Ichigo he missed his chance to kill him. “That was my last vulnerable moment.” Then he reveals that it’s not due to super powerful regeneration skills, rather it’s because he has fused with the Hogyoku! Aizen further reveals that he has been watching and controlling Ichigo’s growth and development… from the time he was born? How is this even possible? Ichigo is confused, naturally, as he tries to process Aizen’s words. Flustered, he demands Aizen explain himself. But just as Aizen is about to tell Ichigo something perhaps he shouldn’t, another country is heard from, as Isshin Kurosaki appears, in full Soul Reaper uniform! What is going on here?
Isshin takes on Aizen, leaving Ichigo to deal with Gin. Ichigo and Gin battle, but their fight spills over and interrupts the conversation Aizen is having with Isshin (or is that lecture?). But suddenly, another contestant enters the arena, none other than Kiskue Uruhara! AIzen is not surprised to see him, having been awaiting his appearance. He accuses Kiskue of being jealous of Aizen’s ability to control the Hogyoku. Uruhara manages to trap Aizen, but he knows that won’t last, and sure enough the villain returns, but he has… changed. What does this portend? And Ichigo is still in the midst of his battle with Gin, who warns him that they have no idea of Aizen’s true powers.
You didn’t think the fight would end that quickly, did you? Seriously? This is an epic battle, and it will not be told in one volume, or even two. The appearance of Ichigo’s father, and the questions that are left unanswered, is mind-boggling. But Ichigo shows an unexpected maturity when he sets his questions aside. “I don’t know how to ask you without being disrespecting you, so I’ll wait.” He has certainly grown since we first met him 46 volumes ago, hasn’t he? Aizen, as usual, has to run his mouth, but this makes for interesting conversation between him and Isshin, who has thrown off his usual doofy mannerisms and reveals himself for who he really is. Ichigo and Gin’s interactions makes for a fascinating read too. And at the very end, a very wounded Matsumoto becomes aware of Gin’s proximity and begins to stir. Guess we’ll see what’s up in the next volume!