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!