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!