Tag Archives: supernatural manga

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 48 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 48   

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 2, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Gin returns to Aizen’s side claiming to have killed Matsumoto. However, Aizen’s no fool, and he realizes Gin wants to kill him, but he just isn’t sure how he intends to do that. But why would Gin want to kill Aizen?

Ichigo has finally returned and is ready to face Aizen. Aizen is disappointed, telling Ichigo he feels no spirit energy from him. “You’ve failed to evolve. You’ve failed to take advantage of the final opportunity I gave  you.” Ichigo tells him he wants to fight him somewhere else, and while Aizen is still voicing his objections, Ichigo has overpowered him and pushed him to another place, shocking Aizen. Suddenly Aizen realizes why Ichigo has no spirit energy… he’s converted it into physical strength.

Is this truly the final battle? How much can Aizen change? Has Ichigo learned the final stage of his bankai, and at what price? And what has Kiskue to do with anything?

This is really it, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. The battle of battles between Ichigo and Aizen. And let me tell you it does not disappoint, neither is it clear from the start who will emerge victorious. Naturally, we all hope it will be Ichigo, and of course it is because there still many volumes of this series left to read. Even so, if you don’t know that, it’s very exciting to watch. For the first time, I felt empathy for Gin, even though he has been nothing but a rat in previous volumes. But now all has been revealed, and I actually cried for him, and feel bad for Matsumoto. She actually helped to humanize the snake that was Gin, and when push comes to shove, Gin, we hardly knew ye.

Aizen deserved worse than he got, wonder if we’re through with him. I hope so, I’ve seen enough of him to last a life time. Now life goes on, but for Ichigo it will bring serious changes. How will he handle them? Only time will tell. Wonderful end to the Arrancar arc, looking forward to seeing what is in store for them next!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 47 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 47       

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

 

Kira watches in disbelief as a very wounded Matsumoto ignores her injuries to go to the battle between Gin and Ichigo. Meanwhile, the new—but not improved—Aizen is still deep in conversation with Kiskue and Yoruichi. As usual, Aizen is condescending and laughs at their attempts to battle him. And then Isshin unexpectedly arrives.

Just as Gin threatens to kill Ichigo there and then, Aizen appears, having broken out of his chrysalis form, and asks what he’s doing, to which Gin replies he is only playing with the boy. Aizen orders him to open the Senkaimon and they take their departure. As they pass through, Aizen the arrogant decides he wants to play with the Kototsu, desite Gin’s warnings that is not a good idea. But Aizen gonna do what Aizen gonna do. When Isshin and Ichigo follow, Isshin realizes what Aizen has done, and he knows just how to use that to their advantage. He can train Ichigo in the final stage of his Bankai. Thanks Aizen!

And now back to the actual Karakura Town… Keigo awakens to a surreal sight. Everyone in town is sleeping in the streets. What is going on here? Hysterical, he begins to run around, yelling for people to wake up. Luckily, he runs into Arisawa, who calms him down with a quick but effective punch. They begin to gather their friends and take them to safety as obviously something is very wrong here. Meanwhile, Isshin holds down the fort while Ichigo meets with Zangetsu for his training. But this isn’t the Zangetsu he is used to.

Gin and Aizen have arrived in Karakura Town, and they run into Keigo and Arisawa. Gin tells her, “You seems to be in some trouble, girl. You should call for a hero at a time like this.” And just like that one arrives, one we’ve not seen in quite some time. But can he really be the hero that is called for? And is he enough to stop Aizen and Gin? Common sense says no.

We seem to be nearing the end of this arc. How it will end is still up in the air. Of course, the good side will prevail, but just how they’ll do it remains to be seen. I really enjoyed watching Ichigo train with Zengetsu. You have to respect him for doing what is right, even though he understands the price that is attached to what he is doing. And the unexpected reappearance of both Don Kanonji and Fro Man was great! The scenes with Keigo and Ichigo’s other friends was a bit of comic relief in an increasingly dramatic arc. From the beginning, they said only Ichigo can beat Aizen. We’ll see how true that may be in the next volume. Can’t wait!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 46 by Tite Kubo

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!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 44 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 44     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: August 7, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Yammy holds Rukia in his hammy grasp, and things aren’t looking good for the Soul Reaper when who should appear, like a glorious deus ex machina?  Why, Ichigo Kurosaki, of course! His first comment to Yammy is, “Hey! You’re grown real big since the last time I saw you. I almost didn’t recognize you.” He is always laid back, even in the face of danger. Ichigo has left Orihime in the World of the Living so she can heal Uryu. He’s going to take care of this big guy and then he needs to get back to the big fight, over Karakura Town.

When Ichigo hollowfies, Rukia thinks she notices something different about his mask, and even Ichigo thinks something feels different to him. But things are starting to look bad for Ichigo when two saviors appear on the scene unexpectedly—Byakuya and Kenpachi! And they are arguing over who arrived first! They tell Ichigo to step back so they can fight as he is a major embarrassment. Byakuya tells Ichigo he is needed at home because he is the Deputy Soul Reaper. But Ichigo says he has no way to go…

And then here comes Kurotsuchi, and he sends Ichigo off with Unohana.  Kurotsuchi settles down to watch the fight, and wait for the corpses he wishes to dissect afterward. Growing impatient, though, he tells the two Soul Reapers, “Will you please hurry up and kill each other? If you allow him to get any bigger, it will make the dissection harder.”

Now Aizen is facing Shinji, while Komamura and Hisagi are still squaring off against Tosen. But Tosen has another trick up his sleeve! There seems to be no going back for him, much to Hisagi’s regret.

Getting closer and closer all the time. Ichigo is finally on his way. As he and Unohana travel together, she explains to him why no one else can defeat Aizen, and her explanation really makes sense. She also comes to realize that Ichigo is a lot stronger than she imagined, and perhaps he is the savior they are looking for. The appearance of Byakuya and Kenpachi was unexpected and great!  Also Kurotsuchi. He’s odd but you just gotta love him (just don’t let him experiment on you!).

I think we’re reaching the climax of this arc now. Does Aizen have some master plan, or is he winging this? How will he react when Ichigo enters the scene? Looking forward to finding out!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 43 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 43

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: July 3, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

It’s sad when former comrades become enemies. Such is the case now, with Tosen face-to-face with Komamura and Hisagi. Hisagi is determined to make Tosen “see” the light and come back to Soul Society. Tosen’s reply to that is “I thought I told you… those who don’t know fear have no right to fight.”

When Hachigen joins Soi Fon and Omaeda in their fight against Berrigan, Soi Fon denies knowing Hachigen. The Berrigan seems invincible, since as he says “Everything decays.” As fast as Hachigen builds barriers, Berrigan destroys them. But Hachigen is shrewd, and he has a cunning plan.

Love and Rose attack Stark, who sics the wolves on them. But just when things seem to be bleak, Shunsui makes an unexpected reappearance, and his fight with Stark is on again, as he explains just how his weapons work. Aizen steps in to stop the fight against Halibel, ending it in an unexpected way. Has Wonderweiss met his match?

And where is Ichigo?

The battles continue in the fight for Karakura Town. I enjoyed seeing the backstories of Stark and Berrigan. What a colossal ego Aizen has, but no one can be surprised at that. The Visoreds fight side by side with the Soul Reapers, mostly through necessity than a spirit of camaraderie, as that is definitely lacking in their relationship. Not surprising considering how Soul Society treated the Visoreds all those years ago for something not of their doing.

I loved watching Shunsui fight, and his techniques are amazing (I may be a little biased lol).

Still, in the end, it’s Ichigo we are all waiting for. Surely his arrival can’t be far off now? Good volume, looking forward to the next one.

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 42 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 42       

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: July 3, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

And so the battles between the Thirteen Court Guard Companies and the Espadas continue.

Halibel is dismayed to learn just how powerful Hitsugaya is as he unleashes his Frozen Heavens Hundred Flower Funeral on her, encasing her in ice. Sai Fon and Omaeda face Reaper Barragan, and Sai Fon is forced to use her Bankai. Omaeda has never seen her Bankai before and wonders what she can do with a weapon of that shape.

Shunsui is still facing Stark, and throws his kimono down to Ukitake to catch. Stark calls to Lilinette, who is still trying to fight Ukitake, who refuses to fight a child. Turns out that Stark and Lilinette work together, their powers divided into two bodies. Not only that, but Lilinette becomes a gun that can fire cero blasts! Stark is determined to force Shunsui to use his Bankai, but Shunsui resists, until Stark ups the ante, turning Lilinette into a submachine gun. Things look bad until Ukitake steps in, claiming it isn’t unfair since there are two of them.

Suddenly a garganta appears, and Wonderweiss arrives. According to Stark, “If Wonderweiss is here that can only mean that Lord Aizen’s patience has been exhausted.” Wonderweiss’ unnatural scream shatters Halibel’s ice prison. And the strange creature that came with Wonderweiss has just extinguished the flames surrounding Aizen, Tosen, and Gin… which means they are now free to join the fray.

Although this is a matter of dismay to the Soul Reapers, there is another group who have also just arrived and are just as eager to square off against Aizen et al – namely, Shinji and the other Visoreds. They aren’t thrilled to be working with the Soul Society, but it’s more a question of the enemy of my enemy is my ally. At least for now. Shunsui and Lisa have a touching reunion, and Shinji lets Captain Yamamoto that he considers himself Ichigo’s ally, not Soul Society’s. The Visoreds get their first taste of battle when the strange creature that came with Wonderweiss spews out a bunch of Gillians. Captain Komamura steps up to fight alongside the Visoreds, and to face Tosen as well.  As he does, Hisagi, requests to join that particular fight.

Another battle-heavy volume of Bleach, but it feels like we’re finally progressing. Maybe because Aizen and his toadies have stepped into the fight. There could be no denouement without that. The appearance of the Visoreds was unexpected and very welcome. They certainly have just cause to hate Aizen, although they also have no real love for Soul Society, who should consider themselves lucky to have them as temporary allies. I loved watching Shunsui battle against Stark, and I loved the way Ukitake didn’t hesitate to join him. They’ve been friends for a very long time, and are favorites of the Old Man himself.

Nothing of Ichigo this time around, although that’s just a matter of time since he has defeated Ulquiorra. I guess he needs to figure out how to get out of Hueco Mundo first.

Another great volume, looking forward to the next.

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 19: The Man Who Came Back by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 19: The Man Who Came Back   

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: February 14, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/230 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Friend’s right-hand man, Manjome, has approached Kanna and Otcho with a shocking proposition—he wants them to kill Friend. Furthermore, he believes Friend is not who he says he is and that Fukube is actually and really dead. That’s a lot for them to take in.

Chono is fishing on his time off and he is joined by the newcomer, the guy with the guitar. He keeps trying to get this Yabuki Joe to admit that he is really Kenji, but so far that hasn’t happened. Meanwhile, Maruo and Namio and an assistant producer at the TV station turn to Kamisama, looking for a way to get the producer to safety as he has seen too much. Koizumi is still at the bowling alley, and she is utterly bored. She even hates bowling!  But when she picks up a bowling ball just to show someone how it’s done, Kamisama realizes she might be the key to revitalizing the dying industry!

Chono travels with “Joe” toward Tokyo, but they’re stopped outside a great wall with a fortress, unable to pass. A town has sprung up there, filled with people trying to cross over to get to Tokyo. Forging travel permits is a big industry there. The trouble is that the fakes are quickly spotted for what they are, and the people carrying them are shot on the spot. Still, people try. A man in Western cowboy garb, who goes by the nickname of Ichi the Spade, catches some of the people leaving the bad forgery shops and convinces them not to try it, but to use his bus service to reach the other side through an underground tunnel. Can he be trusted?

Ichi runs into Joe and Chono, and admits that he knows Chono has a bounty on his head. He tells Joe about a man who used to be a really good forger but who isn’t in business anymore. They go to see him, and he turns out to be one of the manga artists who used to live next to Kanna. His partner was trapped on the other side, so he has had to go solo. He doesn’t make forged passes anymore because he doesn’t want to be responsible if people get killed because of him. Joe persuades the manga artist to make him an ID and agrees to take his pages to his partner inside of Tokyo, at the same time that Chono finds himself betrayed.

Joe takes his forged pass and not only gets inside the gate, but he comes back and tells the manga artist to make enough passes for everyone in town. It’s time for everyone to leave. But Kenji/Joe is about to meet someone from his past, someone who is the epitome of evil.

All right, it’s out in the open now, let’s say it all together.  KENJI IS ALIVE!  I’ve been saying that for some time, and I am finally vindicated!  Huzzah! Okay, back to business.

I can feel everything winding down, the beginning of the end. Everybody and everything are falling into place, wherever they are meant to be. Kenji is headed toward Tokyo, and nothing and no one can stop him. He has the strength and courage of his conviction, and he has the immoveable force which has sustained him for all these years—his music. I can’t wait for him to connect with Kanna and the others again! And to finish what was begun so long ago.

Now the mystery remains as to who Friend is, since we know Fukube is really dead. And has been for some time, apparently. We still need to see the Holy Mother make her appearance. Although I once doubted her, now I suspect her arrival will be on the side of good, and hopefully she and Kanna can have a chance to have a real relationship.

This series just gets more and more exciting. Only three volumes left, can’t wait for the next one!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 41 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 41

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: June 5, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Although it appeared as though Ulquiorra defeated Ichigo, that turns out not to be true. But is the creature that rises from the proverbial ashes really Ichigo? If so, what is he now, and how did he arrive there? Neither Orihime nor Ulquiorra can believe their eyes. While Ulquiorra questions him as to who he is, he receives no response. But whoever this is knows how to fire a cero! That is something no mere human can do.

And so the battle continues…

Meanwhile, Rukia’s battle with Rudbornn is interrupted by the unexpected appearance of Yammy, who is really angry with Uryu. Chad marvels at Yammy’s size, having fought with him in the World of the Living. “He was huge back then… but he’s a whole lot bigger now!”

Orihime realizes that this is still Ichigo, there to protect her, as he returns to himself. Ulquiorra is in bad shape. While he can regenerate limbs, that is not true of his organs. He wants to finish this now, but Ichigo tries to attain an even playing field. Ulquiorra tells him, “Hmmph. To the very end, you never do what I want you to do.” He asks Orihime if she is afraid of him and she says, “I’m not.”

Yammy is resolved to avenge Ulquiorra. The others are initially not concerned, as he is Espada 10, and they’ve defeated worse. But then Yammy reveals that they are wrong about the Espada ranks, and he is actually 0… and bigger and badder than they ever imagined!

The other captains’ fights continue. Shunsui receives the grudging admiration of Starrk, while Hitsugaya battles Harribel, and Komamura stands guard while Lieutenant Kira heals the others. Soi Fon and Omaeda face off with the old man, Berrigan, who reveals the true nature of the Espada’s powers – each governs a different form of death. His is senescence, or aging. When he touches Soi Fon’s arm, which begins to rot, she makes an instant decision and demands Omaeda help her immediately! Harribel thinks she has triumphed over Hitsuygaya, because she can also control water. But Hitsugaya lets her know she has far underestimated him.

Decisive battles are being waged here, more enemies defeated. You just know that at some point, Aizen has to be let back into the fray, or what’s the point of him being there? I enjoy the strange relationship between Soi Fon and Omaeda, and I don’t think she really hates or despises him the way she seems to. And he isn’t as weak as he thinks he is. Shunsui is handsome, as always, always glad to see more of him. I loved the battle with Hitsugaya and Harribel. People too often overlook him because he resembles a child, but he is far from that and he is far stronger than people give him credit for.

The most touching part of this volume was the scene between Ulquiorra and Orihime, which made me tear up, and earned Ulquiorra my reluctant admiration. Still loving this series and looking forward to the next book!

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 17: Cross-counter by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 17: Cross-counter      

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 11, 2011

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/208 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

The unthinkable has happened… the world as they knew it has been destroyed. Three years later, Friend is the President of the World, ruling from inside the walled fortress that is Tokyo. The Global Defense Force ever keeps watch for the alien invaders that are predicted to be coming. But of course they are watching for humans as well, those deemed unworthy to be a part of society. What will they do to them?

Kamisama sits in a deserted bowling alley, waiting for bowling to become a thing again. The same bowling alley he built years ago that ruined the secret hideout of Kenji and his friends. With him are Otcho and the two young people who secretly helped him when he was injured, siblings Sanae and Katsuo. Kamisama recommends Otcho go to the Catholic Church for help with the Friend. He shows them a secret way to get there, but the passage is too small for Otcho, so they send the kids instead, as the passage is well marked, and he will meet them there. However, Katsuo becomes distracted by an old subway car, as he’s never seen one in his lifetime, and this small detour leads them to a member of the Genji faction. They try to help him but he begs them to take a message to the Ice Queen to warn her against going through with her plans, as there is a spy among them. The brother and sister have to split up. Sanae goes to deliver the message to the Ice Queen and Katsuo heads to the church.

Everyone who went to see the Expo was sent a vial of the vaccine. Those who didn’t go died of the virus. So vaccine is at a premium, and people are willing to take desperate measures to obtain it. Sanae finds the Ice Queen in a small ramen shop, and is surprised at how young she is. Turns out, she already had her suspicions concerning a spy in their midst and confronts him about it. Of course, it was all about the vaccine.

During Year 1 of the Friendship Era, Otcho is traveling with a group of men through the countryside, when a rider on a motorbike stops to deliver a package to one of the men. Turns out to be a vial of the vaccine, and what a can of worms that opens! Wounded in the scuffle, Otcho is helped by a man who lives in a nearby village. But things take a turn for the worst, and they aren’t what they seem. He remembers something Kenji told them when they were kids: “Justice never dies!” He also said, “…I’m saving this world from evil, no matter what happens!”

Back to Year 3. Kanna’s former associate, Officer Chono, is assigned to guard duty at a remote outpost where nothing ever happens, watching for aliens that may never come. He sees injustice all around him and he is incensed by it. By accident, he stumbles on a group of people who are illegally assembled in the quiet of the night, listening to a radio that should not exist… and he hears a song from long ago…

Gosh dang, this is so good. Every volume leaves me in great suspense to know what will happen next. I have my suspicions about the music, because it goes along with what I’ve been saying all along. Hopefully I will be able to crow about it in the next review.  The identity of the Ice Queen is no real surprise. I like the new kids, very brave and very strong characters. There is a brief mention of the Holy Mother, but no appearance. Also no Friend sighting in this volume, which works for me. He is beyond creepy, and the more I learn about him, the creepier I find him to be. I can’t help but wonder what’s with the Friend and aliens? A diversionary tactic or something more?

Great volume, can’t wait to read the next one!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 39 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 39     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: April 3, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Omaeda thinks he’s rather handily won his battle against the fraccione but suddenly he’s in over his head. Yet when he sees Sai Fon in trouble, it’s Omaeda to the rescue! How can that guy she’s fighting be her equal? But in reality Sai Fon has everything well in hand.

Matsumoto is facing three opponents. They start to argue amongst themselves as to who should sit out the battle, in order to even the odds, but Matsumoto shows them she is more than up to the challenge they present! However, she is surprised by the arrival of Hinamori. And even from his own battle, Hitsugaya is perturbed  by her presence as well, momentarily distracted by his concern for her.

Shunsui decides it’s time to get serious with his Espada opponent, who wants to know why Shunsui has not even drawn his second sword. Naturally he explains why that isn’t necessary. Looks like he’ll have to use both, though, after all. Meanwhile, Ukitake refuses to fight a child, to the child’s dismay.

Matsumoto and Hinamori’s three opponents have combined in a horrible manner to become one horrible opponent, taking out both Matsumoto and Hinamori. Luckily, Hisagi is there to continue the fight and keep them safe. While he does that, Kira sees to his companions’ wounds. Iba enters the fray as well, but the beast is strong, so Captain General Yamamoto himself takes to the field!

And back in Hueco Mundo, the fight continues…

If you don’t like battles, then this part of the Bleach arc is sure to disappoint, but in all honesty, each battle is well done and interesting, as well as necessary. Personally, I could never find them boring. I think they bring out aspects of each combatant’s personality, and we get to see more of them than we generally do. I mean, they’re Soul Reapers, surely you want to understand what makes them so special to Soul Society.

Yes, I admit there isn’t a lot of Ichigo lately, but hey, he’s not the only Soul Reaper out there, just because he’s the main character. Don’t worry, he’ll be back. In the meantime, enjoy watching the others in action. And seeing the old man do battle is priceless. I’ve always enjoyed the relationship between him and Shunsui and Ukitake, the light banter and the give-and-take. Did you know they were the first graduates of the Soul Academy and the first captains?

Very interesting volume of Bleach, but there’s more to come. And at some point, you know Aizen et al will come out of their fiery time-out and get back into the game. Can’t wait!