Story/Art: Tite Kubo
What They Say:
Ichigo Kurosaki never asked for the ability to see ghost – he was born with the gift. When his family is attacked by a Hollow- a malevolent lost soul – Ichigo becomes a Soul Reaper, dedicating his life to protecting the innocent and helping tortured spirits themselves find peace.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Jumping back into the world of Bleach the last time around, having not seen anything of the manga since the anime ended, proved to be a minor challenge. I’m admittedly going into this fairly blind but there’s a thrill in trying to decode a work that’s running like this and has as much history as it does. At the same time, I’ve seen enough of Bleach to know how it works and the general flow of the material so I’m not expecting to miss out on too much, especially with a quick bit of google-fu that can catch me up on things. It was definitely fun the last time around getting to connect with Mayuri in the form he’s in now, seeing the way so many in the series evolve in general is fun, but the the pushback he was giving to Nemu fell into that usual realm of wrong time and wrong place amid a fight.
What we get from this chapter is some cleanup and closure from that event and then moving on to deal with Pernida some more. What’s not surprising is that Nemuri was being hyper-observant of Mayuri in what he was up to prior to the fight with Pernida ands he realized that he didn’t go through his usual routine, which means he’s vastly understocked with the things he needs to deal with an opponent like that. Namely in some of the healing arts, which is why she stepped in with one that will allow him to grow back his arm instantly. This has him acknowledging it but at the same commenting how creepy it is that she pays so much attention to him. Which is comical since that’s entirely what she’s designed to do and there to serve him as, but it’s more just a matter of his being annoyed with himself in that he chewed her out for doing what she did in order to actually properly help him.
This in turn gets him to strike out at Pernida with a new plan and uses Nemuri to achieve it. As is often the case with Bleach, there are some great choreographed moments of very busy action panels as he goes at it, complete with him essentially yelling out what it is he’s going to do because he’s so excited by it. It’s a very fun sequence to see unfold because of that thrilled combined with the visual design of the character at this stage. Unfortunately, his plan is not one that has accounted for everything and we get to see the thrill turn to what amounts to panic from him as he’s sent Nemuri to be a part of things. I like the way she simply obeys and does because it speaks to who she is, and his own controlling and dismissive ways are much the same. But it also shows just how problematic it is for both of them here as he realizes he’s gone too far and has now really put her in danger.
While Bleach doesn’t progress the story here (what individual chapter really does in this series?), it does pair Mayuri up with Nemuri to go fully on the offensive. For all the good it does him. Kubo’s continuing to do what he does best and what we get here is something that really does feel old school in a lot of ways with its pacing, the layouts and overall dynamics of it. I very much appreciate his sense of style and design when it comes to the characters and love how it plays out. But I also get frustrated with his work simply because of the lack of backgrounds as a continual problem – something that made things easier for the anime team I’m sure – and because there is an overly drawn out aspect to his storytelling. A drawn out aspect that doesn’t compensate with a truly epic feeling. I’m definitely curious to see where this fight will go and to connect with the rest of the arc though in getting to finally check out the simultaneous releases we get through this form now.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media via Weekly Shonen Jump’s ComiXology Release
Release Date: September 7th, 2015