Story/Art: Tite Kubo
English Adaptation: Lance Caselman
Translation: Joe Yamazaki
What They Say:
With Captain General Yamamoto giving him an opening, Ichigo goes in for the finishing strike against Aizen! But Ichigo will need the help of some new reinforcements if he hopes to defeat both Aizen and Ichimaru Gin!
Yamamoto gives his arm for the sake of a powerful attack against Aizen, creating an opening for Ichigo to go all out against the cruel mastermind. Though this impressive assault is able to cut Aizen, the wound is far too shallow to make a difference, and Aizen brags that Ichigo just wasted his last chance. To make matters worse, Aizen instantly begins healing and reveals that he has fused the Hogyoku into his chest. He then claims to have manipulated all of Ichigo’s battles, claiming that he made for an interesting research subject. He follows this up by stating that Ichigo is only half human, but is cut off before he can finish the statement Isshin jumps into the fray! Father and son reunite briefly on the battle field but soon separate, with Isshin taking on Aizen and Ichigo confronting Gin.
Deciding that it’s well past the time for playing around, Gin starts the battle by unleashing his Bankai, Kami-shini no Yari. This massive Bankai can extend for an insane range of eight miles, which Gin demonstrates by cleaving the city itself in two. Ichigo parries the attack, but starts thinking that there’s something strange about the way the fight is progressing. Fortunately, he figures out in time that Gin’s blade’s true strength isn’t its size, but the fact that he can extend and retract it near instantly.
Taking a break from Ichigo’s battle, we return to Aizen and Isshin and learn that apparently the Hogyoku’s true power is to realize the desire of those around it. Aizen then begins shifting form when Urahara appear’s on the scene. Urahara unleashes an insane onslaught against Aizen, but Aizen emerges in a strange masked form completely uninjured. Even with the addition of a specially armed Yoruichi to the team, the group is unable to do significant damage to the former captain. Will our heroes possibly be able to win, especially with Ichigo wavering in the face of this overwhelming power?
With plenty of action to keep things exciting, this is definitely a fun little volume. The fights are exciting, with several of the players showing off some rather clever techniques. Seeing Gin in battle is particularly interesting, and leads to a number of impressive moments. Meanwhile, Aizen continues to prove just how absolutely unstoppable he is, further cementing his role as an intimidating villain. The only big flaw with the volume is the “twist” that Aizen pulls out. Though it makes some sense in the narrative, it doesn’t really seem to have much reasoning behind it and feels a little shaky. Perhaps it will come into a play in a significant way later on, but for now it feels like a bit of a misstep. Even so, this book remains an enjoyable entry in the series.
Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: B+
Package Rating: B+
Text/Translation Rating: B
Age Rating: 13+
Released by: Viz Media
Release Date: September 4th, 2012