A not-so-thrilling conclusion to the arc.
Story/Art: Tite Kubo
Translation: Joe Yamazaki
What They Say:
After a long struggle, Ichigo finally regains his Soul Reaper powers thanks to Rukia. But as the battle against Kugo Ginjo heats up, Ichigo learns a shocking secret behind his role as a Deputy Soul Reaper. With the truth finally revealed to him, what action will Ichigo take?
After quickly making sure Uryu doesn’t have a plan for fighting Ginjo, Ichigo decides to simply dive straight into the fight. Surprisingly, Ginjo uses Getsuga Tensho in the middle of the battle, showing he may have taken more than just Ichigo’s Fullbring. Afterwards we see Rukia struggle against Riruka, and even get a glimpse into the past of the latter. Rukia manages to turn the battle around, but just when it looks like she’s won, Riruka pulls out one final attack and mysteriously disappears into thin air.
Meanwhile, Tsukishima continues to use his extensive knowledge to easily deal with Byakuya. However, by acting outside of his training and practice, Byakuya is able to defeat the seemingly godlike Fullbringer. With all the other opponents beaten, only Ginjo remains. Instead of battling on, though, Ginjo asks Ichigo why he’s still fighting and offers to reveal a shocking truth. It turns out that the deputy badge is a monitoring device, created by Ukitake in order to keep a watchful eye on Deputy Soul Reapers. Hearing this, Ichigo simply powers up his Bankai and declares that he doesn’t really care, probably matching the feelings of the reader. Ginjo then powers up with Bankai and hollow powers of his own, only for Ichigo to defeat him with relative ease.
Though the battle is concluded, a gravely injured Tsukishima tries to deal one last blow, but is stopped when Riruka pops out of Rukia and takes the strike. As the volume closes out, the living Fullbringers discuss their future, and Ichigo heads to Soul Society to request he be allowed to bury Ginjo’s body in the world of the living.
Though this volume manages to tidily wrap up the arc, it simply falls a little flat. Byakuya’s battle is still the only truly interesting one, with Ichigo’s final showdown of the arc being particularly unsatisfying. Though Ginjo certainly “powers up,” it hardly results in a satisfying fight, as the battle lacks any real flourish or emotion. Worst of all, though, is the “twist” pulled out in the middle of the battle, which hardly holds much emotional sway whatsoever and is easily shrugged off. Hopefully the next arc will go a little better, as all the build up for this one certainly failed to pay off.
Content Grade: B-
Art Grade: B+
Package Rating: B+
Text/Translation Rating: B
Age Rating: 13+
Released by: Viz Media
Release Date: January 1st, 2013