Story/Art: Tite Kubo
What They Say:
Ichigo Kurosaki never asked for the ability to see ghosts – 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):
Bleach has what feels like an accelerated chapter this time around as it moves very quickly, sticks to a lighter touch when it comes to the dialogue and allows for it to breeze by all while being quite serious and important in its own way. When it comes to titles like this, it’s hard to believe a character will truly die because there’s always an out. Yes, some stay dead for most of a run or the entire run, but there are always ways to bring someone back, sometimes in a different form, that will let it shift into a different pattern. We get some of that here in two different ways all while Mayuri is getting ready for the next full face off against the arm and hand that is Pernida.
With Nemuri having put herself into a sacrificial position the last time around, she follows through with that well here in order to protect Mayuri as one would expect her to based on the background we had but also the new nudges we just got. That’s something that certainly makes an impact on Mayuri as he watches it unfold, unable to stop it. But even amid this you know that he’s the type that has plans within plans. Seeing that come to fruition here isn’t a surprise as he doesn’t mind that Pernida ends up gobbling up most of her remains outside of her cerebrum, which he had created in a way unlike the previous incarnations. A way that will basically let him regrow her in a newer and better form at some point. It’s an expected out and I’m not surprised, which is why I didn’t find much true impact in her death and sacrifice.
What’s interesting about this as it progresses here is that Mayuri is essentially haunted for a good chunk of it by Szayel. We’ve obviously not seen him for some time, but he’s the perfect wedge to crack into Mayuri’s mind here and berate him over his views of perfection and what he thought Nemuri was. It’s not entirely clear that Mayuri thought this, but having it as a ghost of the past inserting itself into the conversation to provide a flip side to the quiet Mayuri largely works well. Without this, the book would largely be dialogue-free and that’s something that would make it go even faster – though I think it would work better in a way, at least for those with the extended context of the characters involved, because it would let the visuals simply unfold in front of us rather than have these heavy-handed explanations. They’re useful enough for me with my being disconnected for awhile, but in terms of storytelling I think it’d be better and more powerful without all of the dialogue.
Bleach feels like a far faster reader this time around than the last few chapters and it mostly works well if only because it’s working through familiar territory and it doesn’t have the impact it should because of the familiarity. Yes, there’s all manner of ways that things could work with Nemuri going forward and I’ve already seen a number of detailed discussions about it, but that’s extraneous to the event at hand. Kubo does a solid job with the presentation of this issue as Nemuri’s scenes have a bit more weight at the start, especially with the darker design for her, and I liked his playful Szayel that we got here as it provides a nice contrast to the other three characters currently operating in this segment of the arc. It’s solidly done but it still just lacks any real punch.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media via Weekly Shonen Jump’s ComiXology Release
Release Date: September 21st, 2015