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):
That Ichigo had a plan all along is no surprise, though the push toward the reveal just felt oddly done all things considered, but bringing Ichigo to his new state is something that was pretty much expected for a while. The reveal has been mixed in how it’s been received since it is an odd look overall, particularly since there’s been a lot of appeal for when his Hollow side comes out and that design. This one is just… well, odd. I’m not sure how to feel about it, coming across a bit like Orihime looks here early on in wondering just how we’re supposed to take it. It’s at least a little reassuring when Ichigo says that he’s still him since the thought of him consumed by this new form at this stage isn’t a pretty idea.
The bulk of this chapter is focused on Ichigo talking about how his powers work in this form as there are the two blendings with the Hollow side and the Quincy side, which resulted in the forged swords. It’s a decent enough explanation and one that works within this series considering what we’ve seen before and how easily Kubo bends the rules to achieve the ends. Ichigo’s certainly confident here, though he admits he can’t call this out easily, as he talks about how he used Yhwach’s own power in order to bring it to the surface. That results in the rest of the chapter being some big splashy pages that gets the fight between the two underway. Which is nice enough, in a way, because it has some great layouts and impactful close-ups going on, but it’s also just a lot of big areas of black ink and white space that dominates without having quite the energy it needs to carry the reader through it.
With three double-page spreads and lots of bigger action moments, Bleach is maybe a minute-long read the first time through. You can soak it up a bit more the second time around to see the details of the fight, but the reality is that they’re pretty streamlined and there isn’t a lot of detail to it, though I like the layouts. It’s a fast chapter, by intent, to get us right into the action and showcase what Ichigo is about at this point, but it feels like it doesn’t quite carry through here and will likely need a couple of chapters read in quick succession before the full impact of it comes out.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media via Weekly Shonen Jump’s ComiXology Release
Release Date: June 6th, 2016