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):
Bleach spent a good bit of the past couple of installments working the rules of the game between Shunsui and Lille and that worked out fairly well overall, though even just across two chapters of it the whole thing began to feel just a bit tedious. It’s an area where, much like the actual fight sequence for it, it feels like it’d work better animated than on the page just because of the mechanics of it all. But I’m still getting back into the groove of the whole shonen manga thing with weekly chapters so there’s an adjustment on my part to how it’s all done and what works for the book and for me.
While we get a couple of pages of a tease of another fight that’s starting up that involves a few other Soul Reapers that have moved on and are now dealing with an unnamed (Thor-like) opponent, the bulk of this installment is all about the back and forth between Shunsui and Lille. It works out well because we get Shunsui having taken some solid hits and is really reeling from it, which has him rambling on a bit to the point where he knows even Nanao would tell him to shut up already. It’s a fun kind of self awareness in a situation like this that feels like it works right. Lille, for his part, is definitely confident and almost cocky about things at this stage and the hunt between the two has a good bit of tension about it, even as you wait for the (inevitable?) turnaround moment for Shunsui, either through his own efforts or someone else coming across him.
Kubo’s artwork in this installment feels like it’s taken up a notch and a bit more as we get a lot more background material out of him and his assistants this time around. The result is that events feel like they’re definitely more grounded and real as we get the various hallways, cityscapes and the general sense of location that can drive it to be a more impressive piece. The action elements continue to be good, though a little disconcerting at first with Lille, but as it comes together the energy from it is definitely well done and helps to propel it all forward, making it a very fast read the first time through.
Bleach has a blink and you’ll miss it kind of chapter where at just eighteen pages it really does fly by quickly. It’s not a bad installment per se, because we get some better than usual background artwork and it’s mostly action oriented, but it’s an installment all about the movements than resolution or advancement. Which you have to have, as the fight sequences really are what sells the book in the end at this point. Kubo definitely does it well here and I find myself enjoying the sequence with Shunsui and Lille to see how it unfolds while also being slightly interested in the other fight that’s now starting to shape up.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media via Weekly Shonen Jump’s ComiXology Release
Release Date: October 19th, 2015