Bleach 534 Review – “Hole of Reproach”
Written by: ClayDragon
After the events that transpired over the last few chapters, it’s only now that we seem to be getting towards the climax of the flashback.
In the Soul Society, Matsumoto tries to dump her work on her Captain so she can go and get food, but her attempt is thwarted by the fact that Isshin has already left to go to the world of the living, and has told Matsumoto to think of an excuse for his absence. She throws a brief tantrum, and Hitsugaya calls her out on her hypocrisy.
Meanwhile, Masaki arrives back at the Ishida residence, and is welcomed warmly by Ryuuken, and not so warmly by his mother. After uttering the words that no-one likes to hear (“we need to talk”), she proceeds to berate Masaki for her actions during the fight with the Vasto Lorde. Ryuuken, realising that his maid Katagiri told his mother about the events of the previous night, he runs off to find her and (quite forcefully) begins to interrogate her. It turns out that Katagiri told Ryuuken’s mother everything because Masaki was injured by the Vasto Lorde, and as a result might die. Due to this, the pure bloodline of the Quincies would be spoiled.
Realising what Katagiri means, Ryuuken runs back to Masaki and his mother, and tries to cover for Masaki. Before he can say much, Masaki collapses. Ryuuken runs to her side, and sees that a Hollow hole is beginning to form on Masaki’s chest. Seeing as his father is away, Ryuuken decides to run off with the unconscious Masaki despite his mother’s attempts to call him back. She even goes so far as to call Masaki a “thing”. How rude.
As he’s running down the street, Ryuuken begins to blame himself for Masaki’s condition, feeling that if he had stopped her from going to the fight, or if he’d helped her from the beginning, then none of this would have happened. Suddenly, he’s attacked by a massive Hollow...which is promptly sliced in half by none other than Isshin. Noticing the hole in Masaki’s chest, he attempts to help her, but is pushed back by Ryuuken, who clearly blames Isshin for the state she’s in. As Ryuuken gets more and more worked up, they’re approached by Urahara, who tells them that he knows of a number of ways to save Masaki.
Even though the Vasto Lorde is dealt with, it’s obvious that this flashback still has more to tell us, which would seem to be a good thing. The reason for the rivalry between Isshin and Ryuuken in the present is potentially explored here: given how much Ryuuken cares about Masaki and the Quincy bloodline, he probably didn’t take too kindly to Isshin marrying her. Also, in one panel Ryuuken’s mother is shown with a wound on her leg, which looks suspiciously similar to the wound Orihime received from the Hollow way back at the very start of the story. Whether or not this means that Ryuuken could potentially have Fullbring powers remains to be seen. That, or I’m overthinking things.
Urahara’s appearance at the end is interesting, as it’s never been explored if he and Isshin have met each other before. It would also be good to see exactly how he saves Masaki, although it may be less than ideal (i.e. his ‘method’ of making Ichigo a Soul Reaper). Beyond that, any appearance of Urahara is amusing, so there are no complaints from my end.
This chapter was better than I expected, as it’s been made clear that the action isn’t over yet. The involvement of Isshin and Urahara was just the icing on the cake.
Manga Rating: 4/5
ClayDragon is currently studying Physics at university, and is constantly bewildered by it. The main method of contacting him is his Gmail account at email@example.com. The alternative is his Skype account at kyleroulston1993. When not playing games or reading, he can be found with his head in his hands whilst trying in vain to understand quantum physics.