Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bleach 535 Review – “Defenders”

Bleach 536 Review – “June Truth”
Written by: ClayDragon

Scrubs this ain’t.

After falling unconscious due to the Vasto Lorde’s attack, Masaki now appears to be floating in a black void. Immediately after saying that she isn’t scared, she seems to be attacked by the giant floating head of a Hollow. Back in the real world, Urahara introduces himself to Ryuuken and Isshin, who (for whatever reason) doesn’t recognise him. Understandably stressed, Ryuuken tells Urahara to make Masaki go back to the way she was, to which Urahara responds that he can’t, and that she will never go back to the way she was. He then provides a bit of exposition on the process of Hollowfication, noting that Masaki’s condition is because she's a Quincy who's in the process of becoming a Hollow.

However, Urahara says that, while she can’t go back to the way she was, they can still save Masaki’s life. After some more exposition on the dangers of Hollowfication, Urahara says that eventually the soul of a Hollowfied person will self-destruct, in a process called ‘Soul Suicide’. Luckily, during the hundred or so years he’s been exiled from the Soul Society, he found a way to prevent Soul Suicide from occurring. Using this, he was able to prevent the Visoreds from experiencing Soul Suicide. Unluckily, the method he devised still wouldn’t be enough to save Masaki’s life. To do that, he would need a much stronger opposing power; something that would keep on blocking the Hollowfication process and stay close to her until she dies. Anyone else see where this is going?

This would make a great name for a band.
Ryuuken certainly doesn’t, as he calls Urahara a liar and says there must be another way to save Masaki. Unfortunately for Ryuuken, he doesn’t have a choice in the matter. The only one who can choose is.... Isshin, who would have to enter a special Gigai that Urahara made. This would result in Isshin being a complete opposite of Masaki (he would become a Shinigami/human cross whilst she would be a Quincy/Hollow cross), and so her Hollow side would be suppressed. On the other hand, there are a lot of downsides to this method, especially for Isshin. It would result in him losing all of his Shinigami powers, as well as his ability to see Hollows. In addition, he probably wouldn’t go back to being a Shinigami. Going further, Urahara explains how the process would work......and gets cut off by Isshin agreeing to it, saying that if he let the person who saved him die, he’d regret it for the rest of his life. Urahara agrees and starts the operation.

"...................I'm sorry, what did you say?"
 In Masaki’s mind, she braces against the impact of the approaching Hollow head, only for Isshin to appear at the last second and grab her.

"Who are you and why am I naked?"
Even though this chapter filled in more of the backstory with regards to Urahara and Isshin, the sheer amount of exposition was a little grating. The fact that Isshin chooses to stay with Masaki out of a sense of urgency and honour was a bit jarring as well, especially as I had expected a typical “boy meets girl in unusual circumstances” plot.

This has to win some kind of award for "Strangest Second Date Ever".
On the other hand, we get to see exactly how Ryuuken went from being a kind, caring kid to a guy a few steps away from being a cold, cynical jerk (at least to his son). The fact that Isshin didn’t recognize Urahara on sight is confusing, although it would appear that this flashback takes place (at most) eighty years after Urahara left the Soul Society. This could sort of be explained by Isshin not being a Captain when Urahara left, although given how long some Soul Reapers live, it’s a bit strange that Isshin apparently never saw Urahara before he left.

Whilst this chapter moved the story forward and introduced a few interesting ideas (a Hollow infecting a Quincy, for example), the explanations just took too long in my opinion.

Manga Rating: 2.5/5

My thoughts exactly, Isshin.

ClayDragon is currently studying Physics at university, and is constantly bewildered by it. The main method of contacting him is his Gmail account at kyleroulston1993@gmail.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.

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