Bleach 538 Review – “Standing on the Edge”
Written by: Clay Dragon
The learning is over, and now the training begins.
Carrying straight on from last week’s chapter, Ichigo has announced to his dad and Ikumi that he’s leaving, and it very quickly becomes apparent that he has no idea how to get back to the Soul Society. Thankfully, Mera appears out of thin air, grabs an understandably shocked Ichigo, and teleports back to the Soul Society. It transpires that Ouetsu decided to send Ichigo back to the real world for one evening, and if nothing had changed during that time then waiting any longer would have been pointless. As a number of Asauchis surround Ichigo, he reaches out to one particular one and grabs its hand. It looks up, revealing itself to look remarkably similar to Ichigo’s Hollow form. Ouetsu smiles, and promises to forge Zangetsu again personally.
Meanwhile, in a training arena in the Soul Society, a swordsmanship class is interrupted by Hitsugaya, who wishes to be trained to use swords due to his Bankai being stolen. As he begins, he vows to look forward, and not hold any sentiment towards his lost Zanpakuto. In a clearing, Kensei confronts Hisagi, and orders him to reveal his Bankai. Due to the fact that the Vandenreich can steal an opponent’s Bankai, Kensei figures that more people need to learn to use them in order to effectively fight the enemy. However, it turns out that Hisagi won’t be fighting Kensei in order to obtain his Bankai. He’ll be fighting......Mashiro, who was last seen during the fight with Wonderweiss about 160 chapters ago.
Whilst Hisagi tries to argue against the training, Mashiro takes the initiative and punches him in the stomach. Hard. Kensei says that he won’t hesitate to kill Hisagi, and that he’s not as gentle as Tousen was. This seems to motivate Hisagi into fighting, and he states that no-one can badmouth his old (traitorous) Captain. Finally, in a secret cave somewhere in the mountains, Komamura speaks to something hidden in the darkness, which turns out to be a massive dog. Yes, really.
This week’s chapter moved the focus away from Ichigo and back to the Soul Society, which is always welcome. However, one thing to note about Ichigo’s section was the appearance of his Asauchi – more specifically, its face. Whether or not this means a return for Hollow Ichigo is unknown, although I certainly wouldn’t complain if he were to come back.
A more concrete return, on the other hand, is Mashiro, whose last scene involved her bleeding out on a rooftop. Given that her status was left ambiguous for roughly two years, it seems odd to have her introduced as though nothing had happened, but maybe the gap between her battle with Wonderweiss and her appearance now will be filled in at a later date.
And now for the proverbial elephant in the room. Or, more accurately, the 11.5 meter large dog in the room. God knows what his relationship with Komamura is (although it seems fairly strained) or why the Squad 7 Captain is visiting him, but his appearance came completely out of left field and seems unjustified, to be honest. He could be an integral part of Komamura’s past and I could be proven wrong, but for the moment I’m not too pleased about his appearance.
All in all, this was a decent chapter with a number of interesting plot points to follow up on, leaving me with high hopes for next week.
Good Things: Possible reappearance of Hollow Ichigo.
Ichigo’s facial expressions.
Bad Things: Giant, random dog.
Manga Rating: 3.5/5
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.