Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bleach 554 Review – “Desperate Lights”

Bleach 554 Review – “Desperate Lights”
Written by: ClayDragon

Soul Society is drowning in despair, and Yhwach is throwing them anchors.

From a nearby rooftop, Bazz-B looks over and sees Cang Du frozen in Hitsugaya's ice cross. A bit annoyed, he turns around and moves off. Hitsugaya, meanwhile, tries to make his way over to Matsumoto, but collapses with exhaustion before making it more than a few steps. As he hits the ground, his ice wings begin to disintegrate.

Possibly the least emotional thing he's ever said.

In Yhwach's palace, he discusses the return of the Bankais with Uryu, who states that Yhwach knew all along that the Soul Reapers would find a way to get their Bankais back. Meanwhile, Bambietta is wondering why the Quincies are making such a big deal over losing the Bankais, considering they weren't even the Quincy's to begin with. Turning around, she realises that she's been talking to herself, as her subordinates are nowhere to be seen.

"....goodbye, muscle control...."

For whatever reason, this severely annoys her, to the point where she creates a wave of energy that destroys the surrounding area, and threatens to reduce the entire Seireitei to flat land to bring them out. Before she can do so, she's stopped by the arrival of Komamura, who's sporting a new set of armour. Bambietta taunts him about the armour, to which he replies that it was a gift.

Unfazed, she goes on to say that he arrived too soon to be a real hero, at which point she's interrupted by Shinji, who appears behind her. As she turns to ask who he is, her perception gets distorted, and Shinji reveals that he's already activated his Shikai in order to confuse her. As he explains his power to her, she keeps trying to attack him, only to end up going in the wrong direction.

"Damn that Soul Reaper! Six pages in and I'm wankered on LSD!"

Yhwach then reveals that he's delighted that the Bankais were taken back, as this now allows the Sternritter to go all out – namely, by activating their Vollständig. As Komamura and Shinji look on, Bambietta activates her Vollständig, and is surrounded by bright light. She explains that she couldn't have used her power whilst keeping a hold of the Bankai, and thanks the Soul Reapers for letting her use it again. At the same time, bright pillars of light appear all over the Soul Society, signalling that a number of Quincies have activated their Vollständig. Meanwhile, Urahara and Kurotsuchi are discussing the situation when they receive a call from Ichigo.

Every time Yhwach smiles, a puppy dies.

Overall, I really enjoyed this chapter, and whilst it raised a few questions, it didn't detract from how exciting it was. Despite the fact that I quite like Hitsugaya, I'm pleased to see that he's out of the action for now, as he's taken far too much punishment to still be able to fight, and it'll allow the narrative to focus more on some of the other Captains that we've still to see fight (like Kensei or Kenpachi, for example).

To be honest, I was surprised to see Shinji pop up to fight Bambietta, as I always figured the fights would be one-on-one. Even so, Shinji isn't the first person that I would have expected to fight alongside Komamura, although it was a pleasant surprise to see him again. Speaking of Komamura, I didn't think we’d see him until his fight with the huge dog in the cave was resolved, although now I imagine it'll be told in flashback form fairly soon, if not next week.

Wait, wouldn't that kill them too?

Something that confused me was when Bambietta said that the Bankais interfered with the Vollständig forms. If that was the case, what was the point in stealing the Bankais in the first place? Surely their natural Vollständig would be more powerful than weapons that they stole and would have to train from scratch with? The only reason I can see as to why they would do that is to use the Bankais to weaken the Soul Reapers, and then flush out the rest with the Vollständig forms (or just to troll the Soul Reapers, either way works).

"You're not dealing with the average Quincy warrior any more. I, Bambietta, have risen above, and become the legendary Super Quincy!"

Nice job making the battle even more difficult, Urahara.

Good Things:          End of Hitsugaya's battles (for now).

                                The fact that we've (temporarily) bypassed the fight between Komamura and the                                   other dog.

                                Shinji makes a proper reappearance.

                                The Quincies have activated their Vollständig forms.

                                Ichigo looks set to appear soon.

Bad Things:         ...Nope, I’m drawing a blank here. No bad things this week!

Manga Rating:   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 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. His manga collection is growing by the day.


  1. No bad things?What about the the fact that stealing Bankais is pointless? What was the point? So Bach had the Quincy steal the Bankai, only that he knew the Shinigami would use fictional non-fiction comic book science to get it back? And the Sternritters are weaker with the stolen Bankai? Why?
    I'll have a Recap
    Fire Quincy: "What."
    (This is the usual level of emotion in Bleach)
    Apparently Fire Quincy was always there, only he didn't do anything because he is an amazing team player. So Chinese/German Quincy was beaten because of stupidity.
    Ice Kid shows the only bit of character he has by trying to help Matsumoto, but suffers terrible injuries and will not die.
    Meanwhile Yhwchyjuhahahbah, is contributing by siiting on his throne. He predicted this would happen, having the foresight of an annoying 6 year old girl. "The answer is 5" "I knew you'd say that" "But you answered 4" "I knew you'd say that" "You're wrong." "I knew you'd say that" This is Aizen's plan Version 2.
    Meanwhile Girl Quincy(Yes, that is her only character trait) talks. And then the art changes into comic-relief mode as she shouts more dialogue in 1 panel that most Bleach characters have said in 1 page. And then she becomes what would happen if Toriyama drew Sailor Moon. Then Shinji and Komamura show up.
    Shinji: "Then I guess, we aren't fit to become heroes."
    (I agree wholeheartedly)
    Shinji explains his Shikai to the enemy, it reverses all directions, showing how much Kubo loves back attacks. (That's really a thing in Bleach, appearing and attacking from the behind.)
    Then Girl Quincy activates her Volkswagen form.(Apologies to actual Germans), Saying that she couldn't use it with a stolen Bankai, which is makes to whole Bankai situation even more questionable. Oh look, Urahara!
    Ichigo? It seems Gokuu, I mean Ichigo has finished crossing Snake Way and is going to save his friends from Nappa!

    1. Firstly, thanks for your comment.
      Whilst I'm not sure why Kubo had the Vandenreich steal the Bankais in the first place, I'm sure there's a reason for it. Maybe it was just to use the Bankais to soften up the Soul Reapers, and then use Vollstandig to finish them off. Or maybe they've booby-trapped the Bankais somehow. Or maybe Yhwach just wanted to troll the Soul Society. Even if I'm wrong, I'm sure it will be explained anyway.
      And you seem to be annoyed at the 'science' behind the return of the Bankai. To be honest, this didn't bother me, because as long as the explanation has been alluded to before and doesn't go against the canon of the storyline, it's not that big of a deal. Heck, even if Kubo decided to make the Quincies weak to water, I wouldn't care as long as there was a decent explanation of it.
      How is "what" the usual level of emotion in Bleach? Bleach has as much emotion in it as any other manga series:
      Just look at those pages.
      The reason Bazz-B didn't help Cang Du was because he was explicitly told by Yhwach to leave the Captains to the Quincies who stole their Bankais. It wasn't that he didn't want to help, it was that he wasn't allowed to.
      And how are Yhwach's predictions a bad thing? You don't get to be the Commander of a huge army just by guessing, he'd need to be able to predict his opponent's movements in order to stand a chance of achieving victory.
      I assume when you say 'And then she becomes what would happen if Toriyama drew Sailor Moon.', you mean Kubo instead. And how is that a detriment? All he's done is draw her powering up, just because he's done that doesn't mean he's copying Sailor Moon's style.
      I don't see what the problem is with attacks from behind, it's been shown time and time again in Bleach that most people don't care for the rules of combat, and so will use any tactics to gain the upper hand. Sneak attacks are one of the most effective ways of winning, so why not use them?
      The reason that Quincies couldn't use Vollstandig whilst having the Bankais is probably due to the Bankais taking up too much power, thus meaning they didn't have enough energy to activate their Vollstandig forms.
      And why are you referencing DragonBall Z? It's not as if this situation is a carbon copy of that section from DBZ, it's happened in lots of other manga series too. The secondary characters are fighting strong enemies whilst the hero is away getting an upgrade, and appears in the nick of time to save his friends. That isn't something that Kubo's just copied straight from Akira Toriyama.

    2. I'll wait for a bankai stealing explanation then.
      Urahara's science just seems a bit too convenient, it's like is the solution to everything.
      Quincies being weak to water would be hilarious, though.
      "I'm meltiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnggggggg!!!!!!!"
      Your emotional examples:
      Chapter 423: That's quite good. Goodbye Botan-I mean, Rukia. I miss Rukia. She hasn't done much since he dropped from being a main character.
      Chapter 500: Meh
      Chapte 237: Orihime's last good moment. I actually like that scene. THAT is heart. Not an emo arrancar dying and typing only 2 letters on 1 page.
      So Bazz B had orders to let him lose. Okay. I wonder why they all follow Moustache Man at all. What's their motivation? To be shakily revealed, next time, in one of the guidebooks.
      The attack from behind is not bad in itself. The problem is that it's repetitive when it's used all the time. I saw a picture where all the back attacks were compiled. It's a lot, Almost every arrancar fight has it. Byakuya vs Espada 8 has it twice.
      When I said it was questionable, I meant that it's another reason why they had no need to steal Bankais. The Dragon Ball similarities are just tropes, I know.

    3. Sorry, I forgot about what I meant when talking about emotions.
      When you compare Ichigo, think about his personality, his way of actions.Compare to say, some other shonen protagonists, like *ahem* Gokuu, Luffy, Naruto and Natsu. Strawberry's a lot less lively. Normally, you know, when people are around their friends, they tend to talk and laugh together.
      All of the characters I've stated are "one-dimensional" as far as that lose term goes. But that's not a bad thing.
      A character can be still likeable despite being that. Basing a character around a single theme is a good way to start. Except Kubo thinks too highly of his skills, he expects Ichigo to write himself, or he does whatever is "kewl".
      In the mind of Kubo, slouching, making an emotionless face, appearing from behind, spotting one-liners like:
      "When I ever say..."
      "Don't make me repeat myself..."
      "Haven't I told you..."
      It's his brand of badass, but it gets old quite fast. And once it get's old, it makes for a boring character. And its not just Strawberry. Hitsugaya, Byakuya and Ulquiorra. None of them seem happy. Take a look at Bleach Asylum to see Strawberry's Angsty Face. (That sound like a chapter title...)Why? Maybe it's because they're dead? But that doesn't seem like a bad thing in Bleach.
      By the way, it is possible to be serious with personality. Kenshiro and Zoro are examples.

    4. I suppose it is a bit convenient, but we don't really know how he came across the solution, so there's still a bit about it we don't know.
      I miss Rukia too, she was a good foil to Ichigo, but she's been shoved out of the spotlight.
      I don't think Ulquiorra's death scene was too emotional, it just seemed pointless to have him reach out to Orihime. The fight between him and Ichigo was awesome, but the end just sort of petered out.
      Presumably, all Quincies hate Soul Reapers, and they follow him because they want to fight. Either that, or they're ruled through fear. Bazz-B especially seems more loyal to Haschwalth than Yhwach.
      I suppose the back-attacks do happen a lot, but I can sort of see why, from the point of view of there only really being a few ways in which two fighters can attack. Either they meet head-on somehow, or get attacked from behind.
      Ichigo's personality can be quite bland, but one of the reasons (if not the main reason) I prefer him to Naruto, Luffy and Natsu is that he isn't an idiot. Most Shonen series I've seen have a protagonist who seems to be lacking in intelligence, and Ichigo and Edward Elric are the only two I've seen who avert that to some degree (okay, Naruto has gotten a lot better, but he was still an idiot for at least half of the story).
      Bleach does have some boring characters, I'll admit, but some of them are quite interesting. Like Unohana and Uryu; they've both developed over time, and it's good to see that not all characters are static.
      And in all fairness, Ulquiorra was meant to represent emptiness, so it's no wonder that he isn't smiles and rainbows. Hitsugaya's personality was sort of explained, in that he's trying to act more mature to compensate for his young age. Byakuya just doesn't care.
      And yeah, some characters do have a serious, good personality. Kakashi and Roy Mustang are another two examples.

  2. You take Bleach too seriously man. I hope you discuss quantum mechanics with so much passion. Anyway I think the bankai stealing is useless since they gave the shinigami a chance to find a solution. They should have annihilated them in the 1st invasion, when the bankai stealing medallion was a surprise element, but know-it-all Yhwach didn't forsee that the shadows would make him come back. But anyway this is Bleach, and that's how Kubo wants it to be.

    1. I wasn't aware I took Bleach that seriously, I do try to get a few jokes out of each chapter. But maybe I take it seriously because it takes itself more seriously than the likes of, say, Fairy Tail. And I do discuss quantum mechanics with emotion, but it's more like despair and anger than positiveness and confidence.
      I'm withholding judgement on the Bankai theft until it's explained better. I don't want to start judging it before everything's been revealed, but I can see why it can be seen as annoying.
      Yhwach did actually know that the shadows would come for him, but it was when he went to see Aizen that Aizen was (somehow) able to skew Yhwach's perception of time so that he thought he had longer than he actually did.