Sporadic Sequential
Friday, July 27, 2007
Bleach Blabbering


» Growing up, my examples of bespectacled bad guys were the dorky-looking Dr. Octopus (who really should have been played by Michael Moore in the movie) and Hugo Strange, so I never thought a villain wearing glasses could look menacing, but Sōsuke Aizen manages to pull it off. (Of course, he ditches the glasses as he escapes, but the "Badass Nerd" look was surprisingly effective while it lasted.)

» I was very surprised that Aizen got away at the end. Once it was revealed that it's possible to surpass the limits of Soul Reaper potential if one merges with a Hollow, I was expecting Ichigo to let loose the Hollow within him (shown in vol. 19) and defeat Aizen easily. But I suppose allowing Aizen to escape sets him up as a recurring nemesis for the series to focus on.

» At first I thought the revelation about what was going on with Ruika explained how Ichigo became Hollowified, assuming Ichigo was somehow transformed by the Breakdown Sphere when he absorbed Ruika's Soul Reaper powers, but then I remembered that Ruika had the Sphere hidden within her gigai after she'd transferred her powers to Ichigo. Thankfully, there's Wikipedia, and it clarified that it was Ichigo's intense training with Kisuke Urahara that released his latent Hollow abilities. I'm not sure if it could have been made clearer in the story (or if it will be addressed in later volumes), or if my memory is just too poor to piece together details like this across multiple volumes that span months or years. Was this obvious to everyone else?

» Ruika's status as passive hostage officially moved from irritating to infuriating with this chapter. In earlier volumes, I could at least attempt to explain away Ruika's passivity as based on her respect for Soul Society laws and her brother's opinion, but once the traitors' plot was revealed to everyone, Ruika's inactivity seemed completely out-of-character. Even more frustrating, we hardly get any insight into Ruika's mental state in this volume, with just one unexplained "I can't move" thought balloon, so she really does just appear to serve as an object to be fought over and protected. (Ruika is bizarrely / patronizingly cradled like an infant in Renji's arms throughout most of the volume.) Perhaps I missed something and it was explained that Ruika was somehow incapacitated / immobilized, but even so, that would be an unsatisfactory excuse given how many other characters were able to overcome insurmountable wounds or obstacles throughout this arc.

» Not specifically related to Bleach 20, but, man, it would be great if Viz gives Bleach (and other long-running series) the "Viz Big" omnibus treatment. I imagine it would make it easier for new readers to try out the series, and I know I'd be enough of a sucker to buy the material again for the new format and artwork. (My only gripe about the "Viz Big" announcement is that $17.99 doesn't seem like that much of a discount over three regular-priced Shonen Jump volumes (3 * $7.95 = $23.85, or only $5.86 more than the omnibus edition). Still, the Shonen Jump books are so cheap to begin with that I can't really complain too much.)

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