Manga Review: Bleach – 517
After years of alluding to an even stronger force tasked with the protection of some entity in Soul Society, we finally get the Zero Division. Unfortunately, they are not what anyone expected!
I must admit: I had the same face Ichigo had several times throughout this chapter. I was expecting a group of typical Bleach bad boys and a refined female character design. I didn’t expect them to look like this. They just seemed so different from the other character types that we have seen throughout the series. Perhaps this is something to praise Kubo about as it shows he can still create wholly original and fresh designs. Personally, I don’t like them, but I must admit they are unique.
Personality-wise, they do fit well with the group. Hikifune Kirio and Shinjumaru Shutara were the only named ones. One, in particular, had a wealth of panel time with the conversation he shared with Soifon over the duties of the Gotei 13 and the Zero Squad. It was a pretty intense discussion and one that really put the entire event in perspective. Ultimately, it seemed pretty pitiful that they needed to show up, as it showed that the Gotei 13 was just not strong enough to fend off intruders, and that now the Zero Squad must come and clean up. Poor Old Man Yamamoto to leave behind a legacy that has now been highlighted by this massive blunder. Can they ever recover and reclaim their former glory, or will widespread and sweeping replacement of leadership positions be dealt out in the future?
Unohana, in particular, faced scrutiny as well, as the characters showed that her healing skills, while they had improved since the time that these characters were around (perhaps we will get a background mini-arc to fill in these details), were not good enough to heal characters such as Renji and Byakuya. Furthermore, they also showed that even Mayuri of the research division could have done better and was lacking in skills to wholly recover characters’ Bankai.
One question I had: Why was Rukia taken? Last chapter, Ichigo even spoke with her and she seemed like she was recovering well. Is this a plot reason, or is Kubo just keeping her around for the sake of giving her more panel time this final arc?
Well, with the Zero Division present, two members named, and characters off in transit to a new location, this breathing space in the middle of the war arc has been informative and intriguing. I hope we get some sort of “Pendulum” arc sect of chapters in the next few weeks to develop these characters and quickly give us backstory and information on the Soul King and their mission. For the plot at hand, I wonder if this means that all the characters involved to get healed will receive new abilities and new Bankai forms. What if they also receive resistance to the Stern Ritter techniques?
GO Rating: 4/5