Bleach (Vol. 26) – Tite Kubo
Published by Viz
Bleach is a shonen series that always manages to impress me the most when things take the time to step back from the fighting for a bit. This twenty-sixth volume is no exception and I really loved the balance of character drama and action sequences.
This volume continues along as the previous volume had to showcase different characters as they train, plan and prepare for the inevitable attacks from the powerful Arrancar and their Shinigami-traitor, Aizen, who now possesses one of the most powerful items in the world.
There’re lots of little moments of focus on individual characters and they’re setting up some pretty sweet foreshadowing, though for what we of course don’t yet know. Orihime’s mysterious powers and their origins are hinted at by the strange crew training Ichigo, and the shopkeeper Uruhara, who is currently overseeing Chad’s training, has some implying comments about Chad’s abilities as well.
To my fan-girlish delight, Ishida returns to the spotlight for a moment as he fights his sadistic Father in the hopes of regaining his lost Quincy powers. It’s an intense, though short page-count battle, that certainly screams of anything but Father-Son love between the two. Scary man, his Father is! Makes it easy to see where Ishida gets some of his occasionally lacking social skills.
Always one to keep things entertaining, Kubo Tite also continued to sprinkle some great chuckle-worthy humour all the way through, and then surprised everyone with a shock visit from some Arrcanar that brings everyone out of training a lot sooner than expected. Toss in a suspenseful cliffhanger, and you have a great well-rounded volume that’ll leave you eagerly awaiting the next one.