Manga-ka: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Viz Media
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: June 2011
Synopsis: “Higher Than the Moon While the Soul Reapers are entrenched in bloody one-on-one battles with the Espadas, their sworn enemy Aizen is preparing to make the next move in his elaborate plan. The battlefields of Hueco Mundo will soon give way to another battlefield where the price of losing will prove to be infinitely higher. “
The first volume of Viz Media’s 3-in-1 edition of Bleach comes out this week and finishing this thirty-fifth single volume of the series makes me almost envious of the omnibus format. Never has there been a series that keeps me flipping through the pages as swiftly as I do in Bleach. A part of this is obviously because I want to know what happens next, but predominantly it’s because of how text-light and attack heavy the pages are. I love how fast-paced and energetic it is, you’re completely drawn into the fight sequences! Unfortunately they’ll only last you a couple of minutes at most.
Kubo Tite continues to show off great skill at drawing a fight scene. He puts them to good use in this entire arc as one character after another faces off against another powerful foe. This volume pits the arrogant Nnoitora against battle-craving Kenpachi Zaraki. The fight is lengthy by a single volume standard and bloody, as expected in a fight between these two. Like all the Espadas, Nnoritora has several forms to go through but each one only furthers Kenpachi’s excitement to tear him apart. In fights like these, it shows how easily some of the Shinigami Captains can be villains as well – they’re blood-thirsty, merciless and downright crazy. It just so happens they fight on the good guys’ side.
Another prime example of this is Mayuri Kurotsuchi – the Shinigami scientist on the front cover. The book opens with the end of his battle against the Espada’s experimenting equivalent. He’s not a bad-guy I’ll miss, even if I was thankful for the extended Uryuu page time when fighting him. Mayuri sets to the task of healing his assistant Namu and Uryuu and Renji. These brief scenes do a nice job splitting up the volume’s two largest fight scenes and add in some much-appreciated humour.
The volume ends by setting up the big fight we all knew was coming. Aizen reclaims Orihime so easily it was almost painful, while simultaneously dispatching the Espada to Karakura town. They plan to destroy the entire town in order to gain the strength to tear apart Soul Society. It comes as no surprise that the remaining Shinigami Captains are rallying to stop them but I was stunned by the silliness of their explanation of how they can blow up the place with no consequences. The upcoming fight would’ve been near impossible to have otherwise but still this exposition scene was so for-plot-convenience-only that I had a good laugh.
Another volume of Bleach and another flurry of fight scenes. It’s all good stuff, even if a little repetitive. All the same I’m starting to wonder if it’s more worthwhile buying several volumes and holding off reading them until I have a few to read in one go. One volume is good but it lasted me all of seven minutes, which doesn’t really go far in providing a satisfying experience no matter how exciting the material within.
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Book bought from Chapters