Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bleach Vol. 23: Mala Suerte! by Tite Kubo

Main character: Ichigo Kurosaki, plus a cast of millions (well, it feels like it!)
Location: Karakura Town, Japan
Time period: Contemporary
Genre: YA Manga, Supernatural

I am finding it interesting that, since the end of the storyline dealing with rescuing Rukia from execution has ended, the plots of the books and the anime have gone off in two different directions. The anime, showing weekly on Adult Swim, is dealing with creatures called Bounts who seem bent on increasing their power by stealing human souls. In the books, the Arrancars are the main villains. I'm enjoying both storylines, though I favoring the Bounts at the moment.

Be that as it may, this was a exciting volume--well, after an embarrassing and uncomfortable sequence with Rangiku and Orihime. The Soul Reapers has dispersed around Karakura Town, with Rukia staying with Ichigo, Renji over at Urahara's store, and Rangiku and Toshiro at Orihime's. Orihime confesses to Rangiku that she is a little jealous of Rukia and feels terrible about it--which is very touching and sweet, but takes place while Rangiku is bathing--apparently for no other purpose than to show her in suggestive and inappropriate poses.

The Arrancars are out to destroy everyone who has even the slightest bit of spiritual pressure. The most vulnerable is Chad who is not yet completely healed from his last encounter with them. Ichigo runs to his defense, and Chad is saddened to think that he may never be able to fight side-by-side with Ichigo again. Aww, Chad! You are my favorite character! Rukia reveals that she has regained her powers, and she defeats the Arrancar.

When did Keigo gain some spiritual pressure and become able to see the Soul Reapers and Hollows? I know in the anime storyline with the Bounts he has his near-death experience, but that hasn't happened in the mangas. What have I forgotten?

But the rest of the volume belongs to Ikkaku, who battles with an oversized Arrancar and thoroughly enjoys himself. The fight builds to a crescendo, and then we end with an odd interlude which seems to be a flashback for Ichigo and Rukia from a time before the series started.

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