Bleach for Dummies, Vol. 5
Right Arm of the Giant
We’re starting to get somewhere folks. The conceptual groundwork has been laid. The hero has been created. The universe filled in. Nemeses introduced, and now we add the ensemble cast. Up til now, we’ve had Ichigo the shinigami with only Rukia as confident. Now things are changing. Ishida steps up as the ally nemesis (as opposed to the hollow Ichigo’s sworn to kill) and rains down problems all over town. Ichigo’s friends are forced to dig deep and blossom with riatsu or die.
So the story moves forward, and things start to get interesting by the end of the volume. More on that in a minute.
35. Will You Be My Enemy?
The volume opens with the classmates looking at the first term frosh class standings. We knew Ichigo made the top 50 last time, this time we find out Ishida was number one. Orihime is number 3. Really? Just thought you’d save her from complete stereotypical characterization by making her a scholar, eh, Tite. F you. She’s not been any great shakes in the brains department so far, although I will admit that high marks do not equate with actual smarts. Still, as a smart girl with high marks and big boobs myself…I’m feeling a little patronized…because I’m getting the feeling it’s supposed to be a joke. ggrrrrrrrrrr.
Tatsuki reminds us of her karate prowess and shows herself to be Orihime’s rottweiler again. Confusion, I’m telling you. Chad’s on the list higher than Ichigo. And Uryuu’s name at the top of the list bothers Ichigo…partly because he has no idea his rival is in his class and has been all along. It’s cool to get a new character, but waving away Ichigo’s ignorance by saying he’s bad with names and faces is a little weak too.
OMG! Uryuu is a freaking elf! He’s in crafts with Orihime, and is a regular demon with a needle and thread. And haughty about it. Prancing little arrogant ELF. He’s the kind of elf I like to see trip, or have a really messy sneeze where the snot just sort of explodes all over his fastidiously perfect clothes. This gets better and better.
Of course he notices when Ichigo follows him home. Of course he’s known ALL afternoon. Of course, he’s going to be a prick, it’s what those perfectly perfect elfin bow masters do. He challenges Ichigo to a game, and you know it isnt’ going to be anything harmless like dominoes or go. This is going to be a dick’s challenge.
36. They Died for Vengeance
Comic relief from those weird kids that tag along after Urahara, and I’m reminded of Wednesday and Pugsley Addams. Something creepy about those kids, and the boy is called Mr. Jinta, and I think their Ro Sham Bo consequence has to do with magic. Hmmm…shinigami trainees?
Rukia talks to Urahara about Quincy Archer and finds out the Archers (Ishidas) are a clan of hollow destroyers. They hunt hollows, but prefer to annihilate rather than cleanse. That’s why they don’t see eye to eye with the shinigami. Oh, and they’ve apparently gone missing for the last 200 years.
Ichigo and Uryuu do the normal trash talk in the school yard thing. They stop short of actually saying your dad can beat up my dad, but we have the same testosterone induced poisoning.
37. Crossing the Rubicon
Ishida drops the hollow bait and the game begins. Tatsuki is distressed about some things, including this strange new ability to see ghosts. She and Orihime have talked about it. A disturbance pulls them toward a big noise at the school. Ichigo is busy taking down hollows as fast as he can and sends Kon off (in his own body) to find Rukia and her phone thing so he can track them down faster. The end of the chapter shows his sister, Karin, Chad, Urahara and Kanonji all looking just as distracted at Orihime.
Rukia’s Nokia starts going nuts and Urahara just sits there. Chad gets involved with a hollow he can barely see, and runs into Karin at the soccer field. He works hard to protect her from the hollow’s attack.
39. Right Arm of the Giant
Karin and Chad tagteam the hollow. She can see it clearly and he has the brawn to get the job done. Karin’s obnoxious little playmates are completely clueless knobs. Chad has a flashback about his Abuelo telling him to use his fists to protect not to harm. The gentle giant reaches right down deep…and grows a wrench for a right arm. WOOT! That’s craftsman right there, and when he starts to swing that hammer, you best believe something will be going down.
Chad battles the hollow, more flashbacks and character development…about learning to be kind. Gooshy, sweet…marshmallowy goodness…somebody get me a graham cracker and a bar of really dark chocolate, cuz I needs to make a s’more. Karin watches as he drops the hollow, without her visual guidance, and then drops himself like a ton of bricks.
Tatsuki and Chizuru (finally learned the name of the little yuuri girl who keeps making openly suggestive remarks to the other gals…I guess with the way she talks, the use of her name would have been lost on most of the guys) are cleaning up the broken glass at the school. Orihime comes in looking nervous and tries to herd them out of there, because she can see a gruesome tentacled freek of a hollow on the roof.
41. Princess & Dragon
Chizuru starts flirting with Orihime and Tatsuki gets a little snarky. Hmm…really? And Orihime tries to save them both. I loved that the hollow looked like a cross between a pokemon and octopus and something from Hello Kitty (hearts for eyes…FTW!). Chizuru goes down and gets ‘seeded’ by the pokemon hollow, who possesses her. Tatsuki steps up, talking like Orihime’s champion.
42. Princess & Dragon Part 2: The Majestic
Things look bad for the girls, and Tatsuki gets possessed as well. Orihime has a flashback about her brother and those stupid hair pins she always wears. Heh heh heh…what did I say about that? Her self-esteem is wrapped up in her hair, and there is an interesting flashback about that. Her brother always complimented her about it, but one day someone said they didn’t like it…so she cut it all off. Then her brother died, and we all know about the hair pins…right? Sit up and pay attention, because all that heavy symbolism from way back ago is about to pay off. Tatsuki’s friendship and loyalty (dare I say…love?) gave Orihime the confidence to grow her hair back, so she decides to protect her friend now.
43. Princess & Dragon Part 3: Six Flowers
Little birdlike things, seed pods?, start flying around Orihime. Oh!!!! Fairies! Now, mebbe I have a sick and twisted sense of humor but the tongue in cheekiness of this whole little arclet (Orihime’s ‘change’) has now layered on so thick that I’m starting to laugh out loud. I do apologize to anyone else who reads this bit of the story at face value, but really, these are all wonderfully girly jokes…my guess is Tite has a sister or nieces or a little girl in his life. This stuff was teh funneh.
And of course the fairies are irreverent as hell…at least one of them. There are six of them, of course, three from each hair clip. She demonstrates three different powers, and the fairies team up to make them happen: santen ketsuhun (three god shield of Lily, Baigon and Hinagiku) provides defense in front, soten kishun (twin god reflection shield of Shuno and Ayame) reverse damage behind the shield and koten zanshun (lone god slicing shield by Tsubaki the smartass fairy) provides offensive attack. The bleedin’ little fairies kick some serious hollow butt and Orihime falls down.
The volume ends with Urahara and his butler (carrying the collapsed Chad) coming to gather up Orihime as well. Trickster god…yummeh.
From here on out I’ll be covering several volumes in a post, just to keep things moving along…plus I’m anxious to get truly caught up and join the fun on the Bleach page. The manga is starting to build some momentum, there is some serious exposition just around the corner, but the conflict and changes are tense enough that it’s a much smoother read. For those of you who haven’t started the manga, I will tell you that my reviews to this point might get you up to speed enought to jump in around chapter 39 when things start to take off and get some decent pacing.
Looking forward to writing up the next few volumes; hope to see you then.