Bleach Vol. 34 – Story & Art by Tite Kubo (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

February 11, 2011 by  

An action packed volume of “Bleach” featuring battles that include the Soul Reaper captains in action – Kenpachi, Byakuya and Kurotsuchi!  Also, the true form of Nel is revealed!  Definitely recommended for “Bleach” fans!

© 2001 Tite Kubo. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Bleach Vol. 34

STORY AND ART BY: Tite Kubo (久保 宣章)


PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shonen Jump Manga

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: March 1, 2011

To Ichigo’s surprise, his childlike friend Nel Tu reverts to her true form to shield her human protectors. And yet, an unforeseen turn of events leaves Nel and everyone at the mercy of the enemy, who is a heartbeat away from exterminating them. What hope is there for Ichigo and his friends now?

“Bleach”… It’s definitely one of the most successful anime and manga titles in Japan and well-known to anime/manga fans all over the world.

“Bleach” has a strong fan following and since its run began back in 2001, series creator, writer and illustrator Noriaki “Tite” Kubo has been hard at work, continuing to crank chapter after chapter for Weekly Shonen Jump in Japan and with the success of the series extending out to films, OVA’s, feature films and video games and other merchandise.

Because of its airing on the Cartoon Network and it being featured on Shonen Jump magazine, “Bleach” has gone on to become a fan favorite in America but also fans all over the world.

A Brief History of what “Bleach” is about

“Bleach” is a story about a guy named Ichigo Kurasaki who has a gift in which he can see spirits.  One day, he saw a Soul Reaper (one who can govern the flow of souls between the human world and the afterlife) named Rukia Kukichiki who has come to find a Hollow (a lost soul).  She ends up being wounded in battle when she tried to defend Ichigo and so she illegally transfers her reiatsu (spiritual pressure) to him, so that he can defeat the Hollow.  But during the process, he nearly takes all of her energy and becomes a Soul Reaper himself and defeats the Hollow quite easily.  So, the first storyline arc features Rukia now powerless stranded in the human world until she has the time to recover her true powers, while Ichigo fills in and battles Hollows in her place.  And with each fight, Rukia starts to notice something special about Ichigo’s abilities.

The second storyline arc of “Bleach” features the Soul Society wanting to sentence Rukia to death for transferring her powers to Ichigo.  His friends also begin to develop special abilities.  His childhood friend, Orihime Inoue, is given special abilities courtesy of her loving brother who has turned into a Hollow.  Yasutora “Chad” Sato is Ichigo’s tall friend (who is half Japanese/half Mexican) who suddenly becomes aware of spirits and develops an ability to have a special armored right arm that has special abilities.  And Ichigo’s rival/friend,  Uryu Ishida, who is a desendant of a hollow hunting group known as the Quincy and are enemies of the Soul Reapers.

Through various chapters, the Soul Reapers learn that one of their own, Sosuke Aizen, is a traitor.  It was learned that Aizen has been creating Visoreds, Soul Reapers who have obtained hollow powers (Hollowfication) and are known for their hollow masks (which look like skulls on a human’s face) and Arrancars, a stronger form of hollow which has acquired human form.

It is learned that Ichigo has a Visored that is manifesting within him that has great power.  During a fight, this visored tries to take over Ichigo’s body but Ichigo is trying his best to control it and using this power wisely.

Together, Ichigo and his friends continue to increase and enhance their abilities overtime and to take on tough enemies which leads us to the Visored/Arrancar arc.

The Current Storyline

Ichigo and friends are now on a mission to stop the traitorous soul reaper, Sosuke Aizen who along with his army of Arrancars are preparing their plan to destroy the Soul Society and wiping out Karakura Town. Ichigo and friends have penetrated Las Noches to rescue their friend Orihime and just defeated Espada Grimmjow but now they have been attacked by Nnoitora.  Just when things are looking grim, the child-like arrancar named Nel comes to the rescue.  Nel’s  true form is a busty woman, who was formerly the 3rd Espada.  She was expelled from Las Noches by Nnoitra and she has reverted to a young child-like girl and has amnesia.

Because of Ichigo’s kindness and willingness to protect her, Nel shocks her new friends when she turns to her true form and fights against Nnoitora.

Meanwhile, Uryu and Renji had taken on Szayelaporro with no success.

As Ichigo and friends are suffering in battle and everything is looking quite bad, they receive some help in the last minute from familiar faces: Captain Kenpachi Zaraki of the 11th Division, Captain Retsu Unohana of the 4th Division, Byakuya Kuchiki of the 6th Division and the mad scientist, Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi of the 12th Division.

With “Bleach” vol. 34, what made this volume quite entertaining is that we see the Soul Reapers come to the rescue of Ichigo and friends at the last minute.  The Soul Reapers were forbidden to help Ichigo out and here they are now, fighting against the arrancar that are about to kill them.  We finally get to see some action with these captains taking on these powerful arrancar.  Especially seeing Kenpachi, Byakuya and Kurotsuchi in action.  It’s been a long while since we have seen these characters go all out and to see what special moves they have developed since they fought Ichigo and friends earlier in the series.

Also, it was a big surprise to see Nel’s true form.  Granted, she still has amnesia and not knowing what is happening but it was great to have an action-packed volume with the Soul Society captains involved.While, Byakuya and Kenpachi are known for their technique, Kurotsuchi, the mad scientist is an unknown and so we get to see how methodical this man is and how he has used Uryu since their first fight, an interesting and amusing revelation.

Overall, if you are a “Bleach” fan, definitely give Bleach Vol. 34 a chance!

Definitely recommended!

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