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Bleach Vol. 39 – Story & Art by Tite Kubo (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

March 16, 2012 by  



It’s an all action volume of “Bleach” as a major Soul Reaper character’s life is hanging by the thread.  With the tides turning against the Soul Reapers, desperate times call for desperate measures and First Division will need to step in!  Action-packed from beginning to end, “Bleach” fans will definitely enjoy this 39th volume!

© 2001 Tite Kubo. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Bleach Vol. 39

STORY AND ART BY: Tite Kubo (久保 宣章)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

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

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: April 3, 2012

The battle between the Soul Reapers and Aizen over the fate of Karakura Town continues with more warriors joining the fight. But when Captain-General Yamamoto enters the battlefield, can he put a quick end to Aizen’s minions?

The battle between the Soul Reapers and Arrancars continues in vol. 39 of Tite Kubo’s hit manga series “Bleach” and this time around, things are not exactly looking good for the Soul Reapers.

For those who are not so familiar with “Bleach”, “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. Meanwhile, in order to protect Ichigo and her friends, Orihime willingly stays with Aizen’s group but Ichigo and friends will do all they can to save her. Meanwhile, the Thirteen Court Guard Companies head to Karakura.

With volume 38, the battles continue with the Soul Reapers proving to be victorious in the earlier matches, this time Second Division’s Sui-Feng and Marechiyo Omeda take on Fraccion Ggio Vega.   Meanwhile, Tenth Division’s Rangiku and  Fifth Division’s Momo Hinamori must take on Fraccion’s Cyan Sung-Sun, Franceska Mila Rose and Emilou Apacci. And Eighth Division’s Shunsui Kyoraku takes on the Espada Coyote Starrk.

But as these battles continue, the Espada’s are known for their resurrection technique and can continue to respawn.  With the tides turning against the Soul Reapers, it’s time for Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto of First Division to engage in battle!

With this latest volume, similar to volume 38, it’s still an all out war focusing on the Soul Reapers vs. the Fracciones.

While the last two volumes focused on the Soul Reapers kicking some major butt, this time around, the roles are reversed when a significant character is pretty much devastated from a severe attack and may be close to death.  It was definitely a shocker to see the Soul Reapers in dire situations but it does amp the storyline a bit and showing that the Fracciones can be deadly and are not going to all lose against the Soul Reapers.

Needless to say, desperate times calls for desperate measures and the answer is to unleash the elder leader of the First Division, Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamato.  We have only see a little of Genryusai’s power but we have not really seen him go all the way out.  So, this volume, we get to see that.

And yes, finally Ichigo makes his return…although a short return for a few pages, it does build up to the next volume in which Ichigo will probably be back in the pages of the manga series for vol. 40.

As always, the artwork by Tite Kubo is fantastic but for those who prefer more story versus all-action, especially for those who want to see Ichigo and friends may be disappointed as Ichigo and others are not featured (Ichigo is featured but very briefly towards the end of the volume).

Like the last two volumes, this latest volume 39 is all about the fighting, the battles and is purely all action-driven. No deep storyline, just all-out battles and obviously a favorite Soul Reaper among Bleach fans gets damaged quite severely in this volume.  So, it’s quite interesting to see how everyone tries to defend this character in order for her to be evacuated and get medical attention, while everyone fights this new Fracciones behemoth.

For those who are familiar with “Bleach”, especially the anime series with episodes that focus solely on action, will find this latest volume quite appealing. Personally, I enjoyed the fact that Tite Kubo focuses on other characters and explores their development and their powers with this latest volume. Some of these characters have been rather idle, and while we have seen them fight, we have never seen some of these soul reapers put everything on the line as they battle to the death.

So, for fans of the soul reapers, especially for those who want to see more of Sui-Feng, Marechiyo Omaeda, Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto, Momo Hinamori, Shunsui Kyoraku and Rangiku Matsumoto in action, these characters are the main focus of vol. 39.

Overall, all-action, less story may not be to everyone’s taste, especially if a manga volume can be read too quickly, but for those who have invested this much time into the “Bleach” series and love the action, then I have no doubt in my mind that you will enjoy “Bleach” Vol. 39.

Recommended!

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