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Bleach Vol. 40 – Story & Art by Tite Kubo (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

May 20, 2012 by  



It’s the battle that many have been waiting for… Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Ulquiorra Cifer in the battle to the death.  Who will live and who will die?  The battle begins in “Bleach” vol. 40.  Recommended for “Bleach” fans!

© 2001 Tite Kubo. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Bleach Vol. 40

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: June 5, 2012

While the Soul Reaper captains deal with Aizen’s forces in Karakura Town, Ichigo faces Ulquiorra in Hueco Mundo. To match the powerful Espada, Ichigo will have to rely on his hollow powers. But will the darkness overwhelm him…?

For the past few volumes, we have read in awe as the Soul Reapers and the Arrancars have clashed in a magnificent battle of might, power and skill.  With renegade Soul Reaper Aizen sending how his army of Arrancars to destroy the Soul Society and wiping out Karakura, the Soul Reapers have stood in battle, ready to fight and win.

There have been casualties on both sides, and while the focus has been primarily on the Soul Reapers and not Ichigo and friends, there has been a build up between this upcoming battle between Ichigo Kurosaki and Ulquiorra.

And now, the battle between Ichigo Kurosaki and Ulquiorra Cifer begins in “Bleach” vol. 40.

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.

In volume 38 & 39, the Soul Reapers go into battle against the Arrancars, and there are casualties on both sides.

In “Bleach” vol. 40, it is now Ichigo Kurosaki’s turn to take on an Arrancar, the deadly Ulquiorra Cifer.  A powerful Arrancar with a second stage, not many know of the extent of his true power but Ulquiorra will do whatever he can to destroy Ichigo.  But no matter what happens, Ichigo is determined to never give up.

For many readers who follow the “Bleach” manga series, there is no doubt that Tite Kubo has been trying to show viewers how massive this war between the Soul Reapers and the Arrancars is.  Featuring so many characters engaged in battle, and many well-known characters suffering major injuries, many wondered “when will we see Ichigo and friends engaged in battle?”.

And with volume 40, it happens now.  And this is an all-action manga volume featuring Ichigo vs. Ulquiorra and we also see Uryu and Orihime involved as well.  But because the storyline focuses so much on this battle, I can’t really say too much without spoiling the series, but I will say that characters will suffer major injuries in this volume alone.  And if anything, make you crave for what is to come in vol. 41.

As always, the artwork by Tite Kubo is fantastic but for those who prefer more story versus all-action, it’s a no-brainer that this war against the Espadas will be more action-driven.  The story is still good, that is if you care about the character’s special abilities and the fight that takes place.

But I can say that starting with this issue, the game will change from here on in for Ichigo and friends and Ichigo will not be the same after this battle.  So, “Bleach” vol. 40 should not be missed.  Recommended!

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