Bleach Vol. 42 – Story & Art by Tite Kubo (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

July 4, 2012 by  

The Soul Reapers vs. the Espadas continue their battle, but the tide has turned for which side?  Another intense all-action volume of “Bleach”!

© 2001 Tite Kubo. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Bleach Vol. 42

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: July 3, 2012

The battle between the Soul Reaper captains and Aizen’s Espadas continues with the fate of Karakura Town hanging in the balance.  And just as things take a turn for the worse, some surprising allies make their grand entrance!

The ultimate battle between the Soul Reapers and Aizen’s Espadas continues in volume 42 of “Bleach”!

For the past few volumes, we have seen the Soul Reapers take on the Espadas/Arrancars, with casualties on both sides, in the last volume, we watched as Ichigo Kurosaki defeated Ulquiorra.

But now the battle shifts back to the Soul Reapers vs. Espads as Captain Hitsugaya takes on Halibel, Soi Fon and Marechiyo Omaeda take on Barragan and Shunsui Kyoraku and Jushiro Ukitake take on Stark.

With the Espadas in control, do the Soul Reapers have what it takes to survive?

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.

In the last chapter of vol. 40, the fighting between Ichigo and Ulquiorra has been one-sided. Ulquiorra is too powerful of a being. As Uryu tried fighting Ulquiorra to protect Ichigo and Orihime, Uryu paid the price by losing his hand. And now, as Ulquiorra shows his vicious side and having blasted a hole through Ichigo, Ichigo should be dead.

But that is not the case, a new type of hollow has emerged from Ichigo Kurosaki, and this time, he’s more powerful than ever!  For volume 41,  the battle between Ichigo vs. Ulquiorra has concluded!

And now, the fight between the Soul Reapers and Espadas continue, but this time around, things are not looking so good for the Soul Reapers as they take on the most powerful Espadas, who may be more powerful than they had expected.

For the last few volumes, we have seen the tide go back and forth between the Soul Reapers and Espadas.  Both sides suffering from major casualties and now the battle continues in its last legs as now the battle shifts back to the Soul Reapers vs. Espadas as Captain Hitsugaya takes on Halibel, Soi Fon and Marechiyo Omaeda take on Barragan and Shunsui Kyoraku and Jushiro Ukitake take on Stark.

In volume 40, we have seen Soi Fon’s arm being cut off during her battle with Barragan, who has the power to make anything it touches, die or accelerate its age for a quick death.  With Soi Fon’s arm being touched, she has no decision but to cut it off and while she recovers, Marechiyo Omaeda comes to help and give Soi Fon some time to plan her strategy to fight against Barragan.

Meanwhile, Captain Hitsugaya is in a  battle with Tier Halibel, who has the power of turning her zanpakuto into a shark and using water manipulation.

Shunsui takes on Stark and for “Bleach” fans, we are not entirely sure what Shunsui’s true power is but during battle, Jushiro doesn’t want Shunsui to reveal his bankai true power, so he offers to take on Stark himself.

And just when you think that the tide has turned towards the Soul Reapers in power, the Espadas get some help from three powerful individuals.  And just when you think that the Soul Reapers are done for, let’s just say that the Soul Reapers get some welcome help from a group you least suspect.

With that being said, I don’t want to spoil the storyline of this issue and who shows up.  But you can’t help but be excited of what Tite Kubo has planned for the upcoming volumes.

Needless to say, there are major twists and turns in this latest volume and is preparing to set up an even greater battle for the next volume of “Bleach”.

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 Soul Reapers vs. 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.

While I’m not so sure that anyone can jump in at vol. 42 without reading the previous volumes, it’s important to note that “Bleach” is one of those series that features more characters than most manga series. In fact, “Bleach” and “Naruto” are character-heavy, but when it comes to action-based anime, the more, the merrier and in this case, it works out but in order to know the backgrounds of these characters, you really can’t miss an issue.

Overall, “Bleach” vol 42 is another fantastic action-driven volume that is going to set the stage for a major battle for volume 43 between the Soul Reapers vs. the Espadas.

If you love “Bleach”, love action-driven manga and love a lot of fighting, definitely give “Bleach” vol. 42 a try!

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