Bleach Vol. 45 – Story & Art by Tite Kubo (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

July 19, 2012 by  

The epic battle against Sosuke Aizen has now begun.  The Soul Reapers and the Visoreds team up to fight one man… But with all their combined power, is it even enough to beat Aizen?  Another intense, action-packed manga volume of”Bleach”!  Highly recommended!

© 2001 Tite Kubo. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Bleach Vol. 45

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: August 7, 2012

Ichigo Kurosaki never asked for the ability to see ghosts–he was born with the gift. When his family is attacked by a Hollow–a malevolent lost soul–Ichigo becomes a Soul Reaper, dedicating his life to protecting the innocent and helping the tortured spirits themselves find peace. Find out why Tite Kubo’s Bleach has become an international manga smash-hit!

With the conclusion of the battle against Tozen and the arrival of Ichigo Kurosaki in Karakura Town, the attack against Sosuke Aizen begins in volume 45 of “Bleach”!

But before Ichigo is to fight against Aizen, the Soul Reapers want to keep Ichigo out of the fight at first.

Toshiro Hitsugaya, Sajin Komamura, Sui Feng, Marechiyo Omaeda, Shunsui Kyoraku and the Visoreds, lead a full assault against Aizen.  But with their combined power, will it be enough to defeat Aizen?

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!

In volume 42, 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.

In volume 43, Aizen, Ichimaru and Tosen make their appearance during the battle between 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. But just when you think the Espadas are going to win, the Visoreds have come to join forces with the Soul Reapers. An uneasy alliance. But who will become the victor of this battle?

In volume 44, with Ichigo having defeated Ulquiorra, he rushes to help out his friends. With Rukia in a difficult battle with the #0 Espada, will Ichigo be able to save Rukia from getting killed by Yammy? Meanwhile, Captain Komamura and Shuhei Hisagi take on their former friend Kaname Tosen. But Tosen has a surprise for his former friends!  And with Aizen sizing his competition for battle, Shinji knows believes that the only person that can defeat Aizen is Ichigo, but with Ichigo out helping Rukia, does Shinji Hirako have any chance of fighting against Aizen by himself?

In volume 45 of “Bleach”, with the battle against Tosen now over, the Soul Reapers and the Visoreds lead a full-on assault against Sosuke Aizen.  But as Ichigo watches the assault, can a group attack be enough to defeat the powerful Aizen?

It’s the battle that everyone has been waiting for a long time to happen.  The epic battle against Sosuke Aizen has now begun in this latest vol. 45 of “Bleach”!

And because this latest volume is so action-packed and features so many characters all going against Aizen all at once, it would be difficult for me to even describe this volume without spoiling things.

So, the best way to describe this volume is using the word “chaotic”.   So, chaotic that people are maimed, possibly people are killed and it becomes so chaotic that First Division Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto will also join the assault against Aizen.

And we get to see characters go all out in this battle, but even with a combined assault… is it even enough to beat Sozuke Aizen?  How powerful is this man?

As always, the artwork by Tite Kubo is fantastic but for those who prefer more story versus all-action. The story will appeal to action fans, as each page focuses on visual battles and the use of special abilities.  Because of that, the story does go quickly and one will be able to finish this volume quickly because each page is action-driven and with only a few word bubbles, possibly a few seconds to read each page.  But to see how this battle unfolds, I was shocked and in awe.  You may not have much to read but just the visuals alone is enough to show the reader how chaotic things have become.  How tragic things are going to be?  And most of all, how powerful Sosuke Aizen truly is.

As for those who wonder if they can jump in vol. 45 and know what’s going on.  If you are specifically interested in just the fight against Aizen, then yes.  It begins with this volume!  But for those who want to know the context of what is going on behind-the-scenes, then you will need to go back and read each issue because too many things have happened to Ichigo Kurosaki and crew since Aizen, Ichimaru and Tosen became traitors to the Soul Society.

Needless to say, if you want to focus just on the fight with the Espadas, then going back ten volumes may enough.  But “Bleach” is a long continuing manga series with each arc having a tremendous affect on Ichigo and friends.

Overall, this is a volume that many “Bleach” fans have been waiting for. The epic battle against Sosuke Aizen and this is not a one-on-one battle, it’s a bunch of Soul Reapers and Visoreds all going to war against one man.  But even with the combined assault, can they beat Aizen?

Another intense, action-packed, heavy hitting volume in the “Bleach” manga series… “Bleach” vol. 45 is highly recommended!

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