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Bleach Vol. 46 – Story & Art by Tite Kubo (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

October 7, 2012 by  



Featuring a big surprise unveiling of a long-time character, revealed to be a powerful shinigami and possibly a former captain in the Soul Society, its another intense, action-packed, heavy hitting volume of the “Bleach” manga series… for those who have stayed with this Arrancar storyline for this long, “Bleach” vol. 46 is highly recommended!

© 2001 Tite Kubo. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Bleach Vol. 46

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: October 2, 2012

With Captain General Yamamoto giving him an opening, Ichigo goes in for the finishing strike against Aizen! But Ichigo will need the help of some new reinforcements if he hopes to defeat both Aizen and Ichimaru Gin!

As Aizen observes the battle between the Soul Reapers and Espadas, Ichigo uses the moment to attack Aizen.  But thinking that the strike would kill Aizen, it is revealed that Aizen has control of the Hogyoku but most importantly, he has been pulling the strings of Ichigo’s life.

From the very first meeting with Rukia to the awakening of the powers of he and his friends, he had his hand on everything since the beginning.  And as Aizen shows that Ichigo’s power is not strong to even defeat him, out of nowhere, a mystery character comes to save Ichigo’s life…Isshin Kurosaki, Ichigo’s father… a shinigami???

What is “Bleach?”

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 42-45, the Soul Reapers take on the remaining Espadas to a fight for the death.

In volume 46 of “Bleach”, as Aizen reveals to Ichigo that he is responsible for awakening his spiritual power and that he pulled the strings for the first encounter with Rukia to having a hand in everything that has made him a powerful soul reaper today.  And as Aizen is shown to be super powerful, out of nowhere comes Ichigo’s father, Isshin who reveals himself to be a skilled shinigami and possible former Soul Reaper.

This leads to a battle between Aizen vs. Isshin and Ichigo vs. Gin.  How will the Kurosaki’s fare against the former Soul Reapers?

For “Bleach” fans, like the previous volumes so far, these are action-driven storylines.  But for volume 46, there was one twist that Tite Kubo had thrown in, something that many fans probably never saw coming.  And that is to see Ichigo’s father Isshin show up out of nowhere to defend his son but to also take on Aizen.

For so long, we have always though of Isshin Kurosaki as the comedy relief among the Kurosaki household.  We knew he was a doctor but also saw him as some sort of goofball.

Now, we are starting to learn a few things that readers probably saw coming.  Isshin being a shinigami and that Aizen had a part in a lot of things that Ichigo never knew about.  From how he met Rukia to this unknown power that reveals he is half human and half….

While the storyline features more action as Aizen shows off how powerful he can be, but also bringing in Kisuke Urahara and Yoruichi to join in on the fight is quite exciting.  Meanwhile, we get to see Ichigo and Gin take on each other in battle but learning more about Gin’s zanpakuto and how devastating his zanpukto really is, is surprising.

Needless to say, volume 46 of “Bleach” will no doubt entice fans of these heavy action storylines of the “Bleach” manga series but also seeing how things are starting to get more chaotic now that Isshin Kurosaki is brought into battle and seeing that he is quite a powerful shinigami with a lot of secrets that will hopefully be revealed soon.

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.

Featuring a big surprise unveiling of a long-time character, revealed to be a powerful shinigami and possibly a former captain in the Soul Society, its another intense, action-packed, heavy hitting volume of the “Bleach” manga series… for those who have stayed with this Arrancar storyline for this long, “Bleach” vol. 46 is highly recommended!

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