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Bleach Vol. 49 – Story & Art by Tite Kubo (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

September 24, 2012 by  



A fascinating storyline after the Arrancar arc, we knew life would not be the same for Ichigo Kurosaki, and this latest volume shows how life 17-months later has been tough on him since losing his powers.  But for “Bleach” fans, the story comes full circle as we go from many volumes featuring more action with less plot, to now going back to stories featuring more plot over action.  “Bleach” vol. 49 is recommended!

© 2001 Tite Kubo. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Bleach Vol. 49

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

After a long battle, Ichigo loses his Soul Reaper powers… Ichigo now leads a quiet and peaceful life until he is approached by a mysterious man. What does the man want and how does it relate to Ichigo’s lost powers?!

17 months after the battle with Aizen.  17 months since Ichigo Kurosaki used “Final Getsuga Tensho” move and losing all his Soul Reaper powers.

In the last 17 months Ichigo has been taking part in school athletics, working at a part time job.  Meanwhile, losing his powers has also kept him distant from his family and friends.

His sister Yuzu feels that she no longer has a connection to her old brother, while Karin who can now detect hollows is working with Urahara to defeat them.

No powers, unable to feel the hollow’s spiritual energy, Ichigo Kurosaki feels that he is no use anymore.

That is until a mysterious group comes to town and they are interested in Ichigo for some mysterious reason.  Find out who they are in volume 49 of “Bleach”!

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 descendant of a hollow hunting group known as the Quincy and are enemies of the Soul Reapers.

As their adventures have continued, we have seen Ichigo and his friends getting stronger, developing new abilities and taking on their most difficult foes yet, the Arrancars including the traitor Soul Reaper, Aizen.

The Current Storyline

But for this current storyline, Ichigo has lost his power.  While his friends continue to fight against the Hollows, including his sister Karin who has developed the power to see and fight Hollows, 17-months later and Ichigo is still down in the dumps.  Feeling that the loss of power, he can’t do greater things to help the world like he used too.  He also misses seeing his friends from the Soul Society and all he can do is participate in school activities and go to work.

But there is someone keeping his eye out for Ichigo and even Orihime senses that he is being followed.  As does Uryu, and when he goes towards Ichigo’s home, Uryu sees someone running with unbelievable speed.  And the person is not a Soul Reaper.

And by the time Uryu goes to catch him, the assailant injures him.

What is going on and who are these people with special abilities and who is following Ichigo?

“Bleach” vol. 49 is a new chapter in the life of Ichigo Kurosaki.

17-months after his battle with Aizen and losing all his powers, it’s interesting to see how dissatisfied he is with life because he can contribute and help out his friends.  Being normal is starting to get on his nerves and he is starting to push family and friends away.

Without spoiling anything with this volume, what I can say is that someone is following Ichigo and there is a new group of supernatural people that have their eyes on not just Ichigo but also his friends.  Something bad is going on and when one of them makes contact with Ichigo, looking for his father.  Suffice to say, it’s driving Ichigo crazy because he can’t do anything to protect his family.

But when Uryu is severely injured, this puts Ichigo in a problematic situation.  What can he do?  And who are these mysterious individuals?

As always, the artwork by Tite Kubo is fantastic.  Unlike the previous volumes which have focused so much on the action, “Bleach” vol. 49 dials things down for a while as we are back to more story-driven pages.  More dialogue and more characters included, such as Ichigo’s family and friends.  There are quite a few action segments in relation to this new mysterious group of people but right now, “Bleach” is back to showcasing more story than action and it’s been awhile since we have seen that.

Volume 49 is no doubt a new chapter in the life of Ichigo Kurosaki.  Powerless and now just a normal human being, you know that the lead protagonist can only be powerless for so long.  The question is how will he get his powers back?  These new mysterious people in town may have the answers that Ichigo has been looking for.

A fascinating storyline after the Arrancar arc, we knew life would not be the same for Ichigo Kurosaki, and this latest volume shows how life 17-months later has been tough on him since losing his powers.  But for “Bleach” fans, the story comes full circle as we go from many volumes featuring more action with less plot, to now going back to stories featuring more plot over action.  “Bleach” vol. 49 is recommended!

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