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Bleach Vol. 51 – Story & Art by Tite Kubo (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

November 2, 2012 by  



He may have lost all his Soul Reaper powers, but with his new training…Ichigo may be able to tap into an incredible power that he never knew he had. Action-packed from beginning to end, “Bleach” vol. 51 is recommended!

© 2001 Tite Kubo. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Bleach Vol. 51

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: November 6, 2012

Knowing Tsukishima is after Ichigo, Ginjo continues the Fullbring training at a secret base. Ichigo is mastering Fullbring at an incredible speed and regaining his lost powers, but is he ready to face Tsukishima just yet…?

Ichigo Kurosaki, a teenager who has developed incredible powers has lost it all during his battle with Aizen 17-months earlier.  Since then, he has kept him distant from his family and friends.

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

In the last volume, Ichigo finds out that Ginjo and the others were people who’s parents were attacked by hollows before they were born. Remnants of the hollows powers were left on the mothers and were incorporated into their unborn child.

Knowing that Ichigo is like them, but wants his powers back, each of these individuals are willing to have their powers removed and have their powers transferred into Ichigo.  Even his good friend Chad is willing to give up his power for his friend.  But in order to do that, he must go through training to prove he is ready to obtain this new power.

Meanwhile, Orihime senses a disturbance and it appears she may confront the person who nearly killed Uryu Ishida. His name, Shukuro Tsukishima, a man who was once part of Ginjo’s group but slaughtered everyone when they tried to transfer their power to another person.

Shukuro manages to thrust his sword into Orihime’s heart but not killing her, but a warning to come.  Feeling scared that Ichigo is being targeted again, especially now that he is powerless, she and Chad must do all they can to protect Ichigo from harms way.

In volume 51 of “Bleach”, Ichigo continues his training, strengthening his new power via the Fullbring and nearly restoring his Soul Reaper powers.  But while training, out of nowhere, Shukuro shows up into Ginjo’s private headquarters in order to stop Ichigo.  Will Ichigo be strong enough to defend himself from Shukuro’s attack?

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?

Volume 50 features Kugo Ginjo, the leader of a club of people who were born with hollow powers like Ichigo. Members include Riruka Dokugamine, Giriko Kutsuzawa and also Chad Yasutora. Four people who are willing to have all their power removed and have it transferred to Ichigo Kurosaki.

But there is one person out there who is trying to make sure it doesn’t happen, and this individual, Shukuro Tsukishima, is striking out on Ichigo’s friends.

Volume 51 focuses on Ichigo’s fullbring training and using his newfound power to get stronger.  But while most people will take a long time to get stronger, perhaps Ichigo may be able to learn how to control this new power quickly since he has been in battle many times before.

But as he trains, Shukuro shows up from nowhere and begins his attack.  Will Ichigo be ready for a fight?

I’m sure this small arc about Ichigo losing his powers is a short hiatus from another major build-up to a more longer arc.  After all, there is just no way the main kick-ass protagonist is going to be kept powerless for a long duration of time.  In the case of “Bleach” vol. 51, Ichigo not only regains a power courtesy of the Fullbring but the storyline opens up potential mysteries that involve possibly his father Isshin Kurosaki but also Urahara.  And hopefully, we’ll get to learn more about Isshin and Uharahara’s past together.

But the latest volume of “Bleach” is primarily about Ichigo’s training and his goal to learn as quickly as he can, but also showing us how powerful the antagonist Shukuro Tsukishima truly is.

While a simplistic plot,  it does make a good diversion after so many issues that dealt with the Arrancar, it’s good to bring things back to perspective to the human world and also seeing the powerless and sad Ichigo gaining back that excitement once again

As always, the artwork by Tite Kubo is fantastic. I love how the characters were drawn and also to see these newer characters being integrated to an all new storyline. It’ll be interesting to see how much more powerful Ichigo will be with his new fullbring powers, especially seeing his power evolve to what is now.

If you are a “Bleach” fan, while volume 51 manages to retain the action-packed, exciting storyline that it always had in the past but definitely setting things up for Ichigo for the future.

“Bleach” vol. 51 is recommended!

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