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Bleach Vol. 52 – Story & Art by Tite Kubo (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

November 16, 2012 by  



For nearly two years, Ichigo Kurosaki has been living without his soul reaper powers.  But now he has finally regained them, but is it enough to even defeat the enemy…and does he really know who the true enemy is?  Be prepared for some twist and turns but also a major surprise with volume 52 of “Bleach”.  Recommended!

© 2001 Tite Kubo. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Bleach Vol. 52

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: December 4, 2012

Ichigo continues his training to master Fullbring and hopefully regain his lost Soul Reaper powers. But as Ichigo gets closer, Ginjo makes a startling move. Can Ginjo truly be trusted? And what lies ahead for Ichigo when he finally regains his powers…?

After losing his soul reaper powers for nearly two years, Ichigo Kurosaki has now developed his fullbring powers which have once again made him powerful.   But with Shukuro Tsukishima making his move on Ichigo’s friends and also demonstrating his power against Ichigo, Ichigo must now finish his final training by taking on Kugo Ginjo.

But during battle, to Ichigo’s shock, Ginjo has slashed his eyes and now Ichigo is blinded.

Why would Ginjo do such a thing to Ichigo?

Meanwhile, while Ginjo and Ichigo are training, Tsukishima has now made his move not only on just Orihime and Chad, but he has made his move on his sisters and high school friends.  And now Tsukishima has used his fullbring and making everyone think that he is their good friend or someone from their past life.

And to also make things worse, Tsukishima has now taken control of Ginjo’s friends.

The true enemy is revealed in volume 52 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?

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.

In volume 52, Ginjo is determined to complete Ichigo’s training by bringing out his dormant soul reaper powers back. But how far will Ginjo push Ichigo?  Let’s just say a lot because Ginjo has now slashed Ichigo’s eyes and making him blind.

Meanwhile, Tsukishima has gone further in his attempts to hurt Ichigo.  But this time, things have gotten personal as he has gone after Ichigo’s sisters and his high school friends.  To make things worse, Ginjo’s partners have also been taken over by Tsukishima’s fullbring.

This leads to the final battle against Tsukishima… but is he the true enemy?

“Bleach” fans should be prepared for some major twists and turns with volume 52!

Not only do we get to see Ichigo Kurosaki regain his soul reaper powers in addition to having new enhanced abilities thanks to his fullbring but now he Ichigo must deal with an enemy who has the ability to enter someone’s past and put memories in their head to make them think its factual.

Shukuro Tsukishima has done the unthinkable.  He has gone after Ichigo’s sisters, his friends, his boss and everyone has turned against him because Tsukishima has made people think that he was their childhood friend, boyfriend, family member and think that Ichigo has lost his mind.

And just when you think he has Ginjo and his friends to turn to, Ginjo’s friends have also been taken in by Tsukishima’s fullbring.

So, this leads to only one choice….Ichigo and Ginjo must take on the powerful Tsukishima…but are they powerful enough to do so?

Also, be prepared to find out who is the true enemy behind this.  And also, a special appearance by someone that you never expected to see.

As always, the artwork by Tite Kubo is fantastic. His action illustrations are wonderful and he has been doing it long enough to know what works and how to get the reader interested when there is so much action that takes place in a page.  Granted, action-paced manga with a lot of fighting does make the reading go quickly but fortunately, there are some major surprises in store with this volume that makes things manga volume worthwhile.

If you are a “Bleach” fan, while volume 52 features the return of Ichigo’s soul reaper powers but it also reveals the true enemy!  And also one more surprise that will make “Bleach” fans really happy!

Find out what happens in “Bleach” volume 52!  Recommended!

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