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Bleach Vol. 53 – Story & Art by Tite Kubo (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

November 16, 2012 by  



An exciting, action-packed volume of “Bleach”!  Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Ginjo but also a major battle between the Soul Reapers vs. Xcution.  “Bleach” fans will definitely want to check out volume 53!

© 2001 Tite Kubo. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Bleach Vol. 53

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 is rescued from the pit of despair once again by Rukia, and she’s not the only member of the Soul Society who shows up to help out. Now having finally regained his true Soul Reaper powers, Ichigo faces off against Ginjo with no restraints.

You give it and then you take it away.

In volume 52, we saw the return of a much more powerful Ichigo who has not only gotten back his soul reaper powers, but he also has his newfound fullbring power.

But just as he and Ginjo were prepared to take on Tsukishima, Uryu returns to tell Ichigo that he has been played all this time.  The true enemy is Ginjo, who has hatched a plan with Tsukishima all this time in order to find a way to draw Ichigo, bring back his soul reaper powers and take it all away.

And now, all of Ichigo’s powers have been taken away by Ginjo and Ichigo was left powerless once more.  In a cruel situations of working and training so hard to gain the power back, he has lost it once again.

Or did he?  The volume ended with a surprise return from his good friend, Rukia.

And here we are now with volume 53 of “Bleach”, but this time, owing a debt of gratitude for how Ichigo Kurosaki has saved the Soul Society, with a plea from Kisuke Urahara, soul reaper First Division Grandmaster Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto has given permission for several Soul Reaper captains and lieutenants to put their power into a special sword in order to bring that power back to Ichigo in order to defeat Ginjo.

But as Ginjo also has split Ichigo’s power with his friends, this leads to another battle between not only Ichigo vs. Ginjo, but the soul reapers vs. Ginjo’s friends a.k.a. Xcution.

Thirteenth Division’s Rukia takes on Riruka Dokugamine,  Eleventh Division’s Ikkaku Madarame takes on Moe Shishigawara, Sixth Division captain Byakuya Kuchiki takes on Shukuro Tsukishima, Tenth Division Captain Toshiro Hitsugaya takes on Yukio Hans Vorariberna, Sixth Division’s Renji Abarai takes on Jackie Tristan and Eleventh Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki takes on Giriko Kutsuzawa in a battle to the death.

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.

But while the two plan to go against Tsukishima, it is revealed by Uryu that the true enemy is Ginjo.  And Ginjo and Tsukishima have been playing him all along in order to steal his power and share it with the members of Xcution.

And just when all of Ichigo’s new power has been sucked out by Ginjo, leaving him depleted, Rukia arrives.

Volume 53 continues the storyline as the new powerful Ginjo with Ichigo’s powers, has now shared it with Xcution, but the Soul Reaper captains also have put their powers in a special sword to bring the power back to Ichigo Kurosaki.  This leading to a major battle between Ichigo and Ginjo but also, the Soul Reapers vs. Xcution.

Wow!  I was not expecting another soul reaper battle but what a surprise from mangaka Tite Kubo with bringing us a story two years into the future, featuring a powerless Ichigo Kurosaki and a new antagonists leading up to this story of how, before Ichigo became a substitute soul reaper, there was another.

And who would expect to see another major battle featuring the soul reapers as they take on the more powerful Xcution (now having part of Ichigo’s powers).

Suffice to say, this volume is all action as each page is all about the numerous battles.  Aside from Ichigo vs. Ginjo, you also have Thirteenth Division’s Rukia takes on Riruka Dokugamine,  Eleventh Division’s Ikkaku Madarame takes on Moe Shishigawara, Sixth Division captain Byakuya Kuchiki takes on Shukuro Tsukishima, Tenth Division Captain Toshiro Hitsugaya takes on Yukio Hans Vorariberna, Sixth Division’s Renji Abarai takes on Jackie Tristan and Eleventh Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki takes on Giriko Kutsuzawa in a battle to the death.

Yes, as one can expect from a heavy battle volume, there is less dialogue and more illustration, so one can easily go through this volume quite quickly!  But that’s OK, because these battles are so awesome!  And to see how the matchups are is quite intriguing, especially when Byakuya and even Kenpachi are involved.

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.

An exciting action-packed volume from Tite Kubo, “Bleach” vol. 53 is recommended!

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