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Bleach Vol. 54 – Story & Art by Tite Kubo (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

January 13, 2013 by  



An exciting, action-packed volume of “Bleach”! Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Ginjo but also the battle between the Soul Reapers vs. Xcution continues in the conclusion of the “Fullbringer” arc! Recommended for “Bleach” fans!

© 2001 Tite Kubo. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Bleach Vol. 54

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: January 1, 2013

After a long struggle, Ichigo finally regains his Soul Reaper powers thanks to Rukia. But as the battle against Kugo Ginjo heats up, Ichigo learns a shocking secret behind his role as a Deputy Soul Reaper. With the truth finally revealed to him, what action will Ichigo take?

It’s a battle to the death between the two Deputy Soul Reapers, Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Kugo Ginjo.  But Ginjo reveals the truth to Ichigo about the role of the “Deputy Soul Reaper” and the meaning behind the badge.  When Ichigo finds out the truth, how will he react?

Meanwhile the battle between the Soul Reapers and Xcution Fullbringers continues as Byakuya Kuchiki takes on Shukuro Tsukishima and Rukia Kuchiki takes on Riruka Dokugamine.

Find out in volume 54 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.

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.

And now with volume 54, as Ichigo takes on Ginjo, the two Deputy Soul Reapers fight to the death but not before one last revelation from Ginjo on the truth about their Deputy Soul Reaper badge.  Meanwhile, Rukia continues her fight against Riruka and Byakuya fights to the death against Shukuro Tsukishima.

Ichigo Kurosaki has always wanted to protect everyone.  To protect the innocent from harm and also helping a tortured spirit finding peace.

And throughout the series, we have seen Ichigo fight for right, against evil and time after time, sacrificing his life but also attaining great power to defeat the most challenging opponent.

But how much trust can the Soul Reaper have in one man?  In volumes 53, we saw how the Soul Reapers came to help Ichigo and get his power back.  But what happens when Ichigo finds out that his relationship with the Soul Society, especially the Soul Reapers is much more complex than he expected and that as a Deputy Soul Reaper, you are being controlled?

Suffice to say, it’s what one does with their power and how they use it.  And for former Deputy Soul Reaper Ginjo and Ichigo, what are their goals?  And by knowing the truth of being Deputy Soul Reaper, will this change Ichigo’s outlook of the Soul Society?

Meanwhile, as these two men fight to the death, Byakuya Kuchiki takes on his most deadliest opponent Shukuro Tsukishima and as for Rukia, does she have any chance against Riruka Dokugamine?

“Bleach” volume 54 sets up the conclusion of the “Fullbringer” arc and prepares for the next arc to be revealed in February in volume 55.  It’s important to note that with the release of this volume 54, the US will now only be three issues behind Japan (which volume 57 was released in December 2012).

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 and major revelations which may impact the relationship between Ichigo and the Soul Society in the future, “Bleach” vol. 54 is recommended!

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