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Bleach Vol. 56 – Story & Art by Tite Kubo (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

February 20, 2013 by  



An exciting action-packed volume from Tite Kubo,  “Bleach” vol. 56 is absolutely shocking and featured a storyline that I was not anticipating.  Suffice to say, the Soul Society and for a few characters that we have come to read (or watched if you have been following the anime as well), will no longer be the same or probably will no longer be around.  This is probably the most casualties that one will ever see happen in a “Bleach” arc and I can tell that Tite Kubo has a lot of surprises, twists and turns up his sleeve and he no doubt has upped the ante with this volume alone.  “Bleach” Vol. 56 is highly recommended!

© 2001 Tite Kubo. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Bleach Vol. 56

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: April 2, 2013

When a mysterious group of warriors calling themselves the Vandenreich attacks, Ichigo heads to Hueco Mundo to help his friend Nel. And when the Vandenreich takes the fight to the Soul Society, an all-out war between Soul Reapers and Quincies breaks out!

We have only heard of how the Quincies had perished after a long feud with the Soul Reapers.  The Soul Reapers which believed in having the soul of a hollow crossover to the Soul Society, while the Quincies believed in the total destruction of the hollow’s soul.  And while the two had tried to work out their dispute, in the end, it let do a war in which the Soul Reapers vanquished the Quincies.

With only Uryu Ishida thought to be the last Quincy alive, in volume 55 of “Bleach”, it was revealed that one of the deadly Quincy’s from the past, Yhwach, was not killed and has assembled a group known as the Vandenreich to eliminate all Soul Reapers and destroy the Soul Society.

Many have gone missing in Karakura Town and while the Vandenreich have made their presence known to General Yamamoto by killing 1st Division Lt. Sasakibe.  Also, Hueco Mundo Arrancars have been attacked by the Hueco Mundo Army led by Quilge Opie who are trying to force the Arrancars to join them or else be killed.

As Nel goes to the human world to beg for Ichigo to save Hueco Mundo, Ichigo, Kisuke Urahara, Chad and Orihime hurry to Hueco Mundo to see what is happening.  And with the distraction caused in that area, Juhabach orders the Vandenreich to attack the Soul Reapers in their home area inside the Seiretei.

The war between the Vandenreich and the Soul Reapers begin in volume 56 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 but also earning the respect of his friends and the Soul Society, having saved their lives time and time again. But this time around, there comes a new enemy that may be so powerful that Ichigo may not be able to take them on…

Enter the Vandenreich!

The Current Storyline

Volume 55 begins a new chapter of “Bleach”. The series begins with hollows missing or being mass executed.

Meanwhile, two practicing soul reapers of the 13th Division, Ryunosuke Yuki and Shino have been appointed to be the new guardians of Karakura Town to replace Zennosuke Kurumadani. But as the two take on hollows, they are nearly bludgeoned to death but are quickly rescued by Ichigo Kurosaki and friends.

And as Orihime continues to heal both soul reapers, out of nowhere, Asguiaro Ebern, a man with an Arrancar mask shows up in Ichigo’s room. This leads to a fight between Ichigo and Ebern but while fighting, the man reveals himself not to be an Arrancar and out of his sleeve is a pendant that only Quincies should have.

Meanwhile, in the Soul Society, men in black masks and military robes known as the Vandenreich have managed to penetrate the Soul Society and enter the room of leader, Genryusai Yamamoto with their declaration of war and giving him a warning that in five days, the Soul Society will be destroyed.

And immediately, Yamamoto’s most trusted lieutenant, First Division Lt. Chojiro Sasakibe comes to the defend the leader and for the first time, activating his bankai, only to have it disappear and is killed in battle.

As Ebern fights with Ichigo, Ebern is shocked that Ichigo’s bankai has not disappeared. Immediately, Ebern disappears from battle.

As the Soul Reapers receive an emergency message to go back to the Soul Society after being informed that Sasakibe has been killed, out of nowhere, Nel returns to visit Ichigo with distressing news that the Hollows and Arrancars have been attacked in Hueco Mundo and is in possession of a new deadly force known as the Vandenreich led by General Hunt Commander Quilge Opie of the Hueco Mundo Hunter Unit. Powerful adversaries that even the Soul Reapers had fought during the Arrancar battle, are not in the position of power to fight against the Vandenreich.

In volume 56, Ichigo takes on Quilge Opie, meanwhile the Arrancars who were once the enemy of Ichigo and the Soul Reapers continue to fight and defend themselves against Opie.

As for the Soul Society, an all out war breaks out and thousands of Soul Reapers are killed by the Vandenreich’s most powerful Quincies known as the Stern Ritter.

As the Captains and Asst. Captains converge to fight the Stern Ritter, they learn that the Stern Ritter has a power that will tilt the battle to their favor.

“Bleach” volume 56 of “Bleach” is a true shocker!  For so many volumes, Bleach fans have watched as the Soul Reaper Captains and Lt. have beaten their opponents thanks to their powerful bankai.

But now, the Vandenreich  has the upperhand as their new power allows them to steal all bankai to whoever uses the power against them, leaving the user powerless.

But somehow, after two battles with the Vandenreich, Ichigo Kurosaki have shown that their power does not affect him.  But even when Ichigo gives his all against the Vandenreich, even his power seems to not be affective to stop them completely.

As thousands of Soul Reapers are being killed within several minutes, how will the Soul Reapers defeat the Vandenreich or can they?

For longtime fans of “Bleach”, this exciting battle between the Soul Reapers is absolutely shocking as certain Soul Reapers that have played a major part in “Bleach” are either killed or severely maimed.  And with the Vandenreich declaring that the Soul Reapers and Soul Society will be destroyed, it appears that for now, they are unstoppable.

It is important to note that with the release of volume 56 of “Bleach”, we are now one issue behind Japan (with volume 57 having been released back in Dec. 2012 and is scheduled for release in the U.S. in July 2013).  So, it’s going to be a considerable wait between issues from here on out.

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. 56 is absolutely shocking and featured a storyline that I was not anticipating.  Suffice to say, the Soul Society and for a few characters that we have come to read (or watched if you have been following the anime as well), will no longer be the same or probably will no longer be around.  This is probably the most casualties that one will ever see happen in a “Bleach” arc and I can tell that Tite Kubo has a lot of surprises, twists and turns up his sleeve and he no doubt has upped the ante with this volume alone.

“Bleach” Vol. 56 is highly recommended!

 

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