Fine-tooth plot comb vs. Fan Dumb! An in-depth Bleach Liveblog:
edited 29th Aug '10 7:28:17 PM by Gilphon
edited 31st Aug '10 7:48:05 PM by Chubert
Right! Now letís get this thing started properly, shall we? Since I donít plan to go over the SS arc in detail, right now Iím just going to focus in on several things many people donít know about the first ~180 chapters. 1.Colour spread in chapter one. Anyone familiar with the series is probably cringing because of the Art Evolution, now. I know I am. But what I want to focus on is this: second portrait from the right is clearly Shinji, whoís not due to show up for another 180 chapters. Thatís right, Shinjiís character design, at least, was planned for 180 chapters before he appeared. And, I may be reaching a bit here, but the woman on the far left just might be Matsumoto, if you take into account the fact that Kubo used to draw her hair lighter. She showed a long time before Shinji did, but itís still notable. 2. Arrancar back before the SS arc. Yeah, after Grand fisher retreated away from Ichigo, we got this little scene, where Grand Fisherís mask is torn off be two strange figures, who as weíll see later are in fact named Di Roy and
edited 2nd Sep '10 8:23:37 AM by Gilphon
So! Chapter 183, Eyes of The Unknown. Apparently, Konís plushie body sustained some damage while Ichigo was gone. Ichigo is, in a word, awed. He does, however, promise to have Ishida fix it. Then his dad forces some weird charm on him. Weird, huh? The next few pages feature Keigo and Chizuru being silly. The only important thing is that the four who went to SS have formed a friendship. But then Tatsuki asks Ichigo about his badge. Ichigo is surprised that she can even see it Ďcause Ukitake told him it was Invisible to Normals. as Ichigo speculates about whether or not itís broken, it loudly announces that a hollowís attacking. Also note that the teacher was about to introduce the new transfer student, but he disappeared as soon the alarm went off. Ichigo claims he needs to go the bathroom and runs out, followed by Chad and Orihime, but not Ishida. And then Tatsuki sees Ichigo in soul form despite the fact that this is another Invisible to Normals thing. But anyway, Ichigo kills the hollow, and tells the others they didnít need to come. The conversation turns to Ishida, and Orihime lets them know that Ishida has seemed different since returned from SS, but doesnít want them to know. In case you donít remember, thatís because Ishida lost his power during his fight against Mayuri. The chapter ends with this guy, floating upside-down, in the sky, while drinking water. Just a few quick things to point out here: The title either refers to the eyes belonging to the unknown person, or to Tatsukiís eyes seeing unknown things. The first is slightly more plausible since the grammar makes sense that way, but you never know. The reason Tatsuki can see things that are Invisible to Normals, is, in all likelihood, that sheís not normal anymore by this point. And there is good reason Shinjiís upside-down, but it took so long to get explaining that people had forgotten it happened by the time the explanation came. AndÖ letís jump right into the next chapter, #184, Hush So, it seems Ishidaís fixed up Kon. And he put a Quincy symbol on back! How nice of him! More seriously, Ichigo has now realized whatís wrong with Ishida, but avoids calling him on it because he knows Ishida doesnít want to seem weak. Cut over to the school, weíre meeting the transfer student. His name is Hirako Shinji, and he wrote his name backwards because heís good at reversing things. Yes, yes, he is. He really is, just trust me on that one. Ichigoís still thinking about Ishida, but then Shinji takes the seat beside him and the alarm goes off again, so he runs out. Shinji looks weird there, doesnít he? And yeah, heís same guy from the last chapter if you missed that. Well, anyway, that night, Kons bitches about being a stuffed animal, but is cut short by that damned alarm. Ichigo quicky kills the hollow, but is stopped by Afro-san (yeah, I know thatís not his name, but it might as well be), whoís Rukia official replacement and doesnít recognize the badge. And then Shinji shows up with a Zanpakutou. Ichigo asks some well founded questions, but Shinji just shushes him, saying that people will notice if gets excited. A hollow appears behind Ishida, presumably drawn by Ichigoís reiatsu, just like Shinji warned him would happen. As Ishida reacts, we cut over to Kon taking Ichigoís body out for a joyride. The chapter ends with Grand fisher appearing over Kon. The title is very easy to understand this time; itís just Shinji Hushing Ichigo. And about the contentÖ well, Shinjiís really the Ďfar-reaching foreshadowingí guy, isnít he? First his existence is alluded to 180 chapters in advance, and when he finally appears he immediately foreshadows something else about himself that wonít be revealed for another 200 or so chapters. That said, the way he acts in the chapter and the next few reeks of Characterization Marches On to those who know him nowadays, so itís not like everything about him was planned. On the whole, this chapter largely exists as a prelude to the next few, but Iíd still like to note that Grand Fisherís design has completely changed since the last time we saw him. Iíd comment on the implications of this, but I honestly think itís just a blunder on Kuboís part. Wow, three chapters in one post! Iím doing well, here, arenít I? #185, Be My Family or Not. Turns out that just because he doesnít have a magic bow, doesnít mean Ishida canít move like he used to. He then notices that the hollow is breaking the dimensional wall, which only menos should be able to, despite looking nothing like the Menos weíve seen in the past. Meanwhile, thereís a crash in front of Kon, and Grand Fisher appears. we briefly cut to Urahara and Yoruichi realizing whatís going on, and then back to Ichigo, who, along with Shinji, is terrifying Afro-san. Shinji seems concerned about whatís going on elsewhere, but Ichigo just wants answers right now. Canít say I blame the guy, Shinjiís been pretty damned weird so far. Shinji, who finally decided to tell Ichigo who he is, pulls out a hollow mask. This, of course, causes Ichigo to remember his own Ďhollow maskí troubles. Shinji tells us that Shinigami with hollow masks are called ĎVizardí and tells Ichigo to join him. AndÖ Back to Ishida! Turns out that the thing is stronger than your average hollow, but Ishida still has a few tricks up his sleeve. However, regeneration and the revelation that he was actually fighting two hollows make him lose the upper hand. And finally, Ishida is saved by somebody. The title: If Iím not mistaken, itís about Shinjiís offer to Ichigo; because part of the Vizardís family or not. Failing that, itís about who just showed up save Ishida, but his identity isnít really part of this chapter, I kind of doubt that. Content: So, hollows just as strong as Menos that are not five stories high and all-black exist. The actual meaning behind this will be explain in a few, but for now just keep in mind that the foreshadowing was there. Shinji continues to be creepy, but you can begin to sense the slightest bit of goodwill from him; he did warn Ichigo about the peril heíd attract if he got exicted, after all. AndÖ itís now 2 AM for me, so I think nowís a good time to stop. See you next time!
edited 9th Sep '10 7:22:35 PM by Gilphon
Chapter 186 Tell your children the Truth. Now we get to properly meet the guy who saved Ishida last chapter. his name is Ryuuken, and heís Ishidaís dad. Doesnít seem like theyíre on good terms, though. But he does effortlessly kill the top hollow, so itís not all bad. Ishida questions why Ryuuken has Quincy powers, since he apparently doesnít like the Quincy. He replies that whether he likes it or not, he has fully developed Quincy powers and as such hold the ĎLast Quincyí title, and has a fancy medal to prove it. the bottom hollow attacks, but Ryuuken easily despatches this one as well, while berating his son for losing his powers. Really adding insult to injury, isnít he? But then, he suddenly offers to get Ishida his powers back! Thereís a condition, though: he has to agree never to associate with Shinigami ever again, meaning his pseudo-friendship with Ichigo would be caput. That a good time to change scene, donít you think? Yeah, yeah. Back to Kon, whoís running screaming from Grand Fisher, who thinks heís chasing Ichigo. As he runs, Kon wonders just whatís going on with the Fisher, since his face is visible and he just seemsÖ different from hollow weíve seen in the past. but then, Fisher gets bored, grabs Kon, and slams him into the ground. Heís about to finish Kon off, but a barrier suddenly appears around him, saving him. And, as it turns out, the barrier is being cast by the charm Ichigoís dad forced upon him. And then, in a quick twist to end to the chapter, the dad himself, Isshin, appears. He dressed as a shinigami, seems to know that Kon isnít Ichigo, and knows what hollows are as well, if the dialogue is any indication. Titleís easy; both Ryuuken and Isshin are revealed to have deceiving their children instead of telling them the truth. Now, Iím going to save most of the things I have to say about Isshin of the next chapter, Ďcause thatís where he starts to us what heís really like when heís not hiding underneath his Obfuscating Stupidity. I would like to point that he very pointedly gave Ichigo that charm before our heros left for SS, saying it would protect on his journey. I think that speaks for itself, put in context. What I am going to is talk a bit about Ryuuken. Just as review, the reason Ryuuken doesnít want Ishida being friendly with the Shinigami is a) The Shinigami massacred the Quincy a while ago, b) they let Ryuukenís father get killed by hollows * and c) Something to do with Ryuukenís own relationship with Isshin, probably. As for why he doesnít like being a Quincy: he prefers to work with the living than the dead, so he works as a doctor and leaves the hollows to the shinigami. When pressed further, he says that he doesnít want to be a Quincy because you canít get money for it. This view is seems pretty cold, but is actually just pragmatic when you think about it. I mean, the guy has a family to feed; he canít very well just march off and become a superhero, now can he? Little Ishidaís discussion with his grandpa over the following few pages makes a lot more sense if you keep that in mind; What does Ryuuken want to protect, even if he has to choose not use his cool superpowers in order to do so? Ishidaíll understand, some day, apparently. I didnít get it at the time, but itís clear to me now, in retrospect, that what Ryuuken wants to protect is Ďhis familyí. Sure, he very deliberately distances himself from Ishida, and sure, heís being a jerk about it, but ultimately, what heís doing is giving him back what heís lost and trying to prevent him from getting into a more dangerous situation, no?
Chapter 187: The Cigar Blues Part Two Grand Fisherís confused, so Isshin introduces himself. We then cut over to Ichigo and Shinji, who notice stuff separate stuff at the same time. Ichigoís just noticing Grand Fisher, but Shinji have realized Isshinís there. Somewhat interesting that Shinji doesnít know who Isshin is, since he seems to be in the know about most things. Ichigo takes the opportunity to leave, deciding not to trust the creepy hollow man and exercising a little bit of denial about his hollow side. Shinji lets him go, but then pulls out a cell phone and calls somebody named ĎSarugakií. He gets yelled at, presumably for failing to recruit Ichigo, but he tells Sarugaki that itís just matter of time and that they should be patient. Meanwhile, Grand Fisher basically understands now. And Isshin confirms that he knows that Kon isnít Ichigo. Fair enough that he could tell his son apart from a sapient pill, * but I kind of wonder how he found out Konís name. He must been spying on Ichigo quite a bit to catch that. ĎAh ha!í says Grand Fisher. ĎIchigoís the child of a shinigami, so thatís why heís so powerful. Now move along, old man, I wanna kill your son.í ĎNo can do,í responds Isshin Ďsorry, but I kind of wanna kill you a little first.í The Grand Fisher goes a little crazy, dismissing Isshin, breaking the top part of his mask, and turning huge. Kon points out that heís now as big as a menos, but Grand Fisher scoffs the comparison, saying that heís an Arrancar. Isshin helpful chimes in and tells us that Arrancar are hollow whoíve broken their masks and gained shingami powers. Grand Fishers brags a bit about the size of his sword, because, as he reminds us, the size of a sword is directly proportional to itís potency. Isshin seems to think heís just overcompensating for his own weakness or something, so they face off. Isshin then explains that huge swords are unwieldy and canít get the job done, and that those really strong with the sword know that bigger isnít better, so they actually learn to limit the size so that it doesnít overwhelm anyone. Oh, and it turns out that Isshinís attack cut Grand Fisher in half. Sorry if I ruined the drama there, I just couldnít resist. The title is, as you probably figured out, a reference to an earlier chapter entitledÖ well, that particular chapter had a lot of subtitles, but part of the title was Cigar Blues Mix. The chapter is the aftermath of Ichigoís initial battle with Grand Fisher, with Ichigo moping about being unable to avenge his mother, dealing with his survivorís guilt from the incident, and Isshin acting serious for the first and only time before now; cheering up Ichigo and giving him advice, as well as visibly mourning his wife in his own way. I donít think itís hard to understand why Kubo wants to remind us of that particular chapter now. On to the content: A page here implies there was a scene in the first Grand Fisher arc where Isshin pointedly did not call Kon ĎIchigoí, but if thatís true, I canít find it. There is a significant portion where Kon-in-Ichigoís and Isshin are in the same place while off-screen, but I canít find any scene where the two actually interact in any way. I think Iím going to postpone my Isshin stuff again, since thereís a bit more about him in the next chapter. Instead, Iím going to talk about Grand Fisher. I always thought this was an anti-climatic and ill-fitting end for the Fisher. I mean, in his first appearance, he was established have been successfully beating the shinigami for decades, was given a distinct set of abilities, and, given that he killed Ichigoís mother, a rather important backstory connection. All that should mean he would have a fairly significant role, donít you think? But hereÖ well, he doesnít show any sign of using his old powers, heís beaten easily, and is generally just treated like a loose end to be tied up; while serving the double-purpose of setting up some future plot threads, namely Isshin and the Arrancar. I mean, okay, Ichigoís mother was Isshinís wife, so he had just as much reason to hate Grand Fisher as Ichigo did, but this end was justÖ undignified. He deserved to be treated with respect, as a character, not casually dispatched like this shortly after his reappearance.
edited 10th Sep '10 10:13:45 PM by Gilphon
Chapter 188: Crush the World Down We open to Grand Fisher disintegrating, Ďcause thatís how hollows die. Kon is amazed, and then Urahara shows up. He apparently knows Isshin. Judging from dialogue here, it looks like itís possible that Isshin may have lost some of his power due to something Urahara did, and Isshin certainly hasnít acted as a shinigami in 20 years. Urahara asks how Isshinís feeling, and Isshin replies that he hadnít really cared about Grand Fisher, he just hated how he wasnít able to save his wife. Urahara brings up Ichigo, and that brings them to a Vizard, who Isshin tells us that they are ex-shinigami who used spells to gain hollow powers, but he doesnít seem to know anything else about them. he reasons that if theyíre contacting Ichigo, they must be getting ready to make a move. Also, Grand Fisher was apparently much more developed than Arrancar heís seen in the past, and attributes this to Aizen. Note that he makes a distinction between Arrancar found by Aizen and Arrancar made by Aizen. This creation was of course made possible by the Hogyoku, but Isshin speculates that Grand Fisher was just an incomplete Arrancar prototype sent out as a test of power, and that soon he will have complete Arrancar ready for use against the Menos, and from there heíll have the forces to fight pretty much everybody. Urahara says that the Vizard, themselves, and Soul Society are all preparing for that eventuality. then we see that a captainís meeting has been called back in SS. Title: Aizenís plan involves crushing the world, so Crush the World Down. Now, a few plot details that will be spoilers to those not familiar with the rest of the series, and are therefore maked as such: Aizen already has complete Arrancar under his control, many of which were made from Menos. So, not only has he been careful enough at hiding this fact that Isshin has no idea, but Grand Fisherís presence here was probably less Ďtesting powerí and more Ďgetting rid of incomplete failureí. Also, Isshin is apparently pretty ignorant of the Vizardís origins, and certainly doesnít know about Uraharaís connection to them. And, as we saw, Shinji doesnít know about Isshin either. Interesting that Urahara is not only keeping secrets, but is keeping the secrets from finding out about each other. Though, giving him the benefit of the doubt, itís entirely possible that he hasnít been in contact with the Vizard. Iíll admit itís possible, however, that Kubo just hadnít thought all of that through at that point. Now what can I say about Isshin? Like Ryuuken, heís a doctor, but nowhere near as focused on work as Isshin is. Itís clear now that his earlier behaviour was all just an act, and itís now obvious why Ichigo and Karin were able to see ghosts, and why Ichigo had so much Reiatsu. Also note that, heís not just a shinigami, but a captain-level shinigami, and appears to have a captain haori draped over his shoulder. I donít really have any major character insights for him like I did for Ryuuken, but I would like to say that itís now that he wasnít just trying to cheer Ichigo up about heís mothers death in that one discussion, but also knew exactly how she died, why those buried issues had come back up, and was also consoling Ichigo for his failure to defeat Grand Fisher, though simultaneously congratulating him for getting that far. Though I may be reading a bit too much into it. Canít really think so any other significant character moments for him. Thereís just too much we donít know about him, really.
Chapter 190: Conquistadores Hiyori introduces herself, and forces Chad and Orihime to do the same. Then sheís mean to Shinji, envious of Orihime, and fairly indifferent to Chad. She starts to get a bit of a dangerous look in her eye, so Shinji grabs her and runs off. Chad says to let them go, saying that they canít really win against the vizard, and would probably die. Shinji and Hiyori do silly things I refuse to describe in detail. She suddenly gets serious andÖ Well, the translation I have here says that she talks about how everyone seems to hate them, but every other source I can find disagrees, saying that she talks about how much she hates both human and shinigami. Iím more inclined to believe that version. Anyway, Ichigo arrives home, and completely fails to block Isshinís habitual attack. Isshin and his daughters discuss how this is obviously a sign of Ichigo being out of it, but Ichigo just brushes them off. When he enters his room, Kon is about to tell him about Isshin, but stop because Uraharaís blackmailing him. Still, Ichigoís clearly out of it, so much so that even Kon is concerned. Apparently though, Ichigo is too deep in thought about his hollow side to notice whatís going to around him. No matter what he did, he couldnít get rid of the mask, until his fight with Byakuya, when it was replaced with a voice inside his head. A voice that keeps getting louder, and is threatening to swallow him. Troubling, no? But enough angsting, Karin enters Ichigoís room. She wants to what wrong with him. He tries to play dumb, but Karin apparently knows that Ichigoís a shinigami. Cut over to SS, where the 12th division has noticed something coming on the radar. And then, Boom! Something falls from the sky into the outskirts of town. Two figures, dressed in white, are visible in the middle of the resulting crater. They have hollow holes, and what appears to be the remnants of a hollow mask. Now, I donít speak Spanish and canít be bothered to look it up, so I donít actually know for certain what the title means, but Iím reasonably certain it refers to the two figures that showed up at the end. NowÖ letís seeÖ what can I talk about here? Hiyoriís little declaration is the sort of thing youíd I have something to say about, but I donít really. I understand why she hates shinigami, theyíre kind of outcasts and all, but I honestly just donít know what she has against humans. And, of course, Kuboís now playing up Ichigoís hollow side even more, making Shinjiís offer all the more tempting, and starting to make hollow Ichigo even more threatening. Though really, this is still just foreshadowing when you get right down to it. I would like to note something about the one-panel view of- you know what? ĎIchigoís hollow sideí is a clumsy name. Iím going to call him Hichigo from now on. In the one-panel view of Hichigo, you may notice that he was identical to the reversed Ichigo Zangetsu made him fight during the match against Kenpachi. Edit: In the below post, Noimporta does my job for me about the title. Many thanks.
edited 14th Sep '10 7:48:39 PM by Gilphon