Did you miss me?
It is quite unfortunate but I spent a good deal of time this past week reading manga instead of studying for midterms. I feel guilty about that and thus in order to alleviate some of that guilt, I will hopefully make a few manga related posts on the aforementioned, troublesome manga.
Anyway, let us get this Weekly Shonen business out of the way, shall we.
(This is a pretty long post. Just so you know~)
I think I have sort of figured out this whole 3 person in Ichigo thing. His Shinigami powers (e.g. Tensa Zangetsu) and his hollow powers are one and the same. His Quincy powers manifest themselves as Old Man Zangetsu (or Juha Bach).
So, it is a threesome not a foursome.
It is a strange thought though. The white dude (Ogihci as some call him) was Ichigo’s Zanpaktou all along. For some reason, I like the idea of him gently guiding Ichigo to become a better Shinigami/Vaizard. It is a shame though because we won’t actually get to see that happen since Ichigo grows up in Ch. 542.
Grown ups suck!
This was a powerful chapter.
It reminded me of why I love Old Man Zangetsu so much.
He is such a screen stealing character. When he is in the picture, he is all you look at. His presence dominates every scene he is in and I love him for it.
One of the best things about this chapter (and this sub-arc in general) is that it sets up a fight and yet never follows through!
For a second, it appeared that OMZ was going to fight Ichigo, but then he didn’t.
Instead he told Ichigo that he was proud of Ichigo and that he would no longer try and keep him out of trouble like he had been doing all this time.
This chapter was supposed to be a farewell to old man Zangetsu and it was a good goodbye.
I felt sad when he disappeared. Old Man Zangetsu was like a dad to Ichigo. He guided him, shielded him and watched him grow.
But, he wasn’t the only one. Ichigo’s hollow side/Tensa Zangetsu also tried really hard to protect him.
Ch. 542 is about Ichigo growing up and gaining total independence.
Compared to other Shinigami, Ichigo always was somewhat of an exception. I don’t recall any case of another Shinigami being provided assistance by his Zanpaktou when in danger. Ichigo is the only one who had this kind of support, but this support ended this chapter.
Zangetsu (all Zangetsu-esque personas) protected him and looked after him, but they can no longer do so anymore.
It is a sad and bittersweet development especially if this means that we will no longer have any conversations in Ichigo’s inner world, but this is the final step in Ichigo’s growth. He is finally grown up to the point where he can no longer afford to rely on others and must instead rely only on himself.
Ichigo’s process for reaching this new level of self-reliance was quite nice. Regardless of whether it is true or not, Ichigo considers old man Zangetsu to be part of ‘Zangetsu’ and no longer thinks of the Zangetsu personas as separate entities that help or hinder him.
They are now a part of him and he can only rely on himself.
(Interestingly enough, this is quite contradictory to the whole “fight with your Zanpaktou” sentiment that was preached for quite some time at the beginning of this manga.)
I am looking forward to seeing Ichigo kick some major ass (quite curious about what his bankai looks like now) and I hope Ishida did not join forces with the enemy (I hope he is a hostage!).
Oh and as for the ridiculousness of this chapter….
“Your sword was so hot with heat and reaitsu…it took an entire sea for it cool…”
I find this hilarious because:
- It reminds me of Sword Art Online
- It sounds like Kubo just decided that he now likes DUAL WIELDING and thus once more uses Ichigo to express his inner Chunibyou (everything in Bleach is about Kubo’s inner Chuni!).
I do wonder how Ichigo is going to fight with two blades that have a very different reach to them.
I absolutely love Kubo’s shading in the above spread. He is such a wicked artist. I also just realized, but the handcuff like things (that Ichigo got when he went Fullbring) got burned off along with the rest of his sleeves. That is an interesting style choice on Kubo’s part.
And yes, if it wasn’t blatantly obvious, we never got to see Ichigo’s previous sword properly, or completely utilized. Kubo doesn’t mess around when it comes to powerups. His powerups are more often than not, resets.
(More of Ichigo’s Gentsuga Tenshou form would have been nice. Ichigo has yet to re-reach that level of extreme badassery.)
The action was pretty nice.
Seeing Sasuke and Naruto combine a technique was pretty cool to.
Sakura had a nice face.
Sai is right to be suspicious.
That is all I have to say about this chapter.
I was hoping that Sasuke would have changed a little, but he is still somewhat of a scumbag.
I enjoyed the conversations involving Orochimaru.
The banter between Karin and Suigetsu and the subsequent interruption by Orochimaru was great.
Orochimaru’s conversation with Tsunade was also quite interesting. They reflected on the past, on one another and the little mention of Jiraiya was also great.
Arguably the best part of the whole conversation was that it was mirroring AND foreshadowing the relationships between the newer Sanin generation.
“Us Sannin…we never could see eye to eye on many things…”
That is some great commentary on the Naruto and Sasuke moment that happens a few pages later.
And not only was it mirroring other events in the chapter, but it was likely foreshadowing other bad things to happen between Naruto and Sasuke down the line. Heck, it would appear that the Naruto x Sasuke super brawl might end up happening after all.
(Okay, that sounds corny as hell, but you get what I mean!)
I bet Naruto knows EXACTLY what Sasuke is up to. So, while everyone else is pondering their head, he probably already has a good understanding of what Sasuke is planning and will stop him when the time comes.
Sai’s understanding of Sakura’s smile was a wonderful throwback to when he first joined the team. He knows her smile is fake because:
- He has seen it before.
- He himself is a master of fake smiles.
Don’t care about the Kakashi/Obito fight one bit. I just want it to be over and I guess that is saying a lot given how much I like Kakashi.
Oda-sensei took a break this week so there was no chapter 712.
As for chapter 711, well, it was another set up chapter (but a very important one!) so there really isn’t tooooo much to discuss.
I really like these dwarf things. They are cute overly trusting and all in all, downright adorable.
Zoro’s interactions with the little fairy were pretty great to. It would appear that the dwarfs are also good guys in this fight against Don Flamingo and given how everything else is going according to Don’s plan, they will likely be the ones responsible for turning the tide in this fight.
I was expecting Law and the others to encounter a trap, but I was not expecting the marines to be part of it.
Oda had been leading up to this point by constantly telling us “that nothing has changed in the town despite Don having supposedly revoked his Shichibukai”. I just figured that it was because the populace had faith in Don or because he was hiding the truth from them, but as it turns, the real answer was extremely simple.
Donquixote Doflamingo never gave up his Shichibukai status.
That is such a simple twist and one that flew right over my head. Kudos to Oda Sensei.
The introduction of the new Marine Admiral (Fujitora) also made this twist all the more unexpected.
He was introduced as a compassionate, justice loving person. I know he is still a marine, but in general, you don’t expect someone as nice seeming as him to be scheming an end to the Straw Hats and Law.
I wonder if he knew who Luffy was when they met in the bar. He might have let Luffy go then because it was all part of the plan. Don’s plan to split Luffy and Law up of course.
I guess that plan is kind of just a precautionary measure. Don Flamingo is incredibly strong. If you combine Don with a god damn Admiral and a large marine squad, then well…I don’t think Luffy and Law would have a terribly good time of it.
I look forward to seeing how the good guys get out of this one.
I am not a big fan of Rebecca as a character (really boring to be honest), but I am sort of curious about how she fits into all this. Some folk have suggested that she used to be a dwarf and dwarfs are intimate friends with toys.
We will see how the story comes together soon.