Spoiler free summary: In Volume 70 of Bleach by Tite Kubo, a pair of Quincies have chosen different sides of the conflict, and Kenpachi gets another fight.
Character: The pattern continues. The characters we fell in love with get very little development or attention. Meanwhile, two characters we never knew up until this volume get an entire life story that doesn’t matter because the fight ends predictably. I credit Kubo with developing the newer characters, but I can’t get behind a simple interlude volume with characters who don’t have a real impact on the current narrative. We do get to see Kenpachi, and honestly I would read this saga for his arc alone, but I’d try to find a list of volumes featuring him and skip the rest.
Exposition: This volume strangely broke with tradition in a not so good way. That life story really feels jammed in the middle of the action like someone suddenly remembered they left the oven on and stopping everything to take care of it right then and there. It doesn’t feel well outlined. While the exposition is interesting in and of itself, it feels rushed and out of place.
Worldbuilding: I will say this is interesting. If I can step away from my frustration with the lack of real progress with the main characters, I can appreciate how deep the Quincy world is. This volume gives a bit to that. I’d actually have thought highly of this if the fight didn’t (in a spoiler way) undercut the effort made to make the characters sympathetic.
Dialogue: This is probably better than most actually, but that’s because of the relationship between these two characters. It’s like watching X-Men: First Class. We get this real great broken friendship that’s soon followed by a lot of bad. I scratch my head because they did one thing really well, but the rest was just not up to par.
Description: Epic fight scenes from Kenpachi are always cool to watch. The fight as a whole is well choreographed. This is always an upside to manga.
Overall: It’s another “could have been” volume that is somewhat more enjoyable for the short term even if the ending is frustrating. It’s one of the better fights though, so if that’s why you read Bleach, then you’ll like this volume.
Thanks for reading,