Book Review: Bleach Volume 73 by Tite Kubo

Book Review: Bleach Volume 73 by Tite Kubo
The cover for this volume was taken from its Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Spoiler free summary: In Volume 73 of Bleach by Tite Kubo, finally, Urahara is up against an opponent who pushes him to his limit, and we see his Bankai. Meanwhile, Ichigo finally comes face to face against Yhwach, his final opponent and his terrifying omnipotence.

Character: This volume has a lot of “I’ve always wondered” or “I’ve always wanted to see that” sort of moments. The main cast starts to take center stage, and things begin to align for the overall resolution to the saga. I wouldn’t say this has great development for character, but we do get to see characters sort of come of age. It’s strange because I don’t know how much the characters changed so much as establish who they are at this point. Given all the fan service, I thought it was cool. It wasn’t the best payoff ever, but it was fun.

Exposition: This is probably even less (which is good) than most manga (which is common). This volume has a lot of build up that rewards readers who probably had flights of fancy when the Aizen arc ended. Now a majority of the loose ends are tied up, and we can enjoy the fight.

Worldbuilding: I remember a bit about Urahara’s fight (which actually started in the previous volume), but that’s about it. Like most in this series, the fight wasn’t memorable, and you might argue the Bankai was forgettable (because I forgot it). There are several Bankai in this series (Rukia’s and Kenpachi’s) that were awesome and so visually stunning. So maybe Urahara’s was awesome, especially to those who really loved Urahara. I liked the guy, and I did wonder what his Bankai was like, but whatever it was didn’t have a lasting impact like those others did when revealed.

Dialogue: I’d assume this was stronger. Somewhere in here we learn that there were a list of people Yhwach targeted because of their threat level, and that plays out in the neighborhood of this volume. So this didn’t feel as wooden as other manga volumes could get. The angle with the high threat targets was presented via dialogue in a manner that didn’t feel silly. I’m not really complaining in this aspect because it’s still par for the course in manga, but this volume stands out because it doesn’t conform to that pattern.

Description: Urahara’s fight was one of the better (top ten?) fights of this arc. It wasn’t in the top five, but it had some cool art. Yhwach’s throne room is interesting. The detail of this volume was probably above the series’ norm.

Overall: I think the main fight was overshadowed by another, but I may be getting this volume confused with the one before it or the one after it. While overshadowed by its contemporaries, it’s still fun to read. It might be a tad disappointing because there was one fight that I felt teased about but I didn’t get, but all-in-all, this volume was up there in the rankings.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: Bleach Volume 68 by Tite Kubo

Book Review: Bleach Volume 68 by Tite Kubo

Spoiler free summary: In Volume 68 of Bleach by Tite Kubo, Yhwach has murdered the soul king, and everything (literally) starts falling apart. All seems lost until Ukitake’s secret offers some hope. Kyoraku also has a plan, but that plan involves a terrifying enemy.

Character: There are a few moments here where we learn about Ukitake and Kyoraku. As per my frustration with this, the characters we’ve really had a lot of time with sort of fall off, but these two do have a nice arc that really builds their sympathy. They shine in this volume for different reasons. You learn why Ukitake always seems so sickly, and you learn just how clever and driven Kyoraku really is.

Exposition: This volume was probably lighter in this area than others. I think the dialogue still carried the bulk of the expository weight here, but given how it wasn’t spoken bravado during a fight, it felt fresh.

Worldbuilding: This volume expands the soul society. We finally see how everything sort of comes together as it relates to the monarchy (or more accurately the religion) of this world. It gets a bit tough to explain without spoilers. Still, this volume is a bit of a gem because it gave us this broader level, and it’s sort of the payoff for people reading this arc.

Dialogue: Again, because the things being discussed here aren’t the finer aspects of a character’s power or how they cleverly outfought the enemy, it feels fresh. There’s still a lot of conversation offering the history of the soul king. The thing is, in this case, it’s not so bad because we’re talking about old data. There aren’t a lot of ways to provide historical information. If you know a few, please feel free to say so in the comments below.

Description: This was interesting because we were seeing new places and new things. Most Shonen stuff is going to have epic fight scenes with awesome moves. The trick with this volume was that we see the world in a different way. Also, the world is crumbling, and that illustration is pretty cool.

Overall: This volume stands out because it has some nice character arc, and the world is expanded. I don’t know that it was done the best way, but it’s still cool information that lets us consider the history of this world more. I have the first light novel, and I mean to get to it at some point, but what interest me is this how this world is built around this concept, and that at least has me curious.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: Bleach Volume 67 by Tite Kubo

Spoiler free summary: In Volume 67 of Bleach by Tite Kubo, the assault on Soul Society continues, and the big guns are out in full force. Hyosube, Squad Zero’s Leader, might just force Yhwach to display his power again.

Character: Like I said, whatever middling effort was made to develop characters in this arc is all gone. It’s all about swinging swords now, which isn’t terrible. It’s just not as awesome as it could have been because I don’t care about the characters as much as I could.

Exposition: This was par for the course. The upside to manga is we get to literally show in the the show vs tell range. We’re not immune to certain things (see below), but the visuals do a lot for storytelling.

Worldbuilding: Squad Zero has been around for a few volumes now, but this is when we get to see them in action. The down side is the purpose they serve. Without anything but reputation to work with, we’re left pretty dissatisfied with how that reputation fairs against the “big bad” the author is trying to make more threatening. It’s one thing to watch one of the captains go down because we’ve seen them beat others before, but then they were used as fodder against Aizen. Now these guys come along, and we don’t get any of the fight. It’s like old school WWE, when they’d bring in someone who looks tough, but he’s just another guy the current push character runs over. It lacks power if we’ve never seen those guys throw down and win.

Dialogue: Behold! Look at how awesome my power is! I can do amazing things! See how amazing that is. Yhwach, “Psst.” Character leans in. Yhwach, “I’m the big threat of the fight.” Other guy, “Oh, right! Sorry. Falls down defeated.” I’m not kidding. That’s just about accurate in terms of dialogue here.

Description: Now as bad as the dialogue is sometimes (and it’s much worse when we don’t have any developmental dialogue so to speak), this fight was cool to see on the pages. The power was wicked interesting. So it’s a trade off that maybe doesn’t need to exist, but it felt a little fair to me.

Overall: This volume had one of the better fights, and that says something. I don’t think any volumes compare to the Aizen saga at all, but this one was cool. It also sets the table for some worldbuilding in the next volume.

Thanks for reading,

Matt