Review by: Edward Zacharias
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Tite Kubo
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shonen Jump Manga)
MSRP: $7.95 US
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
Goodbye old friend, hello best Bleach volume ever.
Just like our own Clive Owen, I too was a just a tad disappointed with Volume 26 of Bleach. It wasn’t a bad volume at all, mind you, but the Ichigo-in-training theme was already done to death in this series. Thankfully, other things happened in that volume that nearly overshadowed the chapters where Ichigo trained with the Vizard and the ending was actually quite startling. Bleach, Volume 27, is a different story altogether and – if I may say – one of the best volumes to come along in a long time.
In the last volume, as Orihime was attempting to cross over to the world of the living after having spent a long time in the Soul Society training with Rukia, her journey is interrupted by none other than the Arrancar named Uliquiorra. He tells her that Lord Aizen wants to see her and makes it very clear that if she refuses it is not her life that would be in danger but the lives of her beloved friends – who are currently fighting other Arrancars – that will be in danger.
The battle, as Uliquiorra shows Orihime, is starting to look a bit one-sided as everyone including Captain Hitsugaya, Rangiku and even Ichigo are struggling to stay alive. As Hitsugaya and Rangiku try to keep from being crushed to death by the one called Luppi, the Arrancar named Yammy is confronted by none other than Urahara. When you see Mister-Hat-and-Clogs going all out you know the enemy is not your average foe. On the other end, Ichigo finds himself getting a beat down by Grimmjow to the point that he officially loses the fight. Fortunately for him, Rukia steps in to lend a hand but even then the two are in trouble. It is a familiar (and very unlikely) person who saves them.
Then the enemy stops their attacks and leaves.
The truth is that they completed their objective, which was to secure Orihime. She is given a chance to say goodbye to one person under the condition that the person in question wouldn’t know about her visit. Orihime could have picked Tatsuki or Rukia or even Chad but she chooses Ichigo. Given a bracelet that allows her to walk through solid objects, she enters Ichigo’s room and finds Kurosaki very badly injured and unconscious. We’ve always known that Orihime has had a crush on Ichigo and that she would do anything for him but in this chapter she doesn’t hold back her feelings. This is, by far, one of the most meaningful and emotionally powerful scenes that happen between these two characters and (to me, anyway) one of the reasons this volume is rightfully memorable.
Then there’s the aftermath of Orihime’s goodbye. Ichigo wakes up fully healed and senses Orihime’s spiritual pressure on him but in a meeting with the other Soul Reapers staying in the world of the living he comes to learn that Orihime is missing and possibly killed by the Arrancars. While Rukia and Renji offer to help save their young friend, the Captain General orders that all Soul Reapers return to the Soul Society and that Ichigo sit tight.
Of course, Ichigo doesn’t sit tight and despite the fact that he begins to worry his three friends Keigo, Mizuiro and Tatsuki, he turns to Uruhara to help him enter Hueco Mundo and rescue Orihime. Interestingly enough, he is joined by Uryu and Chad who had been training and the three set out to the other side where Orihime finds herself wondering if the decision she made to join the Arrancars was right. After all, they are the type of people that will savagely turn on each another. As Ichigo, Chad and Uryu quickly find out, Hueco Mundo is not what they expected. The rescue is actually reminiscent of when the trio (along with Orihime and Yoruichi) infiltrated the Soul Society to rescue Rukia from being executed. Oh, but there’s a different feel to this rescue and you can believe this is starting to look like another amazing story arc.
Once again, Tite Kubo proves that he can tell a story that will have you pausing ever so often to re-read what you just finished reading. Volume 27 of Bleach is like that and after the last volume that felt like a tiresome training story arc, this one manages to be yet another unforgettable and unexpected volume that will remind you why you picked up Bleach in the first place. Whatever you do, do not miss Volume 27.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
The Arrancars are not only battle-ready but they win the unanticipated fight that badly injures Ichigo and has Urahara pulling no punches. Meanwhile, Orihime is confronted by the Arrancar Ulquiorra and is told that Lord Aizen wants to see her and will take not take no for an answer. Worst yet, Orihime’s sudden disappearance is seen a treason by the Soul Society so it is up to Ichigo, Chad and Uryu to rescue her.
Kubo-sensei’s art is particularly strong in this volume and his action sequences are not only getting more violent but more wonderfully detailed as well. Best yet, however, is how well he is able to display emotion.
As a Bleach fan, volumes like Volume 27 just doesn’t make me glad I’m a fan of the series but it makes me glad I picked manga as a hobby in the first place. It’s a considerably deep and unpredictable story that will surely open up a story arc that we will definitely and most happily follow.