Review by: Clive Owen
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Tite Kubo
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shonen Jump Manga)
MSRP: $7.95 US
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
La vida loca de Hueco Mundo.
Stop me if you heard this one before, Ok?
Ichigo Kurosaki has a female friend who is whisked away from the world of the living and he – along with his close friends – crosses over to the other world to rescue said female friend from the ones who had taken her. This time, of course, we’re not talking about Rukia Kuchiki nor are we talking about the Soul Society. In Bleach, Volume 28, Ichigo and his friends infiltrate the world of the Arancars called Hueco Mundo to rescue their friend, Orihime.
Of course, when they get there they trigger an alarm that warns the guardians who immediately attack the trio. This time it isn’t Ichigo who shows off his training but it is Uryu and Chad who step up and fights the impressive guardians. It’s clear that the two of them have been training hard and Uryu shows off his powerful new Quincy abilities as well as his new spirit bow … Ginrei Kojaku. Chad, on the other hand, reveals that he’s become more comfortable when it comes to flexing his muscles in combat. Their fight with the guardians even impresses Ichigo.
As they manage to get past the defeated guardians and escape a trap that was meant to bury them all alive, the three manage to head to the surface only to find that Hueco Mundo is not as lively as the Soul Society. In fact, it’s a lifeless desert where even the trees look dead. Just when they think that there is hardly any life in the place, three very unusual characters pop out of the sand. We meet the Great Desert Brothers, a trio of really low-level Arrancars. The smallest of the bunch is Nel Tu, a cute little girl who forms an attachment to Ichigo after they get over a misunderstanding.
Nel and her two brothers, Dondo Chakka and Pesche, help Ichigo and the others reach a distant structure by way of their giant pet worm. Meanwhile, Lord Aizen calls his Espadas to a meeting to tell them that they have intruders and that they shouldn’t be underestimated. After all, these are the same intruders that made short work of various Soul Reapers in the Soul Society. News of the intruders also reaches Orihime who still swears her allegiance to Lord Aizen.
Speaking of Orihime, Lord Aizen shows her one of the other reasons he asked her to join them. It’s a familiar object that even Orihime recognizes off the bat seeing as she was present during Rukia’s near execution where Aizen stunned all the Soul Reapers with his staged rebellion. Orihime finally begins to realize that she has a new purpose.
Ichigo and the others are joined by two other allies during their journey. Rukia and Renji have come from the Soul Society to aid their friends, a fact that surprises Ichigo who gets a fist to the face by both Soul Reapers. Unaware that they are being watches, the group finally makes contact with the structure and punch a hole in the wall. When they discover branching paths, the group decides to split up.
It doesn’t take Ichigo long to encounter his first foe, an Arrancar with a three-digit number that classifies the strength of the Arrancar. Yes, regular Espadas have only two-digits but this Arrancar – a flashy opponent named Dordoni – was an Espada but was demoted. Now this is his chance to redeem himself. He might be a weirdo and seem more of a clown than a threat but Ichigo quickly finds out that this opponent is far more powerful than his appearance leads us to believe. The other are also confronted with enemies but we won’t know what they’re like until Volume 29.
Don’t let the familiar tone of this story arc fool you, Volume 28 of Bleach makes this rescue mission feel just as fun and as interesting as the breach into the Soul Society story arc. Cute new characters aside, the enemy in this story gives us something to look forward to in terms of battles and yes we cannot wait to see what Aizen has in store for Ichigo and his friends. Things are really going to get good in the world of Bleach.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Ichigo, Uryu and Chad discover that there’s more to Hueco Mundo than meets the eye and having met three of its most unusual inhabitants it’s good to see two familiar allies joining them on their mission. Meanwhile, Orihime is given a look into Lord Aizen’s most powerful weapon. On top of that, her friends must deal with guardians and foes looking to redeem themselves.
While Hueco Mundo is a stale, lifeless place, Tite Kubo’s art definitely isn’t and his elaborate fight sequences and insane character design for the enemies is proof of that.
Volume 28 of Bleach is reminiscent of the Soul Society infiltration chapters but Tite Kubo still manages to make the trip to Hueco Mundo a worthwhile story arc that way too much fun to want to put down. It’s also great to see new enemies as well as the Espadas that await Ichigo and his friends in the upcoming volumes. We are definitely on board for Volume 29.