Review by: Eduardo Zacarias
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Tite Kubo
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shonen Jump Manga)
MSRP: $9.99 US
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Now Available
Without a heart there is no you.
How far would you travel to save a friend?
Ichigo has answered this question before and the answer is still the same as he pushes on to locate the girl that had followed him as far as the Soul Society to save Rukia. Yet we didn’t know how far his friends such as Chad or even Rukia herself would go to save a friend and as Bleach reaches its thirtieth volume we find out in the most surprising way in the case of the Soul Reaper named Rukia Kuchiki.
Splitting up might have been the way to go in order to cover more ground but it also means that each person would be alone to face off against any opponent that might have got in their way. As Ichigo finally defeated his flamboyantly odd opponent and Uryu did the same with his foe, we find Chad in the fight of his life against his afro-sporting enemy. It’s a brutal fight and more so now that Chad has revealed his new ability in the last volume … a left arm that even more mighty than his right arm.
Even as his opponent increases his power, Chad shows us what his powerful left arm could do and the damage is remarkable. It seems that Hueco Mundo has an interesting effect on Chad and with this new power he is able to defeat his opponent but before he could get away the big guy is intercepted by another opponent who turns out to be an Espada named Nnoitora. This battle is immediately one-sided and the result is disastrous.
Immediately sensing that something happened to Chad, Rukia Kuchiki races forward to hopefully reach her friend. Instead she is intercepted as well by what looks like a masked opponent who lures her out of the bridge that connects the buildings. Most unusual is the fact that the bridge is outdoors where the sun is shining brightly. The sun shines in Hueco Mundo? This place is getting a lot weirder the more they explore it.
As Rukia approaches the strange Arrancar, the stranger takes off his unusual mask to reveal a face that Rukia never expected to see ever again. It is the face of her former Assistant Captain who she respected and maybe even loved. This is the same Assistant Captain who turned an insecure new Soul Reaper and offered her the confidence and acceptance she needed so badly. It is Kaien Shiba, the very Soul Reaper that Rukia had killed after a treacherous Hollow possessed him.
Before she could make sense of why the man she most admired is standing before her and mentioning events that only Assistant Captain Shiba would know, Shiba attacks her and tells her it is payback for having been killed by the young Soul Reaper. It isn’t the physical blows the really hurt Rukia but the very thought of Shiba holding a grudge is a pain even more unbearable. It isn’t until Rukia comes to a conclusion about Shiba that she actually fights back and makes a valiant effort that doesn’t end the way you would expect.
On the other end, Renji comes across his opponent who reveals that Renji’s Bankai is useless thanks to the room itself that seals Renji’s type of Bankai. His opponent is Szayelaporro Grantz, more of a scientist rather than a fighter – so he says – and the brother of a familiar character if you’ve been following the series very closely. Meanwhile, Ichigo senses something happened to Chad and Rukia but it is too late since he is confronted by his opponent. One who has been waiting to face off against Ichigo since they first met.
As Bleach hits 30, the series still continues to impress, fascinate, surprise and – without a single doubt – entertain in ways that make you realize that all the hype surrounding this title is actually just well-deserved praise. As Ichigo and his friends push forward to come to the aid of their friend, things are just going to get even more interesting as this story arc is just getting warmed up.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Ichigo and the others continue on their way to locate Orihime when each of them encounters powerful opponents that are fighting to get back into Lord Aizen’s good graces. While Chad manages to pull off a victory, he runs into a foe that’s way too powerful. Meanwhile, Rukia gets the biggest shock of her life as she encounters a person she never expected to see again.
Is it me or is Kubo-sensei’s fight sequences just keep getting better and better with each volume. I swear I literally salivate when a battle erupts.
Volume 30 of Bleach shocked and surprised me and that alone says a lot about a series that – even 30 volumes later – just doesn’t run out of moments that will make you love this series even more. As the story finds its heroes in a dangerous situation, we can expect plenty more surprises and battles along the way. We are with you all the way, Kubo-sensei.
Review copy provided by VIZ Media