Review by: Clive Owen
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Tite Kubo
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shonen Jump)
MSRP: $9.99 US
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Now Available
Appearances can be deceiving … especially in Hueco Mundo.
So far, Hueco Mundo has turned out to be a very unusual place with a collection of Espadas and those who want to please Lord Aizen and there hasn’t really been a dull moment in this story arc. Along the way, Ichigo and his friends encountered allies and yes we also find out what Aizen is planning but the story still has a number of surprising twists to unleash on us Bleach fans as we can see from Volume 33.
After an intense battle between Ichigo and Grimmjow, victory belongs to the Substitute Soul Reaper. It wasn’t an easy fight and Grimmjow revealed his true strength and a frightening form but Ichigo showed him his true potential that came from his Visored training. However, someone else stepped into the fray and it turns out that this Espada is even more skilled than Grimmjow himself.
We meet Nnoitora, a vicious and confident Espada with a hafted weapon that seems bigger than the Espada wielding it. When I say vicious, I mean he not only wastes no time attacking Ichigo but he also attempts to finish off an immobile and badly injured Grimmjow, which he would have done if Ichigo did not protect his defeated enemy. Clearly, a sadistic freak who even mistreats his loyal underling named Tesla, Nnoitora makes it known that not even Ichigo’s Zanpakuto can pierce him.
Meanwhile, Renji and Uryu’s opponent, Szayelaporro, has left the battlefield to change his attire and thus gives both (plus Dondochakka and Pesche) a chance to get away. Unfortunately, the doorway they thought would lead them outside mysteriously led them back to the same chamber where Szayelaporro awaits them. Excited to face them again, the Espada shows them his true form that is startling and slightly horrifying.
What’s even more frightening, though, is that the black goop that splatters on them all creates clones with each person’s abilities. Suddenly, Renji and Uryu find themselves faces a number of clones of themselves with the same fighting abilities and power. Battling the clones, Renji comes up with a brilliant plan that finally destroys the area that had held their full powers back.
Unfortunately, for the Soul Reaper and the Quincy, Szayelaporro pulls out another secret weapon that comes in the form of dolls that resemble his opponents. In this case, he pulls out dolls that look like Uryu and – like a voodoo doll – can cause damage to any body part. This fight is suddenly becoming less of a battle and more like a lengthy torture session and struggle for survival.
Back in Las Noches, Ichigo finds himself being thrashed by Nnoitora to the point that he’s a bloody mess once again. Just as he’s about to get slaughtered, though, Nel cries out in despair to the point that something occurs to the cute Hueco Mundo resident who has come to rely on Ichigo. In a surprising twist, Nel is transformed to her true self and – this is awkward – she’s downright hot.
We learn that Nel is really Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck as well as the fact that she and Nnoitora have a past history together that is violent. Before her transformation, the Espada revealed the truth about her and this revelation shocks both Ichigo and Orihime. However, we learn what really happened to Nelliel via a flashback where we witness what led to her child form. Nel has officially become a new favorite character.
With Ichigo stepping out of the spotlight to witness a truly surreal battle, Volume 33 of Bleach offers a surprising twist and reveals the truth behind one of Hueco Mundo’s most interesting characters. It’s also good to see that Uryu and Renji’s battle takes a dangerous turn as well as the story arc gets even more interesting now. I can’t wait to see what Tite Kubo has in store for us in Volume 34.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
With Grimmjow soundly defeated by Ichigo, the Substitute Soul Reaper finds himself facing off against another Espada who proves to be even more formidable than the young man expected. However, in a moment of despair, something happens to Nel that changes everything. Meanwhile, Renji and Uryu are fighting for their lives as Szayelaporro gets even more vicious.
Uryu and Renji’s fight has turned ugly but the same cannot be said about the artwork that makes their part of the story look amazing. Then there’s Nel who goes from super cute to whoa-move-over-Orihime-and-Rangiku.
An unexpected surprise is but one of the highlights of Volume 33 of Bleach as is Uryu and Renji’s nightmarish fight for survival that makes this volume an exciting one. Once again, Tite Kubo manages to show us that some people are not who they seem and that some situations can go from bad to really brutal. Oh yeah, you do not want to miss this one, Bleach fans.
Review copy provided by VIZ Media