I'm back! Hurricane Gustav hit my city hard and my family was without electricity for ten days; a large part of our city won't have power for weeks more. The National Guard presence and helicopters flying low over neighborhoods make it seem like a war movie here. Roofs were blown off everywhere and two-hundred-year-old oaks were uprooted, but our house held and thank you for your prayers for my tangerine tree--it's FINE!
Moderator's announcement-- Do I really need to remind this community not to make provoking shippy comments? Especially if those remarks aren't witty, insightful or do not add to the general discussion of the manga? Besides West Nile Virus and heat exhaustion, one of the things I was worried about during my absence was that someone would start a shipper war here on bleachness . Lo and behold, I came back to find a post made with lots of bland general "I've been fighting with IchiHime shipper" statements and the prediction "I bet this post will be deleted."
Well, doh. If you anticipate that something you post may be inappropriate, then don't post it, please. Thank you to everyone who commented to the inappropriate post in a mature fashion.
I got to read two chapters page to page without spoilers because of Gustav!
Chapt 324 The Claws
Chapt 325 Fear for the Flight
Oh Eleventh Division! How I love you all but your ridiculous battle credo was put in its place by Kira, of all people, in chapter 323 when the previously shuddering bumbling "less than a man" warrior gave us his speech about how war is true misery and not the fun and games the 11th makes it out to be. And then Kira showed his zanpakutou to be the most efficient killer of all---its efficiency reminded me of the French guillotine, the weapon that was supposed to be merciful in its swiftness but gained a reputation for horror.
Kira's cool points went up so much that not even the reveal of Hisagi's shikai in chapter 324 could upstage Kira for me. Hisagi looked awesome (he was never a favorite until Kubo revealed in omake that he wrote poetry and was crushing on Matsumoto) and his weapon made for a cool fight. He gave a nice speech too--it nicely slammed Findor's absurd "life is all about getting the most correct answers" philosophy (is it college entrance exam time in Japan or what?) and brought back the fearful reality of war back into the battle equation. The flashback panel to Tousen also reminded me that Kenpachi, long ago, had observed that only Gin and Tousen, of the Gotei13 Captains, feared Death. And these two would be revealed to be the traitors.
And here we have Hisagi being taught the importance of fear by Tousen. Where will Kubo-sensei run with this? My poetry-dendrites are a-flutter for more information.
The end of 325 was a wonderful stunner. A pillar falls. Ikkaku is defeated. Did Yumichika's folly--his not showing his true power for some weird, vain 11th division reason until he was totally assured to be covered in privacy--foreshadow Ikkaku's failure? We all know Ikkaku hides his ban kai. Would lovable Ikkaku really not release in for the sake of some eleventh division code of wanting his place behind Kenpachi and thereby fail Soul Society, his post, and maybe the entire fate of the universe? Oh, the ethical issues! Friends versus the entire group! The individual versus law! The SS arc showed us the triumph of the individual sticking up for his friends (Ichigo) over the dumb assery of stupid rules (Byakuya)--could it be that the HM arc inverts this message?
Someone at BA wondered if the tower falling in this chapter alluded to the 9/11 tragedy of seven years ago. I doubt that because we saw the picture as a spoiler on this Thursday 9/11 and the manga chapter isn't officially released until Monday, but the coincidence is jarring.
Oh, and I started a pic and a fic before the hurricane. The fic, a Chizuru/Orihime, I can finish, but the pic, due to a failing graphics tablet, will just have to remain undone. Here it is anyway:
Chizu Hime! (on DA)