Second thing I want to say: I love Bleach. (Duh.) I love the artwork, I think the story and characters are compelling and interesting, and I've spent my share of time fangirling and hypothesizing on the fates of characters. Regarding the last chapter, I really enjoyed it (despite a couple of things that miffed me a bit).
However, I DID NOT LIKE THE COLOR SPREAD FOR THIS CHAPTER AT ALL.
Actually, I'm furious about it. Just what the heck is Kubo doing here? What about this has anything to do with a) the current chapter of the story, especially looking at what took place in the chapter, or b) making us respect these women at all? Right now, Orihime is in a pivotal place in her character development. She's made some big realizations and is coming to a place where she will now have to decide how she continues to live her life. And Kubo chooses to depict her this way? What about Rukia, Nel, and Rangiku? They're strong women, all of them, physically and emotionally, and while I know there have been manga in-jokes about them (at least regarding Matsumoto), he never pushed it this far before. I thought he'd finally grown out of all that during the current arc. All of these women have shown that they are much more than what they look like, or how nice their bodies are, and this is the lowest way of demeaning them, at least in my opinion. It makes me wonder just how he wants us to view them: as strong, believable role models or as sex objects?
On another note, I hardly think that sort of image is appropriate in a shonen manga magazine. As far as I was aware, Bleach has never been a seinen manga - and from what I'm seeing in that image, they all look like strippers (especially looking at the coats and Matsumoto's little pantyhose/legging thing).
Sorry for ranting, Debbie, and I hope I haven't offended anyone. I have always respected the women of Bleach - and have always been upset when Kubo has objectified them in the past - and this, to me, is pushing the envelope too far.