The chapter is scanlated at Bleach Exile here
The editors of Shounen Jump had Bleach in the number one place in the ToC this week. I can see why--it was a riveting chapter, and the art, even for Kubo, was especially wow.
Lots of screaming. Kensei screams Ban Kai and then he and Wonderweiss scream primal fighting sounds at one another. A freaked-out Shinji screams out for Ichigo to hurry up--it was what I was going to do myself if the plot didn't move, you know. Kubo wrote all my screams for me. And hells bells did the plot move. But not without all those Kubo character touches I love so much.
Feeling romantic lately, Shishou? The KenMash was adorable and then DAYUM how Kubo emphasized the Shinji and Hiyori relationship was masterly--the tension was there from moment one, with Shinji afraid that she'd bolt and Aizen taunting Shinji about Shinji "caring for others" and then Shinji's second warning to Hiyori... I'd read the spoilers and seen the RAWS and knew it was coming but it still jolted me to see Hiyori attack, to see Aizen's placid smile and to see the violence. Her insides didn't drip out--it was like Gin's shinshou had seared her upper body shut and there was that one panel of a black fringe that is Hiyori over Gin's retreating blade.
(That face of Gin's--did he ever look more winsomely sociopathic? I love him).
Then Shinji's desperation.
One thing that occurred to me while people on BA were arguing about whether or not Shinji was less bad-ass and more wimpy because of his emotional display over Hiyori is that Shinji's calling out to Ichigo does seem to echo the desperation of Orihime's calling out to Ichigo on the dome. (One significant difference is that Shinji thinks Ichigo is alive). What being panicked in a panicky situation says about peoples' characters isn't my issue here, and I don't want to bring up the whole "do something instead of scream" business with Orihime again. The similarity I saw here was the plot calling to ICHIGO to be the hero. Well, of course he is (even though dire previous events on the dome show that Ichigo may carrying the guilt of having killed an opponent wantonly and then having stabbed a nakama--we've got a vulnerable not-quite-the-hero emerging from the Ulquiorra battle). And this chapter was transitioning from one intense battlefield to another, so of course it's timely to ring out the hero's name for the sake of continuity. This is Bleach; this is a story about a boy who became a Shinigami in order to protect ....
But what I wonder if we're going to see a reappearance of IchiThing at some point. The title, as is always the case with Kubo's Engrish doing battle with his poetic sensibilities, confuses me. The English phrase is "A Cry IN the Dark" but this title is a "A Cry TO the Dark" which makes me wonder if this is another summoning of the Ichigo monster.I was talking to a friend about how everyone depends on Ichigo, Ichigo, Ichigo--maybe we'll see IchiThing again if Ichigo's need to protect keeps being overtaxed.
Just a thought. (I'm still betting on Unohana saving Ichigo et al from Yammy)
(eta: clarifying that I think the call for Ichigo itself is some sort of foreshadowing of DARKness. Ichigo again is being called to be the hero--but can he be? Like I told Jade below in the comments, he's rushing from that awful scene at the dome with all this guilt and this incredible power he may be afraid to use--and I'm afraid for him.)
The panel where Hiyori's foot and slipper are in the foreground and Shinji is holding Hiyori's torso in his arms as he lands on a ruined building--argh. I got chills. Apocalyptic, someone called it. It had that desperate war feeling--even though statistically speaking, the Visored and all these captains who haven't gone ban kai yet have a really good chance against the three baddies of Aizen, Gin, and Tousen.
Kubo's good at that "all hope is lost" mood.
Ichigo is speeding so fast somewhere his legs are lost in speed lines (although some of my friends were joking that you couldn't draw him at that angle without flashing his ass in Ichigo's current state of undress), he looks determined and oddly, his arm appears bandaged--why?
I can't wait until next week. I'm going to be counting the minutes until spoiler day.
eta: I was able to further clarify my concern for Ichigo in a comment I made to Ichi-Nii at BA:
Quote: The last panel for me was a slight let down, Im glad to see Ichigo, I really am..but why in God's Name is he rushing away from the Dome? I really want him to talk to Ishida and Orihime about that experience, it doesnt just affect him it affected both Ishida and Orihime, I feel that should Ichigo have left that Dome without at least issuing an apology to both of them for his Inner Hollow breaking it's shackle's of submission and rampaging like that... Then Ichigo is no more deceiver in a sense than Aizen (Im not saying that's Ichigo's intention, but it's similar to Aizen's actions), to me Ichigo would really be a coward, doing all that brave life threatening stuff..but when it comes to addressing his own personal shortcomings he runs away?
That was part of the drama and suspense of the panel for me too--as much as I suspected that Ichigo was running TOWARDS a battle, I also felt that he was running away from some emotional resolution on the dome. Like I said in my earlier comment, that's what boys tend to do with their feelings. But yes, I think Ichigo's inner turmoil, the theme of his Hollow overtaking him which has been subtle throughout this arc, is going to be an explicit drama soon. Ichigo HAS to be afraid of what that power can do after he killed an opponent he didn't want to kill and stabbed a nakama and said, very plainly "THIS ISN'T THE WAY I WANTED TO WIN."
Is it the way he wants to fight?
eta3: Jenni (metaphore_art) is back to making Bleach posts
There's more convo over there if you're game; her entries are always fun.