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18 March 2010 @ 02:54 am
Just As Planned: Chap 396 is out!  
Read it here at Mangastream: http://mangastream.com/read/bleach/396-76/2

Unohana still hasn't come in to call the time of death, but it's sounding more and more like Yamamoto might really have shuffled off his immortal coil. Granted either Unohana or Orihime might be a fix but the whole 'abandoned his body and turned it into a bomb' thing rather lowers the odds, even in Bleach.

Interesting chapter visually. Bya in a cool shirt. Aizen in no shirt with a nipple ring Hougyoku. A nice little replay of all Ichigo's major fights. Also, if it can be believed, a sidebar saying this is the final fight in the Arrancar Arc. Which leaves me wondering... are we ever going to find out about the Yammi battle in HM? Or is a huge garganta just going to open and everyone still in HM falls through so that Yammi can stomp through FKT like a bigger, uglier Godzilla?

Speculation will be rife.
never give up!  ৵  never surrender!loquaciousquark on March 18th, 2010 08:03 am (UTC)
I have to say I really, really enjoyed this chapter. Other people can call troll if they like, but I kind of completely love these kinds of twists, where everything you thought was innocuous is actually full of significance and there's a mastermind behind it all. Seriously can't wait until next week.
the cosplayin' cat ladymochavalentino on March 18th, 2010 08:18 am (UTC)
I'm very curious to see how everything else is playing out right now. Also, Unohana isn't injured, right? What's she doing? And I hope Yammy dies before this arc is over. If he doesn't.....that would just be wrong. There's 3 captains up there.
♬ 謝健新 in B♯ Major: zachary quinto: moribund?graphite on March 18th, 2010 08:20 am (UTC)
Maybe Unohana and Gin are catching up ... or waging a war of attrition in terms of how little their characters have shown up over the past hundred chapters, compared to everybody else.

(Though I suppose that means their turn is coming up very quickly.)
(no subject) - mochavalentino on March 18th, 2010 08:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
♬ 謝健新 in B♯ Major: bjork: in the windgraphite on March 18th, 2010 08:19 am (UTC)
Mm. I guess I. Um.

Well, I guess over the past few chapters, I was just really hoping to see at least the beginnings of seeing Aizen go, but, clearly, that's not going to happen yet. Poor Yamamoto, though--his sacrifice certainly seems to have been in vain.
balladbirdballadbird on March 18th, 2010 08:28 am (UTC)
So Aizen isn't sure of what happened in the fight against Ulquiorra, after all, only that Ichigo transcended what he had before. I guess his eyes truly are limited to the dome of las noches.

good chapter, but I get the feeling the next will be more interesting.
_debbiechan_: 60secondcoming_debbiechan_ on March 18th, 2010 10:05 am (UTC)

his eyes truly are limited to the dome of las noches.

Hell yeah. Called it. *brain on fire still thinking about other stuff though* I knew Aizen didn't know about Ulqui's fight with Ichithing or Ulqui's second form.
(no subject) - jenny_jade on March 18th, 2010 10:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - conquistadora on March 18th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
◦ a girl like me ◦: Bleach - Aizen by hiru_no_tsukiafteriwake on March 18th, 2010 08:54 am (UTC)
Oh, I was not happy with Aizen's increasing godhood. Now he can't be killed? Great. Just great. And I also don't buy that every part of Ichigo's rise in power was all part of his plan. I think he's just seizing an opportunity to plant some doubt in Ichigo's head and do something even more bastardy next chapter.
descrimedescrime on March 18th, 2010 11:26 am (UTC)
Yeah, I call foul on that too.
(no subject) - kohi_no_tora on March 19th, 2010 06:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - afteriwake on March 19th, 2010 06:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
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jenny_jadejenny_jade on March 18th, 2010 09:38 am (UTC)
Where do you spot Venus and Mars on his shirt? I only saw an owl, a wolf, some birds, some deers, a stalker woman and something look like an old man face.

ETA: Never mind, I saw some bunch of weapons upside down on the ground, maybe it does look like Mars as in "war god" theme.

Strangely, I like the white moon the middle of Bya's chest.
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jenny_jadejenny_jade on March 18th, 2010 09:20 am (UTC)
I spot RADIO-KON HYPER on top Byakuya. Is he going to do the MC audition there? XD He won 1st at the best bout result right? The envelope must be some kind of application for job because Byakuya quit being a shinigami and became a radio MC instead.
tamzin: sawasohappyconquistadora on March 18th, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC)
LOL I like this theory. XD The idea of him being a radio MC is giving me goosebumps.
mrdracospirit on March 18th, 2010 09:48 am (UTC)
What can I say...


I predicted something right! While I wasn't expected the whole Hōgyoku belly button ring, I had been suspecting for a long time that Aizen had been leading Ichigo down the merry path ever since Ulquiorra’s report on his fluctuating power levels way back in the Arrancar arc.

However I wasn't sure why he wanted him to become stronger, but with the Hōgyoku new location, it seems to me that he wants to absorb his powers.....
>Kat<tanya_lilac on March 18th, 2010 09:52 am (UTC)
Oh, the shock! The horror! People can cry 'troll' but the popcorn really compliments the twist. ^^

And for some reason, I'm imagining Aizen say, "And here's something I prepared a little earlier."
ms_barcelonams_barcelona on March 18th, 2010 09:58 am (UTC)
Aizen has been watching "Ichigo reality show channel" 24 hrs. Wow!

it's green and tastes like licorice.: Aizenichirionarch on March 18th, 2010 11:47 am (UTC)
Is there a problem with this?
Kylarakarenai on March 18th, 2010 09:58 am (UTC)
"Do you think I would turn myself into a Hollow?"

HELL YES I JUST WON A BET. "Is Aizen a Vizard?" "No, Aizen will not give himself Hollow powers like that." "Yes he will, he wants to be stronger." "God is not a Hollow, so neither is Aizen."

*goes off to hunt someone down*

Also, Aizen's speech is bullshit. He didn't even know where Rukia was before she "mysteriously" vanished at the beginning of the series; he cannot have planned anything as far back as that. I am willing to concede all the Hueco Mundo fights, depending on how flexible one's definition is of "in the palm of my hand".

Edited at 2010-03-18 10:00 am (UTC)
_debbiechan_: Aizen ILLUSION_debbiechan_ on March 18th, 2010 10:11 am (UTC)

*dances* We're on a steady course of predictions being fulfilled, Ky! Just follow the row of dominoes!

Aizen's miraculous ability is to make anything sound like the truth--we witnessed that last week with his "all Hollow are creatures without purpose and I gave them one and you killed a baby" speech to Yama-jii last week. Aizen is a master bullshitter. He's got Ichigo, not the brightest penny in the jar, in his palm right now and this ain't gonna look good for Ichigo...

oh, I want Ichigo to say or notice or do one noble good Ichigo honest true thing before he totally fails like holy fuck in this arc. Kubo has to give us a little spark of hope. Aizen is going to escape to be villanous again but Ichigo, poor Ichigo, can you look like less of a fool when he does?
(no subject) - la_kalaka on March 18th, 2010 04:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - (Anonymous) on March 18th, 2010 01:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - darksyx on March 18th, 2010 08:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
_debbiechan_: Kubo is my boyfriend 2_debbiechan_ on March 18th, 2010 10:16 am (UTC)

OMFG, the art. Not only did I stare too long at Nii-sama's shirt and play all those foreground-background eye shift games with the black and white patterns of the shirt and the sketchy blue and brown background of the cityscape, I just ... WOW ... DRANK UP EVERY PAGE, OMG, KUBO-SENSEI IS SO AMAZING. Page 12. I could actually follow the movement even though it all looked like abstract art at first glance; with the sense of the story it wasn't at all abstract. It was just pure movement.

And then Aizen's revelations. They're so wacko, they don't make ANY sense--it's like being caught in a perfect state of Keat's negative capability. It's all NO WAY and MAYBE SO and I don't care because this makes me wonder. It's total fun. GAH, I LOVE THIS CHAPTER.
jenny_jadejenny_jade on March 18th, 2010 10:29 am (UTC)
Kubo's art is really evolved to the top-notch. If you stare Byakuya in the color page too long, you might be able to see him blushing and averting his eyes away from you XD

Everybody loves Kubo because he made no sense in the big picture, but it's just the beginning of making sense in those little details.
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on March 18th, 2010 10:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sleepwalkerrrr on March 19th, 2010 12:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) on March 18th, 2010 03:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bluejesus on March 18th, 2010 03:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Requiem Artrequiemart on March 18th, 2010 11:31 am (UTC)
Yyyyyyyyeah. This is just disappointing, even though it's not unexpected. I just hoped it would be done... better? Like maybe "I've been waiting for someone with your potential to come along to fulfill the last part of my plan. The whole getting you to Hueco Mundo story arc was to help you help me" You can only take 'evil mastermind' so far without losing complete plausibility. I wonder if it's going to go beyond that to "Hahaha, I got your father kicked out of soul society so that he would have you"

"I planned every aspect of your life, which I could do because I knew the outcome of every 1-in-a-million fight where you were the underdog that you would power up just in time to survive and defeat foes >>>>>>>>> more powerful/skilled/experienced than you, including their changes of heart where they decide to help you after you kick their ass. Oh, and all those times Orihime saved your life before your hollow regeneration kicked in. That too. I totally planned her having a god-like power no one's ever seen before. In fact, I'm her abusive daddy."

V to the A to the D-E-R (Vader!)jaina on March 18th, 2010 12:54 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I was just gonna say—clearly Aizen is a Jump fan.
(no subject) - nomoreprinces on March 18th, 2010 01:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - descrime on March 19th, 2010 04:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
catseye2001catseye2001 on March 18th, 2010 11:38 am (UTC)
It sucks that Bleach isn't fun anymore. All this seriousness and failure and Aizen-is-all-powerful-ness is getting to me. I can't even remember the last time I laughed out loud while I was reading an issue. I miss the days when we had Kon, and Keigo, and Orihime being wacky instead of all wobbly-eyes and porn-face and "Kurosaki-kun!" I liked Isshin's random attacks on Ichigo and Hantarou's total obliviousness to the reality around him. I don't dislike serious arcs, but lately this is wearing me down...
My sons, who should be its target demographic, won't read it anymore. They said all the issues are just a piece of a fight where you think things are going right but then they aren't. And honestly, it bugs me just a little that this arc has made them cynical in a way that they weren't before. Now instead of hoping that Ichigo will succeed, they just shrug and say that we all know he won't.
Hopefully there will come a point where things will turn around, but this definitely feels like an irrevocable-loss-of-innocence arc for the characters (as well as my son). I guess that happens when a manga is just a year-long fight, but it still makes me sad to see a title I've loved as much as this one lose its joy so completely...
Running on Coffee and Schadenfreudearcadiasilver on March 18th, 2010 12:29 pm (UTC)
Honestly...that's part of what I like about Bleach lately.

I mean, a good ol' shounen story is fine, like One Piece. But Bleach captured my heart for the very reason that Kubo took staple shounen archetypes and turned them on their heads.

Ichigo - Brash, linear thinking, but good hearted and inspiring hero. In the SS arc, Ichigo's capacity to instill hope and defy all odds was inspiring. He drove Renji to bankai, rescued Rukia from death, challenged and changed Byakuya's whole view on the world. Now, with the Hueco Mundo arc, Kubo presented us with the other edge of that sword. Ichigo's impulsiveness became a tremendous flaw, causing him to go running into the heart of enemy territory with no plan and next to no information. Linear thinking has him completely ignorant of the emotional and physical wreck that Orihime became and completely ignore the threat Aizen poses to not only all his family and nakama, but to hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

I like this loss of innocence. It flies in the face of the traditional "If I believe I can do it I will!" shounen spirit. Its a heady dose of reality, and Ichigo will pay for his failures - he has to. Otherwise, what kind of message does Kubo send? Its okay to run off and break your promises, leave your friends behind? Aizen plays a fantastic manipulation game every time he speaks, and Ichigo is going to have to learn some hard, adult lessons before he's capable of seeing past them.

Don't get me wrong, I understand where you're coming from, but Kubo does sneak some giggle-worthy moments in between the battles. Hell, the fight of Byakuya and Kenpachi v. Yammi is close to slap-stick in itself, complete with doofy Ichigo faces.
(no subject) - mrdracospirit on March 18th, 2010 10:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - arcadiasilver on March 19th, 2010 02:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - kohi_no_tora on March 19th, 2010 06:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on March 18th, 2010 12:07 pm (UTC)
I'm wondering why people have the impression that Aizen planned it all from the beginning. That's not the impression I got while reading at all.

What he did was reading Ichigo's reiatsu, and then he guessed a lot. Most of the fights, minus the IchiUlq ones, he could witness them. He just happened to comment since Ichigo meets Rukia - which he did not plan - and his growth since then - that he always was interested in. The really interesting tidbit is that Ichigo awakened his own powers during the fight against the Menos Grande, and that's it.

Fact is, Aizen is messing up with Ichigo's head, mind you. What's more, it IS working, because Ichigo's mask is cracking at the end [while he got his resolve back in this chapter].

I have more to comment, but I'm in a hurry right now. Will do later.

V to the A to the D-E-R (Vader!)jaina on March 18th, 2010 12:56 pm (UTC)
That's what I got out of it as well. I can buy Aizen incorporating Ichigo's development into his plans (whatever those are) once he became aware of Ichigo, but I didn't read it as he PLANNED everything for Ichigo—just that he's working it in because a good evil overlord rolls with the punches.
(no subject) - mikaoru on March 18th, 2010 03:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)