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07 October 2010 @ 12:47 am
Bleach 423 is up  
Bleach #423 is out at MangaStream.

REMINDER: Do NOT Tweet to Kubo about this chapter, or using pics from this chapter, until MONDAY!

Aizen is, as Spacecat on BA put it, very Hannibal Lecter-ish. Or, as karenai put it, the star of Sereitei's bondage porn films. (Ohhhh, yeah.) So Central 46 apparently can't kill Aizen while he's still fused with the hobabyugyoku, so they instead sentence him to 18,800 years in the lowest level of their underground prison. First off, this will certainly end well, and Aizen will most definitely not eventually escape, possibly in the near future. Second, 18,800 is a random number, but at least they raised it to 20,000 when he got uppity? (Good to know being defeated by Ichigo and Urahara, as well as rejected by the hobaby, hasn't dampened Aizen's arrogance.) Third, when the heck did Central 46 get new members? And who advertised for that? "Hey, our last governing body was completely slaughtered by rogue shinigami captains, so now we need some new blood. Who wants in?" "Oh, oh, meee! Meeee!" Then again, the lure of power... They don't seem to be much smarter than the old 46.

Yamajii is alive... with one arm. His priorities are, as always, in the right place - scolding perverted Shunsui, prissy/bored Byakuya, and annoyed/bored Kenpachi over losing their captain's haori. Their answers are really cute <3333 Especially nii-sama's. <333


Mayuri is in Hueco Mundo studying... who knows what. A way to revive dead Espada? *shot*

Poor Toushirou. One day you'll be able to protect Hinamori... probably. Oh, and Hinamori is alive, but it's hard to say if she's in another coma. She's undergoing organ regeneration, so it's probably best if she's not awake. Poor girl.

RANGIKU ;_____; It looks like Gin really did kick the bucket. (For Gin to have "vanished" without dying means Soul Society probably let Gin escape, but I doubt they'd be that far gone.) I really love the panels on this page, with all the snow imagery. So pretty, goes back to Rangiku's memories of Gin leaving her behind. And then Rangiku reflecting that it's better Gin didn't leave a memento behind since she'd be unable to move past that otherwise. T_T Then saying she liked/loved that about Gin... waaaaah. ;________; Gin/Ran. ;____;

Unfortunately for Gin/Ran, they were overshadowed by the blatant, tragic Ichigo/Rukia of this chapter. Just... waaaaaah. T__________T Where to start.

Ichigo collapsed due to the pain of his powers leaving him, and he's been in a coma for a month. His hair's short because his body underwent time reversal of what he'd gone through in the dangai. Apparently Ichigo already knew he'd lose the ability to see spirits, too, already, since he's unsurprised by Rukia's explanation.

Ichigo awakens to the faces of four of his nakama. Orihime is loud, but then she's blatantly ignored by Ichigo. And that hamster-like face, as velvetsword described it... really, Orihime? >_>;;; Rukia petting a childish Orihime is very cute, but Kubo is quite cruel in making Orihime a non-entity to Ichigo. He does it again outside, when Orihime is partly shown in a panel, but Ichigo's focus is solely on Rukia.

Those pages are so gorgeous. As members of the Ichigo/Rukia FC at BA pointed out, this takes place in the same spot where Rukia originally gave Ichigo her powers. It comes full circle, in front of the Kurosaki Clinic. Rukia's never looked more beautiful, and Ichigo's sad expression... Then the two tease each other, to try to reassure each other, and in the Japanese raws, you can see that the font used is different from the normal text, as if to emphasize that the two's hearts aren't in their bickering, that they're forcing themselves to act this way. (velvetsword pointed out that their expressions here look similar to the infamous telephone spread.)

melodymix notes that the SFX indicate that Ichigo and Rukia walk toward each other in the panel of their feet. Then, as Rukia starts to fade away, Rukia looks down and Ichigo looks to the side. They can't bear to look at each other. ;___; The two are standing so close to each other, it's very intimate. karenai pointed out that Rukia's hands are near her heart. And much has been made by some fans about Ichigo's hands being in his pockets. In the field at the end of the SS arc, Ichigo's hands were at his side, but there was a panel where Ichigo's hand looks clenched; I wonder if that was how we were supposed to see it, especially since the anime decided that yes, we were, and it animated Ichigo briefly clenching his hand together. That's what I'm reminded of, with Ichigo's hands in his pockets in this scene.

The nakama are shown in one panel, watching silently but apparently not really fully understanding what is going on (they can still see Rukia, after all, so it's not something they can exactly relate to), and Ichigo and Rukia are in their own little world. Rukia's head is still down when she says "aa" ("yeah", "okay") to Ichigo. The two then look at each other... and to me, this is the most touching scene in the manga so far. I'm an Ichigo/Rukia fan but I don't think you need to ship them in order to be moved by the raw emotions on their faces. The looks Ichigo and Rukia give each other are just so painful, so naked, so open - Ichigo is tender, gentle, and sad; Rukia looks so vulnerable and yearning. These two panels are powerful - Kubo's expressions are always wonderful, but I think he outdoes himself here. There's no doubt in my mind the feelings Ichigo and Rukia have for one another, nor the depth of those feelings. karenai has a wonderful comment below, so I'll leave that to her.

Ichigo says "See you, Rukia" (MS says "goodby, Rukia"), the same words he said to her at the end of SS arc. And then he thanks her, the same thing he said mentally to her at the end of SS arc. But this is, obviously, quite different from the SS arc in many ways. Finally, Ichigo looks to the clear sky - a contrast to what his inner feelings must be like - and we only see his back. Din from the IchiRuki FC at BA said: "For me, that expression of Ichigo was only for Rukia to see, so when she was gone, we no longer had the right to see his vulnerable face." I think this sums up Kubo's intent quite nicely.

For those saying that all Rukia need do is get into a gigai, as peca_06 and others stated, this is more about Ichigo not being able to see Rukia when both are shinigami than it is necessarily about Ichigo and Rukia being forever separated. However, as karenai and others said, it's also doubtful that Rukia will remain in the living world. It would be painful to burden Ichigo with the reminder he can't see her or spirits anymore. T_______T As well as for Rukia to be reminded that Ichigo can no longer see her. Gigais or not, the two are definitely parted... It's just... so terrible. Waaaaah. ;___________;

I have to say, I wonder about anyone who thinks that Ichigo is happy about this, that he'll be content to focus on schoolwork and movie theaters now, that he'll be pleased as punch to be just a 'normal' teenage boy. We all know that Ichigo's never been normal; he's always been able to see spirits. And for years he's yearned for the power to protect others and to crush destiny. Having been a shinigami, having been PROUD of it, Ichigo won't be content to be powerless once again. Not after what he's been through. And certainly not when all of his friends can still see spirits and hollows. Ichigo sitting on the backburner, having to rely on his nakama rather than leave them behind, for him to be protected instead of protecting, might be good for him and his hero complex, but he won't be happy about it. Yes, Ichigo will get his powers back eventually. But for now, I think this chapter succeeded in tearing out the readers' heartstrings and playing them like a violin. T___T Kubo, you wonderful, masterful SADIST.
Current Mood: sadsad
ruinin fuckin' everythingallelujah on October 7th, 2010 04:51 am (UTC)
oh my fuck the ichiruki oh my FUCK
sunlight_kissessunlight_kisses on October 7th, 2010 04:55 am (UTC)


Stunning but .................. asdjhgkjhsdgkjh just breaking my heart
Danielwdboldstar on October 7th, 2010 05:38 am (UTC)
If you tell me that is not an Ichiruki page you are a Liar

oh gosh i have something in my eye right now

Kubo-sensei, please don't keep them apart for long.
(no subject) - wdboldstar on October 7th, 2010 05:49 am (UTC) (Expand)
honeyhammerhoneyhammer on October 7th, 2010 04:59 am (UTC)
I didn't expect this arc to end on this note (being somewhat lighthearted) but the end has enough angst to where I'm not to totally dissatisfied. And holy parallels whoa.

Rukia. :(
redgreendressredgreendress on October 7th, 2010 05:13 am (UTC)
Holy parallels indeed.
Kylara: story of destinykarenai on October 7th, 2010 05:05 am (UTC)
"Even Rukia's [spiritual presence] is fading away..."


Remember Memories in the Rain?

When Ichigo and Rukia united from two different parts of the cemetary towards a common goal.

Then they were running together, side by side, foot by foot, and had the conversation that would comfort Ichigo in his time of need. Words that were so strong and resonated so deeply in the inner rooms of his heart that he could remember them and be comforted by Rukia's strength even when she wasn't physically there.

Remember this?

One united shadow, coming together in the face of danger and creating a bond that would carry them through the most important period of Ichigo's life: when he became the protector he always wanted to be, because of her.

Look at this.

They step towards each other. Their shadows are barely touching...

And then they're standing together. It's hard to tell where one shadow starts and the other stops. For one last moment, there she is, side-by-side, next to him.

She tells him, Okay. And with that, she looks back at him.

Look what she sees.

He made a face a bit like that once before.

It was when Rukia was hurt by Grimmjow. The moment that was so unbearably intimate that Orihime diminished away in increasingly smaller boxes as her jealousy overwhelmed her.

Rukia didn't see that face. This she sees. This? This tops Trifle. Things aren't getting better, and Ichigo and Rukia both know it. This is the last glimpse that he is getting of her face, the incredible pain he's going through, and Rukia cannot comfort him because it is [B]the very loss of her that is causing it[/B].

And so she is vulnerable. Aching because he hurts, because she can't fix it, hurting because he is the one person in the world who could look at her and understand her and care about her. Rukia, the loneliest girl in Soul Society who found a home with him.

Remember when she looked like this, once before?*

That's when Rukia actually thanked him for living, because everyone else in her life had failed her or died because of her.

He can't look at her that way anymore. She can't catch him and hold him in her arms and thank him just for being alive. Now he can't leave and go back home thinking that he left her with a smile - instead Rukia's pained face is the last image he has of her.

Now the shadow is less, just Ichigo alone.

Like this, but a thousand times.


I love this more than words can express. For Ichigo, it's the anguish of him having done his best to save the world and that world telling him, "Now you can't see the girl who gave me to you." It affirms importance of Rukia's existence in Ichigo's eyes; no one else comes close. Everyone else is a bystander, all just standing there watching. They're not important here, they're not central - all of Ichigo's concentration is wrapped up with Rukia.

Kubo is giving us angst. Kubo is giving us the TRIP. Kubo is giving us the tragic separation because he will unite them again. It's so romantic and so essential to Ichigo, I can barely stand it.

This isn't over. Ichigo will get his powers back, Aizen is [obviously] not dead, and one day, Ichigo will look up and there - there will be Rukia, and it will be just as it's meant to be: IchiRuki together again.

[repost from IchiRuki FC @ Bleach Asylum.
* thanks to likos64 for matching Rukia's face]
honeyhammerhoneyhammer on October 7th, 2010 05:08 am (UTC)
LJ really needs to make a "like" button, because this is a case where I would abuse the hell out of it.
(no subject) - karenai on October 7th, 2010 06:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - nijibug on October 7th, 2010 05:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - karenai on October 7th, 2010 06:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lorkylork on October 7th, 2010 06:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - karenai on October 7th, 2010 06:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ce_lestic on October 7th, 2010 06:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - karenai on October 7th, 2010 06:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) on October 7th, 2010 06:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - karenai on October 7th, 2010 07:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) on October 7th, 2010 10:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - april_ms on October 7th, 2010 06:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shinigami_1nabe on October 7th, 2010 07:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - starvinbohemian on October 7th, 2010 07:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kookynella on October 7th, 2010 10:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wicked_liz on October 7th, 2010 11:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - allelujah on October 7th, 2010 12:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ivixie on October 7th, 2010 12:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dbnext on October 7th, 2010 01:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - midoringo on October 7th, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
marvellous monster: snow whitefikuz on October 7th, 2010 05:05 am (UTC)
Aizen is new Dr. Hannibal Lecter?
marvellous monster: snow whitefikuz on October 7th, 2010 05:12 am (UTC)
Then... Is Rukia Clarice Starling?
(no subject) - darkslover on October 7th, 2010 11:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fikuz on October 7th, 2010 02:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Shinigami_Lucia: ;_;shinigami_lucia on October 7th, 2010 05:07 am (UTC)
The last panel where IchiRuki we're looking at each other before Rukia disappeared, does Ichigo have tears in his eyes or was that from the way the page was scan?

And OMG, this parting scene is beautifully drawn and very angsty ;__; ...I feel like I'm reading a shoujo manga instead of shounen.

Also, I don't know what to think about Orihime's behavior here. That panel of Rukia patting her on the head while she cry out that she was feeling embarrassed for saying things out-loud, was weird. I swear she look like a little kid there.
There's no Love Without you: ichiruki purplene_wayz on October 7th, 2010 05:10 am (UTC)

I can't...I don't even...what...

Ok, let me talk about something else then

How hilarious where the captain with Yamamoto? Shunsui's face was so funny and Byakuya!!! And Ukitake!!! He looked like a little kid hiding! Hilarious

Oh Matsumoto...AND GIN IS NOT DEAD NO HE IS NOT! She said he disappeared...He probably had to run away otherwise SS was going to get him...so he's not dead hmph

Ok, dare I speak of the IchiRuki? I don;t think I can...It was too sad...I...

How cute was that panel of Rukia putting her hand on Hime's head? I'm going to ignore how Kubo butchered the Hime development and totally reverted her to a child I thought it was adorable...Motherly like

I still can't type anything about the IchiRuki...it's too sad...But I love how there's many people saying that after panels like these they can't deny the bond
Mimipink_writer on October 7th, 2010 05:16 am (UTC)
The angst from all three of my OTPs in this chapter is just too much. And oh God that farewell scene was just so heartbreaking and emotional and Ichigo your face is so open it hurts and Rukia's so damn beautiful and SAHSRFSADHG.

And Ran baby, you are so precious. Even with Gin gone, my heart will never stray away from you two <3

manonlechat: gin: i must go this way~manonlechat on October 7th, 2010 05:23 am (UTC)
Heartbroken over Gin and GinRan. :( Rangiku will bloom again and be happy (perhaps with Shuuhei?) but it will always be GinRan for me.

Grieving over fictional characters SUCKS. :P
reynardine on October 7th, 2010 05:37 am (UTC)
*grieves alongside you* Poor Rangiku. At least she seems to feel that she's getting some closure, though?

Yeah, who knows? Maybe Shuuhei will finally get his chance?

That last part with Ichigo and Rukia just broke my heart. It really did feel like a shoujo series for a moment there.
(no subject) - manonlechat on October 7th, 2010 05:49 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sunlight_kisses on October 7th, 2010 05:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - manonlechat on October 7th, 2010 06:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - manonlechat on October 8th, 2010 04:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - reynardine on October 7th, 2010 12:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - karenai on October 7th, 2010 06:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - manonlechat on October 8th, 2010 04:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
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See icon - manonlechat on October 7th, 2010 06:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - yl_yl on October 7th, 2010 06:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - manonlechat on October 7th, 2010 11:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
シボ 洋蔥さん: magatama silvernijibug on October 7th, 2010 05:30 am (UTC)
Kim!: Mmm... Jump...spartydragon on October 7th, 2010 05:30 am (UTC)

I'll have to read it again when the server isn't so backed up. But... *wibbles a little*
selenityshiroiselenityshiroi on October 7th, 2010 05:33 am (UTC)
Oh, Byakuya. With your cute little prissy remarks on the 'cheap' haori. You're such a princess!


Oh, Ichigo and Rukia. I want to cry at this chapter because it looks like they are having their hearts torn from their body.

(Oh god...he's doing the 'I'm gonna scratch my head and pretend I'm not really emotional right now' thing)

And the bottom of page 19...those two panels are so gorgeous in a stabbity stabbity heart breaking way.

Kubo...when you do the emotional stuff, WOW do you deliver.
Issues: RanHime-Cry into my bosomlovely_masoka on October 7th, 2010 05:37 am (UTC)
Ichigo and Rukia. *sobs*

And Orihime...I'm being patient until Kubo really focuses on her alone. 8D
mrdracospirit on October 7th, 2010 03:49 pm (UTC)
Yer I'm heavly expecting we see a deep Orihime moment in a few chapters or so and I suspect she be thinking about things on the dome and the men in her life will be the main topic.
(Deleted comment)
selenityshiroiselenityshiroi on October 7th, 2010 05:51 am (UTC)
I was just coming back to comment on Rukia fading away just like Ulquiorra (with the whole 'dissolving' thing).

(my heart...it is broken)
(no subject) - lovely_masoka on October 7th, 2010 05:52 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mrdracospirit on October 7th, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eris4 on October 7th, 2010 07:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
lonely_sparkleslonely_sparkles on October 7th, 2010 05:43 am (UTC)

marvellous monster: gunslingerfikuz on October 7th, 2010 06:02 am (UTC)