The mastermind unveiled
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 01/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This volume of "Bleach" is a deeply important one -- everything thus far has built to this point, and everything in the future will spring from it.
And the four episodes on "Bleach Volume 15" are crammed with explosive blasts of action and quite a bit of gore, but most importantly they reveal the conspiracy -- and the villain -- that has been running under the Soul Society's radar. The the last few episodes are practically bursting at the seams with shocking twists... so it's a bit of a relief when things simmer down.
Ichigo and Byakuya are fighting to the death, while Ichigo's friends watch from a safe distance. Ichigo's bankai has given him the power and speed to elude Byakuya -- but as the fight wears on, he discovers that he isn't strong enough to win. But as Byakuya is about to kill him, a horrifying change comes over Ichigo's body and mind.
Meanwhile, Hitsugaya has found the Central 46 dead for several days -- and that Momo has followed him there, only to be struck down by a Soul Reaper everyone had believed to be dead. After an enraged Hitsugaya attacks with his bankai -- and is badly wounded -- Captain Unohana learns the method that deceived every single Soul Reaper in the Seireitei.
No, I'm not going to tell you who the baddies are. It's such a shocker that revealing it would be too much. Unfortunately, the villainous trio is still pursuing Rukia, who has been rescued by a remarkably resilient Renji. And when Captain Unohana broadcasts her findings to the entire Seireitei, the exhausted Ichigo rushes to help Renji defend Rukia. The conspirators and their master plan are revealed to Ichigo at last.
Fortunately there's an episode to heal, regroup, and prepare for the gang's return -- Ichigo has to fend off a fight-happy Zaraki, Uryu sews new "living world clothes," the hospitalized Byakuya and Renji awkwardly deal with their personal problems, and Rukia goes missing. As Ichigo and Co. prepare to return to their own world, Rukia reveals what she's planning to do.
The fifteenth volume of "Bleach" provides this series with something any action anime needs -- a Big Bad Guy, who is smart, charming, ruthless and has no motivation aside from his lust for power. And he'll manipulate everybody like chess pieces, without a single moral quiver.
That said, these four episodes pack quite a wallop -- we have explosive duels of black fire, cherry blossoms, ice and blood, and an earthshaking climax in which the villain's true allegiances are revealed. And they also spend a lot of time explaining odd details stretching back to the start of the series -- faked murders, real murders, hypnotic suggestions, and Urahara's hidden motive in helping Rukia. It all promises to get even more intense after this.
In fact, the last episode on this volume is something of a relief, since it allows the characters a little downtime before the next big problem crops up. Lots of comic relief (Ichigo popping into a second story window to scream "RENJI!" in Byakuya's face), fun dialogue ("I'd have been exposed!" "Which I doubt would bother you!") and a few touching moments.
Poor Ichigo is having a rough time -- he gets battered, beaten, klonked on the head, his torso is almost slashed in half, and learns that he has a berserker side (Johnny Yong Bosch proves that he has a wonderful mad cackle). At the same time, Byakuya is revealed not to be the icy, uncaring jerk he's been portrayed as -- he even dives in to save Rukia's life, and reveals the sorrowful reason why he adopted her, and why he didn't try to stop the execution.
The fifteenth volume of "Bleach" is full of shocks, blood and the revelation of a really chilling villain. But it's nice that we get some fun before the arc ends."
Nothing wrong here
Graham F. Offen | 05/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well if your a fan of Bleach like I am you know what to expect crazy fights and more fights. This vol. is one of my favorites and im sure you will say the same."