Bleach Vol. #06 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Sunday, May 22, 2005
Release Date: Friday, April 15, 2005
Translated by:Joe Yamazaki
What They Say
Ichigo Kurosaki may not know this, but the world he lives in is one predicated on balance-between the living and the dead, between everyday life and the Soul Society. Soul Reapers aren't merely fighting Hollows, they are charged with the grand task of equalizing the balance between this life and the next. Naturally, if too much energy is channeled to one side, really bad things will happen-just as they're happening now! Ichigo and Uryu's competition inadvertently results in generating a leviathan of a Hollow whose sheer size is capable of tearing the Soul Reaper's delicately constructed balance to ribbons. Is Ichigo Soul Reaper enough to fell this giant and protect the equilibrium of the universe? Find out in Tite Kubo's international manga smash-hit Bleach!
For the front cover we get the JP cover artwork that features Kisuke Urahara, which keeps up the motif of having a different character on each cover which very nice. The English logo is the same as the JP logo in the same position at the top. The Shonen Jump label is present in small text at the bottom right along with the creator name. The back cover has a collage of different characters in a picture frame format, which is part of the same artwork for chapter 51’s header. Inside there are a few words from Kubo. There are no extras, but there is a page promising a new extra in the next volume called “Radio Kon Baby”. We also get the original chapter headers which feature some great character art.
The print job feels like it is back on track, with the dark tones coming across with no noticeable fading and looking really sharp. Some of the solid light grey areas look a little checkered. Overall it’s a great improvement from previous volumes and the colors on the covers look great.
Kubo’s stylish characters are a lot of fun. It’s the little details and nuances he puts into each character that brings out their personality and increases my enjoyment. Kubo also has some fun with some semi-deformed designs that are quite humorous. The line work is thin and pretty clean, although I still don’t believe it has found its groove with the action scenes and Hollow designs. The action has a bit of an overuse of action lines, while the Hollows feel a bit uninspired and almost like an afterthought. However, it’s the creative paneling that really makes the action sequences work.
There is not a lot of background art, which seems to go away during action sequences. At the end of the book the background art returns and looks better, with a nice use of thin lines and dark tones.
The SFX are translated and retouched. There are a lot of SFX used, and the English text takes up too much room. This is especially noticeable during these big action sequences where the SFX just make the panels feel cluttered. They also aren’t the best looking SFX and it can feel distracting.
The dialogue comes across clear and flows nicely. There’s a definite difference between Uryu and Ichigo in their dialogue, appropriately fitting their character. There are a couple of instances where Japanese terms are explained in the margins, and the attack moves are left in Japanese with a literal translation done in parentheses. Nice translation and adaptation job in this volume.
Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
Uryu and Ichigo continue to settle their score as they try and save their town from the onslaught of Hollows that was unleashed by Uryu in a move where his pride as a Quincy clouded his judgment. Uryu is the last of the Quincy Archers, who were annihilated 200 years ago by the Soul Reapers in order to keep the universe from collapsing. The constant killing of the Hollows by the Quincies tipped the balance of souls between the worlds, as the souls of the Hollows could not return to the Soul Society. It was the Quincies stubborn pride that lead to their downfall, and now Uryu is still hanging on to that pride. However, as Uryu learns about Ichigo’s own tragic past, he realizes that they share a common bond and decide in typical shounen fashion to team up in order to survive to fight at a later time.
The battle with the Hollows comes to a head when all the Hollows converge at a dimensional crack in the sky, feeding the entry of the legendary Menos Grande, a gigantic Hollow that usually can only be handled by the special task force of the Soul Reapers. I was expecting a big showdown but was ultimately let down as it sort of ended anti-climatically with Ichigo showing off more of his untapped power, leaving Uryu and the others speechless.
While I was disappointed with the battle, it is the buildup of little things along the way that are most interesting. We learn about how Orihime and Chad developed their powers from being around Ichigo. It also seems as though Urahara has been watching Ichigo for quite some time, knowing his true strength and now also realizing the power within Orihime and Chad. The appearance of the Menos Grande also has more of an effect on Rukia, as it reveals the location of her gigai to the Soul Society, as they send a couple of their Reapers to take her back by force. It’s this ending of the volume that was most interesting to me, as now it finally seems as though the stage is being set for the main story to kick in. Ichigo, Uryu, Chad, Orihime seem to be pawns set in place for an upcoming battle with Rukia trapped in the middle of it all.
Tite Kubo’s quirkiness and fun characters continue to be the main draw, and he does a great job of breaking up what could have been a dragged out action storyline with some great moments of humor. The end of the volume allows for some time to relax and enjoy all the classmates in their element, but it’s only for a moment as a huge cliffhanger ending is thrown at us.
While the gist of this volume surrounds Uryu and Ichigo finishing up their little competition, it is the buildup behind the scenes that makes this volume interesting. The big climax ends with a whimper, and never really got off the ground as I had hoped, but the battle acts as a vehicle to set the stage for future conflicts surrounding Rukia. There is still a lot of mystery surrounding Urahara and what he has planned, or who he is, and he is starting to reveal his cards a bit, which has me truly intrigued. It also seems as though big things are in store for Orihime and Chad, which are still unknown.
This volume honestly in the end just feels like one big tease for bigger things to come. With the cliffhanger at the end, it’s going to be a hard, long wait for the next volume.
Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A-
Text/Translatin Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left