Manga – The Other White Meat

For those of you that actually follow Bleach, one of the biggest plotholes has been trying to figure out why Ichigo has Shinigami powers at all. Isn’t he just a normal human born of two human parents? Yes, Rukia transferred her powers to him so that he could protect his family, but it quickly became obvious that Ichigo had his own powers. We got a clue to why that might be what feels like several 100 chapters ago in the Manga when his father, Isshin, showed up during a battle in Shinigami garb. It appears that Ichigo’s family actually consisted of two hidden former Shinigami, hiding on Earth in much the same way that Kisuke Urahara is exiled there. Finally in the review for Chapters 397 and 398 today we get a look at why that is, as Aizen begins to explain why his interest in Ichigo has existed since his birth.

In Naruto the story continues to wind towards the inevitable battle between Naruto and Sasuke. Two friends separated by a story of hate and vengeance. Hopefully we’ll learn more about why Naruto stated last week that he didn’t feel he could beat Sasuke last time they met. With Naruto it's hard to tell if this arc is coming to a close or not. I feel like the Akatsuki battles have been going on for a very long time, and the story almost seems divided into mini-arcs instead of one huge one. At this point I’m not sure if we may already have entered a completely new arc with the death of Danzou, but there was no break or new nemesis introduced that would be the hallmark of a new storyline starting. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens in chapter 489.

Read on for a recap of the latest chapters in these intriguing series.


This week we’ll go over the events of chapters 397 and 398 as they are both out and really not much has happened. Chapter 397 opens with Ichigo reacting to the statement of Aizen that all of his battles and development have been part of his plan. Ichigo has really lost his cool and is clearly not prepared to fight anymore. Aizen is not just a master of illusion, but his mental games also give him an edge in almost every battle he fights.

Aizen states simply that he felt that Ichigo was the person with the most potential for growth and therefore was nothing more than an experiment to him. This drives Ichigo into a frenzy and he attacks, but Aizen blocks Ichigo’s sword with his bare hand and seems disappointed in the lack of focus in the attack. Aizen then goes on a very long diatribe trying to convince Ichigo that what he is saying is true, discussing philosophical definitions of truth and what fact is and what is fiction.

This is where Aizen drops the bombshell; he states that he has known about Ichigo, from the day he was born. Aizen says that Ichigo has led a special existence from the moment of his conception, because he is a shinigami and something else that is cut off by the arrival of one of the biggest question marks of the entire series, Ichigo’s father. Isshin says that Aizen talks too much and the chapter ends.

Chapter 398 begins with Ichigo saying that he heard what Aizen said, and staring in disbelief at his Shinigami father, a form that he has never seen before, even though somewhere deep down he must have suspected it to be true. Ichigo and his father have a typical greeting where they beat each other up a bit. Ichigo shows a shocking amount of maturity in the conversation between him and his father and states that he has no questions, things can be explained in due time. It is much more in depth than that, but to me it was one of the more interesting exchanges I can remember to date just because it showed a giant leap forward in the maturity of the main character.

Back at the scene of the battle Aizen turns to Gin and states that he has been sightseeing for quite a while. Gin states simply that he didn’t see the need to come to Aizen’s aid, but as he finishes the statement Ichigo reappears and attacks him. Aizen meanwhile is faced with Isshin. Isshin is crazy strong and surprises Aizen with what appeared to be a simple flick, one that sends Aizen flying backwards through several buildings. Ichimaru Gin, ex-3rd Division Captain, does not stand idle for long, and immediately says Bankai as the chapter ends.

Gin is one of the scariest guys in the whole series and he has never really been in a serious fight. I cannot wait to see he and Ichigo face off and to see what Gin’s full power form looks like. I’m also very curious to find out what the second half of Aizen’s statement that was cut off was. I figure it could only be that Ichigo is half human and half hollow or shinigami, but that would be too simple and I’m wondering if it is something completely off the wall. Was Ichigo’s mother a hollow? A vasto lorde? Only time will tell.


It appears that three things have occurred in Naruto this week. The first is that the ancient frog sages have determined that they need to call Naruto to Myouboku Mountain in order to train him on how to control the nine-tailed fox demon within him completely. Jiraiya tried to teach Naruto this and failed, but the great sages of that dimension seem to think they have found a way. They summon Naruto to their world to train him and tell him his future.

Naruto, however, has already seen his future after his last encounter with Sasuke and appears to be ready to take any steps necessary to master an unnamed new jutsu. It is about time that he learned something new. In what seems like it might be a decade with this manga now Naruto, in my opinion, knows about three or four battle ready techniques. I feel like that isn’t really all that much over ten years for someone who trains as much as him.

In the meantime Konoha Tsunade, the fifth hokage, has recovered and is eating her way back to health. This means that Kakashi was not named Sixth Hokage, something he seems grateful for. The elders have called a war council to prepare rationing and squad arrangements for war. Shikamaru is the one member of Naruto’s class that seems to have been invited for his genius level abilities when it comes to tactics and planning.

Meanwhile Ibiki, the village's head interrogator, questions Karin, who first puts on a sob story, but then quickly changes tone when people aren’t buying it and says she’ll cooperate once she is fed. Lots of preparations are no doubt being made in all the villages, but the Hidden Leaf seems to be the one that always gets destroyed in these battles so Konoha better get ready. They must have the best craftsmen in all the nations right now.

Finally, Kabuto has met up with Madara as Konoha tries to track his movements. At this point Kabuto has essentially mastered all of Orochimaru’s old tricks and is crazy powerful. Madara attacks him but Kabuto says he didn’t come to fight and uses an old technique that Orochimaru used to defeat the Third Hokage back in the original Naruto series. He revives several of the deceased members of Akatsuki as animated corpses. These corpses can fight at full strength for longer than they could when they were alive and are VERY tough in a fight.

If my eyes serve me correctly the animated members are Sasori the puppet master, Deidara the artist clay bomb maker and Nagato the possessor of the Rinnegan and creator of Pain. I’ve been wondering for a while now how Akatsuki would fight with their diminishing numbers and even with the powerful members left this would answer that question nicely. Why does Kabuto want to join forces now after betraying Akatsuki in the past? I can’t wait to find out.