Manga - The Other White Meat

Sorry about my hiatus these past two week all two readers. I know you’ve been dying to know what’s going on in the manga worlds but I think I’m going to throw you a curveball here. Rather than just recapping the issues I’m going to very briefly go over them and try to provide more general feedback instead of making it so that you don’t even have to read the issues to know what happened. Is that all right with you? Barring the chief coming down and saying he doesn’t like the idea that is what I’m going to go with.

I also have a new series that is fast challenging for status in my weekly manga reading rotation. That series is One Piece (f you read manga at all you’ve heard of it). It just crossed its 600th episode making it a longer running series than both Bleach and Naruto. It is the story of Luffy and a band of pirates trolling the seas seeking a great treasure. His goal is to become The Pirate King and his charming – if goofy – personality has endeared quite the diverse group of powerful crew members to his side. I have to start reading it from the beginning to get caught up but the over the top battles and goofy stuff that happen ensure that the series is never boring and always amusing and entertaining.

That said…let’s recap what has been going on in Bleach and Naruto lately.

BLEACH 424-425

So Bleach had a two week break while they figured out what to do with the new arc. Ichigo has lost his powers as a result of using his Final Zangetsu against Aizen and is just a normal high school kid again. A year has gone by and the one thing he has retained are amazing physical abilities from all his training to win fights. His sister has taken up the family task of helping ghosts move on since Ichigo can no longer see them. The two chapters consist of introducing where everyone is a year later in the real world when suddenly Ichigo realizes that he never returned his representative badge, which allowed him to enter his spirit form in the real world when necessary.

It seems the main villain for this arc appears at the end of chapter 424 when Ichigo stops a robber from stealing his backpack. In the process the man evaluates that Ichigo is very cautious and looks after him with a menacing look calling out Ichigo’s name. The arc title is “Lost Shinigami Representative Arc”. The character doesn’t show up again in chapter 425 and we get some amusing scenes with Ichigo and his father as well as witnessing Ichigo having some strange dreams.

Ichigo also has been making money by contracting himself out to join the sports club teams for short periods of time. His physical skills have made him the star of the school. Towards the end of the issue we see that the man Ichigo punished for stealing a bag in chapter 424 was a member of a gang and they’ve all come to find him. Unfortunately for them Ishida, also incredibly strong now, shows up to face them instead.

I really have no idea where this arc is going so far. We have a mysterious villain who – it seems – is after the badge Ichigo forgot to return to soul society. He seems to be going through the same problems he had prior to being a Shinigami, getting into fights and navigating the difficulties of high school. All his friends still have powers but they haven’t talked about it at all yet.

I suppose the most obvious direction would be that the badge can be used to free Shinigami that have been sealed in a gigai – a false body – because they were banished from soul society. The badge is probably the only way to escape the seal, but since only a human would need one in the real world they are very hard to get a hold of outside of soul society. Once the person is released I’m guessing that Urahara will show up with some newfound knowledge about how to restore Ichigo’s power because that is the kind of brilliant stuff he does.

There were no major fights in these two chapters but the stage is set for something interesting to happen. We haven’t really seen anyone from Soul Society and none have visited in over a year. Seems like things have been peaceful long enough? The stage is set and I’m pretty sure the next chapter will be an action packed one.


Chapters 514 and 515 have some very interesting developments. The battle rages on as the Tsuchikage battles the reincarnated Deidara while Kabuto carries out his own quick strike mission. He has found the island where Naruto and Bee are being hidden but no one wants Naruto to fight as they are trying to protect him. Naruto is carrying out an amusing S-rank mission that is really just a distraction and luckily he is dumb enough to fall for it. Kabuto’s prime objective is revealed as – instead of capturing the jinchuuriki Naruto – he captures Yamato and teleports away. When he retreats Deidara’s corpse so vanishes, much to the disappointment of the Akatsuki member as he is fighting his former leader and really wants to win.

Back at Akatsuki’s headquarters we find out why Kabuto took Yamato and Madara learns that Orochimaru knew more about his plans than he ever suspected. This makes Kabuto an interesting threat to the seemingly unstoppable Madara and their partnership clearly is stressed. Of course the fact that Kabuto resurrects all the former Akatsuki members, Kages and essentially every powerful ninja that has died to fight in Akatsuki’s army strengthens the 100,000 zetsu army significantly. We also get a look at the divisions and teams for the joint Shinigami / Samurai army going up against the Akatsuki. As the chapter aptly points out, this generation is about to get its first taste of war, and it is shaping up to be a crazy battle.

The stage is finally set for war and both armies are advancing in order to get the upper hand. I’m not even sure how the manga is going to handle the sheer number of fights that are bound to occur here. It is better suited to a movie and I hope the epic nature of the fight doesn’t get lost within the limitations of the print form of media. Naruto and Bee are training to become stronger as the armies prepare. At some point Naruto is going to learn the full scope of what is going on and I wonder if anyone will be able to restrain him from diving headlong into battle.

Old sensais will be returned to life and people will have to fight love ones lost. Many new ninja are involved now so I hope the techniques don’t seem stale and reused. For some reason I still have this sneaking suspicion that Kabuto is going to betray Madara ultimately. I think that Orochimaru’s lust for immortality and ultimate control over all ninja techniques will get the better of Kabuto. Above all else Sasuke will finally get to use his new eyes and ultimate Sharingan techniques. Perhaps he will be the one to turn? We haven’t seen what is really the second main character in the show in a long time now. He is probably scary strong.

I’ll get back onto a weekly schedule going forward and hopefully my two loyal readers are still around. Happy reading!