Manga - The Other White Meat

Hello everyone. So we’ll be quickly going over the developments in Naruto chapters 516 and 517 as well as Bleach chapters 426 and 427 this week. I’m not sure where I’m going to take this article next as simply recapping the chapters seems a little silly given that if you wanted the detail you’d just go read the manga. I’d like to take this in a more opinion direction but I’m struggling with how to do that to be perfectly honest.

For now though, why am I suddenly intrigued with Bleach again in this new arc? Read on to find out.


The new arc appears to be concerned with Ichigo’s family history. It is a bit surprising to me that 427 chapters in we are finally going to learn who his father and mother were. I suppose I shouldn’t be THAT critical given that Naruto didn’t get that particular background reveal until fairly recently as well and it is over 500 chapters. What is different is that we KNOW where Naruto’s power has been coming from – a nine-tailed demon fox embedded within him. That was enough to carry the story for a while.

Ichigo’s power origins are a complete mystery. We know random things like the fact that his father was a Captain in soul society at some point. We know that Ichigo’s mother was killed by a hollow – at least we think we know that – and was possibly a powerful shinigami as well. Currently there is a mysterious man whose name we still don’t know who has contracted the company Ichigo works for (he has a job?!?!?) to investigate Kurosaki Isshin, Ichigo’s father. What does this man know about Ichigo’s family that the main character himself doesn’t? I don’t know but color me intrigued.

The two interesting side developments are that two of Ichigo’s friends, Orihime Inoue and Ishida, have noticed a strange aura around Ichigo that resembles reiatsu. That should be impossible but nevertheless there it is. Ichigo’s sister Karin has also mysteriously showed up at Urahara’s shop. She has taken over for Ichigo in releasing spirits. I wouldn’t be shocked to see a DBZ-like moment in this arc where the kid surpasses the adult. Sure Karin isn’t Ichigo’s daughter, like Gohan was Goku’s in the cell tournament, but up until now Karin has been the tough kid that can’t really do anything but get saved by her brother. Wouldn’t it be ironic if she had to save him while Ichigo slowly regains his powers?

You know he will…what kind of main character can stay powerless forever?

One of my struggles with Bleach has always been character development in a way. There are so many characters that we just don’t know anything about. The Captain Commander comes across as a mean old man, but we get glimpses of how things tend to work out. At times I feel myself being stunned and thinking, “So that is why he is the Captain Commander of Soul Society, he might be as brilliant strategically as Urahara.” I wish Bleach would give us more back story into the origins of some of the characters. With Naruto and a new favorite – even if it has been around longer than the other two based on the number of chapters – One Piece, you know the motivations of the characters. You also get to see the relationships between them. When someone dies it seems to REALLY affect everyone else. Perhaps when you are a death god death just doesn’t upset you as much. Who knows?

That is all I really want from Bleach, better building of the relationships in more than a few cases. One of my favorite mini-arcs in the series was the turn back the clock storyline where we saw the origin stories of the vaizard, including their banishment from soul society. Those were also the events that led to Urahara and Yoruichi’s exile as well. That made those characters infinitely more interesting than most of the captains. Oh yeah…someone also needs to actually die. It is ridiculous that only bad guys die in Bleach despite the fact that some people have been bifurcated – look it up – blown up, cut 1,000 different times, etc.


I don’t even know where to begin here. The fourth ninja war has begun and there is so much action that it is hard to keep track of. I’ve been reading the manga for a long time and watching the anime since it started, and I still don’t know two thirds of the ninjas involved in the battles. It's just epic and awesome. If I tried to list all the names here it would just read as a convoluted mess. There have been a few highlights of happenings so far. Much will be omitted but that is okay.

The different team commanders have been chosen and Gaara is the overall commander of the joint ninja army. There was infighting because many of the villages combined now were enemies very recently. Gaara gives what was probably the most moving speech of the series and may have catapulted directly into my top five favorite characters. He was an incredible villain when he was attacking the Hidden Leaf Village. He is even better as a commander.

The advance recon teams have met in the first major battle of the war. There are ninja from many different villages and several raised from the dead Akatsuki involved. The ninja forces know that many of their friends and enemies have been raised. The problem is that unlike a living being that will tire and can be killed, the raised enemies can fight forever and need to have their souls completely sealed to truly end the technique. Within this team is Sai from the Hidden Leaf village. Unfortunately one of the figures raised by the enemy is his brother. There will be many of these emotional reunions throughout this war and their affects on various ninjas’ ability to fight will be intriguing. If you’ve never read Naruto this is about as epic and exciting as it’s been both from a character development perspective and a pure crazy combat one.

Happy reading. This article may get up next week but with the holiday and my already stellar ability to keep to my deadlines it may not. I will do what I can though for all one of my fans.


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