I’ve done a very bad job of keeping Goodreads up to date with my manga progress. As You can see, I am far past the last Bleach volume I reviewed. These late volumes are the reason I picked up the manga. The anime ends soon after all the business with the other substitute soul reaper wraps up. That just would not do. I got a glimpse of Rukia’s new, even more bad-ass look (and rank!) only to have it end?
Well, the anime had to end. It was so riddled with filler, I’m surprised it lasted for 366 episodes. As the book is always better than the movie, so the manga is always better than the anime. Volume 58 did not disappoint.
Called to the defense of a Soul Society under siege, Ichigo rushed to defend his comrades, only to be halted by enemy antics. Maybe it would have been bearable if he had fought someone. Instead, he was trapped. Previous volumes show the Thirteen Court Guard Squads struggling against an enemy attack they were completely unprepared for.
Early in this volume, Ichigo is able to break from his prison, but is he too late? Perhaps main objectives can still be achieved, but it is quickly apparent that certain damage cannot be reversed.
Things have taken a much darker turn over the last few volumes and it has me wondering what would actually happen to the world if the soul society didn’t exist. They certainly have done some terrible things in the past, but is that enough to condemn them? What about the balance between the souls of the living and the souls of the dead? I don’t think the enemy has really thought their motive all the way through, yet.
What impresses me most is how much the captains of the soul society have really come to respect Ichigo. They’ve really embraced him as an equal despite his obvious differences.
There’s a lot of rain in this volume, which always seems so symbolic through this series. Time and time again, rain signifies restlessness and darkness within Ichigo.
Many things are largely irrecoverable and I’m sure he blames himself for not being strong enough to break free of his entrapment sooner. While he’s full of as much passion as he ever is, I’m not sure it will be enough to make a difference anymore. I get the feeling the story is leading us towards a truth that truly separates Ichigo from those he calls comrades in the Soul Society.
While I love all the fights in Bleach, I do love volumes that split it up. The first half is action packed, but the second half takes us forward in the story. There is a lot to manage in the aftermath of the assault on the Soul Society. The second half introduces us to a group called Squad Zero. I’m not really sure what I think of these guys, yet. They might be too goofy for me to handle.
Overall, I really like where this is all headed. As a single manga volume, I really enjoyed The Fire. It had a good balance of action and drama and has me extremely curious to find out where the new twist will lead.