Thoughts on Bleach Volume 5: Right Arm of the Giant

After Don Kanonji’s TV show rolled into Karakura Town during the previous volume, a Quincy called Uryû Ishida appeared before Ichigo Kurosaki and declared his hate for Soul Reapers. In this volume, a competition between Quincy and Soul Reaper brings a hoard of Hollows to Karakura and awakens abilities in Ichigo’s friends.
There are nine chapters in this fifth volume. It opens with chapter thirty-five, and finishes on forty-three.


I can’t protect you without holding a sword.
I can’t embrace you while holding a sword.

Ichigo Kurosaki thought that Soul Reapers were the only ones hunting Hollows, but he was wrong. Enter Uryû Ishida, a Quincy, and possibly the last member of a powerful clan that died out over 200 years ago. Unlike Soul Reapers who strive to cleanse Hollows of their sins and send them to the Soul Society, Quincies adopt a more direct approach – they kill Hollows without hesitation. To demonstrate the supremacy of the Quincies’ ways, Uryû challenges Ichigo to a contest – bait is spread around the city, attracting a large number of unstable Hollows. Whoever defeats the most wins, regardless of the danger.
Also, Orihime and Chad, confronted with a host of Hollows terrorising their friends, awaken to their own psychic abilities. Who is the strongest? Find this out and more in the action-packed fifth volume of Tite Kubo’s Bleach!

In chapter 35, ‘Will You Be My Enemy?’, Ichigo discovers that Ichigo is in his class; he never realised before because apparently he is terrible with names and faces. Once they’re alone, Uryû reveals that he knows all about Ichigo becoming a Soul Reaper. Reiraku – or spirit ribbons – crop up here again, too.
Uryû challenges Ichigo to a game to see whether Soul Reapers or Quincies are superior.

Rukia visits Kisuke in chapter 36, ‘They Died For Vengeance’ in order to learn more about the Quincies. Whilst Kisuke engages in exposition about the Quincies’ history and their powers, Ichigo refuses Uryû’s challenge at first.
After saying something that makes Ichigo change his mind, Uryû scatters some Hollow bait on the wind and proposes the person who defeats the most Hollows is the winner.

Chapter 37, ‘Crossing The Rubicon’, Hollows start appearing. Uryû tells him that Hollows target people with high spiritual energy, so Ichigo races off in order to try and find Karin.
Around Karakura, a few other people become aware that something strange is happening.

Following that is chapter 38, ‘BENT’. The number of Hollows continues to grow explosively. One appears in front of Chad, though he is unable to see it clearly. Chad retreats, but ends up running into Karin.

Chapter 39, ‘Right Arm of the Giant’ reveals that Karin can see the Hollow clearly, unlike Chad. With Karin acting as his eyes, Chad starts to fight. The Hollow manages to land a strike on Chad, and whilst he’s down some kids arrive. We see a flashback where Chad’s ‘abuelo’ (or grandfather) told him to use his fists for good.
Chad gets back up and protects the kids whilst awakening a new power.

With his new power, Chad is able to fight back against the Hollow in chapter 40, ‘Grow?’. He claims victory, though collapses immediately afterwards. Karin goes to get some help for him.
At the school, Orihime can sense something ominous approaching. She is together with Tatsuki and Chizuru, whom she tries to convince to go home.

Orihime tries to remain calm in chapter 41, ‘Princess & Dragon’, so as to not worry Tatsuki and Chizuru about the oncoming threat. When Tatsuki goes to change out of her gi, a Hollow attacks. Orihime comes out of the attack unharmed, but Chizuru is hit and ends up falling under the Hollow’s control.
The Hollow has a whole group of students under its control and gets them to attack Orihime. Tatsuki returns in time to fight them off.

Tatsuki fights the possessed students with ease in chapter 42, ‘Princess & Dragon Part 2: The Majestic’, at least until Chizuru grabs her. The Hollow tries to possess Tatsuki, but she proves to be very resilient. When Tatsuki angers the Hollow, she ends up on the receiving end of a brutal attack. Orihime tries to do something, but a possessed Tatsuki ends up attacking her. However, Orihime refuses to back down and declares that the Hollow chose to hurt the wrong person.

Much like Chad did earlier, Orihime gains a new power in chapter 43, ‘Princess & Dragon Part 3: Six Flowers’: the Shun Shun Rikka. They are effectively six fairies or pixies who grant Orihime three different abilities. First, she is able to call up a shield to protect herself from attacks, the second allows her to reject destruction and the third effectively slices enemies in two.
After defeating the Hollow, Orihime collapses. Kisuke arrives shortly afterwards, together with Tessai who is carrying Chad.

Two character profiles can be found at the end of this volume. First is for Uryû Ishida; his theme song is “Idioteque” by Radiohead. The second profile is for Don Kanonji (or Misao Kanonji to give him his real name). The theme song for him is “Farandole” by Georges Bizet.

There’s some major developments in this volume of Bleach, particularly when it comes to Chad and Orihime. After their prior experiences with Hollows, they’re offered the opportunity to fight back. Considering Chad was able to fight Shrieker earlier (with Rukia’s help), I feel that Orihime’s awakening here is more spectacular.
For a start, we see a side of Orihime that doesn’t really appear again in the series; the three ‘Princess & Dragon’ chapters have their fair share of really great moments – whether it be Tatsuki stepping up to fight a foe she can’t see clearly, or Orihime getting serious.
Of course, there’s also the small matter of the competition between Ichigo and Uryû; with all those Hollows flooding in, it provides a chance for both characters to show off their capabilities.

Next time, Ichigo and Uryû are truly put to the test as a gargantuan Hollow descends upon Karakura.

About Rory

I enjoy writing, manga, anime and video games, so naturally here on my blog, you will find anime reviews, Nintendo news and other such things that I deem interesting.
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