I did intend to take a break from looking at manga over the course of this weekend, since I thought my attention would be elsewhere. Unfortunately, that’s not the case (I will share my thoughts on the Nintendo Switch on here after I’ve received it…).
Regardless, I’ll just focus on sharing my thoughts on Bleach‘s twenty-fifth volume.
There are nine chapters in this particular volume of Bleach, starting with chapter two hundred and fifteen and finishing with chapter two hundred and twenty-three.
Ichigo’s recent battles with the Arrancars have proven that if he wants to protect his friends he must get stronger, and the only way to do that is to control his inner Hollow. Ichigo turns to the Visoreds, ex-Soul Reapers who have been Hollowfied, to teach him. But before his training begins, Ichigo must do battle against his Hollow self – winner takes his soul!
I guess this was the volume where ‘Vizards’ became ‘Visoreds’ – I wonder if the newer copies of the previous volumes change that translation… Well, it doesn’t matter too much I guess.
We start with chapter 215, ‘Tug Your God Out’, where Ichigo announces his intentions to the Visoreds to use them, rather than join them, in order to become stronger. Ichigo spars with Shinji, but Hiyori interrupts and Hollowfies in order to drag Ichigo’s inner Hollow out.
Hiyori pushes Ichigo to the limit in chapter 216, ‘The Suppression of Darkness’. Ichigo tries to figure out how to Hollowfy by observing Hiyori, but is unable to do so before he’s pushed too far and his Hollow emerges. After the Visoreds contain the threat, Shinji says he will teach Ichigo to control his inner Hollow.
Ichigo’s training with the Visoreds begins proper in chapter 217, ‘Hole in My Heart’. During this, Shinji reveals that he is aware of the Hôgyoku, Arrancars and Sôsuke Aizen.
Since Ichigo is in a rush to become stronger, Shinji sends him to his inner world where he is confronted by his inner Hollow.
Ichigo fights his inner Hollow in chapter 218, ‘Dark Side of the Universe 3’. Whilst he fights in his mind, his body Hollowfies by itself and the Visoreds fight him to keep it contained – first is Lisa Yadômaru.
Determined to defeat the Hollow within, Ichigo uses his bankai – the inner Hollow does the exact same thing.
With both Ichigo and the inner Hollow having used their bankai, they clash in chapter 219, ‘Black & White 3’. In the real world, Lisa tags out to allow Kensei Muguruma to take over fighting the Hollowfied Ichigo.
As the battle in Ichigo’s mind continues, the inner Hollow disintegrates Ichigo’s sword.
The Visoreds discover that the Hollowfied Ichigo is a bigger threat than they had anticipated in chapter 220, ‘King & His Horse’.
The battle in Ichigo’s inner world doesn’t go in his favour, particularly as he finds himself unarmed. The Hollow goes on about how a killer instinct is required to be strong. Despite his wound, Ichigo is able to come to a realisation.
Ichigo has a vision of Kenpachi in chapter 221, ‘Let’s Eat the World’s End’. Kenpachi tells him he seeks battle, and that he needs to accept that about himself. With that realisation, Ichigo is able to turn the battle around.
The Visored named Love fights the Hollowfied Ichigo in chapter 222, ‘NO SHAKING THRONE’. Just before Love can Hollowfy to counter Ichigo’s cero attack, the Hollowfication comes to a halt. Ichigo returns to his normal self, though he collapses from exhaustion.
At Orihime’s place, Tôshirô and Rangiku get in contact with the Captain-General who says that they’ve discovered Sôsuke Aizen’s true objective.
The captain-general reveals that Sôsuke Aizen intends murder Reiô, the king of the Soul Society in chapter 223, ‘The Scarlet Creation’. To do that, he needs to create a key using the souls of 100,000 people and an area of concentrated spirits – somewhere like Karakura Town.
The Soul Reapers will fight, but the captain-general also asks Orihime to inform Ichigo of the situation.
Elsewhere, Chad and Renji train whilst Kisuke observes.
That’s it for volume 25, which mostly focuses on Ichigo learning how to deal with his inner Hollow. Actually, there’s more to it than being his ‘inner Hollow’, but that’s something we don’t learn more about until much later.
The main action here comes from Ichigo fighting his inner Hollow in a battle necessary for him to grow stronger. It’s some enjoyable action, but there really isn’t too much more to say about this volume.