Things were looking really grim for Ichigo at the end of volume forty of Bleach, though there was some movement there that suggested his fight wasn’t quite over.
There are a total of nine chapters in the forty-first volume of Bleach, from chapter three hundred and fifty up to chapter three hundred and fifty-eight.
Pushed to the verge of death by Ulquiorra, Ichigo releases his Hollow powers. But can Ichigo control his powers long enough to claim victory against his rival, or will he lose everything he’s been fight for…?
Ichigo gets back on his feet in chapter 350, ‘The Lust 4’, except he’s more Hollow than human at that point. Orihime, Uryû and Ulquiorra are all shocked by Ichigo’s new appearance. Ichigo also has incredible power to go with his new form, which he uses to overwhelm Ulquiorra.
Ulquiorra reveals that regeneration is his strongest ability in chapter 351, ‘The Lust 5’. He then launches his Lanza del Relámpago attack, but Ichigo’s overwhelming power proves to be too much. With Ulquiorra on the ground, Ichigo prepares to deliver a final blow.
Rukia is able to overcome Rudobon’s ability in chapter 352, ‘The Lust 6’ thanks to her ice-type zanpaku-tô. Yammy appears to interrupt their battle, but then a blast from above the canopy of Las Noches draws everyone’s attention.
After blasting Ulquiorra, Ichigo tries to mutilate Ulquiorra. Uryû tries to stop him, but gets stabbed. As he charges a cero, Ulquiorra launches an attack that disrupts it and causes an explosion.
Ichigo returns to his normal self in chapter 353, ‘The Ash’, and is able to see the damage he’s done. Ulquiorra insists that they finish their fight, though ultimately it comes too late. As Ulquiorra fades away, he asks Orihime if she is afraid of him; she is not.
Ulquiorra ponders the heart as he fades away in chapter 354, ‘heart’. Upon realising that Ulquiorra has been defeated, Yammy isn’t the best of moods. He uses his Resurreción, Ira, and reveals that he is not the 10th Espada – no, rather he is Espada 0.
In Karakura Town, Halibel prepares to use her Resurreción against Tôshirô.
The captains fight the Espada in chapter 355, ‘Azul-Blood Splash’. Soi Fon reveals to Marechiyo that there have been no limiters placed on their powers.
Halibel’s Resurreción is revealed to be called Tiburón, and she almost immediately cuts Tôshirô down upon release.
Halibel turns her attention towards the Captain-General in chapter 356, ‘Tyrant of Skulls’. However, Tôshirô is unharmed, so he continues to fight Halibel.
Soi Fon and Marechiyo fight Barragan, though they are unable to land any attacks. He reveals that each Espada governs a different form of death, and his is senescence – or aging. His touch alone can cause bones to grow old.
Barragan uses his Resurreción, Arrogante, and takes on a form not too dissimilar to that of the Grim Reaper.
Everything around Barragan ages and dies in chapter 357, ‘The Colossus of Fear’, and he weaponises that. Soi Fon’s arm gets caught in it, so she gives Marechiyo the order to cut it off before it can spread to the rest of her body.
As Tôshirô and Halibel continue to fight, they reveal that they can use each other’s water as their own weapon.
Tôshirô’s fight continues in chapter 358, ‘King of the Clouds’, with him and Halibel flinging ice and water at each other respectively.
Soi Fon comes up with an idea for fighting Barragan, but she needs Marechiyo to act as a decoy for her. He isn’t pleased, but Marechiyo goes along with the plan.
Tôshirô realises that both he and Halibel are waiting for the battlefield to fill with moisture before they unleash their final blows. However, since that’s getting them nowhere, Tôshirô declares that the entire sky is under his control and unleashes a technique he’s never used during bankai before: Hyôten Hakkasô.
That’s it for this volume of Bleach, and I really quite enjoyed it. Considering as Ichigo and Tôshirô are my favourite characters, it stands to reason that I’d enjoy a volume where they get to be in the spotlight.
Ichigo’s fight against Ulquiorra may just be the most brutal one yet, with both sides suffering extreme damage. After the previous volume, it is rather satisfying to see Ichigo go berserk and shred Ulquiorra to pieces.
Barragan’s Resurreción looks amazing, though his fight was mostly just Soi Fon and Marechiyo running – things should pick up in the next volume.
Tôshirô’s fight against Halibel had more action, with both combatants exchanging blows and Tôshirô employing a bit of trickery – though one does wonder how an ice clone manages to bleed…
Lots of action in this volume, with my favourite part being Ichigo’s fight against Ulquiorra. Sure, Ichigo does suffer some main character syndrome and refuses to die, but considering the events that followed I’m willing to forgive it. This is Bleach after all – ridiculous action scenes like that are pretty much what I want to see. Well, that and absurd reveals like Espada number zero.