The conflict against Aizen continues in the forty-sixth volume of Bleach, with both sides seeing a pretty big drop in the number of fighters they have.
This volume contains nine chapters, from three hundred and ninety-six through to four hundred and four.
With Captain General Yamamoto giving him an opening, Ichigo goes in for the finishing strike against Aizen! But Ichigo will need the help of some new reinforcements if he hopes to defeat both Aizen and Ichimaru Gin!
Not sure why the blurb refers to Gin in Japanese name order, but I guess it doesn’t really matter when it comes down to it. Also rather interesting to have Rangiku Matsumoto as the cover star, as she doesn’t really do anything in this volume.
With Aizen reeling from Yamamoto’s last attack in chapter 396, ‘THE BITE’, Ichigo seizes the opportunity to strike Aizen. However, Aizen has the power of the Hogyoku that heals his wounds.
Aizen then tells Ichigo that all his battles up to this moment have taken place in the palm of his hand.
Ichigo doesn’t react well to Aizen’s words in chapter 397, ‘Edge of the Silence’. Still, Aizen is able to list everything that’s happened to Ichigo ever since he became a Soul Reaper. Apparently he’s been aware of him even from the moment of his birth. Just as Aizen is about to reveal that Ichigo is human and something else, he is interrupted. Isshin Kurosaki joins the battlefield.
Isshin forces Ichigo away from Aizen in chapter 398, ‘BACK FROM BLIND’. Of course, Ichigo is surprised to discover his father is a Soul Reaper, but he holds back on asking any questions out of respect.
With Ichigo’s head back in the game, he attacks Gin whilst Isshin goes after Aizen. Gin uses his bankai.
As Isshin and Aizen clash in chapter 399, ‘DEICIDE’, Gin reminisces about his first encounter with Ichigo back in the Soul Society. When their fight begins, Gin uses his bankai, Kamishini no Yari, which he says can extend for eight miles. Ichigo is able to defend against the attack.
Rangiku regains consciousness in chapter 400, ‘DEICIDE 2’, and can feel Gin’s spiritual pressure.
Ichigo continues to fight Gin, trying to get the measure of his bankai. He realises that it’s most dangerous feature is its speed – Gin is impressed how quick he could figure that out.
Meanwhile, Aizen reaches his limit as a Soul Reaper.
Aizen reveals that the Hogyoku has the power to realise a person’s deepest desires in chapter 401, ‘DEICIDE 3’. Aizen was able to discover that by manipulating various events, including having Rukia meet Ichigo.
Isshin and Aizen’s conversation is interrupted by Ichigo and Gin’s fight. However, Aizen’s appearance begins to change courtesy of the Hogyoku.
The chapter ends with the arrival of Kisuke.
Kisuke binds Aizen with a whole host of different kido spells in chapter 402, ‘DEICIDE 4’. It’s an impressive show of power, but Aizen comes out it unscathed. He attacks Kisuke, but that activates a seal Kisuke placed on him. Aizen’s spirit energy burns him up from within.
Kisuke knows that the battle against Aizen isn’t over in chapter 403, ‘DEICIDE 5’. Sure enough, Aizen emerges unharmed, his evolution progressing further along. Kisuke and Isshin are able to bind Aizen with chains, leaving him vulnerable to an attack from Yoruichi.
Aizen says he will crush every plan that Kisuke comes up with in chapter 404, ‘DEICIDE 6’. Whilst Ichigo watches, Gin approaches him from behind. Gin questions Ichigo’s resolve, and delivers an attack that he has to Hollowfy to avoid.
Meanwhile, Izuru spots Rangiku running somewhere.
And with this volume, we enter the final part of the Arrancar arc where practically every chapter bears the title ‘DEICIDE’. What we see mostly in this volume is a demonstration of the incredible power that Aizen wields.
It’s nice to see Isshin, Kisuke and Yoruichi join the battle. Kisuke in particular, as Aizen’s power comes from something that he created. I particularly like the different plans Kisuke developed for dealing with Aizen, though what we do see tends to prove rather ineffective…
Gin’s bankai is pretty great as well.
Only a couple more volumes to go until the end of the arc, and Aizen seems unstoppable at this point. Still, Kisuke probably has some more tricks up his sleeve, and I know that Ichigo should not be counted out yet.