After encountering the antagonist of the Lost Agent arc in volume fifty-one, Ichigo’s training continues in earnest in volume fifty-two.
This volume contains nine chapters, starting with chapter four hundred and fifty-one, and ending with chapter four hundred and fifty-nine.
Ichigo continues his Fullbring training to master Fullbring and hopefully regain his lost Soul Reaper powers. But as Ichigo gets closer, Ginjo makes a startling move. Can Ginjo truly be trusted? And what lies ahead for Ichigo when he finally regains his powers…?
Ginjo attacks the blinded Ichigo in chapter 451, ‘Welcome to Our EXECUTION 4’. Ichigo is pushed to his limits, but he ends up being able to sense Ginjo’s spiritual pressure. This culminates in an explosion of power, and Ichigo completes his Fullbring – Ginjo was simply acting out being a bad guy to motivate Ichigo to improve.
Even though he’s mastered his Fullbring, Ichigo’s training continues in chapter 452, ‘erosion/implosion’. It is in order to build up stamina. Once he’s finished with that, Ichigo returns home where he discovers Tsukishima waiting for him.
Keigo and the others arrive at Ichigo’s home in chapter 453, ‘Mute Your Breathe Friendship’, and they all act as if they’ve known Tsukishima their whole lives. When Ichigo attacks him, they start freaking out.
Ichigo runs from his home and ends up meeting with Ikumi. She takes him back to Unagiya, where Tsukishima shows up again. Ichigo flees once more, and end up encounter Ginjo – who tells him that the other Fullbringers have been attacked by Tsukishima.
Ginjo takes Ichigo to another hideout in chapter 454, ‘Sheathebreaker’. He reveals that Tsukishima is able to insert himself into the past of anyone he cuts.
Ichigo asks if killing Tsukishima will return those who were attacked to normal; Ginjo doesn’t know for sure.
Yukio then appears, and has Ginjo and Ichigo accompany him to Tsukishima’s place.
Ichigo’s friends and family are waiting to greet him at Tsukishima’s place in chapter 455, ‘End of Bond 1’. They all demand that he apologises to Tsukishima, but Ichigo just rushes off to confront him.
Ginjo joins as well, destroying the stairs so they won’t be interrupted. Ichigo attacks, but then Chad and Orihime arrive and defend Tsukishima.
Chad and Orihime claim that Tsukishima was responsible for all the major events from Ichigo’s past – saving Rukia, defeating Aizen – in chapter 456, ‘End of Bond 2’. Tsukishima and Ichigo change locations to do battle, whilst the other Fullbringers confront Ginjo. Ichigo tries to fight Tsukishima, but struggles to do so with Chad and Orihime interfering.
The Fullbringers attempt to use their abilities against Ginjo in chapter 457, ‘End of Bond 3’. Moeh Shishigawara’s ability is also revealed – it is called Jackpot Knuckle. He is effectively able to manipulate luck.
Tsukishima attempts to cut Ichigo from behind, but Ginjo throws himself in the way and is cut instead.
Uryu joins the battlefield in chapter 468, ‘End of All Bonds’, and reveals that he was attacked by Ginjo. However, that comes too late as Ginjo is able to cut Ichigo down, and then claim his Fullbring.
Tsukishima reveals that anyone cut by his Book of the End twice returns to normal in chapter 469, ‘Death and Strawberry 2’. Tsukishima’s attack was the second time he had been cut by Tsukishima – the whole thing had been a ploy to steal Ichigo’s power.
Ichigo is left crying in despair and begging for Ginjo to return his power.
A sword pierces Ichigo’s chest, and he turns to see Isshin and Kisuke. However, the person holding the sword is Rukia. It is not a normal blade she is holding. There’s an explosion of spiritual pressure, and Ichigo emerges from it as a Soul Reaper once more.
That’s it for Bleach‘s 52nd volume, and I really quite enjoyed seeing Tsukishima’s ability in effect here. Ichigo suddenly found himself completely alone, as everyone else had accepted that Tsukishima was a part of their lives – despite that being a lie.
There’s some pretty interesting psychological stuff at work there. He might not be as powerful Aizen, but Tsukishima’s ability certainly makes him a rather interesting villain – well, at least in my opinion.
Then you have Ichigo’s power being taken away from him – he had finally regained the ability to protect those closest to him, only to be betrayed and have it cruelly ripped from his hands. That might just be the most despair Ichigo has ever suffered throughout the entire series.
It make sense; the power to protect others is his pride after all.
Then we have the last thing that happens in this volume – a familiar face appears before Ichigo, and we have a triumphant return. Of course, we won’t see what Ichigo is capable of now until the next volume – which may feature a few more familiar faces appearing as well.