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AV MOD MATERIAL: BLEACH Ch. 526 Review

In the world of Kenpachi, there can apparently be only one.

What happens in a battle between two beasts pretending to be human?
What happens in a battle between two beasts pretending to be human?

Unohana and Kenpachi's battle draws out the madness in these rivals, and a final strike of the blade decides the ultimate fate of one of these beasts in human skin.

The Good

The same love can be expressed in a variety of ways.
The same love can be expressed in a variety of ways.

First off, this is an entertaining chapter, and I adore the art in these pages. The tumultuous relationship between these two just draws me in to the story. Some may scoff at the idea that Kenpachi has always restrained himself out of his love of battle, but it sounds completely consistent with everything we've ever known about him. He puts bells in his hair so he can be heard, and he wears an eye patch that weakens his power. In contrast, Unohana mastered the healing arts to stay alive, and continue to fight. However, if she loved fighting so much, why is it we're only now seeing her fight?

This sort of story between a man and a woman isn't something we see often in manga. A rivalry mixed with admiration and love -- for battle. It drips delicious melodrama. I have to applaud Kubo for taking that risk in the shonen genre, but it feels almost offensive that we have to lose her just to make Kenpachi bigger and badder.

The Bad

I want to know why this is so cool.
I want to know why this is so cool.

At this point, it's pretty apparent that Tite Kubo is making things up as he goes along. I have no doubt that he always intended for Unohana to be the woman Kenpachi once mentioned years ago, but since when did BLEACH work by HIGHLANDER rules? Unohana mentions this chapter that there can be only one Kenpachi in an era. If she's the First Kenpachi, where is this rule coming from? They've both essentially held the title simultaneously since the beginning of the Soul Society.

For as amazing as Unohana's bankai looks. I can't for the life of me figure out the point of it. BLEACH is normally much better at explaining the system of a technique when it's not apparent. Yet, here I'm confused. She seems to cover her blade with blood, 'play time' becomes over, then everyone starts to look like a skeleton...for whatever reason. Is it intended to make everyone around look like an 80's death-metal cover? It deserves an explanation outside of some guide book that will be published some years later.

Verdict 3/5

This has to be one of the more difficult chapter scores I've had to calculate in a long time. The dynamics of the characters, and the art are so provocative. I'm not in the least bit concerned that this isn't moving the plot along. Still, there's this contradictory information, and the unexplained bankai working against it. Unohana has never been so fascinating, and now she's apparently going to be left for dead in the eternal darkness. I'm frustrated at even the idea of it. Two conflicting forces pulling my emotions in either direction. Given the struggle, a 3 out of 5 seems fitting.

-Kristoffer Remmell ( FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @AnimeVicers/ @ FoxxFireArt

Halberdierv2on Feb. 21, 2013 at 7:46 a.m.

this chapter disappointed me, firstly by the logic that all of a sudden there can only be one kenpachi despite both of them existing together for how many years, and also thinking this is the best time for soul society to lose their best medic. They'd better get Orihime over there stat and bring back Unohana.

zaldaron Feb. 21, 2013 at 4:59 p.m.

Wait so they killed her without even explaining how it was done....seriously?

Donwunon Feb. 21, 2013 at 5:05 p.m.

for someone who stopped watching the anime just before it ended, just hearing how the storyline has continued in the manga is really strange.

Still wish the naruto anime stopped instead of this but meh whatever

Lurkeroon Feb. 23, 2013 at 5:12 a.m.

It's difficult to tell whether some of the long running shonen writers make stuff up as they go. The author often manages to tie new plot lines to things that happened much earlier as if that was the intention all along.

I remember when Luffy from One Piece began learning his "haki" ability which, according to the author, was actually alluded to 450+ episodes before the viewers or the characters explained it.

The same thing happened in Naruto with elemental abilities.

And Dragon Ball Z. Did Toriyama plan for Goku to be a powerful alien sent to destroy the earth?

Bleach doesn't have too many of these kinds of callbacks, but if the story of the Kenpachi was actually planned this would be one of the most egregious cases of bringing up really ambiguous references to make a major plot later. Also, as already mentioned, there are some big holes in this plot.

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