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2:00 PM on 12.14.2014

Annotated Manga: Bleach chapters 607-609

Longtime readers of Bleach will note that this "final" arc of the series - scare quotes here because you can never trust a Jump manga to end on time - has featured a number of breaks from author Tite Kubo's established p...

Josh Tolentino


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Annotated Manga: Bleach chapters 605-606 photo
Annotated Manga: Bleach chapters 605-606
by Josh Tolentino

It's the moment you've been waiting for, Bleach fans. It's all come to this...a big fight between two senior citizens, an epic battle of who has the most magnificent facial hair and the saltiest opinions about kids today. Which grandpa will win?

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Annotated Manga: Bleach chapter 604 photo
Annotated Manga: Bleach chapter 604
by Josh Tolentino

When last we checked in with Bleach, Quincy big boss and mutton chop aficionado Ywach had pulled a real jerk move by regifting a whole buttload of power from his Sternritter on the ground.

The intended destination of this "take from the poor, give to the rich" approach to group dynamics was clear enough, and in this chapter, we deal with the repercussions. 

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Annotated Manga: Bleach 603 photo
Annotated Manga: Bleach 603
by Josh Tolentino

This week seems to be one for short recaps, but where one recap this week was short because very little needed to be said that wasn't conveyed in a single panel, this week's installment of Bleach left me desperately wishing that the chapter title, "What The Hell" were a more apt descriptor of what actually went on in the pages.

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Annotated Manga: Bleach chapters 598-600 photo
Annotated Manga: Bleach chapters 598-600
by Josh Tolentino

Since Ywach and his party of Quincy butt-kickers have entered the Soul King's palace itself, we shift focus. Now Bleach is all about the battle between the aforementioned and the Royal Guard, who are (allegedly) above all others when it comes to all things Soul Reaper.

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Annotated Manga: Bleach chapter 596-597 photo
Annotated Manga: Bleach chapter 596-597
by Josh Tolentino

The continuing freak-off that is the Vandenreich army persists in the latest installments of Bleach, as if we weren't yet sure who the good guys were in this fight.

Of course, being not-a-freak has never been an especially telling sign of moral superiority in this series, what with freak-in-chief Kurotsuchi being one of Soul Society's top people. And yet one can't shake the feeling that every new Sternritter revealed is another underline in the mission statement: "These Quincy guys are EVIL! Can't trust 'em!"

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Annotated Manga: Bleach chapters 594-595 photo
Annotated Manga: Bleach chapters 594-595
by Josh Tolentino

Now that we've reached this latest stage in Bleach's Quincy v. Soul Reaper freak-off, I'm pretty glad to see that Tite Kubo still has a good handle on how to escalate a fight. Because there's nothing quite like raising the stakes.

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Annotated Manga: Bleach chapter 593 photo
Annotated Manga: Bleach chapter 593
by Josh Tolentino

Bleach is lookin' good, if you don't mind my saying. 

I don't mean that by the state of its plot or the quality of its writing, but I do think that this last chapter has put out surprisingly striking visuals, a strong contrast to the relatively lackluster panels of the last few weeks.

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Annotated Manga: Bleach chapter 592 photo
Annotated Manga: Bleach chapter 592
by Josh Tolentino

When last we left the latest melee on Bleach's order of battle, Captain Kurotsuchi's revived Arrancar seemed to have GiGi Gewelle and her zombie troops in the bag. 

That is, until she brought out her trump card, a "zombie" Captain Hitsugaya, who was last seen half-dead following a tussle with Bazz-B and Cang Du. Will the frozen prince live up to his reputation as a (now-posthumous) prodigy?

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Annotated Manga: Bleach chapter 591 photo
Annotated Manga: Bleach chapter 591
by Josh Tolentino

This week's chapter of Bleach is all about endings. Not about the ending, of course, but about the endings of the fights that much up this big, dumb manga, and how they can, on occasion, not be the end.

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Annotated Manga: Bleach chapter 590 photo
Annotated Manga: Bleach chapter 590
by Josh Tolentino

What is it with Quincy and creepers? I mean, every army has one or two creepy types, but it seems to me that when Ywach summoned all the "true" Quincy to his side the only place that had them was the madhouse. 

Well, whatever the reason for the Sternritter's unusually high nutball quotient, it seems that Kubo is grooming young Giselle "Gigi" Gewelle for a top spot.

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Annotated Manga: Bleach chapter 589 photo
Annotated Manga: Bleach chapter 589
by Josh Tolentino

Y'know, when Urahara said that getting transport ready to take Ichigo and crew to the Royal Palace would take "a minute or sixty", he wasn't kidding. Or maybe he was kidding, since I took him about two weeks worth of chapters to start us on this journey.

Either way, this week we get the principals ready for the next big fight while unfortunate humor and other nonsense tides us over back at the front lines.

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