Living for the thrill.

Play by the Rules:

This chapter had a lot of talking. And talking. And talking… The thing is, people always complain that there’s little dialogue in Bleach and it’s far too quick to read – which I don’t think are necessarily bad things – so perhaps this week’s wordspew will be to their satisfaction? As expected we’re focusing entirely on Shunsui vs Lille Barro, after being set up at the end of last week’s chapter. However, the chapter itself had very little action (two pages at most), instead having Shunsui explaining the rules of one of his shikai’s games. If you can’t remember, Shunsui’s zanpakutou brings children’s game to life, with deadly consequences. Both players are at risk of losing (or dying, in this case), which gives that extra sense of danger. However, when you’re talking about the Captain Commander of the Gotei 13 it seems massively unlikely that he’ll perish in this fight. If anything, I think Shunsui should finish this in half the time it took Mayuri, but we’ll have to wait and see.

I did like Nanao’s threat to shave her captain’s chest should he lose before she returns – it was an amusing moment, as we’ve come to expect from these two. After that, Shunsui goes on to describe the rules of ‘Daruma-san ga Koronda’, which we saw used last week. Basically, the person who is “it” has to be in plain sight of everyone else in the game. The “it” person keeps their eyes closed while the other players try to get closer, but if the “it” player opens their eyes and sees the others moving, they’re out. If they can catch everyone moving before they can be touched, they win. Shunsui’s ability seems to be using this game, whilst also applying his shunpo to it. As it turns out, however, if Shunsui were to be caught, he’d die. It’s certainly a strange zanpakutou, but there are consequences to its peculiar abilities.

No time for fighting, let’s talk!

Clunky & Wordy:

Honestly, this chapter did nothing for me. After praising the Mayuri/Nemu vs Pernida fight for weeks on end, this one just fell flat. I don’t mind Shunsui, but I wouldn’t say I’m a massive fan of his character; he’s amusing, and I like his hatred for war and violence, but that’s about it. Lille Barro is devoid of a personality and there hasn’t been much focus on him in the grande scheme of things, so I can’t find it in me to care all that much about him. Add in the fact that this chapter was far too wordy, convoluted, and boring, it’s unfortunate to say that I’m left thoroughly disappointed.

But will he live up to the title?

Overview – What’s Next?:

Hopefully the action will pick up next week, because this chapter was one of the worst of the whole year. I went into this fight with modest expectations, mainly because I’m looking forward to Shunsui’s bankai reveal; if we get that, I’ll be satisfied. For the time being, I just hope this fight isn’t bogged down by him over explaining the rules of his abilities. I’m not saying I want mindless hacking and slashing (save that for a Zaraki fight), but I’d like there to see a little more than two characters having an overcomplicated conversation for an entire chapter.


  1. While I agree it is wordy I don’t think he’s necessarily explaining his abilities, but rather just the rules (which may or may not be exactly the same thing). I think Shunsui explains the rules to the game because of his view on fairness in general (first fight with Chad, letting Ichigo’s friends know that Ichigo may not come back, etc.). As he said, it won’t be a game unless both sides knows the rules.

    From another perspective, it is stupid in a battle to reveal your strengths (or in this case leveling the playing field), but it might just be Shunsui’s style.

    The other explanation which I believe in is that Shunsui’s zanpakutou is making him do this. I remember in his fight vs Stark Shunsui said something along the lines of “It’s bothersome being pushed around like this (by his zanpakutou)” when they played the game. Its entirely possible his zanpakutou has a more rebellious personality, and wouldn’t allow Shunsui to fight properly unless certain conditions are met.

    1. Isn’t this a little too similar to his fight with Stark? I feel the only reason to have this fight is to juxtapose it against that fight, so we’re about to see everything go wrong for Shunsui very soon.

      1. I don’t see it as too similar. Stark figured out the rules himself, while this time the Quincy this time had Shunsui explain the rules/they had a game with similar rules.

    1. I agree. Words give us context that can’t be conveyed through the art. Reading a manga like this would be a different experience with all the text balloons removed.

      When we see this huge dump of text, we must assume it is giving context to action that’s about to arrive. Sometimes we’ve been burnt: no action, very brief action, or action too hard to understand in this medium that it’s essentially described by words instead.

      But we can’t just assume that X words => Y panels of action. An author that presents the story in such a manner is too predictable. As much as we hate being able to tell when a character’s been marked for death by how much they talk about themselves, it probably could be worse.


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