Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Why Bleach should tank in the Ratings

So
, we like to all take cracks at Kubo, for obvious reasons.

I am no exception and recently joked that his editors and assistants are being paid for giving each other piggy back rides as Kubo is left to his own devices, wasting a year's worth of grade A black ink (and possibly running about his studio, dumping it by the bucket on gigantic canvases, while reciting his poetry) and that instead they should probably try to do their jobs.

I realise that the story is not supposed to be tailored specifically to me, and I realise that as long as the series makes money the editors have done their job more or less without fault as far as Jump is concerned.

However that does not mean that I no longer think that what I said is at least partially true. The man needs to be reeled in and kept withint bounds. Because his success is clearly not making him want to change his habbits, and if he just did what he did with Bleach and then went on to his daily life I could possibly see that as not being a bad thing.

But the problem is all the fame for his minimalist efforts seems to have gone to his head. Remember his chapter titles he writes in english even when he has no idea what he's actually writing (Why Me Sad instantly springs to mind) ? The ones that are at best trite platitudes ?


Yes this is a thing that exists

Well turns out he's supposedly loves just how gosh darn clever he is with coming up with them he has them plastered on his own furniture.

A breathtaking example of hubris that one would have to be pretty damn amazing at what you do in order not to make a huge target of oneself.

......

This is one of the many reasons I think Bleach would be better off if it would founder in the ratings for a bit, and then hey, maybe the story and narrative structure might improve as consequence....or maybe Kubo will just go into hyper drive to get the arc with as fast as possible like what happened with the Arc That Must Not Be Named (mostly to avoid me going on another five hour tangent).

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

AFB: Quincy Queries

I know it's from a bygone time, wee lads, but massage your mind and try to remember, a time when Quincies were actually human! It seems like that conception of Quincies was from around roughly the era of Australopithecus at this point!


Please, tell us about your tragic past
Now I'm not sure what bizarre, tortured automatons they might be, but they sure as fuck ain't human.


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Attack From Behind: BLEACH Meets Call of Duty, FINALE

Let's tackle the rest of this quaint little fic we're all far superior to

When last we left off
  • More random ghost sex from extremely forced pairings
  • Senna from Movie 1 helps the our men in uniform
  • Ichigo's family held to ransom him to unlock Soul Society for slaughter! They should have just waited for the following Tuesday, SS was already naturally due for another apocalypse
  • Russia in turmoil from civil war! Will IMRAN ZAKHAEV's name sound even eviler, now that the ultranationalist insurgency has reached its apex?
  • The military of the nation of heroes mounts its attack on AL-ASAD's jihadist compound, but he managed to slip away! Meanwhile, insanely powerful gods among men Kariya, Gin and Aizen twiddle their thumbs as they watch their puny human comrade in awe.
  • Hinamori is Hitsugaya's new lieutenant, as paperwork is a foremost priority during a time of crisis and leaving a division without a captain or a vice captain is an amazing idea
  • The Gotei 13 discovers Aizen's illicit stash of nuclear warhead blueprints and... and...
PICTURES OF THE RUKONGAI NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Although I can see why they'd want to censor such photos
More shock and terror and ghost boobs after the jump

Friday, 9 August 2013

Attack From Behind: BLEACH Meets Call of Duty, Pt. 3

When last we left off, Ichigo was given a reason to fight the evil jihadists when his points of vulnerability, otherwise known as sisters, found their kawaii faces rammed into dark spaces for gunpoint ransom. Meanwhile, the evil shinigami are inexplicably terrified by the terrorist boss, and his base is attacked by Marines whose exploits I don`t care enough to describe!!

Also Kariya

Haven`t you heard that old adage, to get the WIND KICKED OUT OF YOU

I love that I get to use the vampires tag for this review series.


Monday, 24 June 2013

Attack From Behind: BLEACH Meets Call of Duty, Pt. 2


When last we left off:
  • Rangiku had been banished so that she may become entangled with Ichigo SEXUALLY
  • Aizen, Ichimaru and KARIYA had seen fit to lend their aid to Russian secessionists with a taste for jihad, for reasons yet unknown but probably diabolical in nature. SS doesn't know Aizen and Ichimaru are bad guys yet, so this is set before the SS Arc??
  • The US and British governments had sent their best and brightest soldiers to rescue their Russian informant in the wake of the assassination of the "President" of Saudi Arabia at the hands of the jihadist leader, the evil Al-Asad.
  • The scalps of Syria's Bashar Al-Assad and Kariya Jin are both exceedingly flat.
 
"Ahaha, you are silly and likely Western trash-dog spy. Your shoulders are like runway of my jet"
"Yeah well at least *I* don't look as though anybody could come over and lift and detach my face by cupping my ears."
Place your bets for what happens next before the jump, we're diving into Chapters 5-8!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Attack From Behind: What the Fuck Are You, Ichigo

In this column, we will explore what in the fuck kind of twelvefold mongrel Ichigo has become over the course of the series. No, I'm not talking about the art evolution




HELLO! LIVING INSIDE SKIN IS A HUMAN ACTIVITY, CORRECT, YOU FRIENDS? BODIES ARE NOT CURRENTLY SNATCHED


For all Ichigo interacts with his friends, this would seem perfectly normal to them

No, I'm talking about Ichigo's greedy assimilation of essences!


Sunday, 2 June 2013

Attack From Behind: BLEACH Meets Call of Duty, Pt. 1

My friends, it's time I pitched a throwback to those glorious old days I riffed badfic. I'm in a jovial mood and a certain horror must be mocked for our amusement.

That badfic is Bleach: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

After fighting enemies in every arcs, and every thing that they overcome, the Soul Society faces a new and powerful enemy. That enemy... is terrorism. Welcome to the world... of Modern Warfare. Based on the video game. Ichigo/Rangiku. Another couple.
Another couple!? MY CURIOSITY IS WHETTED.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Hole of Reproach: Juha Bach (Up to Chapter 536)



To start out this corner, let me just say this:  I know I've barely done anything recently but others are doing such a good job I felt a bit at a loss what to do. But I finaly thought of a fitting topic.

The state of Juha Bach's character 52 chapters after he was introduced. I realise It would be better to do this when Bach would actualy show up next time, but since Kubo's extremely ill-placed flashback seems to be going into it's second phase now at 8 chapters in and, knowing Kubo, it's likely the following chapters will have extremely slow pacing as he tries to shock his readers by having a single thing happening be the ending stinger as usual when he gets Aizen/anything involving the use of dialogue involved and I just want to get this out there before the next ice age sets in.

Starting off, we got out first glimpse of Bach at the end of chapter 484 where he proceeds to maim one of his lieutenants out of nowhere, all because


....right. The chapter ends there. The next one picks up with Bach telling the guy who'se arm he just ripped off that he can give his report lying down....but that he'll cut off his legs if he does.

But this shining example of compassion is immediately outdone in, in my opinion, one of the most infamous scenes Bach has been in so far. You see Bach and his army are planning a military invasion of Soul Society. So naturaly the last thing Bach would want to do is plan ahead in any way.

....No, I'm serious, he berates the guy for talking about the future, spouting hippy-esque crap like "I don't care about the future, I want to know about now !"....


only to then immediately kill the guy. Apparently for not only issuing an ultimatum, but for doing the job he sent him out to do.

And for an encore, he then kills the guy standing next to him, not even for a stated reason, simply because he "finished his objective" by stallig Ichigo previously. Of course having a guy around who actualy knows how he fights seems like a smart idea, but that's planning for the future so of course it probably never crosses Juha's mind. I wonder if when Ichigo beats his Quincy guards who never fought him before he'll still think it was a good idea.

Also when Bach first showed up he had a habbit of talking about peace, which is of course perfectly in line with military invasion and genocide. But then again what do you expect from someone wo speaks such a cold, harsh language as german ?

Anyways Ol' Desert Fox then hears about Ichigo fighting Opie and decides to go to Soul Society, saying Opie will keep him busy for a while....I love that this sort of thing is only thinking about "the future" when others do it.

Thereafter, well, Juha Bach doesn't actualy do anything we thought Juha Bach was doing due to the whole Llory/Rroyd business which means Kenpachi's incredibly poorly designed hax power of "being stronger" got beaten by a random flunky and not even the main bad guy. This is revealed after the shocking reveal of our Beloved Okkiba. Though it was apparently recently revealed he's not dead so that's a major relief. Problem is it sets up alot of dialogue between "Bach" and Yama that now has absolutely zero meaning behind it. Which is why I think it was actualy Bach until Kubo had one of his "briliant" ideas.

Then we have Bach come in front of Yama, say how he met Aizen (which is the extremely contrived reason for why he has to fuck off later), then kills Yamamoto and leaves after a pointless fight with Ichigo which does nothing but reminds the audience that yes, Kubo is still to explain Ichigo's backstory at 514 chapters into the series when Isshin promised to do that two years ago, in story.

So....what have we learned about Bach's character between chaprers 484 and 514 ? Well in those thirty chapters he killed off Yamamoto unceremoniously, maimed his own troops and kept talking about peace while killing people for doing the job he ordered them to do, for no discernable reason.

And he also manages to be realy boring. The slight bit of non-smug behaviour we thought he showcased in the battle with Yama was actualy someone else, so all this character is reduced to is someone who kills his own men, while being overly powerfull, utterly invincible and horrily smug while doing it. Now who does this remind me o-


Yeah. Except that he doesn't have the excuse of completley nonsensical powers (yet) so all he does is cut people. And this during 30 chapters wherein he's mostly in the spotlight or at least at the helm.

Final verdict: Waiting to see if our Quincy overlord might get shafted for Aizen completely in the second part of the Isshin flashback and then I'll tell you.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Bleach Analysis: The Life and Times of Zaraki Kenpachi (REVISITED)

Hello, readers of Applied Logic! It's been a while, hasn't it? Four odd months? Well, since Kubo's half-assed "imagination" is rearing its ugly head, I need to get back into the game.

Today I'm gonna revisit my first article.....which centered on Kenpachi.


....Oh Christ, you guys are putting a gun to my cheek, aren't you?

Let's get right to it, then. When we left off, I was expressing my rage with Kubo by, through haphazard story telling, ruining one of the best characters of the manga.

Yes, I'm aware of the detractors. Yes, I know if he was sucked into One Piece or something, he wouldn't be as....flashy? And I'm not trying to offer a defense.

Simply put, he's no longer one of my favorites. The luster has been lost. And I don't see it coming back.

....Who can I still like? Ikkaku?

Moving on-

I covered to his actions to the beginning of the Quincy arc, where Juha Bach solos him and leaves him for dead. No wait, I'm sorry, his clone Royd. Gag me, Kubo.

But seeing as how Kubo is a slave to his fandom, both he and Byakuya survive. The latter surviving is a much more improbable situation, but whatever. The weird thing is.....while Byakuya goes with Ichigo to the Royal Realm....to um, heal....Kenpachi does not. First off, can someone explain this to me? I can buy Byakuya's wounds being more severe, but they're both Captains. Healing both at once would've been a smart move in Seireitei, since right before Division 0 arrives-

Gas mask nazis. Does this mean the Shinigami are the Jews? I freaking hope not.
 Seriously, if Renji gets to tag along....oh whatever.
While Kenpachi is recovering the more time-consuming way (under the 4th Division, ohoho we'll get to that), Solid Shunsui has a plan.


Oh darn, I dun spoiled the surprise!

Remember WAY back when we learned about Kenpachi's past.....and that he admired a woman named Yachiru, hence the reason for naming our favorite vice-captain that?

Apparently that woman was.....Unohana. Pros?

Well, this is a good chance to restore some emotional....depth to Kenpachi. See, Kyoraku's plan is to have Unohana train Kenpachi in the "art of killing" and doing so will have him learn the name of his zanpakutou! Whoa! Kubo.....you sure know how to please a reader.

And hey, two birds with one stone! We can learn about how.....Kenpachi admires Unohana.

STOP RIGHT THERE.

Do I have to explain how this situation makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER? Okay, so Kenpachi admired the Yachiru Unohana....yet there is no scene in the manga to indicate such a relationship between the two. Fluff, friendship, nothing.

But of course, this is Kubo. Retcons are his speciality!

And here's the other problem! She was also the first Kenpachi....the title given to the strongest Shinigami of each generation. And ol' Retsu was part of Yama's group of thugs (I'm not touching that), so the date checks out.

But how can there BE other Kenpachis if the first was not killed and did not die?!

How can there be a second/third/fourth/so on if Unohana is STILL AROUND?!

Maybe you're saying that no one knew Unohana was the first one....but even then, it's dubious. If no one matched the name with the face, what did other Kenpachis do? "Welp, we have no idea who #1 is, so let's just pretend one of us killed him, okay?"

And if people KNEW Unohana = 1st Kenpachi, her name would've been a lot more feared. Urahara and Yoruichi would've explictly warned Ichigo and company not to get within a kilometer of her when they did their rescue mission, for example.

Now what does this have to do with our Kenpachi?

Everything! Kubo's trying to install a connection between the two to give both emotional development, but it's based off of flimsy details and a hazy timeline.

Refer to the picture above. Kenpachi was a kid when he met Unohana?!

.....oh shit, I almost forgot.

Apparently Unohana Retsu is a secret psychopath.

For fuck's sake. Every Bleach reader always dreamed of seeing Unohana fight in the manga, since....well, the Soul Society arc! There had to be a reason why she scares the shit out of 95% of the cast. And everyone thought it was because she was a total bad ass.

Being psychotic, or like the current Kenpachi, is not that. It's recycling the same personality to another character, making two Unohanas-

A - Calm, best healer in the Seireitei, firm but fair, nice most of the time

B- A BLOOD DRINKING PSYCHO THAT GETS OFF ON PAIN

It's insulting to Unohana, and our pre-conceptions as readers. It's insulting to Kenpachi's past (let him idolize someone wiser and smarter, not someone EXACTLY like him)

Sigh. How did Retsu mask her killing persona all this time? And why didn't she DO anything in these past arcs?!

......no answer, eh Kubo?

So now we're getting pieces of the puzzle. As a kid, Kenpachi had a shit-ton of reiatsu and killed people with his zan-

....zanpakutou, that you can only make via academy asauchi...that he stole from a corpse.....let me stop myself before I get a headache.

kid!Kenny met psycho!Unohana, and they....fought....Kenny won?.....and then......yeah, they parted ways, Unohana just left him to rot in Rukongai, flash forward many years later, Kenny grows up, meets Yachiru-

HOLD THE FUCK ON

The puzzle is missing its center pieces! Why did Unohana just...leave Kenpachi? Surely she realized his potential? Seireitei was just beginning (or whatever, I hate doing Bleach math), and wouldn't it had been a priority to get this abnormal child?

....right, I forgot Soul Society is incompetent as all hell.

Ugh, so these two....duke it out in an underground arena, as not to damage war-torn Seiretei anymore.

Looks like As Nodt and Jackie reproduced

I'll give you credit, Kubo....for showing Yachiru and Isane realizing the battle has begun, and that one of their leaders and cherished ones will perish. But....I just don't GET this fight.

No, I'm serious. Kyoraku's plan was to have Kenpachi awake his zanpakutou, via learning "the art of killing". At the very least, perfect his swordplay! What happens?

A slashy back and forth!

I'm sorry, did we travel back in time to his battle with Nnoitra? How is supposed to improve his techniques?! How is fundamentally different than his previous fights? It's just two people with giant amounts of reiatsu hacking at each other!
We've established in my first article that fights like THESE make Kenpachi seem dull. That they're not very interesting. And it shows, because during these chapters....I was bored out of my skull.
Y'know, more than usual.
So they're fighting....blah blah....we kinda understand how Kenpachi's power level works. Apparently (third fucking time I've used this word, Kubo) Kenny adjusts his level or reiatsu or whatever term you opt to use to a level that's barely above his opponents. To not only win, but to provide a challenge.
This makes sense for the fights against Tousen, Ichigo, and Nnoitra (he struggled here)
This does NOT make sense for the fights against Giriko, Yammy, and Royd (either he steamrolled or lost badly)
But you know what....I suppose I'll take what I've been given. It's clear Kubo made this point up on the spot, however, it's also clear that managing Zaraki Kenpachi's power level in this manga is a challenge for any author, good or bad. So....moving on.....
Unohana's main directive in this fight is to.....use her zanpakutou's power? kill Kenpachi then heal him to full strength, in turn increasing his power and upping her enjoyment factor (think Vegeta and Dende)
Old self? Oh, his time as a child? When the challenge was its highest? Is that it? Am I not getting it? Someone, please help me.

I just hate how Kubo's presenting this as some deep conflicting battle. Kenpachi and Unohana have barely interacted, no matter how badly you want to twist the canon. It cheapens the emotional value....because....be honest, raise your hand if you think Kubo planned this whole relationship out.

I promise I'll go easy.

.....oh holy shit, the battle's getting intense! Unohana's gonna release her zanpakutou?! BANKAI?!

...

GO DROWN IN A WELL, TITE KUBO

It's comforting to know we're in the era of "hard to understand blank Bankais", a la Sasakibe. What happened to millions of blades, a skeleton snake, a freaking missile launcher?!

(yes I know that makes you cringe Gliby)

Is this how we're supposed to remember Unohana as a fighter? Being Kenpachi 2.0 (or rather 1.0, har har) and having......no seriously, da fuck is that?!

I need to wrap this up before I can't take it anymore.

So apparently (four times now) only one Kenpachi can live. One Kenpachi can stand. .....oh come, Kubo won't-


....adkjandasasiasia.askahsiasasaskasjaosjWHAT?!

Unohana has to DIE?! After we finally get info on her?! After she finally fucking fights?! Doing what?! Slashing Kenpachi and grinning like a psycho?!

Someone tell me how this makes any sense from a story-telling perspective when a) there's no rule saying two Kenpachis can't exist, especially when TWO HAVE ALL THIS TIME and b) Seireitei needs all the strong fighters they can get to combat the Vandenreich?!

What is this, a pass-the-torch theme?! Based off the fact Kenpachi admired Unohana when 500 chapters never pointed to the relationship in the first place?! Based off the fact that Kubo took the high road, killed two birds with one stone, and "developed" both characters?!

Is any pay-off in seeing Unohana die? Is there?!



Gasp?! His Shikai......is it....?!

...

Well no, the chapter ends before we can learn his zanpakutou name or its form....but I've been waiting a LONG time for this. Too long. This would've mattered more to me during Soul Society or Hueco Mundo, but not so much here.

Still....

It's something fans and readers alike have been wanting to see. At least Kubo is man enough to go back and give this plot point another try, and not completely forget it.

Even though it was done half-assed.

Even though it required molding Unohana, one of the most hyped characters in the manga, into a Kenpachi retread, establishing a dubious backstory and confusing motives, and then KILLING HER.

But it's a point in Kubo's favor.

....Again, partially taken away when Unohana had to die. Now she may recover being healing her-who the fuck am I kidding?! Last time I checked, Unohana isn't a Kenpachi, a Byakuya, a Hitsugaya, a Ichigo; a character that Kubo binds and breaks to please the fans.

If she does stay alive, then I'll give Kubo the full point for giving Kenpachi his time in the sun (only in terms of the zanpakutou release, not the loldeep snoozefest battle) and improving him.

But I still can't find myself to like Kenpachi as much anymore, and that's just taste, I suppose.

Any future improvements may feel shoehorned in and not as significant, but at least Kubo's trying.

......Y'know, when he feels like putting out any effort.

Thanks for reading, y'all! Tune in for my next article, where I focus on....the Quincy race of this manga, and all the contradicting info we've been given about them. It's a tough job, but someone needs to get it done.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Attack From Behind: Secret Lives of the Karakura Fullbringers

Hey, remember when Kubo teased a Ginjou and Tsukishima flashback, only to never deliver?

"Don't worry, kid, that bulge is just some ramen I stuffed in there. You know, in case I need some tripwire to delay the other reapers of death from collecting my head. Say, would you like some pants ramen?"
Let's fill in the blanks of all the Fullbringers' pasts using every bit of information we have at our disposal, as Kubo clearly intended. The following reasoning will be totally beyond reproach, and therefore canon.


Thursday, 21 March 2013

Attack From Behind: Heart Pounding Offscreen Action

When the Vandenreich pay Soul Society a visit, they mean business. Why, Seireitei was torn asunder by the Sternritters' ruthless scheme of standing around and mouthing off. The carnage was so grievous that Kubo couldn't show us all the Captain vs. Quincy fights he had lined up, and their blitzkrieg was so destructive that every captain came away with a scratch, or even two scratches. The following is a in depth analysis of how each of those fights must have transpired before Aizen's subtle perception hiccups made Bach think it was Daylight's Saving Time, forcing their retreat.

Fight 1: Kyouraku vs. Colonel Sanders

Long summary: Kyouraku gets shot a bunch of times, and once in the eye. They then trade quips flash expressions and stare at each other.

"I see you're still sharp despite my having shot you in the head. I must make a note of this in my Soul Nazi strategy guide."
Analysis: This is undoubtedly because the eyeblood was keeping Kyouraku's face slippery and well lubricated, which would make any further bullets simply slide away. Kyouraku invented this strategy to keep the number one thing he treasures the most, his appearance, from getting disfigured too badly.

Missing an eye? He's met the prerequisite for the label Big Boss
He got hurt in a sexy way, making this brief battle an overall victory for our brave new Captain Commander.

"Wait, you're supposed to take the bullet out first?"
Of course, the eyeblood couldn't make it down his neck in time to defend against the other bullets.

Kyouraku went on to produce several albums of gangsta fo sheezies.
On the other hand, Kyouraku may have taken those bullets on purpose in order to snap him back from the distraction that is Yamamoto's upwelling reiatsu. After all, it's not as though he hasn't ever fought a foe who wielded dual pistols. Against Starrk, Kyouraku used his sword's unique shikai ability to make children's games lethal, and since Starrk was a deeply boring man with no imagination, he succumbed to Kyouraku's impressive skill at describing basic colors and went down fairly easily. Colonel Sanders, on the other hand, is deeply boring in an altogether novel way that caught Kyouraku off guard. Either that, or a Soul Nazi is far too adept at listing the shortcomings of the various colors a human can be (e.g., black, not white, very black) to fall prey to such a technique.

The white shall NOT bow down to the mocha!!

One might argue that even with the eyepatch nothing happened that will have a lasting impact on Kyouraku, but this simply isn't true. Without his hat, he's much more prone to get skin cancer on his scalp, a development that would shock readers to their absolute cores.

Fight 2:NaNaNa Najahkoop vs. Rose
The hypothetical fight of the century
Long summary: NaNaNa and Rose trade quips and stare at each other. Then NaNaNa rushes off to ambush Yamamoto alongside fellow elite Quincy warriors Äs Nödt and Mohawk Dude.

These three were the best and brightest kindling the Vandenreich had to fodder.
Äs Nödt and you shall receive.

Analysis: NaNaNa begins his relentless onslaught by standing still and boasting that it will take him less than five minutes to kill Rose. This sheds light on the sense of superiority shared by the Quincy invaders. One can liken them to children who are finally allowed to talk smack once outside of the earshot of a boss who would kill a loyal soldier for deigning to speak in the future tense.

Rose, to his great credit, chooses to respond to words with words, despite his anger at all the lives reaped by this formidable squadron of exceedingly eccentric humans. Rose reflects on how rocking his guitar tunes were when he was with the now late Kira. This is clearly the psychological strategy employed by a sociopath who thankfully cares so little about his subordinates that he can condense them to a guitar tune with nary a tear in sight, and it successfully sends NaNaNa to his death as he decides to tear down a decrepit old man to boost his own shattered ego. As Rose stated, "Don't think you can go home alive, Quincy." He never said it would be himself who killed the invader.

Why didn't Rose employ his mask or his shikai?


It's because those must be reserved for playing his Flying V on stage with.

Fight 3: All the Quincies Who Stole Bankais Don't Bother Using Them
"All right, which one of us ended up with the shitty missile launcher?"
Long summary: These four Sternritters gleefully snatch away the bankais of Komamura, Soi Fong, Hitsugaya and Byakuya because the captains were merely under the impression that their bankais would be sealed, not stolen. The Sternritters proceed triumphantly to do nothing with them.

Analysis: Both Soul Society and Quincies are very, very stupid. I blame Tsukishima for this one.

If it's dumb, it's Tsukishima's fault. Yeah.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Applied Logistics Assemble: Arlong Park Redirect

It has come to my atention that our parnet site/homebase/militant training center at Arlong Park has been inacessible to a large group of people, inlcuding myself, for the past few days. And if you didn't visit the Facebook page, you might not have a clue what's going on.

The long and short of it is DNS problems, so for the time being the link to use is

http://forums.arlongpark.net

This is also posted due to certain members of the blog, who shall remain nameless, apparently don't check their emails, so this might help get the news across to them.

DJones signing off.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Bleach Analysis: Aizen Sosuke and His Uber Master Plan

Happy new year, everyone! Time for a new article! The first of 2013!

Oh, boy. What have I gotten myself into here.

I have consciously decided to discuss the main villain of Bleach (for 48 volumes!), and in turn, discuss his master plan:

Aizen Sosuke



 But if I don't do it, who will?!

Let me get on thing out on the open, first. Overall.....I did not like Aizen as a villain. Any enjoyment I ever got out of him doing evil things was because of his unintentional trolling. Or...at least I hope it was unintentional.

I'll have to start from the beginning, I suppose. I'll go over things in depth.

Aizen's first appearance was at the Captains' meeting in the Soul Society, where everyone is alarmed at the ryoka making an appearance, and that Gin couldn't stop ol' Ichigo.

After that, he and Gin share a word commenting on things to come, and he goes off. In the middle of night, his vice-captain Hinamori Momo shows up to talk with him, and Aizen invites her to come inside his abode.

Aizen to all of Soul Society at this point is a gentle, kind captain that wears thick glasses and has a mist-based zanpakutou. Good times, lalalala-

Until! Aizen is found the next day as a bloodied corpse. He's pinned to a wall, and a bunch of vice-captains find him in this state. Overcome with grief, Momo accuses Gin and goes to attack him, only to be blocked by Kira and stopped by Hitsugaya.

You know the scoop, guys. While the investigation is taking place, everyone in on edge and Ichigo and his friends continue in their quest to save Rukia.

And.....Aizen's "death" is something I have to give Kubo credit for. The aspect of the murder mystery amiss an invasion made the Soul Society arc as a whole a lot less linear. How could we see something like that coming?

Momo, in her hysteria, is locked up, and still in grief. Then she discovers the letter implying Hitsugaya was responsible for her captain's death.........

Aizen is "dead" while the other stuff goes on; Ishida fights Mayuri, Ichigo tangles with Ikkaku, Renji, Kenpachi, and Byakuya......until!

Aizen then shows up at the Central 46 chamber, much to Hitsugaya's utter and complete shock. He was supposed to be dead! And what's more, the members themselves have been dead for days! The icing on the cake is that Hitsu even spots the wounded Hinamori on the floor.

To Aizen, the only person being his vice-captain was Gin and Gin alone.

Beyond pissed, Hitsugaya screams and activates his Bankai, intending to make Aizen pay for what he's done. He managed to stab through......until it's revealed to be an illusion. Hitsu is then cut down and defeated.

.....Let's stop here for ONE second, people. Aizen just managed to one shot a Bankai. Yes, it's widely accepted Hitsugaya is the weakest Captain, but even still:

He one-shotted a Bankai. He fodderized someone that can release a zanpakutou to its highest form.

Without trying, no else. He chilled out, let Hitsugaya fall for his trap, and beat him. This means that Aizen.....is seriously powerful.

Making a snide remark, the man with the plan is then interrupted by Unohana and Isane. The former suspected foul play, that his "corpse" was off, but Aizen reveals the cold hard truth and releases his Shikai.

Kyoka Suigetsu.

Not only does this completely control the five senses of the target, once they see the release, they're stuck under the the complete hypnosis indefinitely, and only Aizen can will it to end.

Now.....this is a problem for me.

There's many different powers in the many medias of fiction, and a lot of them overlap. But...there's nothing more daunting than any powers revolving around illusions. Know Naruto? Genjutsus and Sharingans? Infamous for their endless limits and persistency? I'm just saying, Kubo needs to tread carefully. Who likes a broken power?

As Aizen speaks, Tousen intercepts Renji and Rukia, and takes them back to Sokyoku Hill. Great going, Renji, you ass. You failed Ichigo's long-term goal in a span of a second!

Aizen and Gin eventually get away and the former demands Rukia's Hogyoku-filled soul.


Renji refuses, prompting Aizen to not only taunt him, he smashes his Shikai with ease, and when Bankai Ichigo jumps in to assist, he cuts down the both of them again, with little effort. From there, he drags Rukia away and explains the story to Ichigo:

a) Aizen knew Ichigo and his friends would try to rescue Rukia, and that they would arrive via West Rukongai. He sent Gin to deal with their first intrusion with Jidanbo. The Sekai Sekai gate would fall, meaning the only way to get was through Kukaku's cannon, again something Aizen knew.

b) Everything has a limit to their power, but the Hogyoku can break that limit and blur the line between Shinigami and Hollow, turning one into the other and vice versa. Aizen had tried to Shinigami-fy Hollows in secret, but failed.

Wait.....how would he know they would arrive via West Rukongai? Oh, because Aizen says that's where Urahara's power base is.

Aizen: "You guys work for Urahara Kisuke, right"?


Let's not forget point C:

c) Urahara made the Hogyoku but could not destroy it. So he decided to hide it within the protective layer of a person's soul (Rukia being the unwilling victim), where it would slowly turn the target into a human, prevent them from getting their powers back, and concealing the location of the Hogyoku.

Now that's kinda dickish. What did Rukia do to Urahara to earn such a punishment?

Apparently Urahara was exilled from Soul Society for making an untraceable gigai. ....I'll get to THAT later on.

In the middle of his speech, Komamura jumps in with Shikai and tries to stop Aizen. Naturally, if he learned anything this arc, is that Aizen will beat you with zero effort.

Koma is shut down with a single Kido spell.

Hang on. Aizen managed to beat, at this point:

-Bankai Hitsugaya
-Shikai Renji
-Bankai Ichigo
-Shikai Komamura

All four of these people charged in recklessly, so maybe that's the running theme here. Aizen did use Shikai on Hitsu, but didn't for the other three. So....even in base form, he's super-strong.



We then learn Aizen did, in fact, murder the Central 46. He, Gin, and Tousen all took shifts and gave out orders in their name, to not only sentence Rukia to death but to push up the date of her execution.

Using more Urahara technology, the mastermind extracts the Hogyoku, and with no more use for Rukia, orders Gin to kill her. Byakuya takes the hit.

The Gotei, Orihime, Uryu, Chad, Kukaku, Jidanbo, and Yoruichi all appear to stop Aizen, Gin, and Tousen.....but to no avail. The Negacion takes the three of them away just as a horde of Menos peek out of a Garganta.

Ukitake presses Aizen to get answers for his crimes, but Aizen simply smiles and announces he will stand above everyone else. Smashing his glasses and changing his hair, Aizen officially goes from:

"Nice" Aizen ->>>>> "Evil Genius" Aizen

Now, let's take a step back. Kubo has changed things up here. I'm sure we all thought Byakuya/the Gotei were going to be the final villains, but now Aizen has defected and is now the focus.

Between wondering what he will do and Ichigo's new Hollow powers, Bleach has a reason to continue. And hey! Aizen may seem bland and mysterious now, but maybe we'll learn his backstory, and maybe he'll be an interesting villain!

Yeah, like that will happen.

Before I continue, exactly why did Gin and Tousen join up with him? Gin....well, he's sneaky and a serious wildcard. Who knows what's he's thinking.

But Tousen is supposed be the voice of "justice". Aizen has betrayed a military force and now opposes the spirtual defenders of the universe. He's either a major hypocrite or a fucking idiot.

Bah, what does it matter? Tousen sucks either way.

Also....here's something very important to note. Kubo revealed in an interview that he thought of the Aizen being evil plan right on the spot. He didn't plan it out. Just came up with it on a whim. Much like the structure of the Gotei 13 (remember Byakuya didn't have his haori when he retrieved Rukia from Karakura?) when the Soul Society arc began. Now, there's nothing wrong with doing that, but "Kubo" and "planning" aren't words you see in a sentence, unless the phrase "lack of" is between them. I just want to make all of you alert to his thought process at this point. Trust me, it'll go somewhere.....

Let's move on, to the Arrancar arc!

So what exactly is Aizen going to do, now that he's defected? We see him with Hueco Mundo-based clothes, but Hitsugaya reveals later on (in Ichigo's house) that Aizen plans to use the Hogyoku to turn Hollows into Arrancar.

Arrancar are Hollows that remove most of their mask to obtain a zanpakutou and a Shinigami style of combat. Their regular Hollow forms are stored in said zanpakutou.

But....why? Surely there's a bigger motive. Hmm....

(watch from 1:14 to 7:50)
 Did you get all of that? Let's break it down.
1) Aizen wants to get to the Spirit King of Soul Society, kill him, and take his spot.
2) To get to the Spirit King, he needs the Oken.
3) To get the Oken, he needs to sacrifice 100,000 souls and a half spirit-mile of spiritually enriched land, or where spirits gather the most in the Living World.
Karakura Town is the only place that fills the criteria. Therefore....to accomplish his goal, Aizen will need to destroy Karakura Town and committ genocide to its residents.

Holy crap. So that's why he's making Arrancar....to build an army to crush his opposition into becoming God. And in four months, when the Hogyoku is ready, he can act.....in the winter.

Okay, I'll give Aizen for having such an ambition-filled goal.....it's not the most original (to become God, seriously?), but I'm a staunt believer in putting execution before the idea itself.

Question is.....why? Why does Aizen want to be God? Hm. Will we learn such an important fact, Kubo-sensei?

......

Moving on, Aizen, in his throne, orders Yammy and Ulquiorra to go to Karakura Town and study Ichigo. They overwhelm the Strawberry, yadda yadda....

But as you recall in the Orihime post, Aizen is definitely interested when Ulquiorra shows him footage of Orihime's powers.

Other things happen: Grimmjow and his fraccion make an unauthorized visit to Karakura, Ichigo coninues to train, but after the final invasion, with Luppi, Wonderweiss, Grimmjow, Yammy, and Ulquiorra.....yeah, we know. Orihime is captured!

It can be assumed (at this point) Aizen did it because he wanted to study Orihime's powers, but he seems amused at the prospect of Team Ichigo rushing to save her:


Now, pay attention to this scene. It's the first gathering of all the Espada. 10 mega powerful Arrancar. And Aizen has managed to exert so much control over them that they're gathered civilly at a white table while tea is being served.

We already know our favorite mastermind is very powerful.....but he rules the Hollow kingdom like nobody's business. He even uses his reiatsu alone to force Grimmjow to his knees.

And like I said, Aizen isn't worried. He explains the "ryoka" situation to his followers and simply tells them to await the enemy, not seek out to destroy them.

Hm......why? Wouldn't it be easy to depose of Ichigo, Chad, and Uryu? To crush Orihime's resolve and turn her into a complacent slave? After all, Aizen wants her powers.....right?!

.....

I'm really glad I'm not doing this arc in full. Because I don't have to worry about going over all the fights! This is when Bleach started to officially slip from its former glory, but one thing at a time, no?

So, after Ichigo and his friends nearly get themselves killed by Arrancar after Arrancar, things seem lost when Nnoitra, Szayel, Zommari, and Rudobon are closing in on everyone.

But! Ta-da! Captains Zaraki, Kurotsuchi, Kuchiki, and Unohana all show up to save the rescue team!

Wait......

Four Captains have just shown up. In Aizen's fortress, ready to kill/heal. My first question is....how and why did they get in so easily? Surely Aizen wouldn't-



Huh. This WHOLE invasion was just a decoy?!

Aizen kidnaps Orihime, knowing full well that Ichigo would break the rules and attempt to rescue her.....and according to him, Soul Society's heads were aware of what Orihime's powers could so.....stealing her away would make them feel threatened.

Why? They focused on their own security, and not that of the town's residents.

.....Okay, here's a couple of problems with that.

1) Orihime was used as bait. The plotpoint of Aizen wanting to use her powers amounted to nothing, again something I pointed out last post. And the sad part is, he seriously could've used them. Reject the intruders. Find a way to clone Orihime's powers to his army. Something.

2) If Soul Society knew what Orihime could do, why didn't they try to make her a trusted ally from the get-go? Sit down with her and say "look honey, your powers are formidable, and we need them to win this War. Will you help us?" I think Yama declaring her a traitor and initially refusing to help her is the total opposite of what Aizen was talking about.

3) Now that I think about it.....this could work for anyone Ichigo has a connection to! Aizen could've kidnapped Yuzu or Karin, and the result would be the same, wouldn't it? An enraged Ichigo rushes off with his friends to take action, the Gotei sits behind but then realizes they have an obligation to protect and save any humans in danger and invades Hueco Mundo......okay, Ichigo might've died sooner (or not, his SSJ3 form), but we're discussing things from Aizen's perspective.

And all he wanted to do was trap the Substitute Shinigami and the Gotei. Since only 10 Captains are left on the "good" side at this point, trapping 4 is almost half. Half of Aizen's enemies crippled in a second.

Because remember......Aizen didn't use Orihime's powers for anything, really. Way to cop-out, Kubo.

Unforunately, while it seems Aizen has the advantage, Yamamoto, Hitsugaya, Soi Fon, Komamura, Kyoraku, Ukitake, and others all rush in to stop him. And what's more, the battlefield is a fake Karakura Town.

Meaning all the souls Aizen needs are in the real town, currently sealed up in Soul Society.

But once again, Aizen does not seem too worried. Even when this happens:


Yama wastes no time and traps the three traitors in a ring of fire. Removing them from play.

.....Or not. There's a huge layer of air above and below Aizen's position. Couldn't he shunpo downward or upward? And if Yama can really trap them and prevent movement, why doesn't he try to fry them immediately?

....anyway, Aizen boldly says to Gin the battle will end without them having to do anything. Sounds like he's got tons of faith in his three strongest Espada.....even though he left when #5, #7, #8, and #9 were all killed.

Whatever.

So we buzz through all the fraccion and Espada battles, most of which are either really fun or horribly dragged out and boring.....and it seems the Gotei has won.

All the fraccion have been killed, Harribel got frozen, and Barragan just got assaulted by a giant fucking nuke. .....But that would be too easy.

No, Wonderweiss appears via Garganta, and this big Hollow creature named Fura. Or....Superchunky. Some name that proves Kubo smokes the ganja.

Wonderweiss makes a scream to free Harribel, defeats Ukitake, Shunsui is blasted to the ground by Stark, and Barragan survives Soi Fon's missile Bankai. To top it off, Aizen, Gin, and Tousen.....are freed. Now the Gotei is in trouble. Until:


The Vizards show up to do battle against Aizen!

......We're going to have to take a giant step back. Because before the Vizards actually appeared, Kubo treated us to the Turn Back the Penudulum arc, a flashback that showed us the origin of the Vizards, what the Gotei was like 100+ years ago.....and what's more, what Aizen did. Which is what I'm focusing on right now.

Now to start the TBTP mini-arc! What did Aizen do?

One of the things we can hopefully see is how and why Aizen aspired to essentially, conquer the universe. Normally I wouldn't mind either way, but this one man has been the main villain for a good chunk of Bleach's existence at this point. And everyone either hates him or serves him.

....Moving on, Aizen was the vice-captain of the 5th Division, and he served under one Hirako Shinji. While he was in his past "super nice and polite" facade, Shinji could barely stomach the guy.

The core problem for the old Gotei was that people seem to be disappearing. And that's not good. The 9th Division under Kensei and Mashiro are the first ones to investigate, but they didn't report back. One dark night, Yama orders Shinji, Hiyori, Hachi, Lisa, Rose, and Love to figure things out.

You know what happens, right guys? They discover the hollowfied Kensei and Mashiro, they try to stop them, but soon they're all hollowified. And when Tousen shows up to cut down his own captain (betrayal?!), Shinji is horrified to see Aizen and Gin arising from the shadows.


Surprise, more smirking Aizen panels.

So while Shinji had suspected Aizen was up to foul play, his vice-captain was able to trick him into viewing someone else as him. Shinji and Aizen were not close, and that fact was captalized on.

To Shinji, Aizen was a dangerous person he needed to keep an eye on. Hence the promotion.

To Aizen, Shinji was a distant person he could exploit for his own misdeeds. Hence the hollowifcation.

And the rest plays out like we know....Urahara shows up and saves the Vizards, and he, Tessai, and Yoruichi all escape to the Living World.

Here's a minor point to start off on......Urahara's crime was that he was accused of hollowifying the Vizards in the first place, but back in Soul Society, Aizen said the crime was making an untraceable gigai. Two. Different. Crimes. Aizen might've have lied to Ichigo and Rukia, but why would he do that? What would the point be? So it's just Kubo making a retcon. Big shocker.

The major point is.....while it's great we learned how the Vizards got their powers, and out of all of them, Shinji has the biggest connection to Aizen......it's just....

Why did Aizen hollowify those people?

No, I get that he wanted to achieve new heights, break the boundary between Shinigami and Hollow, and what have you.....it's just......why?

Shinji was one thing, but you could've used any other 7 Shinigami, and the result would be the same. That is, Urahara would save the day.

What possessed Aizen to not only employ Gin and Tousen under his wing, but to say: "okay, I want to be God. First step, transforming people into hideous monsters!". Even 100+ years ago, he was the same lying, double-faced smirking bastard that we learned about.

But why?!

No person starts off life with a desire to murder, commit illegal experiments, or carry out genocide. No person starts off wanting to trick people and crush anyone that stands in their way.

No, it's the environment or the people around them that influence what somebody does. For Aizen to do all of this and be all of this......someone, something had to have influenced him!

Look, typically, I wouldn't really mind either way if we got backstory on a villain that's evil for the sake of being evil. For example, in One Piece, I loved Caesar Clown as a villain because he's corrupt, amoral, willing to hurt anyone just to experiment, and what's more, has a jolly old time being bad.

But here's the difference, the HUGE difference with Aizen:

He is a main villain.

Plain and simple. This man has been in the spotlight for many chapters/episodes at this point. He's been behind so many significant events....Rukia's execution, the Vizards getting their powers, the Arrancar invading Karakura Town....the exile of Urahara and Yoruichi......his actions have essentially impacted the entirety of the Bleach universe, and yet we know next to nothing on the guy.

Okay, yeah.....his Shikai hypnotizes people, he betrayed the Soul Society, he's mostly calm, smirks a lot......but no backstory, no motives....no nothing. At least....well, we'll have to see.

Heading back to the Arrancar arc....

The Vizards are ready (extremely ready) to take down Aizen and his goons. Love and Rose go after Stark, Mashiro and Kensei take on Wonderweiss, Hiyori and Lisa battle Harribel, Hachi heads up against Barragan....and Shinji? He has the biggest score to settle.

.....But all we see is a little scuffle between him and Aizen. Shinji's Shikai can reverse direction, and while he manages to slash Aizen a little, it mostly ends in a draw and/or Aizen winning.

Very underwhelming, I might add.

Meanwhile, things have taken a nasty turn for Team Arrancar. Hachi turns Barragan's power against him, and in his dying moments, he curses Aizen and recalls their meeting:


As the Hollow king, Barragan enjoyed a rule of careless rule until Aizen showed up one day. Aizen tries to bait him to serve him with the promise of increasing his power to new heights.

Barragan mocks him, and goes to attack. Too bad he strikes an illusion and when all is revealed, Aizen, Gin, and Tousen wipe out his Hollow servants in front of him. The rest, as they say....is history.

(Again Kubo dodges the proverbial question of "why did Aizen do this?)

From there, Shunsui rejoins the battle and defeats Stark. In his dying moments, Stark recalls that he joined Aizen out of a need to not be alone.

Things look nasty for Harribel, the remaining Espada in play. Her two allies have been killed, and to top it off, they were stronger than her. Wait.....Aizen, is that....?!


...You slashing Harribel. It is. It mothafucking is.

Yeah, Aizen takes the incentive to finish off Harribel before Hitsugaya/Hiyori/Lisa can beat her, because not only he is getting tired of the battle, he says he doesn't need the Espada!

......

How fucking arrogant are you, Aizen? You're telling me you can take on all of your opponents with Gin and Tousen alone? The latter of which, might I add, has just been indirectly killed by Aizen.

See, this is bothers the crap out of me. All of Aizen's expressions amount to "I'm better than you" smirks of cockiness. Not even Byakuya has himself this high on the pedistal. How can I like him as a villain when he has the same infuriating expression? Coupled with the blandest villain design ever?

I warn you, I'm going to lose my mind in a few.

So the only thing that stands on Team Arrancar are Gin....and Aizen. And Gin takes the incentive to cut Hiyori in half, but later chills out and watches the upcoming slaughter.

Ichigo arrives and attempts to attack Aizen.....but.....it's fucking Aizen. He calls Ichigo out on targeting his blind spot, says its worthless, and even boasts Ichigo has no reason to hate him. After all, Orihime is safe and none of his friends are dead.

.......Gaaah.....

So Ichigo stands with Shinji,  Love, Rose, Kyoraku, Hitsugaya, Lisa, Omaeda, Soi Fon, and Komamura to finally take on the devious overlord. I wonder how it will-

-oh, fuck it! I don't have to spell it out for you people! Aizen, with the same unchanging expression of smirky smirkness, cuts down Love, Rose, Komamura, and Lisa without even batting an eye.

And when Soi, Shunsui, Hitsugaya, and Shinji THINK they've trapped Aizen, this happens:


"Since when you under the impression I didn't use Kyoka Suigetsu?"

.....Okay, I've had it. I have fucking had it. Kubo, do me a favor. Go fall down a well and drown. Because enough is fucking enough.

I mentioned THIS was the scene where I officially began to hate Bleach. It was slipping fast, but this moment.....this is where I wanted to strangle myself.


First we get a glacial pacing session where everyone moves as slow as slugs, and in return, 3-5 chapters straight of Aizen beating everyone with next to zero effort. All with that same smug expression.
Then we get hope that not only Aizen will be seriously wounded, he won't be so overpowered after all! Who likes villains that can't be beaten and use illusions to handle everything?
Then surprise! Kubo/Aizen trolls the Captains, Hinamori, and the readers in one fell swoop. Did poor Hinamori even deserve that? She was redeeming herself this arc!


Speaking of, that's the BIGGEST problem with this scene. It's a physical absurdity. Aizen's Shikai has the power to generate illusions by controlling a target's five senses, but it is NOT MIND CONTROL. How did Hinamori get all the way up there, anyway?! She saw an illusion that compelled to go into the sky? Couldn't be, because she and Aizen literally swap places, since the latter cuts down Iba and Kira!

And what's even worse is that we didn't even need this display. We get it, Kubo, Aizen is super megapowerful. Gary Stu levels of power. You just had to make him look so great, but you made everyone else look completely pathetic and idiotic.

Why? First off, the Captains should've been a little more cautious, since all of them know of his power.

Second, Hitsugaya should've been the most cautious, since he got trolled an arc ago with the same move!
Yet he thinks withdrawing his sword from Hinamori and going to attack Aizen again is a worthy move?

Third, despite Ichigo being the only one to see all of this, he doesn't act! He just sits there like an ape with a brain capacity of an amphoric sponge. And don't try to defend him, people. He had no worries because like Aizen said, his friends were all safe.

It was just a horrible, annoying, unbearable scene that officially lifted Aizen to a level of power that's no longer respected but loathed because of how overpowered he is.

.....Yamamoto arises from the shadows to attack Aizen, but Wonderweiss appears and absorbs Ryujin Jakka's fire. Apparently that was Wonderweiss was designed to do.....seal Yama's Shikai.

So Aizen basically admits he can't beat Yamamoto by himself, yet has the nerve to claim he didn't need the Espada to beat everyone else?

Dick.

Wonderweiss is defeated, but Aizen turns the flames against Yamamoto and manages to defeat him. Leaving....Ichigo as the only opponent left.

*facepalms* After his earlier display, I don't feel comfortable putting this amount of faith in Ichigo.
Or do I? Ichigo takes advantage of Yama's opening and manages to wound Aizen. Too bad the Hogyoku heals him, and we're soon treated to THIS unholy chapter:

Aizen: "All your battles have been in the palm of my hand. I have known of you since you were born, Kurosaki Ichigo."
........................................................


WHAT?! Are you seriously telling me Aizen has planned EVERYTHING?! Since the beginning of Bleach?! No......SINCE ICHIGO HAS BEEN BORN?!

 Look, it's one thing to have a broken, unfair power, but to be this devout mastermind that has overseen everything.......it's bullshit!

Why you ask? Well, it's simple to anyone that can comprehend phrases like "foreshadowing", "balance", and "good storytelling".

There are too many variables for Aizen's statement to be true.

Shocking, isn't it? Let's run down the line.
-Fishbone D comes and attacks Ichigo's house. Okay, Aizen could've sent that Hollow because he probably took over Hueco Mundo by that point, but what if that Hollow ate Ichigo?
-The Menos Grande Ishida summoned.....that thing could've killed Ichigo or Rukia if they weren't careful.
-Aizen controlled Central 46 and Byakuya and Renji set off to claim Rukia, but what if Byakuya killed Ichigo that night? What if Ichigo bled out because Urahara didn't go to him?
-Ichigo runs into Kenpachi and fights him. It was pure fucking chance the two of them encountered each other. With Kenpachi's bad directions, he could've ended up on a totally different street.
-The Vizards could've said "screw it" and not helped Ichigo control his Hollow.
-Grimmjow and Ulquiorra could've went to different rooms. What if Ichigo encountered Szayel and Zommari unstead?!

And here's another important point: Aizen knew of Ulquiorra's Segunda Etapa form, it seems. Even though, Ulquiorra said Aizen didn't know.

So let's stop wondering how Aizen could've known about Segunda Etapa, and focus on the obvious.

There is no possible way Aizen would know Ichigo's Hollow would bail him out with a super form at the very last second. What if Ulquiorra killed Orihime and Ichigo in the same span of time? No SSJ3!

The reason why Aizen couldn't know is because he himself did not give Ichigo his Hollow powers. That was Urahara's doing!

You get my point? There are countless variables! The way that the story turned out was because of pure luck; moreso, it's how KUBO WROTE IT.

The concept of Aizen planning out all of these events wasn't foreshadowed enough (or not at all) for me to accept it as pure fact. It's too ridiculous, and is a half-baked attempt by the author to tie everything to one focal point, to make his Gary Stu of a villain that much more threatening.

Imagine if Blackbeard was behind Luffy's actions as a pirate! Imagine if Obito was behind Naruto's ninja growth! Imagine if Majin Buu was behind Goku's life, death, and increasing strength!

We did not need more proof of how grandstand Aizen is, so this "revelation" just served to make the plot even more laughable than it already was. Of course we get some pretentious spew of how there is no truth and lies; only facts, but what do I care? I really don't.

And furthermore, if Aizen had his eye on Ichigo the whole series and knew he would grow.....why didn't he stop him at any point in time? Or kill him right now? He's the only thing standing in the way of his plan to take over the world!

Isshin shows up and assists his son. Oh, was this planned out, too?!

In the midst of all this, Aizen reveals the Hogyoku is loyal to him.....and get this, grants the inner desires of its targets! That's how Orihime and Chad got their powers, apparently! They wished to be stronger!

This isn't a gag manga? Are you sure?

This is a blatant retcon at its finest. The explaination prior was that Ichigo's leaking reiatsu awakened the spiritual sense of his friends, not the Hogyoku. And I thought that was to turn Shinigami into Hollows and vice-versa. So what, all Hollows wish to be like Shinigami? Explain your army then, Aizen.

And wait! I'm sure Rukia wished she could've gotten her powers back, or Urahara wished he could destroy said Hogyoku, yet their wishes weren't granted! Didn't Ichigo wish to avenge his mother's death? I mean, if the non-active Hogyoku can grant desires to two random humans that didn't even know it existed, then surely it can grant desires of anyone wishing out loud, and especially the guy who made the fucking thing!

If it works for Orihime and Chad......then hey! Why couldn't Aizen wish his opposition was destroyed, or that he was Spirit King already?

I'll tell you why. It's because Kubo is a terrible writer, and CLEARLY thought of this plotpoint on the spot. And that's his problem. He always seeks out to over-complicate things we already know and raise more questions than answers.

I know the manga business is tough to last in, but this is turning into a goddamn train wreck. In the span of two chapters!

Arrgh.......Urahara and Yoruichi show up to help (what the hell took them so long? They wanted to wait until Aizen and the Espada nearly killed everyone?), but......no, I can't even. This, honest and for true, happens:


The next stage of evolution!

"Evil Genius" Aizen  ->>>>> Condom Aizen

Okay, this is just turning into a laughathon for me. Now Aizen is in the blandest design possible, which reflects not only his personality and design, but the manga itself! A tongue-in-cheek joke, I love it!

Except I have to hate it too. How can I take Aizen seriously as a villain now? Oh, the knowing everything is ridiculous enough, but Kubo actually thought to increase Aizen's power by turning him into a KKK member.

Answer me that, diehard Bleach fans. All of you say Bleach is a serious manga that's more mature than "silly" titles like One Piece and Toriko, but how you honestly say that when the villain of said manga looks like a giant condom!

Can you believe some dolt on Bleach Asylum said it has seinen qualities and is better than Berserk?

So the fighting continues, blah blah.....Gin stalls with Ichigo and unleashes his Bankai while Aizen manages to take on Isshin, Yoruichi, and Urahara all at once, three of the biggest characters in this manga! And guess what? No guess, seriously!

Aizen beats them off screen.

Before it happened, he wouldn't shut up on how powerful he was....guess he showed me! Congrats, Aizen, you beat three of the most hyped characters off screen!

....Have I mentioned much I don't like off screen curbstomps? Well, it depends on the character and situation, but on an already hax and overpowered villain like Aizen, I want to tear my eyeballs out and snap my laptop in half.

Then Aizen transforms again. Like a Pokemon! How seinen-like!


Condom Aizen ->>>>> Mullet Aizen

Again I question what drugs Kubo takes and again I say that I cannot take Aizen seriously anymore.

He's like....become a visual parody of himself at this point. A calculating villain with serious power to a megabland villain with ridiculous transformations, over-the-top knowledge and explanations, and can't stop trolling the audience.

And then, and then! This is the best part. Aizen makes a Senkaimon and departs to the real Karakura Town with Gin!

So.....why didn't he do that while he was trapped?

I'm serious here! When he was trapped in Yama's fire prison, standing with Gin and Tousen, why didn't he make a Senkaimon while everyone was busy fighting?

Well, I get my answer when Ichigo's *gag* training session begins. The Dangai cleaner was destroyed, so I can only......assume Aizen needed to be at X level of power to dispose of it without having to worry about it.

Now finally, Aizen's masterplan can resume. He and Gin arrive in Karakura Town, and....let's remember his goal: sacrifice 100,000 human souls and a half-mile of spirit land to make the Oken.

Thankfully, the Aizen saga is almost over. But.....I warn you, the worst has yet to come.

Aizen and Gin step out and begin to explore the quiet town. Urahara had put everyone to sleep, and in the midst of all this, Tatsuki and Keigo wake up....taking Chizuru, they decide to investigate the town.

Look at how tough Aizen has become....he walks past an old man and kills him instantly. Ooh, what a badass! It's almost as if Kubo didn't need to blow his power up to such gigantic proportions!

Tatsuki, Keigo, Chizuru, and the found Mizuiro get bad luck when they run into Aizen and Gin, and are instantly paralyzed with fear. Kurmadani and Kanonji show up to help, but all they do is distract Aizen for a little. He then decides to-

-Go after Ichigo's friends? I'm not kidding with you guys. I blame the glacial pacing, but it's obvious Kubo wants his fans to squee in delight and give them Ichigo vs Aizen. That's well and fine, but:

Isn't Aizen's goal to kill 100,000 souls? Why is he focusing on a meager 5?

This is the WRONG time to start a Scooby-Doo chase scene. Aizen is literally (and purposely) wasting his spare time by chasing after Karakura High students, all of which can barely see him in the first place, let alone hurt him.

He does say something about proping up the dead copies of Ichigo's friends in order to piss him off, but who cares about that! Aizen finally has the time to complete his goal, which is to become God, not ruin Ichigo's life completely. Why chase his friends, anyway? He can't shunpo and kill them immediately?

For god's sake, he killed a man by walking past him! Why can't he slaughter everyone and get on with this long-term goal already?! I hope we don't-


Oh wow. After betraying everyone, Aizen gets betrayed back!

Apparently Aizen had suspicions Gin would do this, and allowed it to see how he would react. But Gin's Bankai was more effective than it seemed to be, and Aizen expected to die.

But here's another reason to stop taking him so seriously. According to Gin, Aizen's Shikai has a weakness; you need to grab the blade to resist the illusions. And only Gin knows this fact.

So the man is willing to wait 100+ years to carry out this mega plan of evil, yet discloses his ONLY weakness to the most suspicious person serving him?

But if you think Aizen would die there, you must've skipped when Hitsugaya tried the same trick twice. And now we get to reason #5:



Mullet Aizen ->>>> Butterfly Aizen

hahahahahahahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHA

It is possible for me to be even more amused and disgusted than I was before? How do you make something more ridiculous than a condomman? A butterflyman!

Has Kubo lost his freaking mind?! He HONESTLY expects me to even THINK about taking Aizen seriously at this point? If you do, then you're the biggest Bleach fanatic on the planet, or you're Zommari irl.

I just......I can't even react! Aizen, in his new form, kills Gin and we learn why this betrayal happened.......or I think we do. It cuts to a scene where a young Gin looks over a wounded Rangiku from the bushes; Aizen and some goons are standing over her, and we see his version of the Hogyoku.

So.....they stole her spirtual energy? Raped her for teh lulz? I'd talk about how dumb it is to try to make Gin a hero so late and so half-assed, but I don't see "Ichimaru Gin" on the post title.

Aizen thanks Gin for allowing him to evolve, but he did not expect to transform into this and live. He actually tries to play it off like he planned this part out.

Aizen prepares to finish off Ichigo's friends, committing that he expected Ichigo to get strong-no wait, please remind me why Aizen let Ichigo train. Tell me, Kubo, why Aizen continues to admit how strong and special Ichigo is, yet is fully comfortable with letting him live and get stronger.

*sighs* No answer, huh?

So.....by Satan's unwilling will, we finally get to Ichigo vs. Aizen.....in its uber glory:



I will tell you that this is hands down, the worst battle in Bleach existence. Three reasons why.

1) The power scaling
Look over this battle. Look me in the eyes and tell me this isn't something Akira Toriyama could've wrote for the Majin Buu saga. And I loved Dragon Ball! But at this point, Ichigo's and Aizen's respective strength leves have become so overblown it wrecks half of the damn town. It's over-the-top fighting, and worst, it doesn't try to be whimsical or purposely funny. It's just dull.

2) The combatants are bad characters
On one hand, we got Aizen, someone that has managed to be extremely boring and yet, extremely ridiculous in his overdramatic monologues, dialogue, and powers. Any chance of Aizen being taken seriously has been stripped away by the fact that he transforms into something out of Berserk (seinen enough, Bleach fans?), and goes onto a yelling rampage, unable to comprehend Ichigo's power. Yet he willingly allowed Ichigo to get so mindbendingly strong! I thought he was supposed to be a genius.

On the other hand, we got Ichigo, someone that started off as a strong if not slightly generic protagonist but turned into a angsting dunderhead that manages to spam the same moves over and over again. Now he's the epitome of "being cool" and is tied with Aizen to be the dullest character in the manga. And even having being upgraded for the 1000th time, his powers are still uninteresting, lame, and underwhelming.

3) It's not even a fair fight
Aizen loses not because Ichigo busts out power of shear will and cuts him in half. No, Urahara seals him up. And he didn't he seal him up in real time; Kido ~10 chapters ago manages to activate and do the job. What an anticlimatic ending! Way to rob Ichigo of a genuine victory, Urahara! He needed that after SSJ3 helped him beat Ulquiorra! Only wait....

....It's not Ichigo's battle. No, this ENTIRE manga so far can be summed up as Aizen vs. Urahara:

Aizen hollowifies Urahara's friends and frames him! Urahara hides the Hogyoku away in Rukia! Aizen retrieves the Hogyoku! Urahara beats up Aizen's goons! Aizen kidnaps Urahara's ally! Urahara's friends train Ichigo to control his dark powers! Aizen offscreens Urahara! Urahara seals Aizen up!

That's what sucks about all this. Aizen and Urahara have been the real rivals all this time, everyone else were the spectators, and Ichigo was their unwilling puppet.

And isn't it just amazing that after so many chapters, episodes, panels, screenshots, and bouts of dialogue, Aizen goes from being so cool and collected to a yelling, dramatic mess, unable to cope with his own demise.

But how amazing is it? Aizen. Did. Himself. In.

I cannot stress this enough. Much like there were endless variables with one person controlling the story's direction, there were many chances for Aizen to ensure he would not lose.

Counterarguments!

Aizen needed Ichigo's power to evolve himself! That's why he didn't kill Ichigo when the chance presented itself!
Oh really? Aizen surely didn't need to "evolve" to beat the Captains and Vizards. He used Wonderweiss to beat Yama, and has a record of soloing tons of characters. He was already so ridiculously strong without that damn glass orb. And let's remember his Shikai can make an enemy completely and utterly helpless.....see the Hinamori stab scene. Logically, if he used his Shikai on everyone in Fake Karakura, he'd solo forever.

Urahara is smarter than Aizen, and used that wit to beat him. He sealed him!
I call foul. If Urahara is so smart, then why didn't he realize he had created an object that grants desires? Yet Aizen knew that?

He didn't have the chance to kill the Karakura Town residents for his 100,000 souls!
Are you joking? Aizen used his merry ol' time to patrol the town and chase down a bunch of students, as if he didn't have anything better to do. If he killed that old man in a second, getting 99,999 other souls would logically take 99,999 seconds. But that's assuming all he would do is walk slowly past each person. He was so strong at the point, he could've used a super blast or something to take out hundreds at a time!

As for Gin? If he was so willing to "kill" Harribel out of pure arrogance, he should've did the same thing to Gin, especially since he told him his only weakness.

Uhh......plotkai?
Isn't it obvious? We can't have Aizen actually slaughter all those people, so he needed to be stopped. But there was an easier way to do that, Kubo, something that didn't involve first making your heroes look like incompetent morons then make Aizen look an incompetent moron too.

Have some of your heroes die (or horribly lose) against the Espada, perishing to protect the innocents but ending their enemies' threat at the same time.

Have Ichigo unexpectedly win through the alliance of his friends, not predictably get stronger alone and play right into Aizen's hands.

Have Aizen almost succeed in gathering the souls, but lose through an unexpected curveball; such a demise is fitting because it's a lot better than sitting back and willingly not trying to accomplish your goal.

But you know what's so awful about Aizen losing without a shred of dignity?

WE STILL DON'T KNOW WHY HE DID THIS.

As I keep repeating myself, no one becomes a sociopath and plots to conquer the universe overnight.

Something influences them, and if Kubo had the decency to make a proper flashback for Aizen, we'd know the answer. Not necessarily an event to make them secretly good or absolve them of their crimes, but some realistic event that turned a regular soul into a heartless monster.

Something to ground the character in emotion and reality, not maintain them as a terrible one-dimensional over-the-top uber mastermind with no depth whatsoever.

But as Kubo once said in an interview, he purposedly kept Aizen's past a secret to make him more "mysterious" and "interesting".

.......For crying out loud, a character can have some backstory and still be mysterious! A character can have some backstory and still be interesting! In fact, they'd be more so! Am I really surprised Kubo likes to make things "cool" for the sake of being "cool"?

Or in Aizen's sake, being "evil" for the sake of being "evil"?

Oh wait. We're not finished yet.

As everyone rushes to get everyone home, Rukia and the others meet up with Ichigo, who talks about the final battle. Apparently he "felt" Aizen through his sword in the middle of combat. It's like this series will never run out of homoerotic undertones via the zanpakutou.

And to him, Aizen's problem was this: he was so strong, it isolated him from everyone else. He sought out not a equal, but to be weak. Hence.....the Hogyoku stuff?

..........What the hell?!

Completely omitting a backstory is one thing, but I will NOT accept some half-baked explanation at the last second to try to give Aizen sympathy. That was more or less what happened to Gin.

Why you ask? Well, if we completely excuse the fact of how late and half-assed it is, let's just take a look. Most megalomaniacs arise from a desire to become strong, originating from a fragile youth of being completely weak or average.

With Aizen, it's somehow the opposite. He was already strong, but he needed to be weak! You know, to not be so lonely! I don't know, isn't striving to become GOD the opposite of the opposite?

And it's supposed to be some sympathic explanation, but how can I view it as such?! It's just arrogance disguised in the form of suffering and angst! I can understand someone wanting to be normal, to fit in better, but Aizen literally had no qualms with being an awful person that murdered, plotted genocide, plotted deicide, and conducted amoral experiments on his fellow man until, evidently, the very end and through the eyes of his greatest foe! Who, I will continue to remind you,

WAS ALLOWED TO BECOME SO MINDCRUSHINGLY POWERFUL

You know would've been a great motivation for Aizen? Him wanting to becomg God to erase the corruption and horrors of the Soul Society, because he grew up in the worst district in Rukongai. We all know what a shithole the afterlife is in Bleach, so it wouldn't be so far-fetched! And it wouldn't serve to make Aizen good because the methods would still be extreme and not what everyone wants! Easier a better motivation than "for teh lulz" or "waah I want to be weak".

......can we just end this saga already?

So Aizen is captured and brought to Central 46. Now, it'd be really satisfying for them to give the order to have him executed, since he executed them prior and what's more, almost everyone has a bone to pick with him.

But no. The Hogyoku apparently evolved him to a point of being immortal, so he can't die! Gee, you're sure to fit in with the crowd if you can't die, Aizen!

Blech! It's just Kubo keeping Aizen alive to either enjoy the abomination he created or use him for a future arc-wait what?! A future arc? Yeah, I can't believe it either. More room for smirking over the top villains (Ginjou) and super overcomplicated plans (see his plan), amirite?


Aizen gets 20,000 years in Hell (see my Soul Society post why this sentence sucks), and goes out with the same arrogance he came out of his mother's womb in.

But even being cool, calm, and collected here doesn't give him his dignity back. He still:

-Wasted his valuable time in Fake Karakura
-Was surprised that Gin betrayed him
-Disclosed his one and only weakness to Gin
-Allowed Ichigo to get so damn strong
-Transformed into a condomman
-Transformed into a mulletman
-Transformed into a butterflyman
-Spewed some bull about how the world should be to Urahara
-And of course, also transformed into a tentacle monster!

The three Hollow holes are ripe with symbolism, aren't they? Or is that Ichigo's sword?

The Arrancar arc took itself too seriously, and some fans still treat the manga like it's more "mature" than everything else in Shonen Jump. Going by this standard, I declare Aizen to have basicially contradicted this underlying theme, or what have you.

Keep in mind that an eccentric, goofy looking character that be threatening when the time calls for it.

But since our Aizen's entire performance consists of him being serious 24/7 and planning everything on everyone, to see oddball transformations or blatant weaknesses in his plan is that much more jarring to the reader.

And guess what! Because I was so used to or rather, stuck with, the endless ridicule of our Sosuke-kun, I couldn't even take the Fullbringer villains seriously. Ginjou and Tsukishima? Yeah, both of them amounted to being a poor man's Aizen, and that is seriously saying something.

I repeat, I didn't like Aizen at all, but at least I could find some twisted way to enjoy his over-the-top style of planning and endless trolling. Although, the problem was that it wasn't intentional! It wasn't because Kubo made him generally eccentric and interesting, it's because Kubo made him so boring and so uninteresting, he somehow made him into a self-parody.

All this occured primarily in the Deicide chapters, and there's no way you can read those without being bored out of your mind coupled with an endless resentment and entertained at the same.

But wait? Is this really the end for Aizen?

You know Kubo and his apparent love for the guy. Aizen has recently appeared in the Quinzi arc, referenced in a flashback where not only did he refuse to work with Juha Bach, it's implied or whatever that he messed with the latter's perception of time.

Even locked up he's still trolling everyone. God bless ya!

But let me be serious for a second. Much like Ginjou, Bach manages to be extremely dull (like Aizen) but isn't special purely because the trolling isn't there.

I mean, I can at least have sympathy for Bach because his kind was wiped out by the Shinigami, but it's lost on the prospect that he's stooping to their level and mindlessly killing them back. And not only will his plan screw the universe over in the long run, he doesn't even do it in an interesting way. He's just boring. Will all future villains be.....an inferior version of Aizen?

Since this is the last arc for Kubo and since Aizen has already appeared, I wholeheartedly expect him to break out of prison, do his own thing, and take this manga to new levels of ridiculousness. It'll be terrible and awesome all at the same time!

But to sum up, Aizen was a poorly written villain to the very end, no matter how much you can laugh at Kubo's work because of his trolling. Honestly not worth being the focus for 48 volumes, but what can you do?

If only Mayuri was the main villain.......

I thank everyone who continues to read my posts and those who comment on them. You guys are awesome, seriously. Let's wonder what "amazing surprises" Kubo-sensei will think up for 2013! See ya!