Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 136 (September 15, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for One Piece, Judos, Naruto, World Trigger, Toriko, Nisekoi: False Love, and Bleach. In addition, this issue includes the first chapter for Hi-Fi Cluster, the second title in the Weekly Shonen Jump “Jump Start” initiative, as well as the second part of the Rurouni Kenshin special limited series.

For the series that carried over from previous issues I’ve read, I tried to put a little more focus in my write-ups about the progression of the story from the previous chapter. I will warn you that these write-ups will more than likely contain spoilers.

Of course, you can always check out Weekly Shonen Jump for yourself by subscribing to the digital publication at VIZManga.com.

Hi-Fi Cluster CH:001

Hi-Fi Cluster is the second series to be included as part of Viz Media’s Weekly Shonen Jump “Jump Start” initiative.

The series is set in Tokyo in 2045, and it’s in a world where people have ability labels that were developed ten years earlier. Basically, people can download abilities as an app by wearing a label. But, as its explained, a person still has to possess the ability in order to use an ability label. The main character appears to be a young man named Peta Jugojo, who doesn’t even have the most basic of abilities and feels like an outcast because of it.

Peta crashes into a man while he’s making a delivery, and after the two of them talk, the man asks if Peta know of a black market selling labels. Before he can say anything, Peta is approached by some of the other boys from his high school, and it’s revealed that Peta is working instead of going to school. As the other boys start bullying Peta, the other guy steps in and helps him out. We also meet Nano, a girl that’s friends with Peta.

We then see Peta being offered a job of delivering a supposedly rare first-generation label. He takes on the job and takes a look at the label out of curiosity; it’s labeled as “Hi-Fi” and it suddenly starts reacting on its own and it won’t come off of him.

Nano goes to see Peta. and she finds him collapsed on the ground. The guy he works for grabs Nano; the deal was if Peta ruined their merchandise, they get to mess up something precious of his. Before anything can happen, the guy Peta met earlier appears and saves the day. It turns out the guy is from the Metropolitan Police Department, Investigation Squad Six, Special Ability Labels Unit, and his name is Kosaku Kandera. We learn through dialogue that the Hi-Fi labels are very special and aren’t compatible with just anyone; the power is immense, because the base of its ability comes from the geniuses from the world’s past. It turns out that Kandera has a Hi-Fi label on his prosthetic hand. When the leader of the group tries to use Nano as a shield, Peta finds the inner strength to stand up to this guy and save her. After the fighting is over, Kandera discovers the Hi-Fi label on Peta’s palm. Right at the end of the chapter, Peta is placed under arrest by Kandera.

As I read this chapter, I found it to be an interesting concept for a sci-fi manga. It seems to take the concept of labeling people and turning it into something more literal than the expression that’s commonly used. Right now, Peta finds himself under arrest for having the Hi-Fi label on him, because he’s accused of assisting in illegal label racketeering. However, I have a feeling that now that he has this label stuck on him, he’ll find himself becoming a member of the Investigation Squad Six, Special Ability Labels Unit. Of course, he’ll need to go through some training to learn how to utilize the label, but once he does, he’ll probably become an important member of the force. Overall, I have to say that I enjoyed the first chapter of Hi-Fi Cluster over the first chapter of last week’s “Jump Start” title, Judos.

One Piece CH:760

The people of Dressrosa ask King Riku what they should do now and for him to save them. Riku and naval admiral Fujitora both believe that Luffy will be the one to save them. We then return to Luffy and Trafalgar and their battle, where Trafalgar tries to be the big hero. And right at the end of the chapter, Doflamingo gives a brief backstory of his past to explain why he is the way he is now.

Overall, this wasn’t as action-packed of a chapter as many of the more recent chapters of One Piece have been. For the most part, though, a lot of what happens feels more like it’s killing time than anything else. Even the fight that Luffy and Trafalgar have is on the short side, and more of the time is spent on sharing Doflamingo’s backstory. However, even though not much happened here, this chapter was still needed to help slow down the frenetic pace that had dominated the recent chapters of this series. I expect this reprieve won’t last, though, and that more battles will probably start happening soon.

Judos CH:002

At the beginning of this chapter, Saito finds the location of Yahara Village, where Hana comes from. Both he and Mizuki take a trip there. When they get there, they find Hana working in an inn. Saito starts asking him questions about how he defeated Ida, and Hana shrugs it off as being just a fluke. We learn that everyone in the village descends from Juzo Tanaka, a judo master from the Edo period, and that the village is in the middle of “judos.” Unfortunately, the two reporters don’t get any more information, because judos is a secret due to village law. The only thing Hana says is that he has to become number one in this village.

At eight o’clock that night, Mizuki sees Hana in his uniform and decides to follow him. She finds him, but she distracts Hana in the middle of his fight. However, he’s able to recover. And right at the very end of the chapter, Hana gives Mizuki a brief explanation of what Yahara Village’s judo is.

Now that the story is a little more established, I found myself enjoying chapter two much more than I did the first chapter of this series. From what I saw in this chapter, I’m guessing a lot of the series will probably be focusing on the judos that’s taking place in Yahara Village, and that somehow Mizuki will keep finding herself running into Hana. Saito is definitely being depicted as the one who’s not as intuitive of a reporter as Mizuki is. It’ll be interesting to see what happens during the third and final chapter of this series that will appear as part of Viz Media’s Weekly Shonen Jump “Jump Start” initiative.

Naruto CH:692

After the various zombies return to the afterlife, the tailed beasts are also free to decide where they want to go, since a piece of each of them are inside of Naruto; Kurama is asked to stay inside of Naruto to serve as the overseer of the gathering place. The Sage of Six Paths then asks Naruto and Sasuke if their answer to his question has changed after fighting Kaguya. Naruto says his answer’s still the same. The Sage then says he needs to undo the Infinite Tsukuyomi. It’s up to Naruto and Sasuke to work together, but Sasuke declares that he’s going to execute thecurrent gokage inside the Infinite Tsukuyomi, and will put all the biju under his control and eventually get rid of them. Sasuke declares he wants to destroy and then rebuild; he’s touting revolution. Naruto declares that he’ll rescue everyone…

Well, so much for the story reaching its end anytime soon. And I should have known that Sasuke hadn’t completely changed. Wow, he really came across as rather deranged by the end of this chapter. Please, Naruto, be able to take him down a lot faster than you were able to take down Kaguya! I really hope this portion of the story doesn’t drag on nearly as long as the fight with Kaguya did.

It should be noted that Naruto will be taking a one-week break, and will return in the September 29 issue of Weekly Shonen Jump.

World Trigger CH:075

The chapter opens with Osamu trying to figure out how to make it into the base, and then actually trying to get there. Unfortunately, he’s being pursued by the two humanoid Neighbors. Miwa arrives on the scene, and Osamu asks him to take the cubified Chika. Osamu declares he’ll stop the Neighbor here. Miwa smacks Osamu aside and says he doesn’t care, and chides Osamu for depending on others. Miwa only cares about killing the humanoid Neighbor…

It’s nice to finally seeing some progress for Osamu’s storyline. This Miwa guy comes across as caring more about himself than in actually helping others. I’m sure there’s more to this than there appears to be on the surface, and I suspect the next chapter will focus on Miwa trying to fight the humanoid Neighbor. Even though I’ve been reading these chapters in Weekly Shonen Jump for about six months now, I have to admit that I still feel a little lost at times as I read these chapters.

Toriko CH:292

We see Toriko and the others in Hex Food World celebrating and eating various dishes with air. But suddenly, Coco sees something strange: his arm is becoming his gourmet cell demon’s hand. Apparently, some of them can now control their gourmet cell monster. It’s revealed that the ancestors of those who live in Hex Food World are ordinary humans who were abducted by the four beasts long ago and made into slaves of the Nitro. These slaves were then injected with gourmet cells. Right at the end of the chapter, shadowy figures appear and wreak havoc…

Overall, most of this chapter ended up being expository in nature, and not much was really happening. Right at the beginning of the chapter, the shadowy figures who appeared at the end were hinted at, but they don’t actually make their move until right at the end of the chapter. There’s quite a cliffhanger here, and it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the next chapter.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:138

In this chapter, Raku takes the princess to Onodera’s family’s sweet shop. Onodera is working, and Raku reveals that it’s the princess with him and not Chitoge. While they’re there, Onodera gets the princess some of the shop’s specialties. The princess wonders how close Raku and Onodera are, especially after Raku gets a minor injury and Onodera takes care of it for him. Later, when Raku takes her back to her hotel, her phone’s battery dies, which takes away the princess’ ability to communicate with Raku. But it turns out that she knew some very basic Japanese all along. The princess then kisses Raku a kiss on the cheek as a thank you.

Well, it looks like this story arc may be just about over. About the only thing left is how to get Chitoge out of where she is and get the princess back where she belongs. The chapter ended right before this could happen, so I expect that the next chapter will cover that part of the story and ultimately bring it to an end. But I know I’m so ready for this particular storyline to end for a new one to begin.

Bleach CH:596

In this chapter, Mayuri explains to the Quincy that’s bee ncreating zombies that he has a way to counteract what she’s done and turn her zombies into his zombies. Then, one of Mayrui’s zombies runs a sword through the Quincy. And with this, it also seems to be turning the tables on Pepe’s plans as well. The chapter ends with Pepe getting his butt kicked.

While I’m happy to finally see one of the Quincies out of the picture, this chapter has only helped to make this story arc even strange than it already was. Bleach has definitely gone in a very strange direction over the past few months, and I expect it’s only going to get weirder as it continues.

Rurouni Kenshin Special Limited Series Part 2

Shishio is approached for help after Hanabi is killed and Akari and Kagari are taken away. Shishiro tells her no and tells Hanahomura that she’s weak. Shishio tells Sojiro that their business at Yoshiwara is done. Hanahomura tells Shishiro that she wants him to sell his strength to her for a night; she says she will pay for this with her life. We then see Shishio and some other people waiting at a bridge for the Wadatsumi Koheidan Shark troops. As Shishio and the others attack, the troops try to use one of the twins as a hostage. But Shishio and the others manage to convince them to quit using the girl as a shield. In the end, Shishio is able to overcome Ichigase Sameo. We then see Shishio making a deal to get a battleship called Rengoku. At the end, we learn that Hanahomura’s real name is Yumi Komafata, and Shishio kisses her.

This is the second and last part of this limited series for Rurouni Kenshin. Admittedly, this was hard enough for me to follow since I’ve never read Rurouni Kenshin before reading this, but it also didn’t help that there was a sizable gap between Part 1 and Part 2 of this limited series. While this wasn’t bad at all, I think I would have been able to enjoy it better if the two parts had been a little closer together. Before reading this chapter, I had to read the writeup I did for Part 1 to refresh my memory as to what happened the earlier chapter. I suspect that readers who are already familiar with Rurouni Kenshin will have a much better appreciation for this special limited series than I do.

Viz Media Expands Global Presence With Manga to Be Showcased at International Pop Culture and Comic Conventions

VIZ Media expands its global footprint as it collaborates with key multi-national distribution partners to showcase the company’s manga properties at several upcoming high-profile international comics and pop culture conventions taking place in markets eager for high quality, officially licensed English manga content.

VIZ Media publishes one of the world’s most extensive and diverse catalogs of manga in English and will be highlighted by Simon and Schuster UK Ltd. and Madman Entertainment at several of the largest comic book and pop culture conventions happening across the UK, New Zealand, Australia and India throughout the rest of 2014.

VIZ Media is proud to partner with Simon & Schuster UK Ltd., one of the UK’s leading publishers and distributors, to showcase an extensive array of manga at the MCM Comic Con in London (October 24–26, 2014), as well as at several massive comics and pop culture conventions taking place in India. Simon & Schuster UK manages VIZ Media’s manga portfolio for this emerging but substantial consumer territory. Titles were subject of tremendous attention at the recent Comic Con India in Bangalore and will be showcased again at Comic Con India in Hyderabad (October 10–12, 2014) and the 2014 Mumbai Film and Comics Convention taking place December 19–21, 2014.

Simon & Schuster UK has been an exclusive distributor of VIZ Media manga titles since 2007 across all of the company’s imprints, including Shonen Jump, Shonen Jump Advanced, Shojo Beat, Shonen Sunday, Perfect Square, VIZ Signature, the Studio Ghibli Library and the Haikasoru literary imprint. The partnership’s expansion to India, where the Simon & Schuster India division has begun to offer select English-language titles, looks to cultivate a diverse new vertical market for manga.

VIZ Media is also proud to partner with the Madman Entertainment Group, the Australian-based leading independent theatrical and home entertainment distribution company for Oceana, to showcase the company’s extensive roster of manga titles at New Zealand’s 2014 Armageddon Expo, happening October 25–27, 2014, as well as at PAX Australia (October 31–November 2, 2014) and the renowned SupaNova Expo shows in Adelaide (November 21–23, 2014) and Brisbane (Nov. 28-30, 2014).

Madman Entertainment is Australia and New Zealand’s leading distributor of manga content and has handled VIZ Media titles in Oceana since 2008.

“A key goal of VIZ Media’s overall strategy is to make manga global in both its access and fan-base and to develop a sustainable and substantial international market for high quality, officially licensed manga in English,” says Kevin Hamric, Senior Director of Publishing Sales and Marketing. “The popularity of manga at conventions across the UK, Oceana and now in India is a strong testament the growing international appeal. We look forward to working with our international partners to deepen VIZ Media’s presence on a global level and to continuing to deliver the best in manga content to a broad international base of readers.”

Manga Review: “Case Closed” Volume 16

Case Closed Volume 16 is a manga by Gosho Aoyama, and it was published in North America by Viz Media in 2007. The series is rated “T+” for older teens; personally, I would agree with this rating.

High school student Jimmy Kudo is a teen detective who was shrunk down to his first grade self after being caught by a crime organization and forced to take an experimental poison. Unknown to the criminals, Jimmy survived; in order to hide this fact, Jimmy takes on the identity of Conan Edogawa, and claims to be the relative of family friend Dr. Agasa. As Conan, Jimmy lives with his friend Rachel Moore and her bumbling private investigator father, Richard; however, Rachel doesn’t know Conan’s true identity. As Conan, Jimmy has been able to covertly help Richard solve the cases that come his way.

Volume 16 opens with the conclusion of the mystery involving a murder at the home of the chairman of the Nagado Financial Group. When I saw this story in the anime before reading it in the manga, I hadn’t been able to guess who the murderer was; for me, it ended up being one of the last people I would have suspected. But it’s neat to see Conan and Harley working together to solve the case.

The next mystery sees the Junior Detective League hearing about mysterious happenings at night at Teitan Elementary School, and they decide to investigate this after the vice principal mysteriously disappears and no one on staff is willing to talk about it. Admittedly, this kind of comes across as a silly mystery for the Case Closed series due to the “ghost story” nature of it, but at least it’s not another murder mystery! With this mystery, though, I had already figured out most of what was going on before the big reveal.

Most of the rest of Volume 16 sets up a storyline introducing Kaito Kid, a phantom thief who’s been gaining notoriety for his various thefts. Serena’s family owns the “Black Star” pearl, which becomes a target for Kaito Kid. Serena’s family asks Richard to take on the case after receiving a cryptic note about the theft from Kaito Kid. Conan and Rachel get drug along, but it’s Conan who cracks the cryptic note. Conan has a chance encounter with the phantom thief, and the two become adversaries. However, the mystery climaxes with Serena’s family having a party on a boat and trying to trick Kaito Kid with all but one person at the party wearing a fake pearl. Of course, the plan doesn’t work out as well as they thought it would…

When I saw this story in the anime, I really enjoyed meeting Kaito Kid and thought he made a great addition to the series. Later, I learned that Kaito Kid was a star of his own manga series, which is another work by Gosho Aoyama. I was pleased to recently learn that Kaito Kid will be getting his own anime series in Fall 2014, and I hope someone will simulcast this series in North America. I’d like to get to know the character of Kaito Kid outside of the Detective Conan/Case Closed universe.

Right at the end of Volume 16, we get the very beginning of the next mystery. Richard, Rachel, and Conan visit an old potter who is a fan of Richard. Unfortunately, this pleasant visit is destroyed by a murder that takes place right at the end of the volume…

I really don’t want to say too much about this particular mystery, since I already know how it’s going to go from seeing the anime; also, there’s really not a whole lot to talk about, since this chapter introduces the victim and the suspects and ends with the discovery of the body. It’s basically a chapter to establish the mystery, and Volume 17 will pick up this story up with the investigation into the murder.

Even though I’m already familiar with these mysteries from watching the Case Closed anime series, I still found them to be just as enjoyable when I read them again in the original manga source material.

By far, my favorite mystery in this volume is the one that features Kaito Kid. Not only did this story introduce a new character who adds a new layer to the series, it’s also another mystery that’s not a murder! Not that the murder mysteries are bad or anything, but quite a few of the cases in this series are murder related. So having mysteries that aren’t murders are a refreshing change of pace.

If you’ve read and enjoyed previous volumes of Case Closed, then I think you’ll enjoy reading Volume 16.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Case Closed Volume 16 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Viz Media Adds CLAMP’s Suki: A Like Story Manga Digitally

Anime News Network is reporting that Viz Media will be releasing CLAMP’s Suki: A Like Story manga digitally in North America.

The first volume will be available on September 23, 2014 on the VIZ Manga platform and Amazon Kindle.

Viz Media Launches Sci-Fi Manga Series World Trigger in Graphic Novel Format

VIZ Media announces the print and digital launch of creator Daisuke Ashihara’s thrilling sci-fi action manga series – World Trigger – in a dedicated graphic novel format on October 7, 2014. The series is currently being serialized chapter-by-chapter SIMULTANEOUS to Japan in the pages of the digital anthology Weekly Shonen Jump.

World Trigger will be published under the Shonen Jump imprint with the first two volumes releasing simultaneously on October 7, 2014. Volumes 1 and 2 are rated ‘T’ for Teens and will carry an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN each. New volumes are scheduled to be released bi-monthly.

Digital versions of World Trigger also will launch for $6.99 (USD/CAN) each on the same day on VIZManga.com and through the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones, as well as through the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks, comiXology and GooglePlay stores.

Destroy thy Neighbor! Earth is under constant threat from Neighbors, invincible monsters from another dimension that destroy humanity’s way of life. At least there are the elite agents of Border, warriors who co-opt alien technology to fight back. Our hero Osamu Mikumo may not be the best agent, but along with his Neighbor friend Yuma, he’ll do whatever it takes to defend life on Earth as we know it.

In the series’ opening volume, when straight-laced Osamu meets a feisty humanoid Neighbor named Yuma, everything that he thinks is right is turned on its head. Can the two natural enemies ever become friends?

Things become tense and the action heats up in Volume 2. Osamu has protected the feisty Neighbor’s identity ever since they met, but he’s about to get a rude awakening when he discovers that Border has ways of sniffing out traitors in their midst.

“WORLD TRIGGER begins four years after a gate to another dimension opens, letting alien Neighbors invade and the unlikely heroic duo of Osamu and Yuma must deploy powerful weaponry called Triggers to defeat the invaders and save the world,” says Hope Donovan, Editor. “WORLD TRIGGER has captivated fans in serialized form in WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP, and with the anime releasing in October, we can’t wait to introduce even more readers to the manga series with the simultaneous launch of the first two graphic novels in early October.”

WORLD TRIGGER © 2013 by Daisuke Ashihara/SHUEIHSA Inc.

Yaoi Publisher SuBLime Reveals New Manga Acquisitions During YaoiCon 2014

SuBLime, the global yaoi manga publishing initiative between VIZ Media and Japan’s Animate, Ltd. (Animate), provided detailed updates for a variety of brand-new and continuing yaoi manga titles during its YaoiCon 2014 panel this past weekend in San Francisco.

SuBLime announced plans to release Eiki Eiki and Taishi Zaou’s Love Stage!! (Rated ‘M’ for Mature) in print starting May 2015 with additional volumes to follow every other month. In this romantic comedy, the protagonist’s family is packed with famous celebrities but Izumi Sena is actually a huge otaku with aspirations of becoming a manga creator.

SuBLime also detailed plans to publish Ginger Honey (Rated ‘M’ for Mature), creator Isaku Natsume’s humorous follow-up to Devil’s Honey (also published by SuBLime), which is set for digital-only release February 2015.

SuBLime also acquired Tomoko Yamashita’s The Night Beyond the Tricorner Window Vol. 1 (Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens) and plans to debut the series digitally beginning March 2015.

In addition to these new releases, SuBLime updated fans about the forthcoming simultaneous, worldwide digital release on October 28, 2014 of Episode 2 of author Rieko Yoshihara and artist Ryo Tateishi’s Into Illusion, the same day it debuts in Japan! Don’t miss the half-manga/half-novel release of this unique and exciting series from the author of Ai no Kusabi – The Space Between.

“YaoiCon 2014 was the perfect setting to announce our latest manga acquisitions, and we know fans are getting excited for these upcoming releases,” says Jennifer LeBlanc, SuBLime’s Editor. “From the acquisition of the highly anticipated LOVE STAGE!! to the simultaneous U.S./Japanese debut of the latest installment of the supernatural, erotic thriller INTO ILLUSION, fans will have a lot to look forward to in coming months!”

YaoiCon fans also cheered the news of the North American debut of Shungiku Nakamura’s The World’s Greatest First Love (Rated ‘M’ for Mature). This romantic comedy about a handsome, single young man discovering his new boss is actually an old flame will debut in print beginning February 2015.

SuBLime also updated fans on a variety of other ongoing, popular yaoi series. Embracing Love Volume 3 is scheduled for print and digital release August 2015; the final print and digital volume of Hide and Seek, Volume 3, is set for release in March 2015; and Starting With a Kiss Volume 3, also the final volume of the series, is scheduled for print and digital release June 2015.

Manga Review: “Bleach” Volume 14

Bleach Volume 14 is a manga by Tite Kubo, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shonen Jump imprint in 2006. The series is rated “T” for teens; from what I’ve read of the manga and from what I’ve seen of the anime series, I would agree with this rating.

15-year-old Ichigo Kurosaki is the main character of the series, and he has the ability to see ghosts. After meeting a Soul Reaper named Rukia, his home is attacked by a Hollow. Rukia tries to transfer some of her powers to Ichigo so he can protect his family; however, he unintentionally absorbs all of her power. Ichigo defeats the Hollow and begins serving as a substitute Soul Reaper. In Volume Seven, Rukia was taken back to Soul Society to face punishment for transferring her powers to a human. Rukia now faces execution, and Ichigo and his friends try to find a way to get to Soul Society in order to save her.

Volume 14 sees Captain Jushiro Ukitake from 13th Company entering into the story as Byakuya finds Ganju and Hanatora with Rukia at her cell. Ganju takes on Byakuya, and it results in Ganju being injured rather badly; but before Byakuya can do any further harm, Ukitake intervenes.

Meanwhile, Ichiho sees Yoruichi the cat transform into a human woman, which is Yoruichi’s true form. To me, the scene was just as amusing reading it in the manga as when I first saw it when I watched the anime a few years back. While I knew this scene was coming, I suspect that it would catch first time readers off-guard.

After recovering from the shock, an injured Ichigo insists on saving his friends when he senses they’re in danger; he arrives while Ukitake and Byakuya discuss what’s going on. Since I’m further along in the anime series, I picked up on something that happens with Ukitake in this scene that appears to be foreshadowing that I didn’t pick up on when I first saw this scene in the anime. I wish I could go into more detail, but I can’t because of not wanting to provide “spoilers” for readers who haven’t had enough or any exposure to the Bleach anime.

Ichigo and Byakuya launch into a battle; but before it can escalate very far, Yoruichi jumps into the fray. At this point we get an explanation from Rukia as to who Yoruichi truly is, and it turns out she’s a rather impressive member of the Soul Society. After she subdues Ichigo, Yoruichi is able to get away from Byakuya with Ichigo. But before she leaves, Yoruichi declares that she’ll make Ichigo stronger than Byakuya in three days.

After Byakuya leaves, we see that Ukitake is a gentler member of Soul Society. While he has Rukia put back into her cell, he asks his subordinates to contact 4th Company so Ganju can receive medical treatment. If Ukitake had been more like most of the other members of Soul Society that we’d seen up to this point, he would have had Ganju killed. Also, he lets Hanatora live even though he acted as a traitor against the Soul Society. Hopefully this won’t be too much of a spoiler, but this is an accurate depiction of Ukitake; I’ve seen him appear in later episodes of the anime series, and he’s still this gentle. Ukitake definitely ranks up there as one of my favorite Soul Society captains.

We also see Yoruichi training with Ichigo; unfortunately, we don’t get to see very much of it. Hopefully there will be more of this training in Volume 15.

Then, we see Uryu and Orihime trying to disguise themselves as part of one of the Soul Society squads. This ends up being a humorous scene, especially since they initially make a mistake that should have given them away; fortunately, the squads involved aren’t very bright. Unfortunately, the humor doesn’t last long, because Captain Mayuri of 12th Company gets involved. Orihime tries to help the injured as Uryu shows his skills as a Quincy. This leads to an impressive battle between Uryu and Mayuri and this serves as the climax of the volume.

Wow, I’d forgotten just how creepy Mayuri’s introduction was from when I watched the anime. While he was annoying in later stories in the anime, he didn’t come across as quite so creepy as he does here. Since I’ve seen much later chapters in Weekly Shonen Jump, some of which featured Mayuri, I’ll say that he’s back to acting rather creepy again. I’ve never cared much for Mayuri, and seeing his introduction in here reminds me of why I dislike him so much.

So there’s definitely going to be one more volume that features this story arc, but from what I remember from seeing this in the anime, there’s still enough material to go that it’ll probably take at least another two or three volumes, if not a little more, to finish off rescuing Rukia from Soul Society. Even though I may remember a lot of what’s going to happen from when I saw this story in the anime series, I’m still enjoying reading them in the manga. It’s been so long since I’ve seen these particular episodes that reading the story again in manga form is jogging my memory and reminding me of what happened to lead up to the point that I’m currently at in the anime.

If you’ve read the previous thirteen volumes of Bleach and enjoyed what you read, then I think you’ll also enjoy reading Volume 14.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Bleach Volume 14 that I checked out through the King County Library System.