Bleach, Vol. 23 Paperback – Jun 3 2008
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About the Author
Bleach is author Tite Kubo's second title. Kubo made his debut with Zombie Powder, a four-volume series for Weekly Shonen Jump. To date, Bleach has been translated into numerous languages and has also inspired an animated TV series that began airing in Japan in 2004. Beginning its serialization in 2001, Bleach is still a mainstay in the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump. In 2005, Bleach was awarded the prestigious Shogakukan Manga Award in the shonen (boys') category.
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Immediately following that, a new batch of arrancars start attacking Karakura town, targetting anyone they can find with a trace of spiritual power, which means all of Ichigo's friends. It concludes with a former SS arc enemy of Ichigo (now an ally), Ikkaku revealing a big hidden power.
Overall another pretty strong volume, with some good twists (some fans are divided about the one by Orihime, but I like it). Recommended.
Note on editing: the graphic novel undoes most of the changes made when Viz ran these chapters in its version of Shonen Jump magazine, restoring the "near" nudity of some characters in some scenes. However, it left one of a character giving the middle finger on one of the chapter title pages. It's a minor change (they did a similar change back in volume 5 of Naruto), but I wanted to point it out. Whether this desuades anyone from purchasing this volume or not is a personal decision.
Rukia arrives, and in her own "special" way manages to cheer up and refocus Ichigo. Her return also has an effect on Orihime. We get to spend some more time with the Ichigo's friends and associates in school and around town. And begin to notice that alot more people are becoming spiritually aware. This is gaining the arrancar's attention.
The arrancar are Hollows who have removed their masks for more power, Soul Reaper power. Though the difference in strength before has been minimal, with Aizen's help and the orb's properties, these new arrancar are strong enough to battle Soul Reaper captains. The arrancar are no longer an anomaly, they are a force.
This fact is made abundantly clear during this volume as the reinforcements from Soul Society, Renji, Rukia and others are almost immediately matched against a force of arrancar led by Grimmjow, a very powerful opponent. The volume finishes with this match up. Its a good classic example of Bleach's action, Hollow vs Soul Reaper,with their unique abilities and ideals showcased. One the highlights is seeing Rukia in action (finally!) & she does not disappoint.
Overall, this volume is a good mix of the comedy and character development that start the volume and the vicious hardcore battles that finish it. I recommend it as a good continuation of a very strong series.
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