Mizuoni Manga

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Racism in Bleach?!

I feel one of Bleach’s defining features is the fact it actually has black characters that have actual relevance to the story and what characters they are! Kaname Tousen is actually one of favourite manga characters of all time – his amazing Zanpakuto, his cool visor…what’s not to love?! But something has been in the back of my mind for a long time – is there racial prejudice towards the ethic characters in Bleach. Does Kubo poke fun at the stereotypical views held of people that have coloured skin?

Kaname Tousen

The first black character we come in contact with in the Bleach universe. He has so much going on for him but at the same time he has a lot against him. First of all he’s blind. Out of all the characters he could have chosen he picked the black guy to be the blind one. Coincidence? So that makes him Kaname Tousen: the blind man looking for revenge – this oxymoron is actually hilarious but why Tousen? And on top of that he might not even be blind. Remember this?

 

The man, who at one time was the pinnacle for justice and righteousness, is demoted to a mere lackey who wants to take out the law enforcement agency that did wrong by him…definitely living the thug life.

Lastly he’s a thief. Suzumushi is an amazing Zanpakuto but it’s not his, it was his lady friend’s. And if it wasn’t bad enough that he stole, try adding the fact that he took it from her coffin during her wake!!! Really Tousen? Really?

 

Zommari Rureaux

Next up we have the Septima Espada, Zommari. Apart the fact his nose and lips were ENORMOUS, Zommari had the level of arrogance that seems all too common in the young male black community these days. And, like a lot of ‘gangsters’, this arrogance is a front as we see when he pleads for his life when he knows he is beat.

 

Next we have his Resurreccion, Brujeria (which by the way means ‘witchcraft’ in Spanish…). If this isn’t a representation of black magic I don’t know what is. I mean his head turns 90 degrees for this form to be activated for crying out loud. It also shows the materialistic nature of black people that we see every time we watch a rap music video. ‘Taking ownership of whatever he sees and wants’ pretty much sums up the type of black man Zommari is being made to portray.

And the whole “WHY WON’T YOU ACCEPT MY LOVE?!” thing…-___-….

Tier Harribel

To put it bluntly, Harribel is a prostitute and not a classy high society escort type either. Was it too much to ask for a jacket that completely covered her breasts instead of finishing half way up? To make matters worse, the only way she thought she could get the upper hand during her fight was to flash a pre-pubescent (gotta admit I’ve been watching a lot of Big Bang Theory lately) boy.

And like a prostitute, she was discarded once her usefulness was over. Harribel was the only Espada not killed by a Gotei 13 Shinigami/Vizard and the only one of the top three Espada not to get any sort of backstory chapter. Surely such a powerful character should be treated with more respect? But then again she is at least part black so could we really expect anything more?

Baraggan Louisenbairn

Poor poor Baraggan. I can’t even find the words to express how sorry I feel for this guy. He started at the bottom and worked all the way to the top and became God of Hueco Mundo. He was actually living the life and rightly he should. Then what happens? Aizen comes along and steals the empire Baraggan worked so hard to create. It seems, even in the world of manga, not only can the white man come and take whatever the black man has, he can then go on and enslave him. Where’s Martin Luther King Jr when you need him? And it seems Aizen (more precisely Kubo who created Aizen) isn’t above rubbing salt in Baraggan wounds. Abilities-wise Baraggan would DESTROY Starrk any day of the week (just to say I love Starrk just as much as I love Baraggan) and yet Starrk is the Primero Espada. Just another example of how no matter how superior a black man is, his white colleague will always be put ahead of him. And was it really necessary to make his breath so bad it killed people?! The indirect insults go on and on.

Well folks, these are just but a few examples of how the ethnic community has been portrayed in Bleach. Is this manga racist or is it all just coincidence? You decide.

[P.S. Just to point out I am black and I don’t actually believe Bleach or Kubo is racist in any way shape or form. This is all in the name of banter ^_^]

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Chapter Review: Bleach 511 – Die Standing

Page 1: Gotta say this is a gorgeous colour page and a fitting tribute to Yama-jii. I think the white background and lighter colours make it look like the Captain-Commander is ‘walking into the light’ and passing on to the other side.

Page 2 – You gotta love these Yamamoto/Shunsui exchanges. Though they don’t happen very often they’re always fun to read (personally I think Yama-jii likes Shunsui more than Ukitake XD). Looks like the 8th Division Captain has always been a trouble maker but isn’t that why we love him so much? To us the painting is obviously a portrayal of Yamamoto’s Bankai but the way Shunsui assumes it’s a picture of a god or a myth just further proves how much of a boss Yamamoto is – he’s so great his power can be compared to that of a god. We also see that people thought Yamamoto wasn’t the type to place sentimental value to things or have appreciation of artwork.

Page 3 – It seems the picture is there as a reminder to Yama-jii that his power isn’t something he can take lightly. He obviously doesn’t like this side to himself since he refers to it as a monster – he knows he can become a demon and seems to hate that. He also acknowledges that his actions in the past weren’t the best and Soul Society suffered as a result and he doesn’t want that to happen again. He’s resolved that he’ll never let that monster be seen again. Shunsui doesn’t accept such wishful think and asks what if it does return.

I love the amount of detail in the bottom panel. It fully shows the toll time has had on Yama-jii. He knows he’s at the end and is accepting it gracefully I feel. He’s just a tired old soul waiting for that eternal rest.

Page 4 – To be honest I don’t know how I feel about Yama-jii being cut in two. Yes, it’s very dramatic and shocking but I don’t know if it’s a fitting death for him. We see how the chapter got its name now. I think a more fitting death would have been something similar to One Piece’s Whitebeard’s death.

I think that would have been a death more befitting and it would have shown Yamamoto was immovable even in death – a fitting tribute to such an amazing man.

Page 5 – Shunsui and Ukitake sense that Yama-jii is dead. Shunsui loses concentration and gets cheapshotted. So we already see the effect Yamamoto’s death is having on his troops.

Page 6 – Title page with lots of kanji most of us don’t understand lol.

Page 7 – Bach is obviously enjoying himself very much and he should. He killed the man that no-one else could. Yes, he had to steal his Bankai to do it but he did it none the less. Good for you, Bach!! But speaking ill of the dead? Not so good, Bach. Just shows how much disdain he has for the Shinigami. It kinda looks like Yama-jii is prostrating before Bach’s awesomeness.

Page 8 – Looks like Bach’s packing up camp. But what’s this? Yama-jii is alive and trying to fight back?! And as quickly as a second round looked like it was going to happen it had an end put to it. Just how many pieces is Yama-jii gonna end up in?

Page 9 – Bach is obviously not taking any chance. He’s definitely done his research. We all remember what happened when Yama-jii got a hold of Aizen in his dying moments…

Bach then continues to show his hate for Yamamoto by stepping on his head – does his disrespect know no end?!?! I find it interesting that Yama-jii wasn’t among the five special war potentials. Raw power is obviously not a requirement to gain a title. I guess it’s your capabilities more than anything else. Then Bach asks the question everyone wants the answer to – Why didn’t Yama-jii heal his arm?

Page 10 – Bach came to the same conclusion I did months ago – it’s because of pride. Yama-jii isn’t the sort of guy to ask for assistance from the humans he’s sworn to protect – that would defeat the purpose. To him, he is above humans (hence the name Deaths GODS) so to accept help from them would have made him feel weak I suppose. He tried to take too much onto his great shoulders and evidently paid the ultimate price

Page 11 – So it turns out the Gotei 13 weren’t always the good guys they are made out to be. I guess this make sense in a way. For the Gotei to be the undisputed guardians of Soul Society they must have obviously wiped out any and all other competition and as we’ve seen from Yama-jii’s Bankai, he isn’t afraid to play dirty. And to think Yamamoto was once a bad guy. Sure he can be a bit strict every now and again but to find out he was the scumbag of his time? Shocking. It’s also interesting the way that the original ‘Divisions’ lacked the hierarchy system that the Gotei 13 has. It seems back then it was just about getting stuff done regardless of who you were under. The Quincy Extermination must have had a profound effect on him if it made him want to change completely. And it seemed he fell into the ‘Good guy’ trap of being honourable not that it’s a bad thing but maybe the Gotei might actually be more effective if they were all as sly and cunning as Mayuri or Shunsui.

Page 12 – Bach seems to think the current Gotei 13 is a shell of its former guerrilla self and to an extent he’s right. Having a code of honour when it comes to fighting is a bit self-righteous and Shunsui seems to understand a lot…

Just because you feel your intentions are for the greater good doesn’t actually mean they. Sometimes you gotta fight dirty just for the fact you know your opponents will.

Page 13 – Considering the way Yama-jii’s body had been desecrated, having it blown to bits actually did the Gotei a favour. Since none of them saw him in this state, the Yamamoto that was powerful, immovable and just generally someone they admired  is the lasting image they’ll have of him instead of one where he is fully at the mercy of his opponents. When Bach gives the order to ‘violate’ Soul Society it sort of personifies it, making it seem like a helpless woman about to get raped. And it really is helpless – her children, the Shinigami are powerless to protect her from what is about to happen to her.

Page 14 – We get a bit Summoning no Jutsu lol (If you don’t read Naruto you won’t get the joke :P)

Page 15 – Enter the Quincy Soldat. The ignorance on the part of the Shinigami is quite shocking to be honest. For an ‘ordinary soldier’ of the Gotei 13 to not be worried about an enemy because he is ‘ordinary soldier of the rebel army’ just shows how pompous the Shinigami can be. Would he be as cocky if he was up and against an ordinary Arrancar (who would most probably wipe the floor with him)?

Page 16 – He and his fellow Shinigami soon pay the price for their ignorance. The Soldat walk all over the Shinigami with relative ease it seems. I’m glad Buzzbee survived Yama-jii’s attack. I’ve never been a fan of character’s being killed off just to show off another character’s abilities. We still hardly know anything about this Stern Ritter but it looks like we’ll get to see some more of him…yay!

Page 17 – And so Soul Society falls. Talk about effect. The powerhouse that was the Gotei 13 has been brought to its knees effortlessly. Finally we get a mention of the fabled Zero Division. Everyone has been hammering on about them for years but it looks like they’ll soon make an appearance. They really must be something if Bach is giving the order to temporally retreat. Can’t wait!!

Page 18 – An unexpected visitor? Who could it be?! I’m thinking it’s either Zero Division or whoever saved beat Opie (My money’s on Grimmjow). Guess we’ll have to wait until next time.


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Fantasy Battle – A (Fourth Raikage) vs Laxus Dreyar

Lightning never strikes in the same place twice…Or does it?

Weigh In

In the red corner we have Naruto Shippuden’s A. A is the Fourth Raikage of the Village Hidden in the Clouds and his chakra is said to comparable with that of a tailed beast.

In the blue corner we have Fairy Tail’s Laxus Dreyar. Laxus is an S Class mage from the Fairy Tail Guild as well as being a 2nd Generation Dragon  Slayer.

Both use lightning as their primary choice of weapon so will it be the ninja or the mage that emerges victorious.

[To make this fight as fair as possible, A has both his arms and Laxus is post-timeskip]

LET THE FIGHT COMMENCE

Looking at base stats (i.e. no Lightning Armour or Magic), for me, A is both stronger and faster than Laxus is. In a normal fist fight, the Raikage’s use of taijustu would be more than enough to overpower Laxus and with attacks like the Lariat and the Liger Bomb it’s easy to understand why.

 

But of course this isn’t a normal fight, it’s a fight between two of the most powerful lightning users in manga but, alas, as soon as lightning is brought into the equation I fear it’s all over for the Raikage. Against any other opponent, the offensive, defensive, speed and agility attributes of his Lightning Armour would be devastating. Looking at his track record we’ve seen his speed and agility are so great they’ve been compared to that of Konoha’s Yellow Flash and Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze, as well being so fast that the Sharingan has trouble keeping up with him. Power-wise we’ve seen he is strong enough to cut off one of the horns of the Eight-Tailed Beast and knock it to the ground through sheer strength as well. He also smashed a couple of the Susanoo created by Sasuke Uchiha (which had taken the attacks of Jonin and Kage level opponents just before and resurfaced unharmed).

So with all this power, how is the Raikage at a disadvantage?

The Raikage doesn’t stand a chance since Laxus is the LIGHTNING Dragon Slayer. That means any and all lightning based attacks are null and void against him so a super lightning-infused right hook from the Raikage would basically just be a super right hook – and it would probably do more good to Laxus than damage.

 

Being the LDS means his base attributes are jacked up and consuming lightning makes him even more monstrous than he is normal so – if he can inhale lightning the way Natsu can inhale fire – whilst the Raikage is using his Lightning Armour, he is a three course meal for Laxus. And with the amount of chakra A has which he can use to replenish any of his Armour that is ‘eaten’, Laxus will be a Super Saiyan Level 912 before the match even gets serious. Any attribute differences have been nullified or even tipped in Laxus’ favour.  Even without the power up from A, Laxus’s Dragon Slayer techniques are crazy powerful. If Sasuke’s Chidori attack was strong enough to pierce A’s Armour, Laxus’ Roar of the Lightning Dragon would tear both A and his Armour to pieces. If the Raikage somehow survive’s that, the mage still has his Lightning Dragon’s Heavenward Halberd and Lightning Dragon’s Breakdown Fist.

 

Can I just add that Laxus is also yet to use Dragon Force (quite frankly he wouldn’t need to use it against A) or Fairy Law (that would just be unnecessary overkill lol). So whatever way you look at it, the Raikage has no chance.

 

Verdict

What I thought would be an epic match up turned out to be a totally one-sided affair with Laxus dominating every which way you look at it. Maybe it was a bit unfair to put the Raikage up against the Lightning Dragon Slayer but more uneven matchups have been created in the world of manga.

Winner: Laxus Dreyar


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Chapter Review: Bleach 510 – The Extinction

Page 1: Firstly, I just want to comment on the interesting use of, what looks like, blackface. Personally I’m not offended but I don’t think it’s necessary. Kubo has proven he can draw a very good negro on more than one occasion. Anyways…so we get a look into the past of one of the Stern Ritter, Loyd Llyod – a guy so amazing they named him twice and yet we never got to see him alive -_-…Shame on you Kubo!!! We find out Loyd had a twin brother and they completely resemble each other. To be fair children don’t have to be borne by the same mother and they still get mixed up. And then they become aware of their shape-shifting powers.

Page 2: So Loyd’s brother is called…Royd. Twins with rhyming names…really? Their powers as a pair are pretty cool and the fact their shape-shifting abilities are distributed pretty equal is a good call of Kubo’s part. Can’t lie, it would have been something to see Yama-jii fighting himself in Bankai mode. And so the mystery of why Bach was asking for forgiveness from himself is final solved.

Page 3: Yama-jii realises something is off when Bach starts to apologise to…Bach. It’s jokes the way Yama-jii looks like he’s crying as he shouts “What kind of monster are you?!”

Page 4: Nothing much to talk about here. It does look like Yama-jii is behind attacked from behind by that pillar of light…that would have been cool lol.

Page 5: The First Division Barracks is under attack!! And it seems old man Okikiba is done for – Rest in Peace. Here we get the title of the chapter – the Extinction. Doesn’t take a genius to work out who’s about to become extinct. Bad planning on the Captain-Commander’s part. He should have realised that not showing his Bankai was the only thing keeping him alive in this manga!! But alas Yamamoto played his trump card too early. I’ve also noticed that Yama-jii has been showing a lot more expression lately. When we first met him he hardly ever opened his eyes and even when he was going up against Shunsui and Ukitake, you would never have guessed these were his favourite pupils.

Page 6: Finally the real Juha Bach appears!! Is that shock on Yama-jii’s face? Fear? Maybe a bit of both? Whatever it is, the old man is rattled. And what does Bach do? Completely ignores him.

Page 7: Royd, like his brother, has the letter Y for ‘the Yourself’. I think Bach deserves some praise here. He has before him the Captain Commander of the Gotei 13 but his primary concern was praise his fallen soldier for a job well done. To me it shows he, at the very least, takes the time out to know who’s who in his army. This shocks both the Shinigami and the Stern Ritter, the latter being overjoyed to the point of tears. Just shows how much the Stern Ritter love this guy and they obviously share the same ideal/dream. It also makes you think whether the Shinigami are the knights of justice they are made out to be. In previous chapters, Yama-jii talked about how Bach’s subordinates were just pawns to him and yet he put’s their importance over that of the Captain Commander.

Page 8: In a final act of mercy Bach kills Royd quickly and efficiently as to not cause him anymore pain. Before I go on I think we should take a minute to actually realise how amazing Royd was. This guy utterly DESTROYED Kenpachi without a single hair coming out of place. Don’t forget his brother is the one that imitates a person’s power level so Royd’s base power level must be through the roof! Where Driscoll was completely disintegrated by Yamamoto’s Shikai, Royd took it head on and came out with just a scratch. He also faired quite well for a time against Yama-jii’s Bankai…he truly was amazing. So what exactly was Bach doing all this time? What is it that was under the First Division Barracks that was so important that it shocked Yamamoto that Bach knew about it?

Page 9: I actually screamed when I saw Aizen!! Sosuke was finally going to make his long awaited return to Bleach and what a return it would be!! As far as overpoweredness goes there are few who could surpass Aizen. I would like to take this opportunity to point out the major flaw in the Gotei’s stratergy. All hell is breaking loose around Soul Society and the Underground Prison –home to some of the vilest and most dangerous beings ever known – is left to be guarded by a 3rd Seat when there are opponents wielding Bankais all over the place. Really Yama-jii, really? So Bach was spending his time conversing with Aizen. If this doesn’t spell trouble I don’t know what will.

Page 10: Aizen is asked to join the ranks of the Vandenreich and we find out that he’s one of the special war potentials. It makes sense that he refused. Why would Aizen allow himself to take orders from anyone? I think a better Aizen move would have been to join the Quincy and then wipe them out after the Gotei were done for but that’s just me. Then Bach goads Yamamoto into using his Bankai. Again this is out of character for the Yama-jii we all know and love. The once level-head captain is now frivolously using his Bankai like a lot of the other Captains do even though he knows doing so could completely destroy Soul Society.

Page 11: Gasp!! Yamamoto’s Bankai has been stolen?!?! How the mighty have fallen. Looks like Yamamoto’s overestimation of his own powers and underestimation of his opponent’s has been his undoing. The fact Royd didn’t even attempt to steal his Bankai should have made alarm bells start ringing like crazy in his head. Bach was the only one who could seal the Captain Commander’s Bankai away and he did. Referring to the Stern Ritter as the ‘late Royd’, bravo for the respect Bach, bravo.

Page 12: Bach toys with the Shinigami, threatening to uses his own Bankai and its abilities against him. That statement made me think a lot about how cruel a person Yama-jii can be. As the Captain-Commander he should be a pinnacle for honour and integrity and yet he doesn’t see it as below him to use techniques such as Zanka no Tachi south to make his opponent suffer more than his necessary be fighting their fallen comrades. That’s the sort of thing you’d expect Aizen to do. Yama-jii charges only for Bach to release so new technique.

Page 13: A bow and arrow appear in the sky and something is shot to the ground in front of Bach. What type of arrow could this be?

Page 14: Alas it isn’t an arrow it’s a sword! I feel like it’s a bit of a fail that nearly everyone and their aunt seems to fight with a sword. It would have been a nice switch up if the Quincy were all projectile using fighters which would bring a nice change to the battles from all the close combat fighting we usually see. To me it looks like Yama-jii has lost all hope in that bottom panel. The surprise, shock and anger we’ve seen a lot of recently is no longer there and it has been replaced with a truer Yamamoto – an old, battle worn veteran who knows he’s about to meet his end – that is truly the face of despair.

Page 15: Bach says his final goodbye to the man who has caused him and his people to suffer so much…and looks menacingly cool as he does it lol.

Pages 16-17: Yama-jii gets taken out with one slash. I think the fact he didn’t even try and fight back just emphasizes the point that he knew there was nothing he could do. The look of confusion on his face was a nice touch. It’s as if he can’t comprehend what’s happening to him. A little bit of fight back would have been nice though. I think this is truly the end for the Captain-Commander.

All in all this was an amazing chapter and can’t wait for the next one!!

9/10