Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Bleach 123

Last we looked, we deeply suspected that Ichigo was about to get beaten up by Hiyori, which is exactly what happens. He refuses to bring out his Hollow, and Hiyori handles him quite easily until he passes out. Naturally, this awakens that selfsame Hollow, which proceeds to grab the l'il Vizard by the neck so that it can choke the life out of her. Hiyori's fellow Vizards come to the rescue. She's left crying and shaking like a little girl, and Shinji says that they'll train Ichigo. Gosh, he should have just asked.

Back at Ichigo's house, his family is worried sick, even though some of them are trying to act all blasé about it. Rukia stands on the roof a bit, and even Kon, their stuffed animal mascot, starts to think that Ichigo is being a dick.

It turns out that Ichigo's training involves standing in a Nordic track kind of exercise machine for hours and hours, extending even unto days. The rest of the Vizard just stand around watching him and making small talk amongst themselves. We learn a few of their names. Frankly, I don't care who they are, except for Lisa, the dark-haired girl in the glasses, who I marked out last time as my favorite new character. Naturally, my choice was correct, as we see her staring intently at a magazine filled with swimsuit models (which by definition makes her the best Vizard ever) and counting out time for Ichigo. So, she's absent-mindedly saying "one, two, one, two" and reading her girly magazine, and I pretty much instantly fall in love. And if you're one of those people who prudishly say "You can't in love (wuv) with a cartoon character," then I really feel sorry for you.

Ichigo, taunted by the counting, frustrated beyond belief, decides that he's had enough and throws the exercise machine at Shinji. Hence begins one of Bleach's trademark goofy scenes, where characters just yell at each other for no reason. There's even circus music, and you expect clowns to start jumping out of little cars. Sometimes it's funny, usually not. This goofiness rates a "blah," and only because it features Hiyori repeatedly slapping Ichigo with her sandal.

Ichigo finally says that he isn't going to work on the machine anymore because it's useless. Apparently, it's designed to sap spiritual energy. Ichigo can tell that the Vizard want him completely drained and tired when they begin training him, but, see, he's so freakin' strong that he could ride the machine for days, and he doesn't have time to waste on crap like that. Then Shinji starts to yell. He reveals that he and the Vizard know all about Aizen and the arrancar, so Ichigo doesn't need to pout about "not having any time." Nevertheles, Shinji decides to accelerate the training anyway, since Ichigo seems able to speed up the normal training process anyway.

Clearly, Shinji and the others know a lot more than they're letting on. So we have to ask how? And why? And what are they going to do about it? Ichigo is rendered unconscious and everyone goes into a huge underground chamber. The pink-haired guy, Hachi, wraps Ichigo in some powerful binding spells. Then they all sit down to have some sandwiches.

Though unconscious and magically restrained in the real world, the spiritual Ichigo returns to his inner realm, where buildings stand on the side and sometimes it rains a little. But a little fall of rain can hardly hurt me now, right, Eponine? Ichigo looks around for the old man who lives in his sword, Zangetsu, but all he finds is Reverse Ichigo, his own inner Hollow. Ichigo asks where the old man--Zangetsu--is, but Reverse Ichigo explains that he is Zangetsu! And they start fighting. Zounds!

Back in the real world, Ichigo's body wakes up, easily breaking through the binding spells. He's wearing his Hollow mask and hissing a lot, so this must be pretty bad. Luckily, he's still in this little containment field. And that's when Lisa stands up. She volunteers to go inside. Shinji tells her not to kill him, but she's hoping that Ichigo don't kill her first. She enters the field, draws her sword and introduces herself, and Hollow Ichigo attacks! I hope Lisa is okay!

Real Ichigo is meanwhile fighting Reverse Ichigo and wants to end the fight quickly. He begins to summon his bankai, and that's when Reverse Ichigo begins to do the same.

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