The battle continues as Captain Mayuri proves once again that he is completely psycho – and probably the only one who can deal with the particular opponents he’s facing. With this volume, things are never what they seem in all of the scenes as Kubo deftly weaves misdirections and subterfuges about the realities of several situations.
Story: Hitsugaya and others have been ‘zombified’ at their deaths by Giselle. They make for a fearsome army against the still-living defenders – until Mayuri steps in. Turns out he has an answer for Giselle’s unique powers – a very crazy, psychotic, but effective one. Meanwhile, Byakuya is up against Pepe – the love man who can influence any soul and control them (without their realization). But as with Giselle, Mayuri’s total lack of heart and soul make him the perfect foil to help Byakuya. While they fight, Ichigo assembles his original team (minus Uryu, of course) and the zero squad are faced against the elite Quincies – each with abilities perfectly matched to take out all obstacles. Or so they think….
We’re at the point now that the volumes are all non stop action – and since it is the final arc, familiar characters are being taken out right and left. More go down in this volume but it is also a tricky set of chapters since Kubo loves to switch up situations from what look like solid wins to big time losses. The action is happening at three levels: the focused elite Quincy assault inside, the chatoic battle outside with what’s left of the Gotei 13, and Ichigo’s small band including Yoruichi and Ganju mustering their forces. Chapters alternate between those three POVs.
As captains, co-captains, and favorite characters fall, it will be interesting to see who survives at the end. Kubo rarely lets someone just up and die gracefully and finally – so we can watch the body count with interest. The battle scenes in this series are all about shifting realities – so we don’t see interesting fight techniques so much as deaths – and then “or so you think…” rewinds. I’m hoping to see more straight battle action in upcoming chapters. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.