A Personal Review and Opinions on the HM Arc

Solar Bankai

In a War against Fail
I thought I would take the time to do a personal review of the Hueco Mundo Arc, since it appears to be coming to a dramatic close. It has had its ups, downs, apparent lack of plot, poor fights and great fights. We have seen death (although no one good, sadly) and we have seen some great new characters. I am going to say right now that I enjoyed this arc. Sure, it had its similarities to the SS Arc, but in the end, it was quite different.

So, I?ll start off with the plot, because this is the easiest bit to go for. In plot terms, it appeared that damn all happened throughout the whole arc. We had Ichigo and co. fighting their way into Las Noches, beating up and being beaten themselves by Arrancar. We had a few twists ? Aaroniero for example, and the slightly predictable yet interesting arrival of the Captains - but overall it seemed quite superfluous at times. Yet Aizen made it all come together in recent chapters. He did it all to get Ichigo and some Captains trapped, and more importantly, he has those same Captains injured and left within the Hueco Mundo. He lost a few Espada in the process, but whenever you look at it overall, he seems to have trapped about seven Captain level characters in exchange for four Espada. For the evil mastermind, that?s not a bad trade.

Plot is never the big thing anyway in Bleach, but taking it as a whole, rather than a week by week thing, and the whole thing is not too bad. Its no masterpiece of a plot, but it works for the purpose. Personally, I don?t think it deserves quite the reputation it has.

This is contrasted by the volume of fights within the arc. There are quite a few battles in this particular arc of Bleach, some of them major, some not, and contrary to belief, only one of them is really logic-breaking. So I will start there.

Damn you Dordonni.:pek

This guy is almost solely responsible for making Ichigo look like a complete idiot when in Shikai and is the main fuel for the belief that logic has been shattered in Bleach. But Shikai Ichigo is not the issue here. It?s Dordonni himself. By feats that guy is actually better than quite a few other characters introduced. He made a joke of Shikai Ichigo; let?s face it ? whilst Rukia could very nearly have damaged Aaroniero quite badly. Given her performance against Aaroniero, I don?t think it would be such a stretch of the imagination to say Shikai Ichigo could do rather well against him. And Szayel Aporro?s base form could be hurt by Shikai Renji, who we know is far worse than Shikai Ichigo. So, Dordonni, Aizen just hates you and you should not be Privaron.

The other Privaron battles were good entertainment and showcased the abilities of Ishida and Chad rather well. Sadly for Chad he ran into Noitora right after, and Ishida went after King Hax. Whereupon both were promptly made jokes of, and Espada hype rose a notch higher. I guess I will say this now ? by performance in ALL their fights, Grimmjow, Noitora and Szayel did FANTASTICALLY well. There should be no complaining that any of them got jobbed to death, as should hopefully become apparent soon.

Then we have a great ?fight? that still causes arguments, and shall continue to do so until Ichigo ends Ulquiorra. Yes, Ulquiorra vs Ichigo was short and ended in total domination, yet it followed logic. Ulquiorra admitted long ago that Ichigo at his top form was stronger than him. And what did Vizard Ichigo do? He pushed Ulquiorra through a series of pillars with sheer strength, and fired an attack that Ulquiorra could not stop, even if it did nothing. Ichigo needs to get over Ulquiorra?s hierro ? once that is done, now that he has increased time as a Vizard, we should see a truly epic battle.

However, Ulquiorra lived up to his own hype and ripped a mere Bankai Ichigo to shreds, proving the gap between him and the likes of Grimmjow is fairly massive. This is good, as Kubo seems to be portraying Ulquiorra as a Vasto Lorde ? as an Arrancar, destroying a Mid Captain level Shinigami so easily is good.

Through all this we have the Szayel fight. Keeping track of this was difficult due to the way it appeared randomly through the chapters, and although it seemed ridiculous how Szayel kept pulling through, for sheer entertainment he can?t be faulted. Szayel was a great character, and it made for an interesting back-fight between the more ?major? ones. You could call it boring, I suppose, but then, you would be calling the various creative ways he escaped boring too. Szayel?s fight was NOT about a show of ?let?s kick people through buildings?. It was a show of ?I am better than you?. It?s just a string of chapters about Szayel being a smart bastard, and to me, that?s better than normal random fighting.

Proceeding to the showdown between Grimmjow and Ichigo, my recommendation here is to read the whole thing in one go. As it is a protracted fight, it is obviously not going to have major developments each week, so again this is something you could call boring. But this fight had violence, destruction, back-story, and was not punctuated with plot haxing. Don?t forget! Ichigo was starting to have FUN in that battle, much like Kenpachi ? Orihime called him back to his senses. That?s the reason the tides turned. It was not a random boost. Overall, this is one of the best fights in Bleach, in my personal opinion.

The next two fights, however, I think are a fairly low point of this arc, simply because they did not need to be as protracted as they were. When Noitora showed up, he should have finished Ichigo quickly rather than toying with him. The chapters of this fight were entirely unnecessary and only someone who enjoys watching Ichigo get kicked around would like them. As for the Nell battle?an interesting twist, but again, a lot was unnecessary. The back-story was good and provided an insight into their characters, and a bit of background to the history of the Espada, the fight itself was just random and ended suddenly with Nell reverting to child form. It also gave Nell an awful release that looks totally battle unworthy.

And now for the Captains arrival. Fun and joy, thus began the cries of the haters who claimed and continue to claim the death of logic and all that is good in Bleach.

Well, I find nothing wrong with any of the fights based off each Captain?s last seen performance. And in finding nothing wrong, I think it was good to see Szayel and Noitora get beaten at last for their confidence.

Zomari seems like a character introduced for the laughs. Seriously. The guy was so afflicted with stupidity. He could have defeated Byakuya with continued use of speed in base form, or by taking over his head in released form. He did neither. He deserved to lose. People often complain about how Ichigo > Byakuya, and Grimmjow > Ichigo, and Zomari, of course, was just below Grimmjow. Well guess what? Ulquiorra and Noitora are two and one steps ahead of Grimmjow respectively, and Grimmjow would not be able to defeat (possibly even hurt) either if his life depended on it. So Zomari can be infinitely less than Grimmjow and still be 7th. Espada are ranked on destructive capability after all. Szayel is not very destructive. Yammy can do destruction but he will probably hit the wrong target, which is not useful at all.

The point is, Byakuya deserved to win.

Mayuri had all the cards going against Szayel. When it is two guys who rely on holding the cards, and one of them has a few up his sleeve whilst the other has a deck in his pocket, it?s not a real contest. This was great, because it allowed me to appreciate how awesome Mayuri actually is. And if a battle makes you appreciate how awesome a character is, you know it has done well.
And last, Kenpachi. The haters/general masses have had a great time criticising this fight for bad writing, character destruction, lack of logic, etc, etc. The main issue people seem to raise is, how does Kenpachi, a guy defeated by Ichigo, defeat Noitora, the 5th Espada? Thus began the raging flow of cries about plotkai, jobbing, random power boosts, etc, etc. All about how Kenpachi had suddenly become way stronger than he was against Ichigo.

Sorry guys, your complaints are 167 chapters too late.

Kenpachi was kicking the shit out of two Captains in the last fight we saw him in. Two Captains. Oh, and for reference, that was with one hand, eyepatch on, against them both using two hands. So, for Noitora to fight equally with Kenpachi as we last saw him, he would have to be twice as strong as what appears to be an average Captain. Now, to me, the fact he fought for so long against patched Kenpachi in base form is rather impressive. He is an Average Captain killer in base form. Not just a beater like Grimmjow, who could fight pretty equally with Bankai Ichigo in their last fight, but a killer. After all, patched Kenpachi 1v1 with Shikai Komamura would not have been good for the fox. And just look at the fight between Noitora and Kenpachi ? crazy grins aplenty, stylish moves, and two guys who just want to kick the shit out of each other. Is that really a bad thing?

Second complaint people have is, and can be summarised with, lol kendo. Time for some simple maths. Patched Kenpachi was stronger than Sealed Noitora, One hand Vs Two. He was also stronger than two Captains, essentially one hand vs two hands for Komamura, two hands for Tousen. So patchless, he should be 2x stronger, shall we say, and thus one hand should be stronger than four of Noitora?s hands, or four of Komamura?s hands (does not have) plus four of Tousen?s hands (does not have). Although Noitora got a boost, once Kenpachi started trying, he actually could pressure Noitora using all four arms ? see Chapter 310.

Finally then, Kenpachi using two hands should get another 2x power boost. This would be stronger than eight Noitora hands, or eight Komamura hands (lol) plus eight Tousen hands (again, lol). Yes, that is 16x more powerful than a regular Captain swinging his Zanpakuto at you with both hands. Lol Kendo indeed.

Kenpachi vs Noitora was a great fight.

And that rounds up the fights. Some were good, some not quite so good, but reading a whole fight at once rather than reading weekly is far better. I don?t feel we lost anything in Bleach due to these fights.

The Character development we have got has been good too. Noitora has been portrayed as a very tragic character, quite unexpected, Grimmjow a king unwilling to eat his friends, Nell an example of a kind Arrancar. With this interlaced with the fights, we were learning about characters as well as seeing what they could do.

And taking all this into context of new chapters, I think the Hueco Mundo has been quite a good beginning of the end.
Except for your comments on Nel and her release form I agree with you.

However you failed to bring in the humor of Nell, Pesche and Doddonchaka.
Solar Bankai speaks the truth, as always.

I might as well join the Nell bandwagon and put in my two cents, although pretty much all you've said is good. Nell's lance is a ranged weapon, she throws it, it hits things, things die. As a former number 3 Espada, I wouldn't be surprised if she could direct the lance's movements to chase after foes, and with the speed it has, it's deadly.

Also, as for battle worthy - I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say Nell could walk on the air. And in a Centaur form, what's the best movement she has? Circling. With four legs (faster than two :LOS) she can circle her opponents and move/jump pretty damn well by putting enough strength into it. I wouldn't be surprised if she could move at quite an impressive speed, if she ever does Release again.

So circle an opponent, hound them with her Lance, add a few ceros and bala, that's a nasty fighting style. The only reason we think she's slow is because she didn't need to move against Nnoi, she threw her lance and then closed the gap on him. And she did it pretty fast, considering the lance went quite a way, and she was right in front of Nnoi a few moments after he was hit.
Agreed with pretty much everything except for one point that i already adressed in a PM :LOS.

Reps for this as it was alot of effort and a good read.
well the most exciting part was for me ichigo vs ulq and ichigo vs GJ, i loved when he upgraded his mask, it got moer shaded and he kept it on longer... also chad's sudden onsent of hollow arms was amazing, and i guess mayuri vs syzael was cool too
Reading manga in batches always increases enjoyment and reduces complaints. HM arc is no different.

Here in NF, however, we're stuck with a weeklong break between chapters. This gives us plenty of time to sniff out every little inconsistency and fallacy, and complain of course. :LOS
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