Lesley Aeschliman

Manga Review: Bleach Volume 64

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Bleach Volume 64 focuses on the battle that continues to rage between the Soul Reapers and the Quincies.

Bleach Volume 64

Bleach Volume 64

Written by: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: July 7, 2015

Volume 64 is completely set in one location. At the beginning, the focus is on Yachiru and Isane as they work at trying to heal wounded Soul Reapers. Their efforts are interrupted by the arrival of a grotesque-looking Quincy named Gwenael Lee. At first, he appears to be unstoppable, due to his abilities that allows him to “disappear.” But this encounter allows Yachiru to shine, and she surprises everyone with both her instincts and her Zanpakuto. Normally, Yachiru is just seen as the cute little companion who accompanies Kenpachi and doesn’t do much in fights. But Volume 64 allows the reader to see that Yachiru has her own talents that hadn’t been seen before in the series.

But the danger isn’t over with Gwenael’s defeat. A new Quincy named Gremmy arrives and his power is worse than Gwenael’s: whatever Gremmy imagines becomes reality. But just as things look bad for Yachiru and Isane, Kenpachi literally bursts his way onto the battlefield. After Kenpachi’s arrival, almost all of the rest of Bleach Volume 64 focuses on the battle between Gremmy and Kenpachi. As a way to stretch it out, Kubo used the tactic of building up the fight by having more and more outrageous attacks being thrown out until it feels like it’s reaching the point of ridiculousness. But even with this tactic being employed, I did appreciate how Kubo delved into Gremmy and his attitude of being undefeatable because of his power with his imagination. All I’ll say about the resolution of the battle is that I thought Gremmy ultimately got what he deserved.

Right at the end of Volume 64, four female Quincies with powerful or grotesque abilities arrive on the scene. Unfortunately, this particular battle doesn’t get very far when the volume ends. At least there’s a decent cliffhanger that will keep a reader interested in coming back to find out what happens.

Volume 64 focuses very heavily on the action, with only brief bits of backstory. Bleach fans who read the series for the action scenes won’t be disappointed by what they see here.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest weaknesses of Bleach Volume 64 is in its art. I know that a two-and-a-half year timeskip took place a little earlier in the series, but it feels like Kubo is drawing his characters with only minimal detail anymore. Also, it appears he’s not doing much with his backgrounds now, either. In earlier volumes of the series, it looked like Kubo spent much more time on drawing the characters and creating a “crisp” style for his art that helped to make Bleach stand out in the beginning. Also, earlier volumes didn’t seem to rely on white backgrounds in the panels as much. As someone who’s read quite a bit of Bleach, these newer volumes feel as if Kubo is rushing through the art simply to crank out chapters each week and make his deadlines.

If you’re still following Bleach at this point in the series and enjoy what you’ve been reading, then I would recommend reading Volume 64 in order to see what happens to Yachiru and Kenpachi. If you’ve been following Bleach in Weekly Shonen Jump, then you’ll already know what’s going on and would probably only want to read Volume 64 if you like this part of the story and want to experience it again.

The reviewer received a review copy from VIZ Media

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