Bleach 15 by Tite Kubo: B

From the back cover:
During a bloody confrontation with a sadistic Soul Reaper, Uryuu chooses a path that will temporarily grant him enormous power, at great personal cost. Meanwhile, Ichigo races to master a powerful technique that will help him fight Byakuya and, hopefully, save Rukia from execution.

I had tried to take a break from Bleach to read some Hana-Kimi, but I just couldn’t summon any interest in Nakatsu’s embarrassing mother when Uryuu’s battle was still unfinished.

The first few chapters bring resolution to Uryuu’s fight while also giving an explanation for the swanky new glove that he began sporting prior to the start of this arc. The fight with Kurotsuchi was pretty cool, though I particularly liked the end, when a thoroughly battered Uryuu thought he was going to be the one to rescue Rukia, only to run into yet another Soul Reaper captain.

Ichigo’s training segments were not really very interesting, but did lead to a very unexpected revelation—Urahara’s identity! It wasn’t a total surprise, but part of it was, and also made perfect sense. I also appreciated that the reason the now-imprisoned supporting cast had been kept alive also made sense (they’re wanted for questioning regarding Aizen’s death).

I usually like the murder subplot involving just the Soul Reapers, but it was a little slow this volume. The cliffhanger promises more action next time. While I’d like to know who killed Aizen, I’m really more interested in why, since that will provide the reason to actually care about the impact it’ll have on the Soul Society.

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