From the back cover:
Ichigo and all his friends are training like mad, spurred on by the looming threat of Aizen’s wicked plans. But while Uryuu and Chad increase their powers, Orihime finds out that she has to sit out the coming fight, leaving her friends without her protection. And Ichigo, despite his intensive training with the Vizards, can’t control his Hollowfied self long enough to battle. With the war against the Arrancars ramping up, can the team afford to have two fighters on the sidelines?
Aside from some mercifully brief “comedy,” this is a very strong volume. We actually see each member of the main cast as they are working on increasing their powers—Chad is battling with Renji, Uryuu (seems like ages since we’ve seen him!) and his dad finish their fight, Ichigo is working on extending the length of time he can remain Hollowfied, and Orihime is determined to fight even after being cautioned that she may not be cut out for combat. I particularly love Orihime’s determination and the fact that Rukia decides to help train her. The scene where a bunch of powerful folk are intimidated by her is pretty great, too!
The villains and their plot are still rather hokey, but since the focus is squarely on the characters, that doesn’t matter much. There’s a bunch of mumbo-jumbo about how some device has a hitherto-unmentioned ability to produce an Arrancar or something, and so a new, child-like opponent is introduced who is kind of neat. Also, the last few chapters are pretty great, since nearly everybody ends up in peril of some kind.
So, yeah. The plotting and the comedy are not really doing much of anything for me, but mild-mannered characters growing the determination to fight and Ichigo showing signs of genuine badassitude offer enough entertainment value to make up the difference.