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Bleach, Season Nine #2 PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Monday, 03 September 2012 00:00
We're back in the afterlife for the conclusion of our little detour into the affairs of the Kasumioji clan, and it seems that the clean-cut Amagai knows more than he's letting on about what the clan's been up to. Anyone surprised by this, raise your hands...

While Kumoi steps up his efforts to secure control of the Kasumioji clan, eventually kidnapping Rurichiyo and sending further waves of assassins after her protectors, suspicion begins to rise amongst some of the Soul Reapers that the clan is up to no goog - but efforts to persuade head Soul Reaper Yamamoto that something is wrong seem to fall on deaf ears. The only person who'll listen is Amagai, who eventually joins forces with Ichigo and Rukia to find out what's really going on- except it soon turns out that he already knows, and may just have been behind the whole scheme all along...

::checks around:: Nope, no hands. Didn't expect any, either. While there was clear space last volume between Amagai's arrival in Squad 3 and the problems Rurichiyo has having with her clan, it didn't take a genius to realise that at some point there'd be a coming-together of the two threads - and so when Amagai's trusted friend Kifune is spotted in the Kasumioji compound, at least one of the Shinigami - Kira - is smart enough to put two and two together and figure out that he's up to no good. Convincing pretty much anyone else of that, though, proves more difficult - and had me scratching my head at several points over the volume about just how subservient to their orders (or just plain dumb, if you're feeling less charitable) the various squad captains and lieutenants can be.

To the point where, at one stage in this disc, we have Ichigo on the run from a small handful of Soul Reapers, all by now on friendly terms with him but who, having been given orders to treat him as a traitor, are quite happy to hunt him down without listening to his side of the story. There's some handwaving at the end of the arc to show that this was all part of a greater plan to do somethingsomething, but it all seems a bit... contrived.

It's not that the arc's overall plot was that great, anyway. Rurichiyo's problems turn out to almost be a sideshow, a distraction from the main event of learning what her usurper Kumoi is really up to and what Amagai has been making use of the clan for - her appearances this time around are limited to a few damsel-in-distress cameos, which is a real shame. She me have been one annoying ojousama, but at least she could think for herself most of the time. As for Amagai, he's revealed to have been making plans to do Bad Stuff for quite some time now, with his reasoning for doing so being well explained and believable - I did at one point believe he was a great case of righteous anger at work, and fully justified in what he was doing. Without wanting to spoil too much, though, his reasoning is eventually ripped from underneath him in a plot "twist" that pretty much undoes the whole point of the arc.

It's telling that the most entertaining part of this set was the next-ep-preview on the final episode, where Orihime, Ichigo and the gang team up to remind us that, before taking a detour for this arc, we were right in the middle of a daring attempt to rescue Orihime from Aizen. Sorry for the delay, we'll get back to that next episode. Ah, the joys of filler.

It's not so much that this arc has been bad, as such. There's a lot about it that was good, in isolation, and if it had been played out better - without the "twists" and with a little more forethought, perhaps - the foundations were there for a good story. It just didn't come together that way. Disappointing? You bet. Hopefully we'll be back to better things next volume.

Rating - **