Aug 11, 2008
Bleach Volume 7: The Entry. Directed by Norikyuki Abe. Series Composition by Masashi Sogo. Published by Viz Video, List Price: $24.98.
Ichigo is finally able to make a cannonball, the art needed to pierce the shield surrounding the Seireitei, the fortress of the Soul Reapers. He is able to do this after getting a few pointers from Ganju. He was the last one of his group comprised of Orihime, Chad, and Ishida that had yet to master it. And he still hasn't. While his cannonball packs a lot of power he lacks the skill needed to keep it under control so it tends to explode in his face. Nonetheless, time is running out for Rukia, and the group must rescue her before she is executed. Things don't go as planned when the cannonball gets stuck in the Soul Reaper shield, which causes it to explode and seperate our heroes. Chad and Yoruichi are by themselves, while Ishida is teamed up with the ever stumbling, ever ditzy Orihime. Ichigo lands with Ganju by his side, and they are the first to have to fight Soul Reapers, as they face off against the psychotic Ikkaku (he's not crazy, he just really likes to fight) and the overly vain Yumichika who is all about his looks. Even though both of them seem to have some major psychological hangups, make no mistake, they are deadly fighters, and perhaps too powerful for Ichigo and Ganju to handle.
You knew that Ichigo and friends were never going to make it to the Seireitei without getting seperated didn't you? Of course they had to be split up. It wouldn't have been any fun if they had arrived en masse and just started slugging their way to the tower where Rukia is being held. No, they had to be split up so their powers could be diluted and they would have to face foes whose powers might be stronger on an individual level. Through these battles we get to see if our main characters have indeed grown stronger or whether they've just been talking the talk. It's great to see them all rise to the challenge, albeit in very different ways. For example, Ichigo relies on his enormous spiritual energy and his enemy's tendency to underestimate his skills while Ganju uses his speed, wit, and guile to fight. Volume 7 of Bleach was quite good in spite of the fact that maybe some of the fights were a bit too long. But Noriyuki Abe keeps you engaged with some very well orchestrated battle sequences, choreographed with little or no static action lines. He always keeps a sense of coolness about the characters as he reveals their new powers with dramatic relish.
My Grade: A