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Pictures, finally.

[spoiler]Halibel don't look so bad. From the close-up, that is. Far distance she looks more like she's streaking.

If Toushiro is really dead[/spoiler] I'll give Bleach the title of being the 3rd best shonen series instead of One Piece, and Kubo gets the title of best writer for 2009.
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[SIZE="1"]Because a picture is worth a thousand loud cheers. I am also going to quote a trope title (though I may end up regretting it) in that he could not possibly have survived that.

[CENTER][IMG]http://img260.imageshack.us/img260/5603/355.png[/IMG][/CENTER]

Hali is, if anything, looking even better in her released form than normal (at least around the upper-chest, shoulders and face from what I can see) which makes a change of form for Kubo with his released (fanservice perhaps ?). Also I'm thinking "tomahawk" is not quite accurate to describe that monster of an axe Barrigan just withdrew. Seems that's where Nnoitra got his ideas from.[/SIZE]
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As long as there are healers on the good side, Toushiro will live... That's just a flesh wound to Kubo :)

But like I said, if Toushiro really is dead from that attack and can't be brought back, I will definately give Kubo the title of best writer of 2009.

I don't remember who brought it up the first time, about Kubo challenging editors of the anime, but I'm jumping on that ship now. As far as I know, I don't recall any humans-like characters in the anime being shown with body parts cut off and whatnot. First we have Matsumoto and her side/torso being ripped/punched out, and now Toushiro being sliced in 2. How will that be edited?

Oh, yes, that axe is huge. Gotta wonder if he's fast though. Catching Soi Fon just don't seem like an easy chore to chop her with that thing. But then again, I can see Omeda causing her to get cut. (I still have him pegged as an idiot.)
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[SIZE="1"]Several people have pointed out that Hachigen is on his way with the other Vizards and he'll probably take over the healing duty from Kira.

Dealing with Barrigan's fight against Soifon and Omaeda I wouldn't even consider the idea of that axe being a disadvantage given his rank among the Espada. Nnoitra wielded a similarly sized weapon as though it were a feather so to paraphrase Isshin size is no measure of a weapon's capability. I doubt as well Soifon's speed will give her a distinct advantage (if Zommari is to be believed that he was the fastest Espada), and we'll certainly see a bankai release from her. While I'm fairly ambivalent about Soifon overall her being killed in this fight would certainly be a nice change of pace.

Honestly if Kubo actually had the guts to kill off Hitsugaya, Hinamori, Matsumoto, Omaeda and Soifon for the sake of breaking the idea that the Gotei are going to come out of this unscathed (relatively speaking) I'd be very impressed. The Espada were supposed to be the mirror of the Vizard but right now they're looking far too weak as a group.[/SIZE]
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Remember, Kenny don't exactly dodge attacks, too much anyway. And Ichigo's an idiot. So I wouldn't really use Nnoitra in comparison. (Do I really need to throw Chad in this? XD) But I gotcha.

I'm not saying the bigguy's not going to catch Soifon with that axe (I'm not even saying that it's a disadvantage). I'm not willing to bank on either at the moment.

I think Zommari was lying through his teeth when he stated that he was the fastest espada. Especially after seeing the way Ulquiorra was fighting against Ichigo.

Oh yeah, there's been quite a few people at other forums talking about Halibel releasing entirely too early. (because of the whole, they release they die thing.) I think that's a breath of fresh air. Too see people cut to the chase and get things over with instead of seeing people drag things out with all the sandbagging. (She's become my new favorite because of that.) I know, I just complained about Ulquiorra releasing his 2nd form, but that was only because I didn't like the look of it. But I did like the trouncing he gave Ichigo :).
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[quote name='Magus']Oh yeah, there's been quite a few people at other forums talking about Halibel releasing entirely too early. (because of the whole, they release they die thing.) I think that's a breath of fresh air. Too see people cut to the chase and get things over with instead of seeing people drag things out with all the sandbagging. (She's become my new favorite because of that.) I know, I just complained about Ulquiorra releasing his 2nd form, but that was only because I didn't like the look of it. But I did like the trouncing he gave Ichigo :).[/QUOTE]

[SIZE="1"]I don't know, releasing too early ? Sort of sounds like the complaints made against Komamura for using his bankai against Pow, even if it similarly ended the battle in a single strike. But yeah I just reread the Pillar fights and they just seem a lot better paced by comparison to Ichigo's 10 chapters against Ulquiorra (also I'd forgotten how badass Kira was in his fight).[/SIZE]
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Yessir, too early. Of all things, complain about releasing too early... >_>

Also, how did you forget about Kira? That was his only shining moment. XD Him and Hisagi. I tend to skip the Komamura and Pow fight.

Anyway, finally got a chance to read the chapter. First the bad. Omaeda. While he didn't ruin it (not even close to it.), he was still annoying. Did we really need to be reminded about the limit removal? It was clear that it was approved from the moment everyone showed up. (As mean as it sounds, I hope he gets done in.)

Everything else was good. I know it's a bad comparison since Hitsugaya's involved, but I'm gonna do it anyway lol. At first I was thinking that there wasn't that much of a leap between Ulquiorra and Halibel.. (Not that big of a margin anyway.) But seeing an invisible attack from Halibel certainly changed my mind very quickly lol. (I'm pretty certain that Ulquiorra could do the same thing to Hitsugaya as well. XD) But still, kind of makes me wonder how big of a leap it is from 4 to 3. (Halibel's a lot more human-ish than Ulquiorra... Bah, she should've been #2.)

It also makes one wonder if the vaizards could really do anything against the top 3 espada. I know they're a lot more experienced than Ichigo, and we don't know if they know about that transformation or not, but that trouncing that Ichigo received from Ulquiorra with his mask has me wondering if they really are enough to handle them.

Finally see where Komamura is. (Ukitake's next.) Wonder if he's gonna try his hands at Halibel.
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[SIZE="1"]Yeah Omaeda is annoying but I have a sneaking suspicion I'd be a little saddened if the fat yuts actually was killed...only a little though.

Regarding the Vizard versus the Espada I think it would certainly be an interesting fight depending on who was involved. I mean just taking the former captains into account we're talking about four of Soul Society's top warriors who've had their powers further augmented through Hollowification and they've had a hundred years to master that new power. Shinji beat the stuffing out of Grimmjow using just his mask and regular sword. Ichigo might have more raw power than the other Vizard because he's the shounen protagonist but experience seems to count for a hell of a lot in the series.

Here's hoping we do get to see them in action soon.[/SIZE]
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Aww man, Halibel lost her scary mask jaw bit. That was my favourite bit of her character design and we got to see it for what, two chapters?

Of course, she's made up for it by bisecting Li'l Frosty :animesmil

It's unlikely he'll die - remember that old explanation about beheading being the only way to kill a Reaper for certain? - but last time we saw Kira he was struggling just to patch up Matsumoto's missing midriff, so he'll probably need help if he's going to reattach Hitsugaya's arm/leg/side at the same time. I'm VERY optimistic about a Vizard intervention. We haven't seen the Hueco Mundo Captains in a long while, but chances are they're being saved up to help Renji, Chad and Rukia deal with Colossal Yammy.

(Not forgetting Isshin, Urahara, Tatsuki, Keigo and Mizuiro either, of course. The former two - possibly three? - could have a part to play here too. Or perhaps they'll be waiting when the Blazing Fortress burns itself out and we discover Aizen and company have snuck off to Soul Society while no one's watching...)
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[SIZE="1"]Well this (next ?) week's spoilers are out hella early...

...and Hitsugaya is still alive and not only that but still has bankai and is apparently combat ready. Please excuse me while I go outside and scream loudly at the injustice of the world.

Better.

In addition Barrigan talks about the the "way of death" for each of the Espada, smacks Soifon about a little and then releases to become the most awesome looking Arrancar yet. Seriously Kubo has made up for every lame Espada release ever with this one character. [/SIZE]
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Err... Hitsugaya really thinks he's Byakuya. (Well, I suppose he does look up to him, trying to mimic his personality and all.) I really don't know what to make of him at this point. He shouldn't even be attempting to continue this fight, but then again, someone is suppose to stall her... [spoiler]This is really a bunch of garbage now.[/spoiler]

Barragan... That mask/face looks cool. I need more of a blow up picture to see the outfit though. I'll reserve my judgment about his release for the time being though.
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[SIZE="1"]I'm still kinda hoping that Kubo just brought him back to have Hali finish the job quickly to really plant the knife in that the captains aren't invincible against the big three. It's very unlikely at this point, almost as unlikely as Hali actually willing I suppose but I live in hope.

As for Barrigan, sure a proper view of his fully released form would be nice but Kubo would have to put in a heck of a lot of work to go from awesome to suckage.[/SIZE]
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Actually, now that there's some more images that's actually seeable, I can see why this boy is still alive. (Then again, I wonder if Chad, Renji, or Ishida were to receive that kind of slash would they be able to survive it?) That makes me wonder though... Does it rain in Soul Society? Is there water in Soul Society because I don't recall there being any water?
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[quote name='Magus']That makes me wonder though... Does it rain in Soul Society? Is there water in Soul Society because I don't recall there being any water?[/QUOTE]

[SIZE="1"]As far as I remember it started to rain just after Rukia killed Kaien, and although that's the only scene we've seen actual rainfall in the vegetation and small bodies of water shown at other points during the Soul Society arc hint at there being normal weather patterns.[/SIZE]
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Ah, I forgot about that one incident...

And finally got a little bit more info about the chapter. Toushiro, somehow, had the time to set up a mirrored illusion of himself getting slashed in two... (seriously? [spoiler]$@#@$[/spoiler]) I rather, liked my idea of him healing himself...

Barragan seems to be able to slow down time... (This might be the 2nd cheapest ability since Kyoka Suigetsu.)

And something someone posted at another forum, and I found it rather interesting...

[quote= Interview]
PWCW: Now that Bleach has been going on for a bit, how do you keep the adventure and the story fresh?

TK: I think it maintains a freshness because when I create manga, I don’t think about what’s going to happen—I just come up with an idea and let it flow. It’s a weekly installment, so I have a very short time to create manga, but the good thing is that because it’s short, I can come up with the idea and start creating it.

PWCW: Have you ever gotten yourself into a situation that made you say, “Uh-oh”?

TK: I don’t really face that kind of situation because it’s a long story and sometimes I forget what’s happened in the past, but I read the previous volumes of Bleach and that usually helps me to create and have a new idea.[/quote]
.....Yeah
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[SIZE="1"]As plotkai goes that mirror trick was about as lame as they come but at least he's learned something from Aizen and admits it was a one-time-only trick. Hopefully this will irritate Hali enough to just slice him in half again after their brief banter, if she is a Vasto Lorde like we expect (assuming Aizen's VLs are actually in the Espada and not being held back somewhere else which might explain his lack of care at the attrition he's suffered in recent battles) then Hitsu with his immature bankai shouldn't have the power to defeat her.

As for Barrigan it's really only an advantage against close combat enemies, anyone with long-range capabilities (like Byakuya) wouldn't really have a problem against him so long as he could keep his distance. Again if he's a Vasto Lorde it's not unthinkable to believe he'd have extreme power, given VLs are supposed to be matched only by top-tier captains and we've yet to see the full power of either Ukitake or Shunsui's shikai (let alone their bankai) and Yama-jii's is pretty close to HAX in it's powerlevel.

As for Kubo's admission he writes on the fly every week I'm seriously hoping that's just a joke otherwise it explains far too many inconsistencies too easily and means we'll never get them addressed properly.[/SIZE]
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Finally being able to read the chapter.... Ice mirror or Ice clone? Either way, I still find it on the bogus end "shrugs". Can't be helped.

I don't know about those interviews (nor those rankings), let alone, know where people get them from, but I suppose if I were to go by it, does that mean that Kubo's forgotten that Soifon has shunko?

You know, as glad as I am about the espada's releasing and whatnot, I really don't care to see Stark's release.. With them turning into animals, trees, skulls and stuff. Give or take Halibel's provacative release I just don't find them interesting. (Abilities and fighting capabilities are what keeps me interested in the espada.) I am highly more interested in seeing bankai's.

Speaking of abilities... Did Grimmjow ever state what he was known for? Like how Zommari stated that he's the fastest espada.. [spoiler]Lying sack of #%&^[/spoiler]
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I suppose you could say everyone's happy with this outcome: Hitsu fangirls get to stop crying now it's been revealed he's alive and has common sense (!!!), while the rest of us will always have this panel.

[center][img]http://img260.imageshack.us/img260/5603/355.png[/img][/center]
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[SIZE="1"]Well I'm still holding onto the hope Hali won't be killed off through some other plotkai for Shota-taichou, although his rampant popularity does lead one to suspect. Speaking from a point of abject logic he should still be badly outmatched by her.[/SIZE]
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[size=1]Of course he should still be outmatched, and by a large margin no less. Like I said, if Toushiro beats Halibel, I am done with this series.[/size]
___________________
Edit:

Well that was a fast release of the chapter. Does that mean no chapter next week?

Anyway, I can see this chapter getting on my nerves when animated because I can see the animators spending so much time on Barragan walking on rooftops. As far Barragan himself, I don't really have anything to say. His form looks better than every other espada... Kubo has no choice but to make Stark's release better looking than everyone else.

Halibel and Toushiro. Toushiro and Halibel. Heh, you would think Toushiro knew that it works both ways.. Toushiro's an idiot for that one. That should truly cost him big time. (I don't mean cost him as in having a scarred face or cuts.. He needs to lose a limb for that one, permanently, at the least.)
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[SIZE="1"]I think it just happened to be one of those weeks where they get the translated version a bit earlier than usual, there's been nothing said about no chapter next week anyway so I wouldn't worry about it.

Well that is there to say about this chapter aside from thank Christ Kubo is finally showing that some of the Espada are somewhat worthy of the hype he generated around them in the beginning. Barrigan is becoming more and more awesome with every page he's shown in (loving his Grim Reaper release, makes for major irony) and we might actually see a couple of casualties pretty soon if logic follows.

Had to laugh at Hitsu's arrogance being turned against him, and at least Kubo shot down the theory that he'll win just because he can control water.[/SIZE]
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Err... This boy's boasting is really getting on my nerves. I suppose he's showing us why he's considered a boy genius / prodigy. But still, I'm buying this at all. If Toushiro wins this fight then that means the espadas are a complete joke. (from 9 all the way down to 0) Ichigo's powerups can still be trampled by the captains.

I'm trying to hold out until this fight is over, but it's very hard to enjoy this series with the garbage Kubo's been putting out.
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[SIZE="1"]While I'm hoping Shota-taicho's new ultimate move doesn't work (or backfires for a laugh) I have the awful feeling we're about to witness the end of the current fight between the 3rd Espada and the 10th Division Captain with a victory for the latter. As you say Magnus if Hitsugaya does indeed win it will destroy any credibility left among the Espada unless Stark and Barrigan turn out to be the only two Vasto Lordes.

Interestingly enough there's debate on over what number Barrigan actually is, granted the number 2 is the only one yet to be shown, the fact his number has yet to come up and the sheer power of his abilities lead one to question if Kubo has been hiding something (much like Yammy).[/SIZE]
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Hah. No way is Harribel going down that easily. I'm hoping once she gets out, she takes notice of Hitsugaya's slip-of-the-tongue about his countdown timer, and just dodges around until it reaches zero and he turns into a snowman or whatever.

Also, I'd forgotten how exciting it is when a Captain says "bankai" for the first time.
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