Bleach – Volume 70 Review

The Bleach manga hits the big 7-0, and with only five more volumes after this one, does the storyline heat up for the big finale? Er… well, sort of…

The volume can be easily split into two. The first third of the book continues from where we left off in Volume 69, as two members of the villainous group of Quincy known as the Wandenreich’s Sternritter army are fighting each other, Bazz B and the second-in-command Haschwalth (our cover boy this volume). Their fight is interrupted by continued flashbacks from when they were young, showing how Haschwalth went from hating Yhwach to following him loyally, and how Bazz B resented him for it, although it’s clear during the battle in the present that they both still like each other, to a degree. As I mentioned in the last review, it’s nice to see the Quincy army get some character development, the black-page flashbacks were sorely missed.

Once that is over we switch to some brief scenes of some of the top-tier Sternritter Elite, known as the Schutzstaffel (that’s right, the Quincy Wandenreich Sternritter Schutzstaffel… Keeping up?) taking out lower-tier Shinigami characters (and Grimmjow from the Arrancar arc!) before we focus in on Squad 12 Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi and Squad 11 Captain Kenpachi Zaraki as they take on Sternritter Schutzstaffel member “C – The Compulsory” Pernida Parnkgjas… man, the sheer amount of red underscored lines in this one paragraph…

Anyway, this battle takes up the next two-thirds of the book, and without spoiling too much, those looking for more Kenpachi action will be disappointed, but those who want more insane scientist action from Mayuri will be pleased. If you’re familiar with earlier battles involving the Squad 12 Captain, you’ll be able to guess that, for one last time, we see him outsmart his opponent using ever increasingly impossible and zany creations, though his opponent this time is no ordinary foe… In fact I really want to tell you about him/it, but it’s funnier if you read the chapters without knowing… At the end of the volume we start to see some actual backstory on long-suffering 12th Squad lieutenant Nemu as she takes centre stage. It’s one of the last things on a imaginary checklist of stuff left to reveal before the story ends for good, so it’s nice to see.

As per usual the art is nicely detailed, and in the case of the Mayuri-Pernida fight, grossly detailed. Included at the back of the Volume is “Chapter 520.5. Walk Under Two Letters”, which is a six-page bonus chapter that was included in the still unavailable in English databook “13 BLADES”, so it’s nice to see it translated. It’s really a brief conversation between 9th Division Lieutenant Shuhei Hisagi and an old friend that doesn’t add much to the story, but it’s better to have it than to not…

So Volume 70 moves the story into the final “characters paired off in order to show new abilities or reveal new facts against new foes” scenario, and it is nice to have one last Mayuri crazy-off. Plus the Quincy backstory is a nice way to start, and it has the beginning of a big flashback reveal… so basically if you’ve been following Bleach for a good length of time, this is worth picking up, but if you haven’t… well, don’t start with Volume 70! Should go without saying…

8 / 10

Cold Cobra

Having watched anime since it was airing late night on the Sci-Fi channel in the late 90s, I consider myself… someone who’s watched a lot of anime, and then got hired to write reviews about them. Hooray!

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