I adored this bit of the story in the manga, and I loved it in the anime too. Unfortunately, I've now watched right up to the point where the problems I have with the entire Soul Society arc begin to become noticeable. [livejournal.com profile] rilina, can I hit you up for more of the anime anyway? I have through # 27.



Ichigo and Ishida's awkward day-after lunch was possibly even funnier in the manga, but it was pretty darn funny in the anime. And Rukia's melancholy is even more affecting when you already know what's coming, and how long she'll be gone.

The five-way show-down when Byakuya and Renji come to take Rukia away is really effective. The pacing and tone shifting is excellent. It starts with some moments of comedy with Ishida's arrival with a sewing shop bag, and this classic exchange between Renji and Ichigo:

Renji: "What's with that ridiculously oversized zanpaku-to?"

Ichigo: "Oh, so it's big? I thought it was just bigger than Rukia's."

Then the fight between Renji and Ichigo follows the pattern we've seen before in the series: Ichigo seems outmatched, but summons strength from within to defeat his foe. But then Byakuya strikes him down without Ichigo even able see him, let alone fight back, and all anyone can do is what Rukia does: convince Byakuya not to finish him off, and leave Ichigo with cold words of unwelcome kindness.

Renji turning his zanpaku-to like a key to unlock the door to the Soul Society was so cool-- even cooler in anime than in the manga. But the moment right after was one of my favorites in the manga, and the anime didn't do it quite the same way: Ichigo is dying in the rain, unable to do anything but feel cold and pain, and his last thought, before everything goes black, is that the rain has stopped. And the reader sees, as he doesn't, that it's because Urahara has walked up and is standing over him with an umbrella.

I really don't want to know what Urahara's assistant was doing on top of Ichigo and under his blanket.

The entire training sequence is great. I love Urahara and his peculiar sense of humor, I love the strange little children, (is the red-headed one a girl or a boy? I can't tell), I had hysterics when Urahara got Ichigo to put on a headband and shout "Headband of justice!", and the bit where Ichigo emerged from the dust with shinigami robes and a Hollow mask was genuinely creepy. And I like Zangetsu and the upside-down world of Ichigo's soul-scape.

Everyone forgetting Rukia was so sad and creepy. I do wonder what was up with Ichigo's father-- Tatsuki can see ghosts, so she presumably figured out enough to know more or less what was going on, but I wonder how much Dr. Kurosaki was able to guess based on Ichigo's weird behavior. The family powers seem to come solely from the mother-- did she tell her husband a lot, a long time ago, or does he have some perception of his own?

The manga did more with the others who joined Ichigo. I really, really wish Tatsuki's powers had been fully activated so she could come along. I love her relationship with orihime, and I would have liked to see it play out at greater length and depth.

Yoruichi is great, and Ishida getting his cape stuck and then whipping out a spare will never fail to send me into hysterics. Unfortunately, where I left off is the interminable bit where they hang out with the annoying guy (Ganju?), who will undoubtedly be even more annoying in sound. I like his one-armed sister, but in retrospect, the whole sequence seems unnecessary and I wish he wasn't in the story so there would be more room for the other characters. (I know there's the whole thing with Rukia that comes up later, but I think that plotline could have been given to someone less annoying-- it's not like there's not characters to spare.)
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