Bleach: Can’t Fear Your Own World, Vol. 2

By Ryohgo Narita and Tite Kubo. Released in Japan by Shueisha. Released in North America by Viz Media. Translated by Jan Mitsuko Cash.

There was a lot in the first volume of Can’t Fear Your Own World, Ryohgo Narita’s sequel to Bleach, which made me nostalgic for the good old days of the popular Bleach franchise. This second volume, on the other hand, kind of makes me nostalgic for the bad old days of the Bleach franchise. That’s not to say this book is not well written – it’s quite good at what it does. But there’s a very, very large chunk of the middle of the book that can be summed up as “some guys fight, and some more guys show up to interrupt the fight, then different guys fight while the first fighters watch, and then new people show up to interrupt THIS fight”, etc etc., until there are about 25 or so people all standing around watching a very small boy on top of a very large monster get excited. And, gotta admit, this is also the Bleach experience. Love it or hate it, Bleach would not be Bleach without epic fights that take forever with no real purpose.

The book can essentially be divided into two parts. Back in Karakura Town, Hisagi is interviewing Urahara for his ongoing news report about the events of the last few months, and also sort of trying to get some information out of him. Sadly, they are interrupted by Aura, a Fullbringer who seems to be connected to the Big Bad of this volume, and whose powers are not really like the other Fullbringers we’ve seen before. (Did you know Orihime was a Fullbringer? No? Never heard it mentioned before this book.) She’s taking advantage of the main cast of Bleach being out of town (they are rescuing Karin and Yuzu from some unnamed issue) to do what Tokinada wants. Back in Soul Society, as I noted before, everyone wants to fight everyone else. This ends up dragging together Soul Society captains (Shinji, Kenpachi, Shunsui), Arrancar (Tia, Nel, Grimmjow), Quincy (I can’t remember any of them), and Fullbringers (Tsukishima, Ginjo, etc.), and they all team up to go try to stop the Big Bad, if only as he’s unlikely to let them fight each other.

As you can see, a lot of this book relies on you remembering what happened in the Thousand Year Blood War arc, which I am not. I cannot tell any of these goombaws who Mayuri has resurrected and essentially made into his gofers from another, and honestly even if I did, the text would not read much differently. In Baccano and Durarara!!, Narita just barely manages to make his huge cast memorable – sadly, here he’s working from Kubo’s prior failure at it. On the bright side, every page or two has an amusing fun bit that will make you smile and keep you reading. Hiyori shows up, and is exactly as you’d expect her to be – she’d kick the reader in the shins if she could. Urahara manages to be very in character, and uses the same stupid written in blood message AGAIN (as I said, very in character). And take a shot every time someone wishes Ichigo were there, except no, do not do that.

This book is HUGE, twice the size of the first one, and absolutely did not need to be that long. But, well, if you’re writing something true to the Bleach experience, go big or go home. I expect next volume will mostly consist of one giant fight over the course of 290 pages. I also expect Grimmjow will STILL not get to fight Ichigo.

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