Bleach Volume 15 focuses on Ichigo Kurosaki, a 15-year-old boy who has the ability to see ghosts. His life changes when he meets a Soul Reaper named Rukia Kuchiki and accidentally absorbs all of her spiritual power in order to save his family from a Hollow. Unfortunately, Rukia is taken back to Soul Society to face punishment for transferring her powers to a human. She faces execution, and Ichigo and friends go to Soul Society in an attempt to rescue her.
Volume 15 continues the battle between Uryu and Mayuri, and it also includes some important backstory for Uryu. I appreciated getting to see this backstory, because it helped me to better understand Uryu and his motivations as a character. The climax of their battle is rather surprising, especially Nemu’s reactions to what transpired.
Another important development in Bleach Volume 15 is the training that Yoruichi has Ichigo undergo. While this takes him out of the main action, the point of it is for Ichigo to become stronger and to be better able to fight with Zangetsu. This section also provides an important piece of information about Kisuke Urahara, as well as an amusing bit of humor between Ichigo and Yoruichi. In a lot of respects, this section featuring on the training provides a nice break from the fighting that’s been taking place in Soul Society.
Some of the Soul Reapers find themselves embroiled in the investigation into the murder of Aizen, and this section of the story includes some unexpected twists and turns. This volume begins to shed some light on some of the various Soul Reapers that seemed to start popping up left and right when Ichigo and the others entered Soul Society. If there’s one issue with Bleach at this point, it’s the fact that during this story arc, a whole bunch of new characters started showing up in rapid-fire succession, with little to no character development given to any of them. Fortunately, Volume 15 begins providing some slow but steady development for some of these characters.
At the end of Bleach Volume 15, there’s a standalone story included that takes place in Soul Society in the past. It focuses on Izuru, Momo, and Renji in the elite class as they’re starting out at the Soul Reaper Academy. We get to see them participating in training the World of the Living, and how it goes horribly wrong. This standalone story adds even more development for characters like Momo, Izuru, and Renji, especially in how Gin and Aizen played an important role in a couple of these characters’ lives. It also explains a lot about Izuru’s reaction to something he did in an earlier volume of the series. But my favorite part of this standalone story was getting to see Izuru, Momo, and Renji when they were much younger. Izuru was the most interesting one, though, because he looks so drastically different here than he does in the present time in the series.
While it may not feel like when you’re reading Volume 15, you realize after you’re done that a lot has actually happened and that important pieces of information have been revealed. And with the way this volume ends, it’s becoming clearer that this story arc appears to be rapidly heading toward its climax. And I get the feeling that Ichigo’s training is going to play an important role in the next volume of the series.
Readers who have been reading and following the series from the first volume should be able to appreciate everything that takes place in Bleach Volumr 15. And the way this volume ends, it makes the reader want to continue on in order to find out what’s going to happen to several of the characters.