Bleach Recap #3: The best that Shonen has to offer?

I don’t say this lightly, but after finishing this part of the anime I really had to sit down and think if I could think of more hype moments than the best that Bleach has to offer. There’s some that came to mind, some of which I discounted, but it really only boils down to the walk to Arlong Park and the Enies Lobby scene, both from One Piece, which feels unfair. But let’s go back a little bit to where we last left off before diving straight into the absolute hype that was these episodes of Bleach.

Yachiru is a menace

Two major plot elements are currently happening in the show. One one hand we have the Soul Society dealing with the death of Aizen, the possible betrayal of Ichimaru or Hitsugaya, Momo sure hasn’t figured it out yet, and whatever weird things are happening at central 46. There’s a lot of people who have thoughts on the matter and have their own plans. Meanwhile Ishida, Sado, Orihime, Hanataro and Ganju get broken out of jail by Kenpachi and Yachiru because they’re cool like that. They run into Tousen and Komamura on the way to Rukia’s execution site. Ikkaku and Yumechika are taking care of their respective lieutenants while Kenpachi fights both captains head-on. The fight ends with Tousen and Komamura leaving due to a disturbance at the execution site.

Ichimaru and Hitsugaya ready to throw down!

Somewhere off to the side of all of this, Hitsugaya had a run-in with Kira, Momo and Gin, who has tricked Momo into believing that Hitsugaya is a bad guy. Frustrated with how things going and following up on a suspicion he already had, Hitsugaya makes his way to Central 46, the SCOTUS of Soul Society. Matsumoto is with him and the two make their way inside where they find Ichimaru Gin and Sosuke Aizen, who has just badly wounded Momo. It turns out he was alive all along and has been plotting something. Hitsugaya fights Aizen but is easily defeated and as Aizen and Gin leave, Unohana arrives. She heals up Momo and Hitsugaya best she can.

Meanwhile, Ichigo has been training for his bankai and after his training is done, he heads to where Rukia is as well. He cuts up the execution place, blocks the halberd and takes Rukia with him, defying all of the captains. He then tosses Rukia to Renji who is tasked with escaping this place. Three vice captains, of squad four (this is before Unohana went to Central 46), squad one and squad two, go after Renji but Ichigo defeats all three without using a weapon. He then gets to fight Kuchiki Byakuya.
In this arc we’ve also gotten some backstory for both Renji and Rukia, who grew up together in the slumbs before joining the Gotei 13.

At the same time (yes, this arc is crazy), Kyoraku and Ukitake have staged what is basically a mutiny, in an attempt to save Rukia. They both realize something is amiss as well and go against Yamamoto Genryuusai’s will, who just does what Central 46 dictates. The three clash and it’s looking really bad for our two captains, since Yamamoto is an absolute beast. Think Netero from Hunter x Hunter but with more fire. 

These two are always hype whenever they show up.

My favorite moments of this arc are when Ichigo shows up to save Rukia and a moment that we’ll get to later. But I can’t ignore that for a lot of people the fight between Byakuya and Ichigo is absolutely a highlight. And it’s an amazing fight. Both reveal their bankai and fight a close match, where both take a ton of damage and Byakuya considers Ichigo the winner. We get a bit more insight into Byakuya’s thinking here (and later, but let me consolidate the information a bit). Rukia is his wife’s little sister. After his wife’s passing he wanted to find her. He promised to never break a law again. Which makes this arc particularly cruel for him as the laws he’s been following came from Aizen, a traitor, as opposed to the actual lawmakers of central 46. 

It’s the IchiGOAT

Speaking of Aizen. Right as Ichigo and Byakuya are weakened, Kenpachi is tired from fighting, Unohana and Hitsugaya are out of it and both Kyoraku and Ukitake are preoccupied with Yamamoto, now is when Aizen, Gin & Tousen show up and reveal their big plan. You see, there is a reason why Rukia got so weak and was hard to find in the human world. Urahara Kisuke hid a very powerful artifact in her gigai, because it was too dangerous to use. We’ll learn throughout this story that a lot of what is wrong in the world is probably Urahara’s fault in some way. Either way, this powerful artifact, the Hogyoku, allows a soul reaper to attain hollow powers. This gets important later on as well, so take note of it. Komamura shows up to challenge them, because Tousen is his close friend, but Aizen defeats him with ease. It turns out he’s crazy strong. We find out throughout this arc that even though they call Kenpachi the strongest captain, I’m pretty sure at this point that half the captains would take him out. He does probably have the most physical strength though. Everyone who’s still able shows up to fight Aizen, but the trio escapes with the Hogyoku and ascend into Hueco Mundo, the world where the Hollows live. Ichigo and friends end up making it out alive and the problems are put on hold for now. 

They running away.

So there we have it. Everyone is safe and sound and the bad guys have all left. And now a word from our sponsors: The Bount arc. In all honesty, I was planning to cover the fillers as well, but after watching about five or so of the first episodes I got so incredibly bored that I had to give up. It went from Ichigo having clashes with two captains of the Soul Society to losing to a geezer with a snake pet. It was pretty awful. Instead I moved on to episode 109, where the story picks up again. Next review will cover that, but in between I’ll do a post about the squads, their captains and members at the end of this arc. I’ll do another update on that at the end of the anime going into the final arc. For now, I’m still really enjoying this rewatch, definitely when I’m skipping the fillers. The next arc is already shaping up great, I forgot how good Bleach was. Thanks for reading.

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