Things are speeding up and we’re reaching the tailend of the story rapidly. This week we’ll be discussing up to episode 227, after which another large filler arc rears its ugly head and we just pretend it doesn’t exist like we so often do. Last recap we ended with the invasion of Karakura of Aizen and his gang with Ulquiorra left in charge of Las Noches. This part of the story focuses primarily on the world of the living.
To be a little bit more specific; Karakura’s replacement by a fake town is dependent on a set of pillars on the edge of town. Anything that’s within these pillars will stay in Soul Society, but if someone destroys the pillars, well, that might be bad. Aizen, Tosen and Ichimaru are locked up in a fiery attack by the Captain Commander himself and although I’m confident they could just break through it if they wanted to, they choose to wait it out. I think Aizen’s hubris is his biggest flaw, but if he doesn’t stay back during the rest of the fights it also wouldn’t make for as interesting of a story, so from a storytelling perspective it makes sense for him to wait and see. Meanwhile each of the four towers is attacked by a hollow and there is a quick moment where we’re left to wonder what is going to happen before it’s revealed that, of course, they wouldn’t leave such a crucial part of their plan unguarded. Four of the strongest lieutenants and seated officers that aren’t present at the main congregation were already stationed at the four towers. Yumichika and Ikakku from squad 11, Kira from squad 3 and Hisagi from squad 9. It has at this point been revealed, by the way, that Hisagi’s 69 tattoo is in honor of Kensei, who became a Visored 101 years ago. Nice.
Yumichika fights with Charlotte Chuhlhourne, which might be the only Welsh arrancar we’ve seen so far. Charlotte is a very feminine arrancar who deeply cares about being beautiful and Yumichika is similar in some ways but the two have a very different concept of what beauty is. Unfortunately for Yumichika, he quickly finds himself on the losing end. This is until Charlotte puts them both in a special ability to completely mask them from the outside, which allows Yumichika to use his real Shikai without losing his pride as a member of squad 11. Charlotte doesn’t stand a chance against this power. We switch over to Kira who is fighting against Abirama Redder, a birdlike arrancar who takes great pride in his wings that are heavy as steel. He taunts Kira about Gin betraying them, but Kira is unfazed and instead shows the proud arrancar what squad 3’s modus operandi is by instilling pure terror with his zanpakuto before mercilessly chopping off the arrancar’s head. The third fighter we jump to is Hisagi, who is fighting Findorr Callius. The latter can control his power level based on how much of his mask he breaks off. Hisagi then tells us his thoughts on fighting and how he thinks you should be scared of the tools you use for murder. He releases his shikai and easily overpowers his opponent. Unfortunately right around this time the fourth tower falls, meaning the remaining seated officer, Ikkaku, has lost their fight.
With the tower damaged, the area that’s moved to Soul Society is slowly returning. Luckily Komamura and Iba show up to save the day with specialized tools that were prepared in case one of the towers would fall. Komamura faces the fraccion that defeated Ikkaku and easily wins the fight here. Now Barragan sends his remaining two fracciones to fight with Soi Fon and Omaeda. Both of them hide their strength against the fairly strong arrancar but once they need to finish the fight they easily dispatch their foes. Matsumoto Rangiku has to fight against all three of Halibel’s Fracciones. The three of them easily keep her down and eventually Momo shows up to support her. Everyone is anxious for her to be on the battlefield but she is pretty strong and forces the three arrancar to use their trump card. Their trump card happens to be a super powerful beast they can summon called Ayon. Ayon almost kills Rangiku and heavily damages Momo. When Kira and Hisagi show up to help they also get hurt badly. When things look dire for our lieutenants Ayon suddenly gets heavily damaged. It turns out the Captain Commander is here to dish out some violence as well. He dispatches Ayon and the three arrancar pretty easily but they do seem to get away with their lives.
Now the stage is set for the three Espada, who all reveal their numbers at this point, to start their fight. Number 3 Halibel is fighting against Hitsugaya, number 2 Barragan is fighting against Soi Fon and Omaeda and number one Starrk is fighting against Kyoraku.On the other side of the veil we have Sado, Ishida, Renji and Rukia fighting the leader of the execution squad as well as some stray hollows outside of Las Noches.
Ichigo and Ulquiorra are still in the early stages of their clash. And that’s where we jump into the next big filler arc. I hope the pacing picks up from here because this part feels kind of slow to me. I’ll talk more about some parts of Bleach once the recap is done, for those who are interested, but for now we’ve gone through the early parts of this Karakura war arc and there’s only one big chunk of episodes left in this arc. If memory serves me right, a lot has to happen yet, so I’m optimistic about the pacing. Thanks for reading.