It’s sure been a while, hasn’t it? The final episode of Bleach dropped in March 2012. Over a decade ago. I was still studying business economics at uni, not even the slightest hint of an idea that I would one day become a teacher. At that point in time I knew about my autism for less than half a year. That’s strange to think about, because it’s such a big part of who I am now. And now, ten years later, we get more Bleach. Having almost completely rewatched the old show, fillers aside, I’ve built up a hesitant hype for this new season. We all know Kubo’s writing and quality started declining and it’s no secret that Bleach ended in big part due to the ratings going lower and lower. Having said that, as a manga reader I am still very excited to see this part of the story animated. Without wasting any more of your time, let’s dive back into Karakura Town, Soul Society and the lives of Kurosaki Ichigo and his friends!
The confined Quincy king regains his pulse after 900 years. His mind after 90 years. His strength after 9 years and…
There’s more to that quote, but we’ll get to that later. Kurotsuchi has immediately figured out who’s responsible for the vanishing of Hollows. We’ve heard talk about this way back in the day as well. Soul Reapers purify hollows but Quincy erase them completely. We move to two completely unfamiliar Soul Reapers in Karakura town about to deal with some of the Hollow problems. They’re here to make it so Ichigo doesn’t have to solve everything on hits own. Holy cow, Karakura town looks different. It looks way more modern and eerie in a way. Old Karakura town looked colorful and had an almost rural aesthetic to it for a town that size. I know animation and art direction has come a long way since Bleach first started airing 20 years ago, but the Hollow we see right at the start reminds me more of a Ghoul from Tokyo Ghoul and less of a Hollow. Our new Soul Reaper is on his way to find his friend, but it’s not looking great for either of them right from the get go. Why did Soul Society send two rookies to deal with what is clearly an advanced problem. Have they learned nothing in the time we were away? Incompetents until the end. Luckily, the gang’s all here to solve the problem. Orihime, Sado, Ishida and Ichigo walk into one of the most nostalgic soundtracks I can imagine.
Sado destroys a building by punching a Hollow. Ishida is looking pretty good with his longer hari and new clothes. He was always the most stylish of the bunch. Orihime heals the wounded Shinigami with her world breaking powers that were never quite utilized enough. And Ichigo gives us a great BAN.. KAI.. from the get go followed by a Getsuga. It’s like Christmas morning here. I also love how similar the voices still sound. I feel like Midoriya’s voice from My Hero aged more in two years than this cast did in a decade. Everyone’s gathered up in Ichigo’s room which looks a lot more modern as well. They’re having lunch with their new Shinigami friends when a creepy guy steps in through the window. This is why you put locks on your windows! Now you have these folks climbing in your windows, snatching yo people up.
Asguiaro Ebern. I believe that’s only the third Quincy we’ve seen so far, not counting the menacing man who did the quote earlier in the post. The gang thinks he’s an arrancar, mainly because they have no idea that more Quincy still exist in the world. This does piss off Ebern quite a bit. Ichigo is surprised by the reveal.
We cut to the Rukon district where Ikkaku and Yumichika are investigating something with their squad. It turns out the entire area has been spirited away. The last time that happened was when Aizen was experimenting on people. Things speed up very rapidly from here. I’m almost getting whiplash from how fast this is going. Yamamoto notices Sasakibe, his lieutenant, activating his Zanpakuto. A messenger appears but is quickly murdered by strange folks in Klan robes, I mean Quincy outfits. They’re declaring war.
Sasakibe is unfortunately killed as is sent flying into the room with Yamamoto. Five days left until Wandenreich annihilates Soul Society. The messengers leave.
These fights look so much more lively than the ones in the old series, what a change. Ichigo and Ebern are still fighting. Sasakibe reveals that the Wandenreich can steal Bankai. Unfortunately it’s too late for Ichigo who uses his Bankai against Ebern. At least that’s what Ebern thinks, but he underestimates Ichigo. Sasakibe is a real one for relaying this vital information before passing away though. The Quincy have their own way of teleporting and disappearing.
Things have definitely changed a ton since the early days of Bleach and the ending is kind enough to show us that as well by giving us a bunch of the old anime’s best shots. I am excited for more Bleach, that’s for sure. For those of you who have been following along with my weekly recaps as well, I appreciate it greatly. I’ll finish up the Aizen arc this week if all goes well, and then add the Fullbringer arc later. The latter isn’t particularly important for these first few episodes, so it should be fine to not have a big reminder. As always, thanks for reading and I hope to see you here again next Monday and onward.