We start off with another look into Yamamoto and Yhwach’s last fight before hopping to the opening. The vocalist from this song reminds me a little bit of Kenshi Yonezu, especially in the first little bit. That’s a big compliment, for anyone not familiar with Kenshi Yonezu. We stay in the past and find a young Kyoraku Shinsui. And we’re reminded that Yamamoto Shigekuni Genryusai, captain commander of the Gotei 13, has died. At this point in the manga I was very confused about how anyone was ever going to defeat Yhwach. We learn a lot about the Soul Society’s mentality here and it really makes me wonder if Kubo ever plans to write a prequel manga about the olden days. I know there’s more material out there in the form of novels, but I have little to no insight into what that means.
The quincies kick things up another gear and a whole bunch of soldiers join the frey. The leftover shinigami get annihilated at record pace. I am curious as to why we’re not seeing much of quite a few of the familiar faces that should still be running around right now. Captains, vice-captains, seated officers. Ichigo finally makes his way to Soul Society with the help of Akon and immediately takes out one of the Stern Ritter who barely gets done introducing himself, so we’ll not give him the light of day. Byakuya asking Ichigo for help is the perfect culmination of the man’s entire character development. Ichigo is looking pissed.
Ichigo and Yhwach clash, with the latter having the upper hand easily. This is where Ichigo finally shows off the fact that he has Quincy powers. There’s some bullshit that Kubo wrote about how Ichigo’s spiritual pressure woke up due to being mixed with Quilge’s spiritual reiatsu. Call a spade a spade, this was incredibly poor writing on Kubo’s part, but I’ve said before that I think he felt extremely rushed to make cool chapters at this point to offset the manga’s waning popularity. Yhwach reveals that he knows about Kurosaki Masaki, Ichigo’s mother. Yhwach sets off to kidnap Ichigo back to the Wandenreich. Can you imagine that at this point, manga readers were still very much having whiplash going from the fullbringer arc to this arc. Ichigo ends up saved by the bell, I mean Aizen, and the quincy retreat. As a parting gift, Haschwalth breaks Ichigo’s zanpakuto.
This episode had a fair bit of original content that I think helped out with the pacing. We’re still going at lightning speed, but I understood a lot better what was happening here. I do think the Bleach manga wasn’t made for weekly reading towards the end. I get that sense from more long running shonen to be fair, even in One Piece I sometimes get a little bit lost. I’m no longer 19 with nothing else to do, I’m in my 30s busy pretending to be a functioning adult. With mixed success at best. I think this is a big reason why I stopped reading a lot of manga weekly and have switched over to buying the volumes and reading those when the come in. It’s a lot more expensive for sure, but I think it’s a better reading experience. Of course, you can always just binge a manga online now, that’s a pretty good way of going about things too. Either way, this episode looked amazing, sounded amazing and even had some fanservice for us manga readers. Looking forward to next week already.