Isshin and Kisuke finally get some coverage…but it’s only for two pages and it only shows them walking down the street with grim expressions on their faces with Isshin carrying some sword emanating a strange sort of energy – is that a form of reiatsu that will help kick-start the Shinigami powers in Ichigo and awaken Zangetsu? Well whatever is happening with Isshin and Kisuke, we’ll have to wait until they are covered again – probably in 3 or so chapters time…hopefully the next time they are covered, more substance is revealed…
Anyway Kuugo speculates what Tsukishima’s Fullbring ability may be and gets Ichigo to think about murder – what the hell happened to Ichigo? Ichigo doesn’t even know the whole truth and he is already thinking about killing another human? This 17 month time skip sure has screwed up Ichigo in major ways…and Ichigo is trusting Kuugo too much, he hasn’t even heard the story from the other side – Tsukishima’s side. It truly is sad watching Ichigo act so pitiful.
So Tsukishima’s ability really followed the obvious theory of him “bookmarking” himself in a person’s memory, or does it? I personally was hoping for a more exciting development – a more dramatic way in which Tsukishima’s ability functions. I was circling around the thought that Tsukishima comes from an alternate dimension/reality, a dimension/reality where he IS Ichigo’s cousin and knows all his friends and family. Tsukishima’s ability would function as “bookmarking” the dimensions/realities together and in a sense “merging” the two. The “bookmarking” will breakdown the barriers and walls between the realities and cause the two Orihime’s or Karin’s or Yuzu’s and others who knew him to “merge” into one “existence” (in a sense), this will create the familiarity which was present in Tsukishima’s reality to be present in the current reality he is in now. People who didn’t know Tsukishima in his reality would just be physically cut ie. like Ishida. Those who were cut by his Fullbring had the “selfs” in both realities come closer together and share each others existence and “memories” which brings with it the familiarity to Tsukishima. Tsukishima could have used some sort of Dangai dimension to come to Ichigo’s reality in order to help Ichigo get his Shinigami powers back. The fact that Ichigo gained a mass amount of power in an instant (Final Getsuga Tenshou) and rapidly lost it when he merged with the Getsuga could have screwed up the balance between the universes and created some sort of anomaly in Ichigo’s reality (Ichigo himself?) and in order for Tsukishima to repair this anomaly which could be potentially messing with his reality (the universe trying to naturally repair the effect by reshaping the dimension/reality Tsukishima resides in – to balance out the effects felt in Ichigo’s reality), Tsukishima needs Ichigo to regain his powers and help restore the balance that was displaced after Ichigo fused with Getsuga and lost all that power/spiritual energy in an instant.
The current theory which Kuugo is speculating about seems too obvious to me to be the truth…I understand and acknowledge that the “bookmark” motif and Tsukishima inserting his presence in a persons memories does fit together, but there seems to be more behind the developments and twists we had so far.
Another theory I have which I believe in the most at the moment is Kuugo possessing the ability to “cross” out a person’s memory. Kuugo’s Fullbring hasn’t totally been revealed – we know the cross can shift into a huge broadsword and is able to be shaped into an even bigger energy sword but beyond that nothing more is revealed so far. Kuugo’s Fullbring item is the “Cross of Scaffold”, the fact that the item is a cross could signify “crossing out” memories in an individual and like a scaffold it allows him to build/create a temporary platform to allow him to reach into a person mind enabling him to “cross” out memories he chooses. Tsukishima’s ability as well as inserting his “presence” in the targets memory, could be to act like a “bookmark” and help the individual remember things they forgot ie like memories (Tsukishima probably both manipulated certain people’s memories as well as helped others remember “forgotten” memories). Kuugo did state that Yukio and others did say “isn’t it about time that we remember?” – this could indicate that Tsukishima really has gotten to them and has helped them remember freeing them from the cage Kuugo had their minds in…but that quote is all based on what Kuugo is saying and he really isn’t the most trustworthy person this arc…
As for the people who got cut from Tsukishima’s sword, I going with the idea that the people who were cut (Uryuu and Kuugo) didn’t have their memories “crossed” out and so there was nothing to cut besides their flesh – hence Uryuu’s physical injury unlike the other people who got “cut” by Tsukishima’s Fullbring. Tsukishima could have killed Uryuu if he wanted but he didn’t. The fact that Uryuu was the one who pursued Tsukishima could have indicated to Tsukishima at the time that Uryuu may have been “manipulated” by Kuugo and in order to free Uryuu, he would be required to be stabbed by Tsukishima’s “Book of the End”. But once Tsukishima did that, he realised Uryuu wasn’t under Kuugo’s deception and left Uryuu alive and may have even called the ambulance for Uryuu.
Personally, I don’t think Kuugo is the bad guy in this situation, it is more a case of Kuugo being a prisoner to his own powers, being controlled by the Hollow-like abilities that form Fullbring (Ichigo himself seems be twisting under all the desperation and fear he is feeling now that he has unlocked his Fullbring). It may have happened after Kuugo’s brief fight with Tsukishima, but Kuugo’s Fullbring could have “crossed” out certain memories in Kuugo to help manipulate him into getting Ichigo to kill Tsukishima. Or if Kuugo’s Fullbring power really has been controlling Kuugo this whole time, Tsukishima’s sword could have physically cut Kuugo because Tsukishima was unable to locate exactly what memories in Kuugo were “crossed” out (in order for Tsukishima to insert his “bookmark” he needs to know where to insert it – yeah this would mean Tsukishima’s ability to place his “bookmark” or “cut” is limited). This would explain why Kuugo didn’t know about Yukio’s “data” tracking bug (crossed out those memories) and why Yukio told Kuugo “you’ve really become screwed up, haven’t you?” and why Yukio also told Kuugo that “Tsukishima, me…nobody’s angry at you. In fact we feel sorry for you. It’ alright. We’ll get you back to normal in no time.” Following this idea would also explain why the Fullbring fear their Fullbring abilities which are Hollow-like – if they mess with your own self and end up controlling you to turn on your comrades, it would be better to be without them.
Ichigo’s role in all of this may have just been to be manipulated by Kuugo to kill Tsukishima or to help Kuugo kill Tsukishima – Kuugo brought him into all of this and helped Ichigo attain his Fullbring (really sad how Ichigo resorted to blaming Kuugo for everything, but fortunately he immediately apologised afterward). Ichigo’s real role this arc is probably still to be the “vessel” to take on all the other Fullbring users power and free them from that “burden”. Kuugo is just using Ichigo now and Tsukishima is on his way to returning Kuugo back to “normal” – helping Kuugo remember everything that his Fullbring ability has crossed out of his mind (almost seems like the Fullbring ability takes on a life of its own).
I may be completely wrong and Tsukishima could just be manipulating everyone with his “Book of the End” but I wonder if things are really that obvious…I like to think there is more complexity lurking in the shadows of simplicity than what is being shown to and seen by the reader.
I haven’t exactly figured out how Ikumi Unagiya fits into all of this (but I’m still circling around the thought that she has something to do with the Shinigami or an entirely different faction – a new faction?) and what Isshin and Kisuke are up to (helping Ichigo get his powers?) but there hasn’t been much revealed to give a direction in which to cast your mind to. Will be interesting to see how Kubo ties together the current developments and twists and what further developments he has planned for this arc.