Well well, so The Thousand-Year Blood War Arc begins, an interesting set-up so far – Hollows are disappearing at a rapid rate which will cause problems for the barrier between the Human World and Soul Society if nothing is down to stop the disappearances. The imbalance caused by the greater amount of souls existing in the Human World will start to cause Soul Society to spill into the Human World effectively mixing life and death.
Now what could be happening to cause these mass Hollow disappearances? Just who is this “party”, the only ones capable of removing Hollows from existence itself? Could it be the Quincy? They sought to purge all hollows before the hollows harmed innocent people. Ichigo was concerned last arc that Uryuu was drawing too much attention to himself by hunting Hollows and was afraid that Soul Society may step in at some point (since Quincy powers don’t purify Hollow, they destroy them), was that foreshadowing? Will a group of Quincy appear this arc?
Ivan Azgiaro, well now, an Arrancar, so this is the Shinigami smell Hiyori picked up on before she noticed that Garganta looking rip in the Human World (since Arrancar do have Shinigami-like powers, or is this another Shinigami Hollow?).
Truthfully, the first thought that came to mind when I seen Ivan was “Vasto Lorde!!” They have been the only enemies mentioned so far that could overwhelm the Captains of Gotei 13 (pre-timeskip). Shinigami fight against Hollow and since the Vasto Lordes are the strongest Hollow, it would make sense that a “Thousand-Year” long War would be waged by these two groups. The fact that the Vasto Lorde are known means that they have appeared before the Shinigami before. The research data Mayrui found in Hueco Mundo may even had some information on Vasto Lordes.
The Espada were the strongest Arrancar in Aizen’s army, but it is unclear if they were the strongest Hollows in Hueco Mundo. Certain Hollows could have just ignored Aizen when he was present there. The Vasto Lorde state requires a large amount of Hollows to be cannibalized before the state is reached, this could explain the Hollow disappearances – after the Winter War, the numbers of Hollow diminished too significantly that it required time to pass by for the numbers to work it’s way back up again. And now with 17 months passed, a certain party is ready to put it’s plan into motion and mass create Vasto Lordes.
Or it could be that whoever this party is, they intend to cause life and death to mix and cause Soul Society to spill over into the Human World in order to access Soul Society – to free Aizen? or some other individual from the past? or some other more shocking purpose? The fact that Ikkaku mentioned Rukongai residents disappearing makes me think about the Hougyoku when Aizen was experimenting. Is another Hougyoku being created or is another one already created and is it being used to turn Rukongai citizens into Hollows in order for this group to use? Reducing souls in Soul Society further quickens the mixing of the Human World and Soul Society, but I wonder the purpose is. Hmmmm, well whatever happens, I hope this arc includes the story about the Spirit King, I’m very curious about him or should I say “it”.
Ivan could be a bad guy, but he could also be an ally to the Espada that survived in Hueco Mundo (Harribel, Nel or Grimmjow) with a message for Ichigo – to help with the Hollow disappearance problem =/. Love the comment Ichigo made about wanting Ivan to get off his bed at the end, still Ivan got a lot of balls to appear in Ichigo’s room the way he did =P.
Ryuunosuke and Shino have been getting quite a lot of focus this arc so far, it makes me wonder just what purpose they will have in this arc.
So far I’m very interested in this arc, I love the Arrancar, they are such awesome created characters and the Espada is my favourite group after the Karakura Team, so I’m very excited to see Ivan and that Hollow mask he has =). Looking forward to seeing just what this final arc is about and how it will develop =D.