Bleach Chapter 503-521 – Ashes Carried Across The Winds

Shigekuni Yamamoto - The Guardian of Hell - by Zanpakuto-Leader (http://zanpakuto-leader.deviantart.com)

Shigekuni Yamamoto – The Guardian of Hell – colour by Zanpakuto-Leader (http://zanpakuto-leader.deviantart.com)

Remnants of a flame, remnants of a soul, remnants of the past and remnants of an existence central to the society encasing the “present”; a flame burning brightly in times of uncertainty and conflict blows out and in its wake frustration and fear remain. The legend known as Shigekuni Yamamoto comes to an end but the war ongoing for a thousand years carries on into the next generation hungry for “justice” and “life”.

So we finally get to see Yamamoto’s Bankai and my goodness, what a badass Bankai it was, the extent of its power and its total defiance of logic and common sense was ironically chilling and such a delight to witness especially after wondering just what his Bankai was after so many years. I was expecting Yamamoto to be the “sacrifice” necessary for Soul Society to overcome this crisis but the way in which he was brutally and effortlessly dispatched after displaying such awesome power was such a surprise and compelling twist.

Bleach Chapter 506 - Shigekuni's Bankai

Zanka no tachi, the embodiment of the sun

The development with Lyold and Ryold may have had its issues in how it was used as a plot device but it did create one dramatic and shocking twist and the benefit of having that I found outweighed the ridiculousness and convenience surrounding it. Having Yamamoto bear his all and push himself for his belief of which we began to understand a bit of through the flashbacks during the battles, offered a very nice conclusion to the battle which I though in general was handled amazingly, especially when read in one go together – being left in awe at Yamamoto Genryuusai’s power and then in shock at his sudden death.

The reason I don’t have much issue with the actual way the story is being told by Kubo-sensei is because for the first time in a while Kubo-sensei is actually telling a story that layers onto itself and builds up rather than merely expanding on the existing base like he did in the previous arc (mainly dealing with completely new content and rarely connecting it back into the existing story of Bleach).  Yamamoto’s past, the flow on effect his death had with his close students and on the whole of Gotei 13, the Zero Division, Ganju and the Fullbring; all of these developments take existing story elements of Bleach and connect them all into one overarching story, that which is being told by this current arc. Personally I find this arc the best of Bleach and the several points of view the story is being told by makes for some exciting reading, with so much happening everywhere, I am left curious about so many things.

The Zero Division; well they sure are different then what I had expected, less serious and more quirky, and I like it. Each of the members humorous sides give them a charismatic edge which helps bring out their distinct personalities. At this point we don’t know much about them but we can already tell they are awesome, as proven by Kirin, who healed Ichigo and Co. so easily while being left in awe at their recover rates, something which we all have come to learn. Curious to see what training methods the other heads have planned for Ichigo and Co.

Bleach Chapter 517 - Cover - The Zero Division

The Zero Division (from left to right); Kirio Hikifune, Tenjirō Kirinji, Oshō, Senjumaru Shutara, Ōetsu Nimaiya

And talking about training, Ganju, wow he sure has changed, he looks stronger now and do my eyes deceive me! Is that Kuugo?! Yes I do believe it is! Hell yeah, that one panel was so freaking badass, seeing the “cleansed” Fullbring in Soul Society and training with Ganju, oh my goodness yes, can’t wait for Kuugo’s reintroduction into the story, the look on Ichigo’s face is going to be priceless.

Bleach Chapter 518 - Ganju and the Fullbringers

The return of unexpected characters; Ganju, Ginjo, Giriko and Tskushima

Ichigo being part Quincy, I can’t say I’m surprised, because I did expect a development like this when I caught wind that the Quincy were the antagonist of this arc. Ichigo’s mother being a Quincy also makes her that much more badass and she was already badass to begin with =). Wonder what Juhabach meant when he referred to Ichigo as his son =/, is Juhabach like Ichigo’s grandfather and is this why Zangetsu bears such a resemblance to Juhabach O.o?

With Tensa Zangetsu about to be reformed using that special Reijutsu within the Spirit Palace we may end up getting some more development on Zangetsu himself and quite possibly, have the past of Ichigo and his “uniqueness” explored a bit more. Whatever happens, it is going to be cool to see a new Tensa Zangetsu and the process in which the blade gets reformed.

Something which caught my eye was the statement made by Shiba Kuukaku after she sent Ichigo and the Zero Division to the Spirit Palace = “I had to let him go, even if that means disappointing our uncle”:

Bleach Chapter 518 - Shiba Kuukaku

Is it just me or does this panel make Shiba Kuukaku and Kurosaki Karin look similar O.o

A while back I theorised that Isshin was part of the Shiba clan and Ganju and Kuukaku’s uncle, so when Kuukaku talks about her uncle not going to be happy about having sent Ichigo into more danger it really does strike a cord resonating with that theory. We have yet to learn why the Shiba clan fell and why exactly Ichigo resembles Kaien so closely, but if they were related via blood it would really make sense. Also about the Shiba clan falling, its reputation may have been hit when Isshin left Soul Society and married a Quincy which at that point were the enemies of Shinigami as they disrupted the balance between worlds (the order was already given in the past to annihilate them). Some Shinigami may not have been happy that one of the noble Shinigami associated himself with a Quincy and thus created extra frictions between the clans ultimately putting a target on the Shiba clan and quite possibly causing the Metastacia Hollow incident, which led to the death of the then current head, Shiba Kaien, and maybe even extended itself to the human world and had a hand in the death of Ichigo’s mother, Kurosaki Masaki.

Just to illustrate the seriousness of what Isshin had potentially done, if we take Byakuya as an example, he received some heat for breaking the rules when he married a commoner from Rukongai, Kuchiki Hisana, and later brought in her sister, Kuchiki Rukia into the noble Kuchiki family, breaking the rules yet again. If marrying and associating yourself with a commoner Shinigami brought about so much dissatisfaction among the noble clans, imagine what marrying and associating oneself with a Quincy would do…

Well all of this is conjecture so some other reason may underlie these circumstances, but I really do believe strongly in these theories. Another piece of evidence to support the connection between Ichigo and Juhabach is when Juhabach referred to Ichigo as his “son born in the dark”, I believe that he doesn’t literally mean ‘son’, as in him being his father, but as something more broad as him being his grandfather. Juhabach seems very familiar with Ichigo’s mother and about Ichigo’s past in general and all this would make sense if Juhabach was Masaki’s father or grandfather – the way his expression changed when he talked about Ichigo’s mother really does highlight that there is some story behind their association (does he believe the Shinigami had something to do with Masaki’s death?). The “born in the dark” statement could be conveying how Ichigo was born unknowing of his roots and true self, hence the “born in the dark”. Juhabach could have killed Ichigo, but he wants Ichigo alive, so there must be a reason:

Bleach Chapter 514 - Born in the dark

Ichigo’s grandfather?

Well what ever the mysterious reveal themselves to be, I’m confident that the person who saved Kisuke and Co. is GRIMMJOW!! And whats up with Kisuke being so badass all the time?! He is so awesome, and because of that I am going to state my theory about him again even though I have done so several times, but I do strongly believe that Kisuke is the Spirit Kings son!

Kirio Hikifune; hahahah I can’t say I’m surprised, I totally expected something like this to be pulled, thank you Kubo-sensei!:

Bleach Chapter 521 -  Kirio Hikifune

The true form of Kirio Hikifune, just wow

But even though I expected this, I was still left in disbelief at its revelation, especially at the sheer sexiness of Hikifune’s “slimmed-down” form. What hilarious reactions by Ichigo, Renju and Kon, I can’t stop laughing, great great page. So Hikifune was the one who developed the Artificial Soul, how interesting. Curious to learn more about Ouetsu Nimaiya, the man who gave birth to the zanpakutou =O, especially since he hasn’t been introduced yet. This lesson should be good to watch, and phoenix palace? So his lessons have something to do with death and rebirth?

Kyouraku becoming the new Captain Commander, that was an awesome development, he may be a laid back sort of guy and not like work much, but he is a very reliable and focused individual when the hour is at hand.

Unohana on the other hand being revealed to be the very first “Kenpachi”, oh my unbelievably sweet goodness, I did not expect that, what a refreshing and delightful twist. Finally we get to see some focus on Unohana, but her training Zaraki, who would have thought, this really is something to look forward. Can’t wait to see the coming chapters and how this arc will continue to develop, especially with these cool twist and seeing so many old faces again =). And will I finally get to learn what purpose Unagiya Ikumi served in the Fullbring arc? Also I REALLY want to know what is going to happen with Tier Harribel.

Thanks for reading and it’s so good to be writing again =D.

Syphin planning a visit to Hikifune’s Gaton Den

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