Bleach Chapter 686 – Death & Strawberry [END]

Bleach chapter 686 - colour spread

Goodbye Bleach! It’s been fun!

And with that the end of another major manga has ended. It took us until the last chapter, but finally we get some clarification on the motives of Yhwach and why he was so obsessed with merging the worlds together. It was because of the fear of death, he wanted to merge life and death into one existence to escape such an inevitable fate. We don’t get much explanation regarding the remnants of Yhwach’s energy remaining between the worlds but it may have something to do with the fear driving Yhwach. The major focus in the chapter is given to reintroducing the main characters and introducing the new generation of Shinigami – it was quite cool to see Ichigo’s zanpakutou passed on to his son.

I finally understand a part of what Yhwach was trying to achieve. Throughout his youth during the transferal of his reiatsu/life force to others in aiding them to extend their lives/heal them and escape death, Yhwach most likely developed an apprehension and dread for dying. It is that developed trepidation that I believe became the foundation for his goal in merging the worlds together. Revenge may have been a major part of the reason but based on Yhwach’s final words, Yhwach wanted to create another path for life.

Bleach chapter 686 - Aizen

Oh Aizen…

Aizen, I am glad he is alive, but sad to see him once again caught and imprisoned. After playing such a key role in aiding Ichigo and helping save Soul Society, that is the thanks he gets? For Soul Society to be saved by a boy who once broke into it and by a man who once sought to destroy it, I find that incredibly amusing.  I guess the theory of Aizen becoming the next Spirit King didn’t come about, what a shame, it would have been exciting to see Aizen ascend to the role of Spirit King.

Nice to see the main characters again, especially with ten years having passed. Apart from Karin, Yuzu and Sado, the rest look similar to the teenage selves – although Ichigo has a new hair style and Inoue has “matured”. Would have been cool to see more of Sado instead of 2 panels – coverage of that boxing match would have been nice. Also sad that we will never see a full body-armored Sado =(.

Bleach chapter 686 - gathering at Ichigo's house

Somehow doesn’t Sado have an unfair advantage?

The ending is a bitter-sweet one. While I enjoyed the experiences I had reading Bleach (and watching it), the ending feels devoid of a complete conclusion. There are many looses end still hanging that would have been great to see covered in these final chapters – what happened with restabilising the balance of the worlds with there being no Spirit King? What happened with the Zero Division? What happened with Yoruichi, Kisuke, Nel and Grimmjow? What about Hueco Mundo? Is Uryuu and his father the last of the Quincy? Kon? Did Isshin go back to Soul Society to help Kuukaku and Ganju with the Shiba Clan?

Bleach chapter 686 - Abarai Ichika Bleach chapter 686 - Kurosaki Kazui

The actual conclusion of Bleach could have done with 3 or more chapters focusing on slowly covering each of the characters and their current situation and thoughts in this ‘ten years later’ world. Time and pacing were needed for this conclusion and time skip to really set in and make its mark on the reader. Well for what is it worth, I did enjoy this final chapter and thought the end with Ichika and Kazui was cute. Thank you for great ride with Bleach, Kubo-sensei. There may have been moments that I disliked and were confused about, but overall, I have loved reading Bleach. Looking forward to your next work Kubo Tite!

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