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.
Yhwach has been stopped and with it the destruction of the worlds prevented. Instead of an immediate after effect of that result, we are reintroduced to events ten years later in Soul Society. We come to learn about the events that transpired ten years ago through the dialogue of the Captains and their divisions as they prepare for a ceremony about to be held, the Promotion Ceremony of a division member to Captain. We are made aware that Yhwach was stopped and for ten years there has been peace but the status of a lot of characters relevant to that battle have yet to be revealed, one of which includes Ichigo. With just one chapter left, it is going to be interesting to see exactly how the final chapter wraps up the series (especially with the current time jump) and what the important announcement next chapter is (Bleach X?).
Overpowering and incomprehensible, the King of Darkness played with fate at the amusement of his whims yet through his unstoppable reproach at the form of existence, the pride of his supremacy deformed the interpretation of the very fates he sought to reform. Blinded and distracted, Yhwach fell prey to the sight of his own fate. It is quite ironic, without his ego that led him on this path of destruction, he would have been godlike, but as it is, he is just a flawed man driven by his ego with a power too great for his own capability. The moment Yhwach felt nothing could stop him was the moment he opened the door to his own defeat.
So we’ve finally made it to the climatic battle; Ichigo in all his glory, growth and experiences has challenged the conceited King of the Quincy, Yhwach, to prevent the Human World and Soul Society from falling into non-existence. With himself as the last shield against the end of two worlds, Ichigo perseveres, he struggles, he despairs and inevitably he will evolve. Yhwach with his All his Might and philosophical taunting of hope, future and grains of sand has ultimately manifested a blind spot within his own abilities by believing himself to be unchallengeable. Regardless of Ichigo’s current state, he will prevail and Yhwach will have a hand in his own defeat.
Now that was wild, just for the illustrations of Zaraki unleashing makes the chapter worth it completely. That double page spread revealing Zaraki’s Bankai released form was/is amazing – the contrasting black and white coupled with the chaotic rawness was just…beautiful. Finally, with Gerard’s demise about to result we will finally see the end of the Schutzstaffel (well except for the fragments on Lille in Soul Society). The focus can shift back to Ichigo and other important elements of the story.
Effectively the battle between the Shinigami and Quincy has come down to a battle of Bankai vs Vollständig, where one power ends ups effectively countering the others strength to ultimately defeat the opponent. Against the multiple of characters battling against Yhwach’s Schutzstaffel (Pernida, Askin, Gerard, Lille), the Quincy are initially overwhelmed by one characters abilities but with the release of their Vollständig, they are able to nullify its danger yet are overcome by the release of another characters Bankai (which serves to counter their ability). Formulaic, yes, but not necessarily bad thanks to the stylized and creative approach of Kubo-sensei. Yet unfortunately its use in these four battles have become repetitive and have ultimately diminished the intrigue this battle against the final Schutzstaffel member has.
After over a decade in waiting, it has finally come. That echoing moment that any Bleach fan had resounding in their minds the instance its existence was made known. With the hush of silence and the embrace of darkness signalling it, the hearts of every Bleach fan stopped the moment that one word was uttered. A word so powerful that it shattered open the flood gates of patience and let loose years of contained excitement. A cornered Urahara Kisuke has finally revealed his most powerful trump card. A power that materializes his zanpakutou’s spirit and unleashes it. Bankai. Urahara Kisuke has finally unleashed Benihime!
I love it, these past few chapters of Bleach have been absolutely fantastic. The focus has shifted back to Yoruichi VS Askin and on top of that, Kisuke has been introduced into the battle as well. And just as we all expect from Kisuke, he has an answer (of sorts) to the problems that arise with seemingly no answer. Yoruichi has unleashed her Shunryuu Kokubyou Senki forcing Askin to unleash his Vollständig forcing Kisuke into a very interesting position where he may have to unleash his genius and powers (c’mon Benihime).
Uryuu’s motives have finally been confirmed and just as most suspected, he opted to sabotage the Sternritter from within by joining their ranks. The act of betrayal was just a ruse to get the Sternritter not to distrust him. Personally, I had believed Uryuu joined the Sternritter because he figured out a way to defeat Yhwach and was biding his time because he was waiting for the opportune moment, but it turns out Uryuu concluded that Yhwach was unbeatable and instead decided to destroy the Quincy’s way of breaching the real world. Amusingly, it took Ichigo and the air of hope he haphazardly drags along with him to knock some nonsense back into Uryuu and shatter the calculations that led to Uryuu concluding that Yhwach was unbeatable into pieces. This in turn “surprised” the wielder of the “All Mighty” power, Jugram. Been waiting for this match-up for a while, finally we get to see what Uryuu is truly capable of.
Colour me surprised, I did not expect this battle to be the foundation of a revelation concerning Nanao, especially one that links back deeply to her very past. A past that deals with Nanao’s mother (and his older brother), a promise Shunsui made with her and why he has two zanpakutous. At the brink of hopelessness Shunsui finds through his memories and Nanao, a reason to carry on and to continue challenging the seemingly undefeatable “God”. Nanao recognised her mother’s desire, but just as her mother exercised her own will, Nanao chose to accept the curse of the Ise and embrace it wholeheartedly in order to attain the power necessary to protect that which she loves. The Shinken Hakkyouken, the blade which reflects the abilities of the Gods.