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Bleach 486 – Death of An Unknown

Sasakibe Choujirou, vice-captain of the First Division, a character most viewers couldn’t care less about, is revealed to have possessed a bankai; yet he is one who has always been in the background, barely revealing even his shikai and almost never participating in battle. The one time he was seen in battle was against Ichigo at Rukia’s execution, and that did not even last a few seconds. And now this sole opportunity he gets to display his strength against the intruders, he is defeated off-screen and dies shortly after. Even then, this supposedly captain-quality lieutenant who barely made a presence throughout this series made me feel a slight pang of sadness when his funeral was shown. It’s a shame his character left little notable legacy on the story aside from being the first true protagonist to be killed off in Bleach.

That aside though, Ichigo has troubles of his own, as one of Nel’s goofball friends have been kidnapped by the Vandenreich. I suppose it comes to no surprise that Ichigo’s first action in this arc is another rescue mission, but given Urahara’s timely arrival this will probably all fit into his master scheme in some way, as it always has. Urahara is one of the characters I’m dying to see more of, especially of him in action, and specifically his bankai. Aizen made it clear that Urahara was affiliated with the Spirit King, and it’s almost certain that he is closely tied in with the backbone, the true meaning (if there is one), of all the events that had led up to now. Either way however, my interest has been piqued as to what happens next, and hopefully Ichigo’s upcoming trip will be more slash and burn than stealth. I’m sure we’re also looking forward to seeing the other arrancar again, and finding out whether they’ve been turned into warrior slaves.

March 28, 2012 at 10:21 pm
  • March 28, 2012 at 10:29 pmanna

    Poor Vice-Captain. That’s really too bad…

  • March 28, 2012 at 10:37 pmZero Hour 17

    I think I would prefer it if it turned out Urahara was the spirit king then to just randomly introduce a new character that is that important

    • March 29, 2012 at 12:26 amJin

      Hell, I wouldn’t mind if Isshin turned out to be the Spirit King who just ended up losing (or giving up) his powers somehow and decided to live in the human world.

    • March 29, 2012 at 3:39 amdefunkt_bots

      The spirit king is…. Aizen!!!

      Yoo hoo… tadai ima!

      infinite facepalms ensue.

      • April 1, 2012 at 2:53 amAizen

        Damn right, Dr.Snakes!

    • March 29, 2012 at 11:13 amMasterDragonKnight

      No, the Spirit King is really Don Kanonji.


      • March 29, 2012 at 3:08 pmDa5id

        I wouldn’t even be surprised.

      • March 29, 2012 at 8:07 pmTJsama

        You, sir, has just made my day.

    • March 30, 2012 at 11:44 amRuuu

      No No, people you are wrong. The king of the underworld isn’t male. Is female and her name is Yachiru.

  • March 28, 2012 at 10:43 pmYanDaMan

    Im just looking forward to more Harribel.

  • March 28, 2012 at 10:43 pmSpencer

    Thank Spaghetti Monster I am not the only one who noticed the lack of protagonist deaths!

    • March 28, 2012 at 10:45 pmCarVac

      “Dead people fight other dead people to the death, and almost no one dies.”

      • March 28, 2012 at 11:01 pmSui-kun

        Promote this man.

      • March 29, 2012 at 5:34 pmSuppa Tenko

        Wow I can’t believe Kubo forgot about his own lore again. When spirits die they disintegrate into particles, not leave bodies. Thus there was no need for a funeral. Even Gin didn’t leave a body when he died and that was like 30 chapters ago.

    • April 1, 2012 at 3:03 amAizen

      But, dude! I left a body when I supposedly died!

  • March 28, 2012 at 10:43 pmronri

    This is just me thinking aloud:

    I find that Urahara would actually make for an interesting final villain in my opinion. He’s already a well-established strong and manipulative character not to mention he was really one of the only few people Aizen took seriously. As for motives one could easily see him justify his actions “for the greater good”. Of course, no way in hell would Kubo ever pull off something as big as this.

    • March 29, 2012 at 1:34 amSortedeVaras

      Never doubt Kubo’s ability to deus ex machina things out of his ass.

      • March 29, 2012 at 11:15 amMasterDragonKnight

        Deus ex machina defines Ichigo’s entire existence. And that is not a good thing.

  • March 28, 2012 at 10:43 pmPtolemaios00

    Onward Bleach with its never changing formula of “rescue the hot chick.” First Rukia, then Orihime, and now Harribel.
    Lots of other stuff happens in the middle, but I guess the main driving force of the plot for Bleach has this trend. It’s like Kubo played too much Mario.

    • March 28, 2012 at 10:54 pmLuxor

      I almost forgot about the formulaic plot format in Bleach. I’ve noticed this too, especially early through the Hueco Mundo arc when I snapped out of my Bleach fandom stupor… ^_^;

      Kubo made up a completely new group of villains, the Arrancars, to fit the role of the shinigami in the Soul Society arc in essentially the same rescue-the-heroine plot. Now that he’s reusing the same people and not introducing too much (yet), I hope it’ll be different this time.

      And speaking of making up… I think the Fullbringers are stand-ins for the Vizards. My god, Bleach has so many factions. It almost feels like Kubo’s making them up for plot. D:

    • March 29, 2012 at 1:14 amtreefiddy

      I facepalm every f**king time

    • March 29, 2012 at 3:24 amPietro

      Technically he’s going to rescue Dondochakka, not exactly a hot chick in my book, but you got a point.

      • March 29, 2012 at 9:54 pmYanDaMan

        We all know he’ll eventually be rescuing Harribel.

  • March 28, 2012 at 10:49 pmLuxor

    I’m honestly surprised Kubo remembered Nel and that Quincys destroy hollows. I haven’t seen this level of storytelling in Bleach since early on, and I strongly suspect his editors got some help in patching the details.

    And Prooof, I don’t think I comment on any series you blog, so… hi :D

    • March 29, 2012 at 7:10 amKarmafan

      I think Kubo got alot of flack from that last “abortion that lives” fullbring arc as well as Naruto’s amazing storyline thats ongoing right now and it lit a fire under his ass to return with some good storytelling. Hey it works in Bakuman so why not in real life manga artists rivalries?

  • March 28, 2012 at 10:49 pmDa5id

    Sasakibe was THAT great a guy AND already had a bankai?

    …well, I’ll take your word for it, Byakuya.

    • March 28, 2012 at 10:56 pmronri

      Was it wrong for me to laugh when I was reading those parts? XD

      • March 28, 2012 at 11:02 pmDa5id

        No sir. That was the intended reaction.

    • March 29, 2012 at 10:16 amMoeronic

      IIRC, his shikai turned his katana into a rapier. Who’s to say that his bankai isn’t equally worthless.

      • March 29, 2012 at 11:17 amMasterDragonKnight

        His bankai turns his sword into an English tea cup.

      • March 29, 2012 at 3:08 pmDa5id

        Again, I wouldn’t even be surprised.

  • March 28, 2012 at 11:05 pmXigma

    Oh hey someone from the good guys actually died!

  • March 28, 2012 at 11:09 pmKat25

    i srs LOL when he died. who cares, he sucks!!

  • March 28, 2012 at 11:21 pmpwnzarsaurus

    last time someone died, and had never been seen to have fought, and who’s bankai was never revealed…that time was Aizen.

  • March 29, 2012 at 1:40 amSortedeVaras

    Killing the least popular and least characterized vice-captain off screen. . .bravo! Truely this bold move will galvanize the fans into being invested in this arc.

  • March 29, 2012 at 2:46 amgcsasuke

    Hold on guys, I seriously think that might be a chance that this arc is gonna be epic. Kubo still have alot of materials left to use, since he hasnt explain alot. Who knows Ichigo might not even be the soul king, but lost his powers due to some reason

  • March 29, 2012 at 3:45 amP Ko

    If he had a bankai and used it then one would assume it’s been taken by the new enemies and is going to be used against somebody on the soul society side in a later chapter.

  • March 29, 2012 at 6:40 amMartianMage

    Really dun care about mr.unknown vice captain. Kinda got annoyed how a lot of pages got wasted on him as if Bleach isn’t trudging slowly enough.

  • March 29, 2012 at 6:54 amFling


    Yep, what’s-his-name sure is powerful alright. Such hidden potential (though hidden a bit too deeply).

    Well, Kubo never really tried to keep power levels consistent in this series so why should he start trying?

    • March 31, 2012 at 9:58 amSOSAnimeBoy

      Best thing about that YT video is this comment: “Ichigo used to be so bad ass. Now he’s a power-ranger.”

  • March 29, 2012 at 6:55 amValdor

    First protagonist to die? It’s debatable, but Show Spoiler ▼

    • March 29, 2012 at 8:43 amronri

      I wouldn’t exactly say he was a protagonist though. Even he had good intentions, he’s still an antagonist.

  • March 29, 2012 at 7:48 amRyougaZell

    Cannon Fodder

  • March 29, 2012 at 10:10 amAddon

    “as one of Nel’s goofball friends have been kidnapped”

    haha thank you…dammit Nel get back into adult form

    • March 29, 2012 at 11:27 amMasterDragonKnight

      Dondochakka is very important to the story, don’tcha know?

      Of course everyone has to go on a pointless journey and risk their lives to save him!

      • March 29, 2012 at 1:24 pmKarmafan

        He is a goofball but if it was Ichigo, Inoue, Chad, or one of the others that were captured he would go and help them in a heartbeat. Of course he is next to useless but he would help (especially if Nell decided to help).

  • March 29, 2012 at 1:31 pmLaughingMan

    I was at first confused at the thought that Sasikibe had a Bankai all along, but now that I think about it, it makes sense considering the fact that he has been a lieutenant for Yamamoto for a long ass time (he’s his lieutenant in the Turn Back the Pendulum Arc), so it makes sense considering he’s been a part of the Gotei 13 for such a long time. Now that he’s dead, the only way we’ll be able to see his Bankai is from one of the members of the Vandenreich, who apparently have the ability to steal a Shinigami’s Bankai.

    Anyway, I’m REALLY excited for next week’s chapter. Can’t wait for Ichigo and Urahara’s bro-op next week when they kick some Vandenreich ass in Hueco Mundo. Now to wait until Grimmjow returns (Kubo confirmed in an interview that he’ll be coming back).

  • March 29, 2012 at 3:35 pmRex

    >Kill off an-unkown yet interesting character off-screen, then flesh out his character afterwards as a “screw you” to the viewers.
    >Another rescue arc


  • March 29, 2012 at 5:38 pmSuppa Tenko

    Bankai doesn’t necessarily mean it’s strong. I mean Komura’s bankai is fairly useless and so is Tousens.

    • March 30, 2012 at 11:48 amRuuu

      and Shikais can be absurdly dangerous. Case in point Yumichika’s.

      Or maybe you don’t even need to release shikai to be dangerous. Case in point Kenpachi.

  • March 29, 2012 at 8:13 pmMatroid

    About time to let go some of the older characters that added little to the anime, and bring in some new blood.

  • March 29, 2012 at 9:55 pmYanDaMan

    I’m just gona go and say Im already riding the Ichigo x Harribel ship. Just because.

    • March 30, 2012 at 6:19 pmLaughingMan

      I’m riding the Nell X Harribel ship. ;P

      • March 30, 2012 at 11:49 pmYanDaMan

        Put Ichigo on the throne with Nel and Harribel on each of his side and we got it.

      • April 1, 2012 at 3:06 amAizen

        Dondochakka x Ichigo OTP

  • March 29, 2012 at 10:30 pmSoren

    I was hoping that the big battle Karakura town would have resulted in a thinning of the vast swathe of good guys. I think that would have made the battle all the more compelling to see a desperate war of attrition. If this is the last arc, I am really hoping that this may happen because it will finally bring some gravitas to the story. Ah, whom am I kidding? Kubo will just keep selecting tertiary characters. Who wants to put a bet that the next victim will be one of Sentaro Kotsubaki or Kiyone Kotetsu?

  • March 30, 2012 at 2:46 pmL002

    I can’t believe that this Vice-captain was that strong of a shinigami. It should be notable how that person of all people had a bankai, yet like Renji (bankai mode) vs Byakuya, he used it the first time against the enemies and died; which also is a known fact that Shinigami need a lot of training with their Bankai.

    RIP 1st division vice-captain. This is the only event that is worth remembering about you.

    • March 30, 2012 at 4:32 pmSortedeVaras

      Well they also mentioned that he learned to master his bankai before Shunsui and Ukitake, so he had it for several hundred years at the least, thus he must have known how to use it.

  • March 30, 2012 at 5:25 pmRamram

    So Gai from Guilty Crown died and went to Hueco Mundo?
    Show Spoiler ▼

  • March 31, 2012 at 10:45 pmBROOKLYN otaku

    GUESS WHAT!?!? ichigos sister has a BANKAI!!! its power? it makes this manga end….unfortunately like the shit character they just murked, it wont be revealed…..OH who am i kidding of course they’ll reveal that crappy bankai in a flashback