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Bleach 503 – Wrath as a Lightning »« Bleach 501 – Fear

Bleach 502 – Too Late To Apologize

Bleach Manga   502   01

I truly, truly did not think Byakuya would die, not in a thousand years of Bleach. But from the words of the Vandenreich, he just did. Seeing him being pulverized into a pile of shredded meat and blood by his own bankai was quite brutal, and with both Rukia and Renji completely helpless in the face of the enemy though, everything just looks really bleak. Should Byakuya actually be gone, it will be a huge milestone for the series – a death of a major protagonist. Of course, I’m not saying a character death a good thing, but it definitely raises questions when a series needs a big death to revitalize itself, either through shock value or pure sentiment. That said however, I still have my doubts, only because, fatal injuries mean so very little in Bleach, and I find it hard to believe that there is no way to miraculously save him yet.

Unfortunately, Byakuya’s death, if he is dead, didn’t really cut it for me, and it honestly should have given its significance. Perhaps because of the suddenness of it or because of the lack of connection with his character (or with any of the characters for that matter), there’s just not enough there to care about what happens. Maybe other readers feel differently, and Byakuya fans are no doubt devastated, but the only thing that went through my mind was “no way, one of the good guys actually died?”. With only a few despondent last words given, the lack of the long, sappy flashbacks that usually accompany the passing of a character was also surprising, though it’s not clear if that indicates anything.

On the other hand, Kenpachi’s appearance towards the end left quite the impression, as he usually does. Apparently he has already scored the first victories for the shinigami, and he confronts the Vandenreich king with his previous opponent still skewered on his sword. Kenpachi’s lust for battle and lack of bankai make him uniquely suited to fighting the quincies, but after all their research they certainly have a contingency plan to deal with him, like they did with Ichigo. Still, I’m hoping to see him do some major damage. It’ll also be interesting to see if he responds to what happened to Byakuya; they are fellow captains after all, even if he’s never showed a liking or respect towards any of them.

July 27, 2012 at 10:44 am
71 comments »
  • July 27, 2012 at 10:52 amDa5id

    Oh hey, Rukia and Renji are useless in a major fight. THIS is new.

    R.I.P. Byakuya. Your character peaked in development 5 arcs ago. Please don’t come back.

    • July 27, 2012 at 12:19 pmEamonX

      This.

      I couldn’t care at all when Byakuya and the other captains/vice-captains died in the split-seconds of time they were given.

      We all know Bleach is in its final arc so Kubo finally decides to kill off his favourite bishounens.

      Now I only hope Zaraki can entertain us like he’s done before.

      • July 27, 2012 at 3:19 pmGermanguy

        Perhaps this is Kubo’s way to end Bleach with a big Bang.

    • July 28, 2012 at 12:23 amClick

      Still more useful than Chad!

      • July 28, 2012 at 4:11 pmDrift

        And Inoue

    • July 28, 2012 at 2:10 amTOP2NE1

      Lol some care to explain the downvotes? Because it’s totally true.

      Also I want Kenpachi to lose, both for the sake of his own character and the credibility of of the villains. Kenpachi’s fun to watch and all, but he needs a fight where he struggles or loses to actually give us some actual grounding. With his recent novel and his 2h kendo swing nonsense, there really seems to be no point in having villains at all. (I mean why didn’t he just kendo Ichigo back in SS?) With the way Kubo writes it appears that Kenpachi could just walk into anything and the problem is solved. At least give like a rock paper scissors sorta weakness or something. Like maybe he’d do poorly against poison users like Mayuri, or have him fight competent reiatsu absorbers or something. There needs to be some sort of tension so audience has more of a reason to care for the outcome.

  • July 27, 2012 at 11:07 amOSS

    Byakuya will be the only one Shinigami who dies during this battle, Ichigo will arrive and take care of the Quinces and sacrifice his Shinigami powers to revive Byakuya. Let’s see how this works out.

    • July 27, 2012 at 11:55 amAstez

  • July 27, 2012 at 11:08 amUnknownSoldier

    The significance of his death is overshadowed by my inability to believe anyone can die in Bleach.

    • July 27, 2012 at 2:10 pmIchimaru Gin

      Ichimaru says ‘hi’ :)

    • July 27, 2012 at 2:38 pmNadester

      Good Point. They are Shinigami nonetheless.

    • July 27, 2012 at 6:05 pmDa5id

      Anyone GOOD, you mean.

    • July 27, 2012 at 10:21 pmSortedevaras

      Vice-captain Mustache says hi too. :p

    • July 29, 2012 at 5:12 pmCrazyguy

      And the Kicker is that they’re all technically dead in the first place. You know, spirits and all that stuff.

      Plus, people forget about the Captain who has a Shikai and the ability to heal fatal wounds. I wonder what her Bankai would be?

      Case in point, Kubo is a stupid hack of a writer.

  • July 27, 2012 at 11:12 amDmonHiro

    Yeah, I’m not buying it. If he’s actually dead, then yeah, but I don’t think Kubo has the balls.

  • July 27, 2012 at 11:20 amWW

    As much as I’m eager to see Kenpachi fight, I’m kinda sad that he’s gonna go down so early.

  • July 27, 2012 at 11:27 amNixxistix

    I think you mean opponents. There is another guy, a sleeveless guy, on his shoulder too.

    • July 27, 2012 at 11:32 amKandur

      Three actually. There’s one on his right shoulder too, under the big guy. You can see his/her hair.

  • July 27, 2012 at 11:44 amTikal

    I’m just finding it so hard to get into this arc. Beyond the ridiculousness of the Quincy’s being the end boss, their trump card is so overpowered yet underpowered at the same. If they steal the Bankai then they can beat captains, of they can’t then I bet they insta-lose. It’s not really a battle its a fight between Deus Ex Machina’s.

    Though I do love Kenpachi. I think he’s Kubo’s “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Arc getting boring? Bust out Kenpachi! Need to crush an overpowered villain? Bust out Kenpachi! Comic relief due to extreme OPness? BUST OUT KENPACHI.

    If Byakuya is dead then I’m pissed that he went out like that. If he’s not dead then I’m pissed Kubo would red herring ANOTHER death. It’s a lose/lose for this arc imo.

    • July 27, 2012 at 3:22 pmGermanguy

      Dont forget, and this is an open Secret. That this here, is just a Foreplay for bring Squad Zero into Action. Zero? You dont know this? Well, lean back and enjoy this ride. That Kubo draw for us

  • July 27, 2012 at 11:45 amLuxor

    Death and despair, YESSSS

    And did anyone notice the crater in the wall Renji landed in was completely covered in a splattering of blood? That’s pretty gruesome. :o

    • July 27, 2012 at 12:24 pmsoursix9

      I believe that was actually Byakuya. It’s kind of hard to tell, though.

    • July 27, 2012 at 3:07 pmGermanguy

      This Crater is Byakuyas Grave. The Crate was “made” from his Bankei. It crave and pushed him in this “hole”

  • July 27, 2012 at 11:56 amP Ko

    “Well shit, I wasn’t expecting that” is all I have to say about this chapter.

    I’m still waiting for Yachiru yoda awesomeness! I still have hope! Don’t let me down Kubo!

  • July 27, 2012 at 12:11 pmYogo

    Aizen: Just as planned.

  • July 27, 2012 at 12:15 pmMisk

    I barely felt anything. Shouldn’t I be somehow touched by the character’s death…?

    • July 28, 2012 at 3:47 pmSeraphic

      I agree with you tho, the death of Byakuya just doesnt “quite” hit the mark.
      Don’t get me wrong, I shed manly tears in certain animes’ death of “good/heroic” characters (One Piece’s Ace and Whitebeard, Naruto’s Asuma death) and those characters don’t get much screentime, compared to Byakuya, who’s a “main” cast of the Soul Society.

  • July 27, 2012 at 12:21 pmsoursix9

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Kenpachi’s character, but I usually don’t care when he shows up because it’s usually just fanservice for a filler, but that panel was BAD. ASS.

    Oh, and Byakuya (maybe) died. Meh. I like his character too, but someone’s gotta die. I just wish it wasn’t Sasakibe first. He was such wasted potential for a good character. :(

  • July 27, 2012 at 12:39 pmNanashi

    I doubt Byakuya is down for the count, nor anyone in SS for that matter. There will come a part in this arc where everyone will be “dead” and Ichigo has the option to give into despair. Then, after doing some crazy power up, he will use his plot distorting abilities and destroy those Bankai-stealing devices, everyone who is down will magically be brought back.

    • July 27, 2012 at 3:10 pmGermanguy

      What Kubo id us teasing. Sure Ichigo will have a point, where he goes Super Sajin over 9000. As we saw a glimpse, when Orihime “command” an nearly death Ichigo with a hole in his Chest, to protect her. Well in Tears. Well the after effect you surly know. A Black Super Sajin. But will we see a “White” Sajin? (Well white?. A Shinigami in White cloths?) :)

      That is what i think, he will tease us.

      • July 27, 2012 at 3:12 pmGermanguy

        And it is only me, or is the “King/Leader” of these Quinceys nearly the same like the “Old Men” of Ichigos Sword?… Well Kubo run out of Design ideas it seem :)

  • July 27, 2012 at 12:52 pmSelkouva

    To solve Bleach deaths. We have a character called Orihime who has the most unbalanced ability to literally heals insane wounds like anything.

    Byakuya won’t die, he’ll just get revived by the plot device known as “Orihimi.”

    • July 27, 2012 at 3:14 pmGermanguy

      Orihimie’s “Heal” Ability is based on “Turn back Time”

      And i think, her real ability is still not known. As the someone said “Think, how it want you to be!”…

      • July 27, 2012 at 3:25 pmGermanguy

        It would not surprise me that much, if Ichigo and Orihime have the same Bloodline.

      • July 27, 2012 at 3:27 pmGermanguy

        …like some Film everybody know…

        ??

        *Luke i am your Father. Obi wan separates you and your Sister in birth, to protect both from me*

        But then, how is “the Father” here? Iseen? nah. I think him more of a real Loyal Bodyguard

      • July 27, 2012 at 3:32 pmMichiko

        Orihime’s ability is described as the “rejection of reality” by Aizen. It’s not just regressing things with time or space, but it apparent undoes entire events on a localized causal scale. Apparently it counts as trespassing into the domain of God.

      • July 27, 2012 at 3:32 pmGermanguy

        need more hints? Orihime’s tears can instant Heal Ichigos wound and Bones…

      • July 27, 2012 at 5:07 pmRickyMack

        and unlike chuck norris with his cancer curing tears, orihime cries all the time…

  • July 27, 2012 at 1:04 pmAldebaran

    Zaraki!! My man! oh, yes, now’s gonna be some action. He’s gonna the white hair boy ass for real :)) but it’s a bit dissaipointing that he’s gonna lose to some shit guy called Majesty :(

  • July 27, 2012 at 1:44 pmHutch Hutchenson

    Thundershock was super-effective.

  • July 27, 2012 at 1:46 pmrandom viewer

    Well the first lieutenant (I still don’t remember his name…sorry) did die before the war started, and then there’s Kira and the other squad 3 members. I honestly thought Byakuya would be one of the last ones standing in the war, so it was unexpected and sad. I at least hoped that he would have uncovered some weakness to that Quincy’s ability or something.
    If there was another movie or game or whatever for bleach, and Byakuya’s not there…it just won’t be the same you know.

  • July 27, 2012 at 1:59 pmRyner

    I think that HE DID NOT DIE. Why? I think it’s too anti-climatic, I mean, just because his Bankai got stolen, all of a sudden he could not do anything to fight the enemy. Remember that of all captains, Byakuya is one of the most resourceful one (probably only 3rd to Aizen and Urahara), using many powerful kido spells. Yet in his battle, he was so shocked of getting his Bankai stolen that he didnt do much but swing his shikai sword around, I thought it was weird.

    Also are all captains that weak without their Bankais? I mean IIRC in order to obtain Bankai, werent they supposed to defeat or overcome their own swords (or the spirit in theirs swords) themselves? Like in Ichigo’s case where he fought Zangetsu with tons of swords in order to get the Bankai. So I thought it was weird how their own power is beating the crap out of them, quite ironic really. I mean shouldnt they know their own powers and their weaknesses better than anyone else?

    • July 27, 2012 at 3:16 pmGermanguy

      Dont forget, that his Sword broke into pieces. And for a Captain the Sword is his Soul link/brother. But then what will happen to Kenpachi’s Sword. if he bite the Dust, too? He begin to laugh?

    • July 27, 2012 at 6:34 pmSui-kun

      Hey hey! Don’t tell me you forgot what happened just one chapter ago? He was hit by a Quincy needle–a needle that any ordinary Shinigami would die from–and his sense of fear was amplified by massive amounts. That man who calmly fires kidou like nobody’s business is not thinking straight right now. He probably can’t move very well either.

  • July 27, 2012 at 2:20 pmHunterWulf

    One thing, Zaraki owns .. i knew his entrance would be fantastic (and was just wondering where he is in the previous chapter discussion) .. and he didn’t disappoint .. heck .. not only he had two of his enemies on his shoulder (enemies that easily over-powered all the other captains) but one of them was still skewered by his sword .. i doubt Ichigo’s entrance into soul society in the upcoming chapters can top this .. also .. salute Kenpachi for going directly to the King of the Quincy .. cut off the head of the snake to kill it for good works well XD

    As for Byakuya’s death, it might be a little shocking specially considering how gruesome his death was but maybe Kubo will use “death of a fav character” card in order to stir the internet and discussions around his manga (thus equals more publicity for his manga) .. also to up the dramatic tension and up the stakes seeing this is the final arc of Bleach .. in other words .. $%&# just got real.

  • July 27, 2012 at 3:21 pmRuneGrey

    Overall, I think this chapter was pretty lacking, but so goes much of Bleach for a long while. I’ll be disappointed if they did kill Byakuya simply because after all these close calls and big dramatic moments, killing someone off with so little leadup and no real reflection upon it is pretty sad given the author’s usual style.

  • July 27, 2012 at 3:26 pmMichiko

    Well, in Naruto, Kishimoto killed off Kakashi and a bunch of Konoha people when Pain invaded. Just when everyone went “Whatshisname is dead!” and unspectacularly so, Kishimoto brought them all back to life with a Deus Ex Machina. Which I thought made death a cheap plot device, particularly when I thought Kishimoto had something with the idea of “just because you’re a major character doesn’t mean you get to die epically – especially because it’s a war.”

    In any case, with Byakuya, it could go either way. I mean, it’s not like there isn’t at least one known method that rejects all sorts of realities to undo injuries, right…?

  • July 27, 2012 at 3:56 pmvirox

    That was cruel. It was kinda hard to follow the panels, but As Nödt really beat him mercilessly. First he makes him realize his fear, then puts a hole in his chest in his confusion, then slices him with his own Bankai. Durin Renji’s pointless attack, Byakuya tries to attack from behind, but As Nödt just stops his sword with the petals, putting Byakuya into a storm of Senbonzakura. As the storm subsides, Byakuya is about to fall over and hit the ground, only to be put into the blender again and getting smashed into the wall. Kubo isn’t pulling the brakes, he’s breaking them. Well, this IS the final arc, and maybe he can finally do whatever he wants. I just hope he actually stays dead. I liked Byakuya, but reviving him will only add to the endless “Nobody dies in Bleach” meme.

    • July 27, 2012 at 5:32 pmZero

      I’ll laugh at you so bad if Byakuya gets revived, i mean by now you should be used to the fact that Bleach is shounen where deaths are either climactic way to end a battle and the character itself and not just something to break the meme.

      Afterall, even people here already mentioned that Orihime has that sort of ability to revive people lol.

      • July 27, 2012 at 7:19 pmvirox

        I’m aware of that, I actually read the comments before posting my own. I was just stating my opinion, what’s wrong with you?

  • July 27, 2012 at 8:30 pmLayfon

    Honest to god with all the action that was going on, I completely forgot about Zaraki. He’s soul society’s greatest weapon at this point XD!

    • July 28, 2012 at 1:32 amGermanguy

      If the Captain Commander use his Battle Experience, he should be a Great Weapon like Kenpachi. Not equal in Brute Strength. But with Experience he should be a fearful Enemy. Hope he can pull that out, without relay to much on his Bankai

      • July 28, 2012 at 7:36 amAizen

        And to think the Old Man never uses bankai!

  • July 27, 2012 at 8:46 pmPtolemaios00

    I couldn’t help but smile at the end of the chapter. It’s been a while since Bleach has done that for me. Kenpachi is seriously almost the only consistently awesome and badass character so far in Bleach. Isshin may qualify too, but he doesn’t show up much.

    Kubo can pretty much start another series with just Kenpachi as the MC instead.

  • July 27, 2012 at 9:29 pmPsithief

    Speculation: The majority of his zanpakto spirit is still alive, and it’s not truly separate from Byakuya. Getting that medallion back (plus any healing haxxorz available) is enough to revive anyone who has had their bankai stolen.

  • July 27, 2012 at 11:40 pmZeroHour17

    Byakuya is probably dead, but if Orehime’s powers are as strong as Aizen suggested, that won’t matter. Killing a main character is fine and all, but I never would of imagined it would be Byakuya

    • July 28, 2012 at 1:34 amGermanguy

      As i said early, we dont know the “bankai” of the Healer Captain. Perhaps She is more Awesome as Orihime. But only for a short Time…

  • July 28, 2012 at 2:51 amMikkye

    Kenpachi’s here and he’s ready for murder!

  • July 28, 2012 at 2:54 amMike F.

    While I am sad that Byakuya MIGHT be dead, one should remember that this is Bleach. Characters, especially important or popular ones, have a tendency to cheat death. That being said I don’t think that Byakuya is dead. Can’t go on the words of the villains and plus I don’t think that Kubo would kill him off in such a manner.

    The only thing that would shock me more is that if Kubo kills off someone like Hitsugaya. Needless I’m excited for the release of next week’s chapter.

  • July 28, 2012 at 4:23 amDP

    Have people forgotten that if slowing time is possible, or even a time jump a few days ahead in the future, its also possible to reverse time?

    With urahara and his research methods, it wouldn’t surprise me at all that this is the way to prevent all of the killings from happening.

  • July 28, 2012 at 5:21 amAnanas

    So Byakuya strenght was his ability to press the Senbonautorape button? Too bad his remote got stolen.

  • July 28, 2012 at 5:36 amaymanxa

    Zaraki is a BEAST ! killed THREE Quincies without removing his eye patch/any wounds and heading to the boss of the party. Never cared about Byakuya .. but i’m pretty sure he’ll make a return “no way a main character would die that fast”

  • July 28, 2012 at 7:34 amAizen

    Even Bishounen Sternritter Dude thinks it’s dragging on!

  • July 28, 2012 at 7:39 amJello

    The only reason I can still put up with Kubo’s storytelling antics is that this is supposedly the last arc. It’s almost over so I might as well finish it for closure.

    For all we know though, at the end of this arc Kubo will just troll us again. “Hey, I got another idea, so let’s write another completely inarticulate arc!”

  • July 28, 2012 at 10:28 amStefan

    I figure actually that Kubo is eliminating characters he has to write about in this arc. That is, the only people who can save the world will be, you know a hand full of people, as opposed to the whole gotei 13 too. Whether he is dead, or just put away for a few years is more likely to be a plot device than anything else. What better a surprise than the last few chapters of bleach the beloved Byakuya comes back from the dead to save the day. Just a thought. Also, we haven’t seen too many bankais at all, which kind of sucks, we may never get a chance to see them =(

  • July 28, 2012 at 11:09 amBryon

    Well, all I can say is shit is getting real in Bleach, guys! What I wonder is is Kenpachi next to join Izuru, Chojiro, and Byakuya??

  • July 28, 2012 at 10:45 pmSilentCid

    Sounds like no one going to be safe in Bleach anymore. Being the last arc he’s going to be kill off people left and right.

  • July 29, 2012 at 12:53 amcode fan

    Well, I can say I am shocked in how Ichigo is still trapped, seriously it would take the guy at least 12 hours to figure out the fact that he just need to pull out his mask.

    Still, I am wondering how a certain Mad scientist is doing, Mayuri not Urahara to avoid misunderstanding. To be frank, if someone has to die, that guy of all people would be perfectly suitable for the task.

  • July 29, 2012 at 2:45 ampollenXD

    too bad for zaraki..facing two of the most powerful quincies will make his end more gruesome than to that kuchiki..maybe one of the two foes will eat dust, but as for the king, well that’s a different story.

  • July 30, 2012 at 8:53 pmichigoat

    Kubo read Game of Thrones recently.

  • August 4, 2012 at 6:08 amKarma

    Just like Luxor said above- death and despair. And I’m completely loving it. I was rather moved by the death of Byakuya. Right now, I’m waiting for Kenpachi’s shikai to kick in and punch everyone to the ground. Also can’t wait for the Squad Zero and Aizen to get in action (Kubo said in an interview that Aizen has a great importance in the Quincy war against SS).