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Bleach 523 – Endless Hell

Bleach Manga   523   01

After a three week break, Bleach is back with some big developments. Ichigo and Renji are still stuck in the dark abyss of Nimaya’s palace, and face an attack against a huge group of unnamed zanpakutou (the Asauchi). After relaxing in the hot springs and mountains of food of the previous two palaces, it’s high time that they face some tougher trials. Revelations about the background and characteristics of the zanpakutou are definitely welcome, but I do find a problem with how out-of-the-blue the information seems. Nimaya completely debunks everything we’ve known about the magic spirit swords of Bleach from the past 10 years. He proclaims that he was the one created all the zanpakutou, and that the shinigami are given a generic one at the start of their training, instead of the spirit being inherently part of their soul. Apparently they don’t have anywhere near the symbiotic relationship that was implied, and that the shinigami are completely wrong about the purpose of their zanpakutou. There were no hints at these facts at all beforehand, and I find it hard to avoid a nagging suspicion that this was all an ass-pull from Kubo simply for the sake of a plot twist. It simply doesn’t make sense that the constant meditation and training with the supposedly furious zanpakutou spirits for hundreds of years hasn’t revealed even a sliver of their error. Zangetsu doesn’t seem to hate Ichigo either, though he’s always been the odd one out. Is Nimaya really so disconnected from the Gotei 13 that he didn’t make an attempt to educate them on their mistake in treating his creations? I hope that at least some of these issues will be addressed in the upcoming chapters.

Unohana and Zaraki’s progression on the other hand, had me thrilled. For a long time it’s been implied that Captain Unohana was much more frightening than her gentle façade revealed (especially given how easily terrified the shinigami were of her). Juha Bach’s tidbits about the founding of the Gotei 13 were also expanded on as Unohana was revealed to have been one of the original members. As it turns out, she was actually a demonic thug — the most blood-thirsty of them all and also a master of sword combat. I’m curious as to what convinced her to switch over to the healing squad, and also whether or not her shikai has other abilities. As the maestro of murder though, its possible Unohana doesn’t rely on her zanpakutou abilities heavily for combat. Zaraki brought up an interesting point about how they are only the good guys because they were strong, and because they were the winners. This leads me to suspect that the Central 46 (and possibly other leader figures) do not trust Unohana completely because of her nature and abilities, as they don’t trust Zaraki, which would explain why she’s usually kept out of combat. Now of course, Kyouraku has over-rided any misgivings because of the urgency of the situation, so they have been sent into an infinite abyss to train. They’ve wounded each other before in previous engagements, and there’s no doubt there will be blood this time as well.

January 17, 2013 at 8:43 pm
66 comments »
  • January 17, 2013 at 8:52 pmJenanime4eva

    Damn Unohana, you scary :P.

    • January 17, 2013 at 10:40 pmNatsu

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      • January 18, 2013 at 12:08 amMoridin

        Do you go out of your way to troll the first comment of every manga post? Seriously first the Naruto post and now this…

      • January 18, 2013 at 2:15 amLaughingMan

        Fuck off…

      • January 18, 2013 at 2:19 amL002

        I can’t help but wonder what is more shocking, the fact that Unohana has such a scary face yet Kenpachi isn’t the least bit scared, a face like that would easily give possibly Byakuya a shocked look, or the fact that there was a wound that even Unohana could not heal without making it scarless.

    • January 21, 2013 at 10:24 amLogan

      How in the heck did Unohana land the plot spot for first Kempachi…

      http://www.manga2u.me/Bleach/382/07/

      When she says that whole shhhppeal about “imagining his reiatsu being equal to captain level”.
      Those are her thoughts!, this would mean that there’s two Unohanas, the Healer Unohana original 4th Squad Captain we all know.
      And then there’s the first kenpachi Unohana demon killer evil thing.

      Am I to assume Unohana was keeping her true evil identity a secret even to her self? Or just deep burried personality?
      How can the first Kenpachi Unohana be suprized or even result in a shock at Ichigos power level…

      Also, where did Zarachi’s zanpaktou come from? could he have stolen an original Asauchi from another soon to be Shinigami and just hacked n slashed until now? Didn’t Toshiro’s hyourinmaru appear out of no where?

      • January 22, 2013 at 7:35 amTez

        That makes absolutely no sense to me. What does her misjudging ichigo’s power have to do with her being a murdering thug in the past?

  • January 17, 2013 at 8:55 pmCamora

    I’m super hyped now. That is a terrifying look on her face. I am looking forward to finding out how they met and what Uhnohana thought when Zaraki first entered the Gotei 13, as well as how they kept themselves composed to eachother. It seems very unlike Zaraki to just let it slide that the only person he has ever admired is a collegue of his…but the way this chapter was written makes it look like he knew all along.

  • January 17, 2013 at 9:04 pmpaiser

    is it me or is it getting corny-er by each chapter?

    • January 18, 2013 at 2:19 amK C M

      I can assure you that it is not you. I mean what the hell is with this transformation, I can’t undertand this. I know that soul society’ 13 squad captains have some character flaws but this is by far the most silliest thing TK(the author) could have presented to us. Byakuya would kill his sister to honour the clan’s pride, Mayuri is an evil mad scientist, Kenpachi is a bloodthirsty psychopath and now Unohana is a diabolical criminal. This is so jump the shark moment.

      • January 18, 2013 at 8:42 amCamora

        Don’t forget Yammaji. Juha said that Yamma had gotten weak because back in the old days he would have done anything, even sacrificed his own allies just to win. Sometimes you have to wonder if Soul Society are really the good guys

      • January 18, 2013 at 10:24 amMoridin

        This is hardly out of left field as you’re making it out to be. For the longest time people have acted oddly around Unohana for no real reason. There has been tons of speculation that she was something big back in the day it was just never elaborated on. It was also stated by TK that Unohana was one of the strongest captains even rivaling Ukitake and Kyoraku in power. Thats not to say their isn’t a lot of deus ex machina in this manga but seriously this one ain’t it.
        As for the other captains it’s called Character development they got softer so what it’s not your story to write your only choice is to read or not to read.

      • January 18, 2013 at 10:49 ampaiser

        i know, right? At least it should have safety net of storyline, but its falling under the cliche of classic shonen territory of endless power ups with every evil character that comes out. I thought the arc had a really good curve ball when yamaji came out with his bankai, but if you think back 2 arcs ago (im pretty sure) didn’t his bankai get eaten? Does bankai grow on trees? These should at least have a safety net of good story telling

  • January 17, 2013 at 9:09 pmNadester

    So Unohana vs. Kenpachi in the deepest part of Soul Society. I can’t help but feel that Aizen will interfere in some way… Just as planned.

    • January 17, 2013 at 9:36 pmSortedevaras

      I will be pissed beyond words if they do like usual and skip Kenpachi’s training. This is by far the most interesting that has happened in a long time and damnit I want to see it.

      • January 18, 2013 at 10:51 ampaiser

        shikai and maybe bankai?

  • January 17, 2013 at 9:12 pmSpencer

    So I’m not the only one questioning how Nimaya explains the zanpakutou. I completely agree that this was an ass-pull especially considering that Hitsugaya’s back story is canon in this universe. I went back and re-read Chapter -16, and we see that even before Hitsugaya became a shinigami, there were physical manifestations of his zanpakutou.

    Is Nimaya really so disconnected from the Gotei 13 that he didn’t make an attempt to educate them on their mistake in treating his creations?

    I get the feeling that all the royal guards are only vaguely aware of happenings in the Soul Society, since Hikifune had no idea what had happened to Hiyori, possibly not even knowing about the Vizard.

    • January 18, 2013 at 10:03 amProoof

      It seems that he was actually aware of how the shinigami treated their zanpakutou.

  • January 17, 2013 at 9:15 pmShouko

    Neither can live while the other survives. It’ll be interesting to see what comes of Unohana vs. Kenpachi for sadly I’m not too invested in Ichigo and Renji’s plights at the moment.

    • January 17, 2013 at 9:20 pmSpencer

      Don’t worry I don’t think anyone else is interested in Ichigo or Renji either.

    • January 18, 2013 at 10:55 ampaiser

      i kinda disagree, if there is a universe of storytelling then ichigo’s bankai is a whole “universe” to be explored… his final bankai? Oh yeah and what about his dad?

  • January 17, 2013 at 9:15 pmSpencer

    Also I know I should have addressed this last chapter, Ichigo achieved a higher level of understanding of zanpakutou that Tensa Zangetsu was literally an extension of himself when he fought Aizen. So Ichigo doesn’t care about his Zanpakutou, you say. Well I here by dub you Crazy Homeless Impostor, CHI for short.

    • January 17, 2013 at 9:40 pmSuppa Tenko

      I guess it just means Ichigo doesn’t have a physical loving relationship with his Zanpakuto seeing how he clearly has an emotional and mental relationship with it.

      • January 18, 2013 at 9:59 pmKamui04

        Physical relationship between Ichigo and Zangetsu… I see where this is going, but leave that to the doujins ^_^;

  • January 17, 2013 at 10:29 pmEmD

    Look at that face! I feel sorry for the poor bastard that forgets the safety word.

  • January 17, 2013 at 10:43 pmNine

    I remember i said can’t picture Unohana teaching Kenpachi few chapter ago… and now i was wrong.. dead wrong.

  • January 17, 2013 at 10:57 pmEntrav

    Awwwww damn. Things just got real.

  • January 17, 2013 at 11:01 pmfatalblue

    I always knew Unohana was a bad bi*ch & She probably got a 100+ yrs worth of battle lust built up inside right now so no doubt she’s trilled with chance to swing her sword seriously again.

  • January 17, 2013 at 11:02 pmgawrshness

    yep my friend you’re spot on, the zanpakuto revelation was an ass pull from kubo because first first starters we know Ichigo didn’t even receive these ‘generic’ swords and pulled zangetsu directly from his soul. Even the big one he had before it just ‘showed up’ when Rukia stabbed him. Kubo really needs to start reading the old chapters himself to catch up to the story and the explanations he has given before.

    On a side note Kyoraku’s words seemed completely stupid; we are at war, our strongest shinigami was butchered by the boss of the bad guys, we lost a couple of thousand foot soldiers and most of SS is in ruins. SO HEY let’s have two of the remaining strongest shinigami fight each other TO THE DEATH! seriously? When he said ‘only one of you may survive’ I laughed…of course chances are slim on either one of them ending up killing the other. I mean come on for all the hate that seemed to be brewing between Kenpachi and Unohana let’s not forget Kenpachi naming his companion in her honor and even saying that she was the only person he ever admired.

    Last note; Psycho Unohana…scary…very very…scary…

  • January 17, 2013 at 11:35 pmchiaki

    Unohana psycho pass color DARK and …………… coeficient of criminality 999 !!! HAHAHAHAHA

  • January 17, 2013 at 11:54 pmYanDaMan

    I agree about the Zanpakuto history part. It doesnt make sense given what we already know from the past 500+ chapters. This seems like something Kubo pulled out of his ass yet again, not that I’m surprised.

    I’m at least expecting good things from Kenpachi/Unohana.

  • January 18, 2013 at 12:01 amDenki

    Damn Unohana…dat rape face

    On a separate note, do not care much for ichigo and renji.

  • January 18, 2013 at 12:18 amVelius

    Awesome chapter. People really shouldn’t judge where Kubo is going with SS’s history and background so soon. Its already been set up really well and he just needs to flush it out a bit more.

    As for Unohana and Zaraki, well, not much to say on that besides their “training” certainly should be a place where there is endless space for them to battle. They are probably going to be down there for a bit.

  • January 18, 2013 at 12:19 amSwarz

    If then how did Ichigo get his hands on a zanpakutou?

  • January 18, 2013 at 1:23 amKandur

    “and face an attack against a huge group of unnamed shinigami”

    You mean Zanpakuto.

  • January 18, 2013 at 1:47 amCybersteel

    Unamed Shinigami? I thought those were Zanpakutou.

  • January 18, 2013 at 1:57 amlion_of_genesis

    I thought the zanpakutou explanation was okay. Nimaya only created the physical vessels for the zanpakutou spirits, namely those swords that every single shinigami has. This basically explained why only some shinigami had named zanpakutou, while the cannon fodder had generic swords (which could still perform usual shinigami things, like soul burials, I guess). As for the spirits, they’re definitely connected to the shinigami, who, if they’re strong enough, can send those spirits into their nameless swords and then build a stronger relationship with the spirit via meditation. To say that this was never foreshadowed in any way is a bit of a stretch.

  • January 18, 2013 at 2:19 amMarkBadong

    Here’s how the Bleach Wiki explains Kubo’s “ass pull”:

    Asauchi (浅打ち, ‘”Shallow Hit”‘): The class of nameless Zanpakutō that all low-class Shinigami wield. Shinigami who are still in training – those who do not yet belong to any of the Gotei 13 – all wield generic Zanpakutō. Shinigami who are unable to communicate with their Zanpakutō, the “shallow hit”, which refers to the grossly reduced power of a Zanpakutō whose wielder cannot connect with it properly. This way of thinking is partly inaccurate.

    Asauchi are the strongest Zanpakutō, as they can become anything.[23] There are over 6,000 Gotei 13, all of whom are given unnamed Zanpakutō upon first entering the academy. All Shinigami must spend every waking moment with their Zanpakutō and as they progress in their training they slowly and methodically imprint the essence of their soul into their Asauchi. It is in this manner they guide and mold ‘their own Zanpakutō’.

    Convinced? Or have doubts?

    • January 18, 2013 at 10:26 pmKamui04

      From Anon comments a few post up referencing the chapters where we see Zangetsu v1.0 with Shirayuki’s hilt and later Zangetsu giving Ichigo an Asauchi, and adding your comments, we would say the Asauchi are basically a vessel to project the Zanpakuto’s spirit. And so it makes me think that instead of reforging or fixing the broken Zangetsu, it’s more likely that we’ll see Ichigo transferring Zangetsu into a new one?

  • January 18, 2013 at 2:20 amLaughingMan

    In a way it kinda makes sense that a Zanpakuto is first handed to a Shinigami in its Asauchi form as a blank slate. After that it gets shaped by a Shinigami’s reiatsu and evolves into its shikai form along with the user’s abilities. Ichigo on the other hand appears to be a rare exception. Maybe because all along the Asauchi form of his sword originally belonged to Rukia when he first received his powers? We’ll just have to wait and see what happens. Also, I always knew there was more to Unohana than meets the eye. Can’t wait to see what kind of crazy abilities she has.

    • January 18, 2013 at 3:42 amTasa

      Ok so before Nimaya invented zanpakuto, I wonder how shinigami did their purification of hollows or sending souls to soul society without zanpakuto.

  • January 18, 2013 at 2:41 amR

    I was vaguely wondering if Unohana’s scar was also an asspull, but then I remembered her hair had always been braided in the front to cover it.

    Also, incoming Zaraki/Unohana shipping…

  • January 18, 2013 at 3:18 amHakumeiJin

    One explanation that seems possible to me is that. What we call their Zanpakutou spirit isn’t really that. Whatever spirit that becomes their Shikai/Bankai is just some spiritual thing inside them at first but by forcing it to fuse with the more violent Asauchi inside their Zanpakutou they somehow create the much more useful for fighting Zanpakutou.

  • January 18, 2013 at 4:30 amDream-Master

    Unohana was a demonic thug in the past?….pffft…Kenshin would whip that ass if he had shinigami powers. >.>

  • January 18, 2013 at 4:31 amCelecia01

    Unohana is defineitly one scary woman when she wants to be. I agree that the Zanpakto explanation seemed out of the blue, but I think that’s Kubo’s style, very little seems to be set up as much as it is thrown at us, at least we took some time to receive an explanation before launching into more combat (also, note how they all look like fully evolved Aizen). What I don’t understand is that Kyoraku mentioned Unohana and Kenpachi fighting will only end with one of them dead…wtf? Surely this is a very bad idea consider that the good guys need as much help as they can get?

    Also, I think Unohana has a strange ability for someone who is as murderous as Kenpachi, if not more, remember her zanpakto transforms into a giant, fat stingray…not the most menacing form for a killer to have in her arsonel.

  • January 18, 2013 at 5:42 amKurisu Vi Britannia

    Remember people, it’s always the calm and collected ones you’ve gotta watch out for.

  • January 18, 2013 at 6:36 amvirox

    Nimaya completely debunks everything we’ve known about the magic spirit swords of Bleach from the past 10 years. He proclaims that he was the one created all the zanpakutou, and that the shinigami are given a generic one at the start of their training, instead of the spirit being inherently part of their soul.

    Sorry Prooof, that’s wrong. If you read chapter 110, you will notice that the name “Asauchi” was already used by Zangetsu long ago, when he gave Ichigo one of them to fight him in his Inner World. What Nimaya explained here makes a lot of sense.

    • January 18, 2013 at 12:04 pmSpencer

      I will counter you with Chapter -16 where physical manifestations of Hyōrinmaru’s power were present even before Hitsugaya got an “Asauchi”.

      • January 19, 2013 at 3:05 amKeranu

        Nimaya never said a shinigami could not have a spirit before they had a sword, true hitsugaya had contact with his spirit before he joined the squads, but nimaya said that these generic swords could become anything. In my eyes what he meant was you can have a zanpaktou spirit but by pooling its power into your asauchi, you could access/amplify the power of the spirit that already exists in your soul and thus develop your own unqiue zanpaktou, but due to renji and ichigo using their swords for only tools then that means that they were only using their zanpaktou spirits as tools as well. remember nobody is able to utilize their zanpaktou’s spirit power unless through a zanpaktou

  • January 18, 2013 at 7:22 amAlcren

    Ichigo has also been through this king of the hill thing before too, with his hollow…twice. The king and his horse the one with most determination/power etc… Being the king. All in all an ass pull which we all know

    • January 18, 2013 at 7:42 amAnon

      How is it an asspull if it had happened before? Plus Nimaiya’s statement of shinigami or zanpakutou, who should be on top? It closely echoes Shirosaki’s king and his horse.

  • January 18, 2013 at 8:08 amNaske

    Hyperbolic time chamber much.. lol?
    and yea dem raep faces from Unohana really fleshed out a whole new character XD

  • January 18, 2013 at 9:48 ammagistercaesar

    Captain Unohana: Soul Society’s Battosai

  • January 18, 2013 at 2:17 pmkwerboom

    Na, we aren’t in ass-pull territory just yet. The first half of this chapter reminds me of Ch. 284, “Historia de Pantera y su Sombras”, where it was explained how the different levels of hollow formed. How zanpakutou come into existence has long been a hole in this manga and this gives a basic description of how it works.

    We reach ass-pull territory when Kubo tries to explain how 1) in Ch. -16 “Dying in the Ice Fields”, Tōshirō Hitsugaya could interact with Hyōrinmaru before he had an asauchi, 2) in Ch.63 “Lesson 2-3: Innercircle Breakdown”, what Zangetsu meant by Ichigo having his own powers of shinigami and how Ichigo could have already had an asauchi that evolved to a zanpakutou, and 3) in Ch. 110 “Dark Side of the Universe”, how Zangetsu as a zanpakutou could hand Ichigo an asauchi if each shinigami only gets one asauchi to form a zanpakutou from. Watching Kubo tie up all these loose ends will be fun.

    The Unohana and Zaraki fight is really the best part of this chapter.

  • January 18, 2013 at 8:12 pmMatroid

    Zaraki has always been an interesting character. Putting him against Unohana makes Bleach better than ever.

  • January 19, 2013 at 3:07 amKeranu

    Did anyone notice that unohana’s sword was more curved than usual?

    • January 19, 2013 at 5:13 amVivace

      I did, if memory serves me right, it shouldnt be that curve.

      BTW, please dont die Unohana, you are still my favourite captain.

  • January 19, 2013 at 8:40 amDave

    I’m curious as to what convinced her to switch over to the healing squad

    It’s stated in the chapter that Unohana founded what would become the 11th Division. Zaraki defeated the last leader of the 11th to take it over. Unohana points out that the only person who’d ever cut her was Zaraki.

    At your most basic, I think you have your answer.

    • January 20, 2013 at 1:23 pmarky

      zaraki didnt defeat Unohana, he hasnt yet, she having a wound doenst mean Zaraki did it or defeated her, zaraki is the 11th kenpachi unohana the first, he defeteade kuganjo the 10th kenpachi to take over the 11th squad.

      • January 23, 2013 at 12:10 pmKarma

        Wasn’t it that Unohana demoted herself from being Kenpachi? And if that’s so, nobody has defeated Unohana.

      • March 28, 2013 at 10:24 pmLim Lynn

        Seems Yachiru Unohana have been kind to Kenpachi repaying for what he had done cruel to himself to protect Yachiru Unohana since the fight wasn’t seen in broad day light with a crowd of witness only pile of dead body. She wasn’t ready for the duel when Kenpachi was younger.

  • January 23, 2013 at 12:09 pmKarma

    I don’t think that the changes in the personalities of the characters is bullshit move by Kubo.
    There is no pure justice and good, not here, not in fantasies, and the desperate times make us act the way we actually are. And I’d say that more desperate times are to come.

  • January 24, 2013 at 1:32 pmAshen

    Loved the half of this chapter devoted to Unohana and Zaraki. The other half regarding Renji and Ichigo felt so out of nowhere and contradictory to everything we’ve been told and shown until now, I can absolutely agree with you, Prooof, about the ass-pull suspicion.