Bleach 537 – The Final Solution
This was an intense chapter. None of the information revealed should come as a big surprise to any of the readers as a lot of it was hinted at before, yet it remains that everything here will have critical implications for Ichigo’s identity and purpose. The question that we’ve been asking for weeks, how Masaki could have been defeated by a mere hollow, is finally resolved. Isshin explains that Grand Fisher, despite having advanced abilities over normal hollows, would not have been able to kill Masaki if it wasn’t for her sudden loss of abilities during the battle. The reason is none other than Juha Bach, father and king of all the quincies, who has finally fully awakened after 999 years. Nine years ago, he conducted a sort of purge on the quincies by “purifying” all the half-bloods, and naturally, that involved taking their powers, and killing many of them, including both Ishida and Ichigo’s mothers. The Nazi/Holocaust metaphors just seem a little too obvious, but Kubo does seem to enjoy applying cultural themes for the various groups in Bleach.
I feel like Ichigo should have known such important information about himself much, much earlier; however Isshin’s flashback has managed to provide him with a newfound resolve, and if previous soul-searching arcs have told us anything, he will be now be able to blast right through all of the Zero Squad’s challenges and training. Perhaps he will be seeking revenge for his mother, and things may get personal with Juha Bach (even if he is one of Ichigo’s ancestors). Ishida is not likely to have any love for the quincy king either, so despite seeing him join the Vandenreich ranks at the end, I suspect he is some sort of double agent planning to topple Juha’s reign. He has a very calculating and methodological personality, so it would be very surprising if he is genuinely joining the enemy. Either way though, he still looks pretty good in that white trench coat.