After a long ten-year run, Bleach is finally heading into its final arc — one last war which will hopefully bring everything to a conclusion. We get a small teaser of that war, involving a battle between the Gotei 13, hollows, and an unrevealed third-party (Quincies, or maybe some new group?). Other than that though, this first chapter was fairly uneventful, with the focus mostly on Kyuki Ryuunosuke, the shinigami scheduled to be the new guardian of Karakura Town. From the looks of it, he may be even more incompetent then Zennosuke though, so I’m not sure how he’ll be able to relieve Ichigo of having to run around taking care of low-level hollows. He’s paired with a foul-mouthed, flat-chested shinigami named Shino, but their first mission quickly turns into disaster when they run straight into several giant hollows and get taken out in one hit. And yes, Ichigo ends up saving the day again. All in all, nothing new here aside from a couple half-dead kids and Ichigo showing off his new shinigami form.

It’s a little early to judge this arc just yet, but I’m really hoping that it’ll be epic (we know that it’ll be long). One awesome finale will be able to somewhat salvage the series from a whole lot of crap in the middle. It’s not clear what it’ll be about exactly and whether there will be a new group/entity or if Kubo will just use characters we’ve already seen, but the whole deal with Isshin and also Squad Zero will probably be addressed. Other than that there’s no real hints yet at where this will be heading, so sit tight and cross your fingers.

74 Comments

  1. Great, another flat-chested, hot-headed girl and a weak looking boy.
    As if we need more characters in this manga Kubo >_>

    So any bets on how long this final arc will last? I’m guessing 5 years.

    belatkuro
      1. The Arrancar Arc lasted for about 5 years in publication. However I don’t think that’s a good indication for how long Kubo is planning to pad overextended write this arc here.

        In JUMP Festa 2010 (Winter 2009 I believe) he said in an interview that he planed to end the Arrancar Arc in the middle of 2010 (which he did, in an unbelievable way by creating endless chapters of Deicide) after which he planned to write two more arcs, one which is short and the next long (which he did also, The Lost Agent Arc lasted for one year, which by Bleach standards is extremely short (The Substitute/Soul Society Arc lasted for nearly 4 years, while the Arrancar Arc lasted for 5)).

        Of course he said that he also wants to write Bleach for 10 more years, not to mention that in the omakes published in the 3 week break we learned that this Arc was in the planning stage for nearly 5 years … so following that logic, Kubo has planned that this Arc would last for the next decade, being as long as the Substitute/Soul Society + Arrancar + Lost Agents Arcs combined!

        Scary. But I wonder, would Random Curiosity still cover Bleach ten years from now lol?

        Arabesque
    1. I kinda don’t like the new characters. Feel so bad for them since they will only appear int eh Final Arc whereas, if they appeared before they will get more screen time :PP)

      But at least it wasn’t another big-boobed, air-headed, all-she-does-is-scream-and-cry-when-her-friends-die-in-front-of-her girl.

      Corn
      1. I think he probably expected a lot of criticism from that. But what can he do? It wouldn’t have made any sense if he’d just thrown Ichigo back into the fray without an explanation as to how he regained his powers. People would have been upset by that, too.

        I wasn’t a fan of the Fullbringers, but, the way I see it, they were necessary, and fulfilled their purpose.

        Crowes
  2. I really, really, really hope that Kubo will actually make this arc coherent and the characters competent.

    There are many potential plot points that can be addressed, and hopefully Kubo will actually follow through with them instead of starting on another completely unnecessary tangent.

    MasterDragonKnight
    1. Exactly. Instead of bringing new baddies, like he did with Fullbringers, he should use the characters or events that are already in the story. Which are plenty. Hell, I’d be happier if these bad guys are somewhat related to Ginjou and Fullbringers; it’d be better than to introduce more characters with new, unexplained abilities.

      So long as Kubo incorporates or adresses in this new arc every character the series already has, such as Nell or even the fireworks guy from the Soul Society arc or that weak medic shinigami boy, I’ll be somewhat content.

      I’ll try to be as open-minded as possible; but please Kubo, make it good!

    2. Every single character? Well hopefully its just screen time. If they have to fight with every single PvP like normal who knows how many years it will take. It would be nice if they fought some group battles to save time.

      I think the random new baddies is unavoidable. Sure we could bring in the quincies of which we know two, but that’s hardly the epic final battle.

      shin
  3. I hope that this final arc will make up for the previous arc which seemed like just a set up for Ichigo to get his powers back. There are still a lot of unanswered questions in Bleach so if they decide to address them, that’d be great but hopefully they deal with it at a steady pace rather than cramming them all at once.
    Also, someone told me that they saw (somewhere) that Kubo said he wouldn’t deal with the Soul King story. Anyone know if that’s true or not? Cause I hope it’s not.

    Gravit
  4. yea at this point I have pretty much given up with bleach . After 4 weeks this is all Kubo could produce? Nothing was exciting, the new characters were lame and uninspiring and like usual the chapter only lasted about 30 seconds. As said by many before Bleach should’ve ended after Ichigo defeated Aizen but Kubo wants to milk this manga for another 5+ years because he knows anything new he makes will just be an utter failure…Thank god I can at least have OP to look forward to in the weeklies and sometimes even Naruto (oh yea shoutouts to Naruto this week for the 3 pages of Sasuke footprints, those pages probably were not even worth advancing the story *rolls eyes*)

    Nomo
  5. You know, I usually bash on Bleach, but this was an alright opening to the arc. Not so much a good opening to the FINAL arc…but alright nonetheless.

    Can we just try to block out the Fullbringer debacle and losing powers thing just assume Ichigo got a new costume during the timeskip just cause?

    Da5id
      1. I know right? I mean, didn’t they clearly tell us that Bleach was going on a 70 week long hiatus after the end of the last arc. What the heck is a fullbring and why’s everyone bashing it. Surely it can not be something that came from Bleach.

        Kentaiyoshimi
  6. Oh man, it is almost over. Just one more short 4-5 year arc…………right.
    Also “final arc”: hahahaha
    Bleach 416 Deicide 18: The End
    Bleach 417 Deicide 19
    I won’t hold my breath about it ending.

    This was boring, and good for nothing but padding the plot. I still miss Tsukishima.

    It was clearly a quincy, no subtly there. Mayuri said it was the only group that could completely erase hollows. And it used hollow bait just before the giant hollows dominated the soul reapers.

    >inb4 Aizen is controlling thing, to weaken the balance of the world and thus to soul king.

    derp...
    1. I also assume it’s the Quincies. Thing is, if the author is competent that could be a good villain, but I feel like a manga story won’t be able to grab the potential of the idea. If you’re going to have an age-old conflict reignite, especially when it’s thawed recently, you really need to examine from a character-centric points of view with the vagaries of war and what not. You can’t just do “hey, the bad guys miraculously have the EXACT SAME number of people that we do, let’s decide this war in a series of numbered duels… maybe even a tournament!”

      KaleRylan
      1. Wait wait wait wait….if they’re Quincies, where did they come from? I thought Uryu and Ryuken Ishida were the last ones?

        I mean, that would be the obvious question here, wouldn’t it?

        Da5id
      2. I think the more obvious question is “are they gonna fight with Soul Society now?”

        I don’t even remember the reason why Soul Society stopped going after Quincies, especially with their ability to completely erase Hollows from existence. I thought there was bad blood between them from the start?

        DCLXVI
  7. Quincy War! Ichigo will seek out “That Thing” that Aizen spoke of in order to stop the war! But in so doing will face each member of Zero Squad along the way. In order to eventually Ask/Tell “That Thing” that there is another way. -Sound familiar? Yeah minus the training it may become “Teaching” his new replacements before setting out on his Journey. One last power upgrade via Urahara or should I say restoration [Kubo didn’t spend all that time character designing not to use it] of his ORIGINAL POWERS via Ginjou’s corpse. Ahh Yes we haven’t ever covered this ground before. But if the roller coaster’s good you’ll inevitably ride it again.

  8. After like 3 or 4 week break,this is what we get? Are you serious Kubo? Lame. Yuki looks really weak and he’s already annoying for me. I already hate him after 1 chapter. As for Shino? Another tsundere for the Ichigo harem or what?

    yomax
  9. If we get no Squad Zero and no Isshin then we get another arc!
    I really hope it isn’t the final for this because i like bleach alot! But Kubo should have better materials for arc instead of garbage like last one….

    paiser
  10. At this point in the manga i’m lost as to what ichigo’s power level would be. When he was fighting Aizen he seemed like he was extremely high level. Though since he couldn’t take out ginjo in like a couple hits even after he got his power back,did he get weaker?, and if so has he finally regained his power to that before he transformed into the final getsuga tenshou.

    Majadi7
    1. What I really want to know is about how Nel just got left behind. I mean Ichigo flys off to fight Ulquiora and just leaves her behind and she is completely gone from the series from that point on. I mean what the hell!

      Nemesis
  11. This last arc does not seem to get me overly excited. It’s somewhat a hyped announced to attract more followers but then I cannot also deny Kubo Sensei for doing it. Even though Bleach is a good manga to read-it just lost its flavor after Aizen. Fullbring wasn’t really exactly a good arc. I wish he didn’t kill off Ririka though, I honestly love her character as it adds more excitement.
    I hope this last arc will bring back older characters to the story. Naruto and One Piece has been doing it. It gives off a sense of familiarization to us readers. Don’t ‘cha think so?

    Hegent
  12. You know what is wrong with Bleach these days? Absolutely no twists in development. Everytime Kubo makes twist its by showing completely new things we couldnt see comming, thats not called good writing, thats just cheap! Last time good twist happened it was Aizen turning out to be villain, and how long ago was it… Now everytime he wants to show something interesting, he just picks out something new out of his arse, and even such cheap tactic doesnt turn out very good lately. You can bet your ass new enemy will be once again someone completely new (unless it is Aizen but that would be just horrible tbh). No development, no possible predicting, millionth Ichigos serious face, trilionth absolutely anyones face seeming totally concerned about Ichigo, as if it was in their contract to show their “ichigo concern” face every second chapter.

    So basically thats my opinion on this damn thing. And why Im still reading it? Well I stopped but it takes 10 minutes to read 4 chapters of this bs so I can catch up out of whim once in a while.

    razi
  13. At this point i could care less about story or plot because its a good bet that some parts of this final arc wont make any sense, all im interested in r the bankais that have been missing in action.

    Evil In7en7
  14. THE FINAL BATTLE – ICHIGO vs ISSHIN

    isshin and ichigo will have the awkward chat about how his dad seems to be a fully qualified shinigami taicho…? they seem to have been avoiding this….

    cue *dropkick to face!!!!!!!

    defunkt_bots
    1. That…is a very good point.

      With Isshin and Jesus Urahara, hell even Yoruichi around, how come there are still hollows strong enough to wipe the floor with Fodder#1 & #2 around? It’s not like Soul Society cares about their fugitive status; they’re still alive and in the human world a year after their ‘big’ reveal…

      I seriously hope Kubo addresses this issue and does a passable job doing it.

      Or add a twist, and say those three just don’t care about them souls because, well, they’re ‘dead’…which is really subjective at this point.

      I still don’t understand how souls can bleed and die. Being eaten by hollows, I can understand, since the hollows assimilate them.

      But getting ill? Bleeding to death? Huh?

      Beedle
  15. Also Kubo should reveal who the “King of Soul Society” is! What are the royal guards that protects that entity?! What happened to Ichigo’s hollow form and zangetsu? Who is Ichigo really? After all Aizen hinted that he was watching Ichigo all along and somehow planned all the events that led him to be that strong, so why was that? Who is he really? So many questions left unanswered, which I hope Kubo will all address properly.

    Unlike Ken in Mahou Sensei Negima, an epic series, with WAY TOO MANY mysteries and questions left unanswered, like where Negi’s father is, what happened to his parents, etc etc… which is ending a mere 3 chapters away, which I really really doubt will answer them all. Man, epic mangas are ending already, what is this 2012 end of the world for mangas? Seriously, so many epic series are starting to end or ending, I’m guessing even Naruto might be on its final arc since everything seems to be wrapping up.

    X
  16. So, tuned in when I saw the update thinking “hey, Kubo took a 3 week break, and this is supposed to be the final arc of Bleach so, let’s see” and facepalmed right at the beginning.

    Seriously? Wimpy shota with the flatchested tomboy? really, Kubo?

    I do have to wonder though; with Karakura being such a hotspot for hollows/arrancars/those people from the last arc (yes, I actually forgot what they called themselves and I’m too lazy to google)/other random fodder from the anime, surely Soul Society- or at least Yamamoto- wouldn’t be stupid enough to send greenhorns like shota and pettanko to Karakura, right? Right?

    Really, I did not expect them to get pathetically raped owned from the get-go and I especially did not expect Ichigo to appear at the very end to save the day…

    Why can’t Renji or other Lieutenants, or at least the 3rd seat from whatever division be stationed in bloody Karakura? Hell, didn’t Soul Society miraculously get the Vizards back? Surely they have a few heavy hitters to spare now, instead of random fodder one and two…

    Unless… Yamamoto’s really a cold-hearted bastard with some ulterior motive! Or, is still under Aizen’s mind-control illusion, sending pathetic shinigamis to their early doom to thin Soul Society’s ranks~~~

    …I hate myself for getting my hopes up…

    Beedle
  17. I’m getting a weird sense of déjà vu here. Like something like this has happened before. Oh wait, now i remember. It’s when the last ‘big three’ were ending. They all tried to hype up there ‘final arch,’ promising an ‘epic conclusion’, ‘all questions answered’, or something equally as ridiculous. Only to deliver a lack luster ending, an open unresolved one, or a cop out. Oblivious not delivering the ‘promised ending.’

    Bleach appears to be going down this same road, unfortunately it will probably end in one of three way mentioned above. Since it’s become an uncontrollable monster fueled by greed, that’s out growing it’s surroundings. Ie the bubble for this series is going to burst and it’s not going to be pretty.

    Snicket
  18. I’m pretty sure that this arc will last for about 5 years. That’s pretty much how long the Soul Society and Hueco Mundo arcs lasted. Also, the whole 10 more years thing was a misunderstanding. At Jump Festa, Kubo stated that he has “had an amazing ten years writing for Jump. Here’s to ten more.” He was talking about writing and drawing manga in general. Not just Bleach. In other words, he wants to continue writing new pieces for Jump after Bleach comes to an end.

    Can’t wait to see what’s in store for this arc!

    LaughingMan
  19. MMmmmm. I doubt Kubo will go straight saying that the Quincy is the new antagonist. Much like Ginjo and Aizen, who we thought were the good guys. The Quincy may likely play the “bad guy” then Kubo will introduce us to the real Antagonists.

    But honestly. Kubo said he will keep bleach running for another ten years. By that, he may mean that we will see Ichigo’s kid as the new protagonist. I hope Ichigo’s child is a cute girl.

    L002
  20. “The Final Arc” is clearly bait to lure in readers and try to improve ratings. For all we know, this “Final” arc can easily consist of multiple arcs each as longs as the SS / Hueco Mundo ones. There is enough existing material, in addition to new stuff, that Kubo can use to do so. I, for one, won’t be holding my breath for Bleach to finish, as it clearly won’t come to a conclusion soon.

    I won’t have my hopes up too high, but I think that Soul Society has always been the most fascinating aspect of Bleach (Recall SS arc and Turn Back the Pendulum arc). A return to what appealed to us in Bleach is definitely something to look forward too.

    Kentaiyoshimi
  21. Sometimes I feel like character interactions in Bleach fall into two categories: people being belligerent and shouting at each other/one-sided shouting with the other side being long-suffering, or people trying to hard to out-cool each other. So yeah, I hope the new characters are just there for this chapter.

    Crowind
  22. end of bleach… how could this ever happen? good or not – it was part of my weekly routine for almost 6 years..
    Kubo sensei just can’t do this to me…is he out of ideas?.. give me his mail I will send him several
    just like “one piece” it should be a “never ending story”

    woope
    1. Never ending story? Give me a break.

      One Piece’s story has been thought out completely from start to finish, Oda has the entire story in his head.

      Kubo just makes up stuff on the spot because Bleach barely has a story. It’s a mess of a series and it has to end, soon. Actually it should’ve ended way back at Soul Society.

      HungryKoala
  23. god… i used to LOVE Bleach,, until the Soul Society Arc was finished.. then.. the nonsense and stupid plot (with great potential) came..

    for that sole reason i really want this final arc to be good, to be awesome.. like SS.. but this starting.. err.. jeezzz.. i hope it gets better please.. readers deserve that after that CRAP Fullbring arc was.. that one felt like an anime filler..

    neks
  24. I wasn’t too impressed with all the power-ups during the battle with Aizen, but the more I look at it, the more I realize that it was probably necessary. Without a ridiculous amount of power, Aizen would probably still be around, and people would be even more unhappy than they are now.

    It was plain to me that, after Rukia left and JUMP announced that Bleach would still continue, the next arc would be a setup for Ichigo to regain his powers. He’s the hero of the story, so he can’t be completely useless. Yes, Fullbring was boring, save for a few good new characters, but they were needed to progress everything into this final arc.

    I’m guessing that, since this is going to be the final arc, we’ll get a lot of the background we need on the more vague characters, and probably the Spirit King. If it’s a full-scale war greater than that with Aizen, then I don’t see why he wouldn’t show.

    It’s perfectly logical for people to have their doubts, but I’m still with Kubo. He’s given me a series that’s blown me out of the water, and for that, I’ll stick this out. Quitting Bleach now wouldn’t feel right to me, not only because it’s my favorite series, but because it would kill me not to follow along and know what happens.

    Crowes

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