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.