With yet another short and uneventful chapter, I sometimes wonder if I just should just read Bleach one month at a time. As it is, it feels like nothing really happens from week to week. Here we have the wrap-up of last week’s fight, showing a mostly recovered Ryuunosuke and Shino, and we also get to see exactly how Ichigo and his friends beat the hollows. They banter and bicker with each other as usual, which isn’t a big deal, but there are a couple new developments. For one, the Vizard make an appearance, though not doing much of anything, and Ikkaku in Soul Society also reveals that people in Rukongai are disappearing.
Of course the big reveal this week is “Ivan Azgiaro”, a horn-haired ass-hole in a trench coat who was hinted at last time as a “mysterious shadow” and now suddenly appears on Ichigo’s bed. A part of a broken mask over his eye implies he’s possibly arrancar, and somehow I feel his visit is not one of goodwill. Whether this implies the arrancar will be back or if he’s affiliated with some other group is unknown, but I’m hoping everything shown so far will quickly tie together. All the little teasers of unrest in the past two chapters (e.g. disappearing hollows and souls in Rukongai) haven’t been sitting well with me because of how disjoint they have felt, and how little information is actually given. I understand Kubo is probably trying to build things up little by little for a big revelation, but the presentation so far has been all over the place and the lack of focus is plain annoying. The new characters are pretty stereotypical and not very noteworthy so far either, and could easily pass for filler characters.