Sasakibe Choujirou, vice-captain of the First Division, a character most viewers couldn’t care less about, is revealed to have possessed a bankai; yet he is one who has always been in the background, barely revealing even his shikai and almost never participating in battle. The one time he was seen in battle was against Ichigo at Rukia’s execution, and that did not even last a few seconds. And now this sole opportunity he gets to display his strength against the intruders, he is defeated off-screen and dies shortly after. Even then, this supposedly captain-quality lieutenant who barely made a presence throughout this series made me feel a slight pang of sadness when his funeral was shown. It’s a shame his character left little notable legacy on the story aside from being the first true protagonist to be killed off in Bleach.
That aside though, Ichigo has troubles of his own, as one of Nel’s goofball friends have been kidnapped by the Vandenreich. I suppose it comes to no surprise that Ichigo’s first action in this arc is another rescue mission, but given Urahara’s timely arrival this will probably all fit into his master scheme in some way, as it always has. Urahara is one of the characters I’m dying to see more of, especially of him in action, and specifically his bankai. Aizen made it clear that Urahara was affiliated with the Spirit King, and it’s almost certain that he is closely tied in with the backbone, the true meaning (if there is one), of all the events that had led up to now. Either way however, my interest has been piqued as to what happens next, and hopefully Ichigo’s upcoming trip will be more slash and burn than stealth. I’m sure we’re also looking forward to seeing the other arrancar again, and finding out whether they’ve been turned into warrior slaves.