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.


      1. Wow I can’t believe Kubo forgot about his own lore again. When spirits die they disintegrate into particles, not leave bodies. Thus there was no need for a funeral. Even Gin didn’t leave a body when he died and that was like 30 chapters ago.

        Suppa Tenko
  1. This is just me thinking aloud:

    I find that Urahara would actually make for an interesting final villain in my opinion. He’s already a well-established strong and manipulative character not to mention he was really one of the only few people Aizen took seriously. As for motives one could easily see him justify his actions “for the greater good”. Of course, no way in hell would Kubo ever pull off something as big as this.

  2. Onward Bleach with its never changing formula of “rescue the hot chick.” First Rukia, then Orihime, and now Harribel.
    Lots of other stuff happens in the middle, but I guess the main driving force of the plot for Bleach has this trend. It’s like Kubo played too much Mario.

    1. I almost forgot about the formulaic plot format in Bleach. I’ve noticed this too, especially early through the Hueco Mundo arc when I snapped out of my Bleach fandom stupor… ^_^;

      Kubo made up a completely new group of villains, the Arrancars, to fit the role of the shinigami in the Soul Society arc in essentially the same rescue-the-heroine plot. Now that he’s reusing the same people and not introducing too much (yet), I hope it’ll be different this time.

      And speaking of making up… I think the Fullbringers are stand-ins for the Vizards. My god, Bleach has so many factions. It almost feels like Kubo’s making them up for plot. D:

  3. I’m honestly surprised Kubo remembered Nel and that Quincys destroy hollows. I haven’t seen this level of storytelling in Bleach since early on, and I strongly suspect his editors got some help in patching the details.

    And Prooof, I don’t think I comment on any series you blog, so… hi 😀

    1. I think Kubo got alot of flack from that last “abortion that lives” fullbring arc as well as Naruto’s amazing storyline thats ongoing right now and it lit a fire under his ass to return with some good storytelling. Hey it works in Bakuman so why not in real life manga artists rivalries?

  4. Killing the least popular and least characterized vice-captain off screen. . .bravo! Truely this bold move will galvanize the fans into being invested in this arc.

  5. Hold on guys, I seriously think that might be a chance that this arc is gonna be epic. Kubo still have alot of materials left to use, since he hasnt explain alot. Who knows Ichigo might not even be the soul king, but lost his powers due to some reason

  6. If he had a bankai and used it then one would assume it’s been taken by the new enemies and is going to be used against somebody on the soul society side in a later chapter.

    P Ko
      1. He is a goofball but if it was Ichigo, Inoue, Chad, or one of the others that were captured he would go and help them in a heartbeat. Of course he is next to useless but he would help (especially if Nell decided to help).

  7. I was at first confused at the thought that Sasikibe had a Bankai all along, but now that I think about it, it makes sense considering the fact that he has been a lieutenant for Yamamoto for a long ass time (he’s his lieutenant in the Turn Back the Pendulum Arc), so it makes sense considering he’s been a part of the Gotei 13 for such a long time. Now that he’s dead, the only way we’ll be able to see his Bankai is from one of the members of the Vandenreich, who apparently have the ability to steal a Shinigami’s Bankai.

    Anyway, I’m REALLY excited for next week’s chapter. Can’t wait for Ichigo and Urahara’s bro-op next week when they kick some Vandenreich ass in Hueco Mundo. Now to wait until Grimmjow returns (Kubo confirmed in an interview that he’ll be coming back).

  8. >Kill off an-unkown yet interesting character off-screen, then flesh out his character afterwards as a “screw you” to the viewers.
    >Another rescue arc


  9. I was hoping that the big battle Karakura town would have resulted in a thinning of the vast swathe of good guys. I think that would have made the battle all the more compelling to see a desperate war of attrition. If this is the last arc, I am really hoping that this may happen because it will finally bring some gravitas to the story. Ah, whom am I kidding? Kubo will just keep selecting tertiary characters. Who wants to put a bet that the next victim will be one of Sentaro Kotsubaki or Kiyone Kotetsu?

  10. I can’t believe that this Vice-captain was that strong of a shinigami. It should be notable how that person of all people had a bankai, yet like Renji (bankai mode) vs Byakuya, he used it the first time against the enemies and died; which also is a known fact that Shinigami need a lot of training with their Bankai.

    RIP 1st division vice-captain. This is the only event that is worth remembering about you.

    1. Well they also mentioned that he learned to master his bankai before Shunsui and Ukitake, so he had it for several hundred years at the least, thus he must have known how to use it.

  11. GUESS WHAT!?!? ichigos sister has a BANKAI!!! its power? it makes this manga end….unfortunately like the shit character they just murked, it wont be revealed…..OH who am i kidding of course they’ll reveal that crappy bankai in a flashback

    BROOKLYN otaku

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