I truly, truly did not think Byakuya would die, not in a thousand years of Bleach. But from the words of the Vandenreich, he just did. Seeing him being pulverized into a pile of shredded meat and blood by his own bankai was quite brutal, and with both Rukia and Renji completely helpless in the face of the enemy though, everything just looks really bleak. Should Byakuya actually be gone, it will be a huge milestone for the series – a death of a major protagonist. Of course, I’m not saying a character death a good thing, but it definitely raises questions when a series needs a big death to revitalize itself, either through shock value or pure sentiment. That said however, I still have my doubts, only because, fatal injuries mean so very little in Bleach, and I find it hard to believe that there is no way to miraculously save him yet.

Unfortunately, Byakuya’s death, if he is dead, didn’t really cut it for me, and it honestly should have given its significance. Perhaps because of the suddenness of it or because of the lack of connection with his character (or with any of the characters for that matter), there’s just not enough there to care about what happens. Maybe other readers feel differently, and Byakuya fans are no doubt devastated, but the only thing that went through my mind was “no way, one of the good guys actually died?”. With only a few despondent last words given, the lack of the long, sappy flashbacks that usually accompany the passing of a character was also surprising, though it’s not clear if that indicates anything.

On the other hand, Kenpachi’s appearance towards the end left quite the impression, as he usually does. Apparently he has already scored the first victories for the shinigami, and he confronts the Vandenreich king with his previous opponent still skewered on his sword. Kenpachi’s lust for battle and lack of bankai make him uniquely suited to fighting the quincies, but after all their research they certainly have a contingency plan to deal with him, like they did with Ichigo. Still, I’m hoping to see him do some major damage. It’ll also be interesting to see if he responds to what happened to Byakuya; they are fellow captains after all, even if he’s never showed a liking or respect towards any of them.

71 Comments

    1. This.

      I couldn’t care at all when Byakuya and the other captains/vice-captains died in the split-seconds of time they were given.

      We all know Bleach is in its final arc so Kubo finally decides to kill off his favourite bishounens.

      Now I only hope Zaraki can entertain us like he’s done before.

      EamonX
    2. Lol some care to explain the downvotes? Because it’s totally true.

      Also I want Kenpachi to lose, both for the sake of his own character and the credibility of of the villains. Kenpachi’s fun to watch and all, but he needs a fight where he struggles or loses to actually give us some actual grounding. With his recent novel and his 2h kendo swing nonsense, there really seems to be no point in having villains at all. (I mean why didn’t he just kendo Ichigo back in SS?) With the way Kubo writes it appears that Kenpachi could just walk into anything and the problem is solved. At least give like a rock paper scissors sorta weakness or something. Like maybe he’d do poorly against poison users like Mayuri, or have him fight competent reiatsu absorbers or something. There needs to be some sort of tension so audience has more of a reason to care for the outcome.

      TOP2NE1
  1. Byakuya will be the only one Shinigami who dies during this battle, Ichigo will arrive and take care of the Quinces and sacrifice his Shinigami powers to revive Byakuya. Let’s see how this works out.

    OSS
    1. And the Kicker is that they’re all technically dead in the first place. You know, spirits and all that stuff.

      Plus, people forget about the Captain who has a Shikai and the ability to heal fatal wounds. I wonder what her Bankai would be?

      Case in point, Kubo is a stupid hack of a writer.

      Crazyguy
  2. I’m just finding it so hard to get into this arc. Beyond the ridiculousness of the Quincy’s being the end boss, their trump card is so overpowered yet underpowered at the same. If they steal the Bankai then they can beat captains, of they can’t then I bet they insta-lose. It’s not really a battle its a fight between Deus Ex Machina’s.

    Though I do love Kenpachi. I think he’s Kubo’s “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Arc getting boring? Bust out Kenpachi! Need to crush an overpowered villain? Bust out Kenpachi! Comic relief due to extreme OPness? BUST OUT KENPACHI.

    If Byakuya is dead then I’m pissed that he went out like that. If he’s not dead then I’m pissed Kubo would red herring ANOTHER death. It’s a lose/lose for this arc imo.

    Tikal
    1. Dont forget, and this is an open Secret. That this here, is just a Foreplay for bring Squad Zero into Action. Zero? You dont know this? Well, lean back and enjoy this ride. That Kubo draw for us

      Germanguy
  3. “Well shit, I wasn’t expecting that” is all I have to say about this chapter.

    I’m still waiting for Yachiru yoda awesomeness! I still have hope! Don’t let me down Kubo!

    P Ko
    1. I agree with you tho, the death of Byakuya just doesnt “quite” hit the mark.
      Don’t get me wrong, I shed manly tears in certain animes’ death of “good/heroic” characters (One Piece’s Ace and Whitebeard, Naruto’s Asuma death) and those characters don’t get much screentime, compared to Byakuya, who’s a “main” cast of the Soul Society.

      Seraphic
  4. Don’t get me wrong, I love Kenpachi’s character, but I usually don’t care when he shows up because it’s usually just fanservice for a filler, but that panel was BAD. ASS.

    Oh, and Byakuya (maybe) died. Meh. I like his character too, but someone’s gotta die. I just wish it wasn’t Sasakibe first. He was such wasted potential for a good character. 🙁

    soursix9
  5. I doubt Byakuya is down for the count, nor anyone in SS for that matter. There will come a part in this arc where everyone will be “dead” and Ichigo has the option to give into despair. Then, after doing some crazy power up, he will use his plot distorting abilities and destroy those Bankai-stealing devices, everyone who is down will magically be brought back.

    Nanashi
    1. What Kubo id us teasing. Sure Ichigo will have a point, where he goes Super Sajin over 9000. As we saw a glimpse, when Orihime “command” an nearly death Ichigo with a hole in his Chest, to protect her. Well in Tears. Well the after effect you surly know. A Black Super Sajin. But will we see a “White” Sajin? (Well white?. A Shinigami in White cloths?) 🙂

      That is what i think, he will tease us.

      Germanguy
      1. And it is only me, or is the “King/Leader” of these Quinceys nearly the same like the “Old Men” of Ichigos Sword?… Well Kubo run out of Design ideas it seem 🙂

        Germanguy
  6. To solve Bleach deaths. We have a character called Orihime who has the most unbalanced ability to literally heals insane wounds like anything.

    Byakuya won’t die, he’ll just get revived by the plot device known as “Orihimi.”

    Selkouva
    1. Orihimie’s “Heal” Ability is based on “Turn back Time”

      And i think, her real ability is still not known. As the someone said “Think, how it want you to be!”…

      Germanguy
      1. …like some Film everybody know…

        ??

        *Luke i am your Father. Obi wan separates you and your Sister in birth, to protect both from me*

        But then, how is “the Father” here? Iseen? nah. I think him more of a real Loyal Bodyguard

        Germanguy
      2. Orihime’s ability is described as the “rejection of reality” by Aizen. It’s not just regressing things with time or space, but it apparent undoes entire events on a localized causal scale. Apparently it counts as trespassing into the domain of God.

        Michiko
  7. Zaraki!! My man! oh, yes, now’s gonna be some action. He’s gonna the white hair boy ass for real :)) but it’s a bit dissaipointing that he’s gonna lose to some shit guy called Majesty 🙁

    Aldebaran
  8. Well the first lieutenant (I still don’t remember his name…sorry) did die before the war started, and then there’s Kira and the other squad 3 members. I honestly thought Byakuya would be one of the last ones standing in the war, so it was unexpected and sad. I at least hoped that he would have uncovered some weakness to that Quincy’s ability or something.
    If there was another movie or game or whatever for bleach, and Byakuya’s not there…it just won’t be the same you know.

    random viewer
  9. I think that HE DID NOT DIE. Why? I think it’s too anti-climatic, I mean, just because his Bankai got stolen, all of a sudden he could not do anything to fight the enemy. Remember that of all captains, Byakuya is one of the most resourceful one (probably only 3rd to Aizen and Urahara), using many powerful kido spells. Yet in his battle, he was so shocked of getting his Bankai stolen that he didnt do much but swing his shikai sword around, I thought it was weird.

    Also are all captains that weak without their Bankais? I mean IIRC in order to obtain Bankai, werent they supposed to defeat or overcome their own swords (or the spirit in theirs swords) themselves? Like in Ichigo’s case where he fought Zangetsu with tons of swords in order to get the Bankai. So I thought it was weird how their own power is beating the crap out of them, quite ironic really. I mean shouldnt they know their own powers and their weaknesses better than anyone else?

    Ryner
    1. Dont forget, that his Sword broke into pieces. And for a Captain the Sword is his Soul link/brother. But then what will happen to Kenpachi’s Sword. if he bite the Dust, too? He begin to laugh?

      Germanguy
    2. Hey hey! Don’t tell me you forgot what happened just one chapter ago? He was hit by a Quincy needle–a needle that any ordinary Shinigami would die from–and his sense of fear was amplified by massive amounts. That man who calmly fires kidou like nobody’s business is not thinking straight right now. He probably can’t move very well either.

      Sui-kun
  10. One thing, Zaraki owns .. i knew his entrance would be fantastic (and was just wondering where he is in the previous chapter discussion) .. and he didn’t disappoint .. heck .. not only he had two of his enemies on his shoulder (enemies that easily over-powered all the other captains) but one of them was still skewered by his sword .. i doubt Ichigo’s entrance into soul society in the upcoming chapters can top this .. also .. salute Kenpachi for going directly to the King of the Quincy .. cut off the head of the snake to kill it for good works well XD

    As for Byakuya’s death, it might be a little shocking specially considering how gruesome his death was but maybe Kubo will use “death of a fav character” card in order to stir the internet and discussions around his manga (thus equals more publicity for his manga) .. also to up the dramatic tension and up the stakes seeing this is the final arc of Bleach .. in other words .. $%&# just got real.

    HunterWulf
  11. Overall, I think this chapter was pretty lacking, but so goes much of Bleach for a long while. I’ll be disappointed if they did kill Byakuya simply because after all these close calls and big dramatic moments, killing someone off with so little leadup and no real reflection upon it is pretty sad given the author’s usual style.

    RuneGrey
  12. Well, in Naruto, Kishimoto killed off Kakashi and a bunch of Konoha people when Pain invaded. Just when everyone went “Whatshisname is dead!” and unspectacularly so, Kishimoto brought them all back to life with a Deus Ex Machina. Which I thought made death a cheap plot device, particularly when I thought Kishimoto had something with the idea of “just because you’re a major character doesn’t mean you get to die epically – especially because it’s a war.”

    In any case, with Byakuya, it could go either way. I mean, it’s not like there isn’t at least one known method that rejects all sorts of realities to undo injuries, right…?

    Michiko
  13. That was cruel. It was kinda hard to follow the panels, but As Nödt really beat him mercilessly. First he makes him realize his fear, then puts a hole in his chest in his confusion, then slices him with his own Bankai. Durin Renji’s pointless attack, Byakuya tries to attack from behind, but As Nödt just stops his sword with the petals, putting Byakuya into a storm of Senbonzakura. As the storm subsides, Byakuya is about to fall over and hit the ground, only to be put into the blender again and getting smashed into the wall. Kubo isn’t pulling the brakes, he’s breaking them. Well, this IS the final arc, and maybe he can finally do whatever he wants. I just hope he actually stays dead. I liked Byakuya, but reviving him will only add to the endless “Nobody dies in Bleach” meme.

    virox
    1. I’ll laugh at you so bad if Byakuya gets revived, i mean by now you should be used to the fact that Bleach is shounen where deaths are either climactic way to end a battle and the character itself and not just something to break the meme.

      Afterall, even people here already mentioned that Orihime has that sort of ability to revive people lol.

      Zero
    1. If the Captain Commander use his Battle Experience, he should be a Great Weapon like Kenpachi. Not equal in Brute Strength. But with Experience he should be a fearful Enemy. Hope he can pull that out, without relay to much on his Bankai

      Germanguy
  14. I couldn’t help but smile at the end of the chapter. It’s been a while since Bleach has done that for me. Kenpachi is seriously almost the only consistently awesome and badass character so far in Bleach. Isshin may qualify too, but he doesn’t show up much.

    Kubo can pretty much start another series with just Kenpachi as the MC instead.

  15. Speculation: The majority of his zanpakto spirit is still alive, and it’s not truly separate from Byakuya. Getting that medallion back (plus any healing haxxorz available) is enough to revive anyone who has had their bankai stolen.

    Psithief
  16. Byakuya is probably dead, but if Orehime’s powers are as strong as Aizen suggested, that won’t matter. Killing a main character is fine and all, but I never would of imagined it would be Byakuya

    ZeroHour17
  17. While I am sad that Byakuya MIGHT be dead, one should remember that this is Bleach. Characters, especially important or popular ones, have a tendency to cheat death. That being said I don’t think that Byakuya is dead. Can’t go on the words of the villains and plus I don’t think that Kubo would kill him off in such a manner.

    The only thing that would shock me more is that if Kubo kills off someone like Hitsugaya. Needless I’m excited for the release of next week’s chapter.

    Mike F.
  18. Have people forgotten that if slowing time is possible, or even a time jump a few days ahead in the future, its also possible to reverse time?

    With urahara and his research methods, it wouldn’t surprise me at all that this is the way to prevent all of the killings from happening.

    DP
  19. Zaraki is a BEAST ! killed THREE Quincies without removing his eye patch/any wounds and heading to the boss of the party. Never cared about Byakuya .. but i’m pretty sure he’ll make a return “no way a main character would die that fast”

    aymanxa
  20. The only reason I can still put up with Kubo’s storytelling antics is that this is supposedly the last arc. It’s almost over so I might as well finish it for closure.

    For all we know though, at the end of this arc Kubo will just troll us again. “Hey, I got another idea, so let’s write another completely inarticulate arc!”

    Jello
  21. I figure actually that Kubo is eliminating characters he has to write about in this arc. That is, the only people who can save the world will be, you know a hand full of people, as opposed to the whole gotei 13 too. Whether he is dead, or just put away for a few years is more likely to be a plot device than anything else. What better a surprise than the last few chapters of bleach the beloved Byakuya comes back from the dead to save the day. Just a thought. Also, we haven’t seen too many bankais at all, which kind of sucks, we may never get a chance to see them =(

    Stefan
  22. Well, I can say I am shocked in how Ichigo is still trapped, seriously it would take the guy at least 12 hours to figure out the fact that he just need to pull out his mask.

    Still, I am wondering how a certain Mad scientist is doing, Mayuri not Urahara to avoid misunderstanding. To be frank, if someone has to die, that guy of all people would be perfectly suitable for the task.

    code fan
  23. too bad for zaraki..facing two of the most powerful quincies will make his end more gruesome than to that kuchiki..maybe one of the two foes will eat dust, but as for the king, well that’s a different story.

    pollenXD
  24. Just like Luxor said above- death and despair. And I’m completely loving it. I was rather moved by the death of Byakuya. Right now, I’m waiting for Kenpachi’s shikai to kick in and punch everyone to the ground. Also can’t wait for the Squad Zero and Aizen to get in action (Kubo said in an interview that Aizen has a great importance in the Quincy war against SS).

    Karma

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