With the death of such a major character, tensions are at an all-time high in Bleach. While it was clear that Yamamoto would lose, I think few people expected him to die in such a gruesome and spectacular manner. Kubo went all out to show just how incredibly strong Juha Bach was by basically destroying the already incredibly strong captain-commander in one move. Yamamoto has been portrayed as the ultimate bad-ass with near god-like battle prowess and raw power for the entire history of the series, and I had expected to see him going down swinging. Bankai or not, I found it very difficult to believe that he could not even defend against one attack from Juha’s Seele Schneider, albeit a very strong attack. Strong is an understatement for Juha though, as that one slash was enough to cleave off his entire upper torso. Even with Bleach characters surviving ridiculous injuries, Yamamoto is almsot certainly dead now, especially considering the flashbacks that were shown.

The Quincy leader has advanced many times farther than his old nemesis in the past millennia, and it has paid off with crushing victories so far against the Gotei 13. Yamamoto’s stubbornness was part of his downfall, and his group weakened over the course of hundreds of years. With the death of their leader, dark times for the Shinigami are looming, and both their captains and small fry lie dying as Soul Society crumbles around them. I am impressed at the Vandenreich’s attack strategy, at how well prepared they were even for the mysterious Zero Squad. For some reason it is reminiscent of the blitzkrieg attacks of WWII, and I’m sure the abundance of cult-like Nazi parallels and imagery in this arc is not lost on the readers. Even the army of identical Vandenreich foot soldiers looks like a battalion of white-colored Nazi soldiers wearing gas masks.
Of course, if Kubo doesn’t throw a wrench into their perfect plan soon, there won’t be much of a story left to tell. That seems like what is happening at the end as the sky cracks. I’d bet it’s Ichigo, since he’s always the one to foil the enemies plans, but it could also be someone else coming to help. Urahara has been MIA for a while now, as have some of the captains, Ishida and Isshin.

96 Comments

      1. I really hope its not the old ‘oh man the hollow form will fix everything’ bullshit that kubo overuses. the horse is dead, its been beaten, leave it alone.

        as to yamamoto. OP hax can only be overcome by clumsy author OP hax. until Ichigo has to undergo yet another hyperbolic time chamber training session to overcome his inner-anti-hollow-secret quincy-fullbringing powers.

        Xero01
    1. *After figuring out that Yamamoto was done for….*
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      1. Heh, I have the same facepalm image copied for moments sort of like these… I think it was a well done death. I just wish several captains had died in earlier arcs to sort of not make seem contrived they’re being killed as they are now which seems a little… forced.

        Kevin L.
  1. It’s pretty obvious at this point the Quincy are all about focusing for one nasty hit (e.g. Uryuu vs. Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi, or the Quincy Blut description). Most Shinigami can’t really do that. To me, it looks like that sword strike that cut the CC in two falls into the “Here’s something I prepared earlier” category.
    The reason the Shinigami are ****ed is because the Quincy won’t play their game of “hit each other continuously until someone falls over”. They’re playing their own game.

    In short:
    Shinigami – Rigid power setup. Warrior class.
    Quincy – Fluid power setup. Can prepare and store attacks ahead of battle. Mage class.

    It’s Fighters vs. Wizards!

    Psithief
  2. Trainer Reader has encountered Trainer Troll Legend Kubo!
    Kubo summons Juha!
    Reader summons Yamamoto
    Juha uses 1 hit KO!
    Yamamoto takes critical damage!
    Yamamoto is on 1/9999999999 HP!
    Trainer Reader uses Baton pass!
    Ichigo is summoned!
    Ichigo uses Plot Armour!
    Ichigo is now protected from status ailments and death!
    Juha uses 1 hit KO!
    Attack ineffective!
    Trainer Reader uses Orihime on Yamamoto!
    Juha uses Plot twist!
    Ichigo is enraged!
    Ichigo uses SHIKAI,BANKAI,HOLLOWFICATION,FULLBRING AND FINAL GETSUGA TENSOU!
    Ichigo’s atk,def,special atk and special def has been critically lowered!
    Juha takes “You’re the antagonist, What did you expect?” damage!
    Juha faints!
    Trainer Troll Kubo has blacked out and lost $ Manga Sales!

    ComM3
  3. Power levels in this anime need to be checked…

    Let’s just all pretend that Yamamoto did go down in one hit. So now how will Juha Bach be defeated? Ichigo at this point shouldn’t even matter, never in the series did anyone think that Ichigo has surpassed Yamamoto’s power level (Final Getsuga doesn’t count as its an all-in & maybe one-time use ability).

    I know its always a plot device for stronger characters to wait until the last moment to intervene, but the appearance of Zero Squad this late into the battle is just plain stupid. Why wait for so much casualties?

    As for other guesses for the stupidly powerful reiatsu that actually surprises the real Juha Bach, I present the following possibilities:

    1. Zaraki Kenpachi – He’s been there the whole time. It’s not like he’s been incinerated or anything like Yamamoto. After all he was listed among the 5 noteworthy potentials by the Sternritter. He may have finally snapped and unlocked his shikai. Plausible given the fact that he lost a battle and may have had enough time to reach into his deeper thoughts to find the name of his Zanpakutou.

    2. Unohana – Where has she been all this time? I’m guessing she might be included on that noteworthy potentials list as well. And judging by her disposition and seniority among the captains, I wouldn’t be surprised she was next in line for Captain Commander. What’s more is that her bankai has yet to make an appearance so this is a good opportunity to finally showcase it where it matters. Though…

    3. Yamamoto Revived – with all 4 limbs intact. Juha Bach assumes it was his weakness that he chose not to have his other arm restored but then again he might have thought that Unohana could just revive him 100% with her possibly gamebreaking bankai Deus Ex Machina style. He still won’t be able to defeat Juha Bach but would at least put up a better fight this time and will survive.

    4. Kurosaki Ichigo – seriously? True to Kubo’s style so far, Ichigo just magically breaks out of his prison taking his power levels to new heights again. The plausibility is really bad given how the time that has passed wasn’t really that long and there was no indication of a hyperbolic time chamber event happening (as far as we know). But this is the least that I’m looking forward to given it is too much suspension of belief that it requires.

    5. New Characters from Zero Squad – also typical of Kubo. Introduce strong characters to defeat good guys, introduce equally stronger characters to give a helping hand either by assisting in the battle itself or just giving Ichigo the help he needs to power up. Maybe either or both.

    Again this are all mere speculation for a guy who reads Bleach every chance he gets. I rarely dig deeper into Bleach given how shallow its been this past few years, but there comes a point when everything is just so ridiculous that anything can happen – hence the speculation.

    truestampede
    1. These speculations are pointlesss because you cannot work with something that you cannot know.

      At the end of the Winter War everyone thought that the next enemies will be “true Vastro Lorde”, or the Royal Guard, or whatever else, because we couldn’t fanthom where the story would go, knowng only what we knew at that ponint. Then guess what? Fucking Fullbringers, something completely new out of completely nowhere.

      The author will always have the advantage of novelity. Sure Yuuha Bach will be beaten, but it’s highly likely that the context will depend on things that we have not been introduced to yet. You cannot expect or predict something that has no roots in the series yet. That’s like accidently building a superconductor from a toaster and a few rocks.

      Kandur
    2. Ichigo will defeat Juha alright. Throughout the manga he constantly faced enemies, which were beyond his reach and always prevailed in the end. So i don’t see how it will be different this time.
      One shot Yamamoto? Whatever, Ichigo will just go level next on his abilities. Basically it is quite ironic that he has the most generic powers in the whole manga and still outmatches everything.

      Speaking of powers, am i the only one bothered that quincy evolved from a group of human people with strong traditions and strict order/culture, to a bunch of random character which include Beast man, Bald twins with mimic power, sadistic girl, nacho wrestler and that scary gender-neutral person with fear power. As well as Juha’s sword looks pretty silly like a joke sword you can obtain in Infinity Blade 2.

      Arri-att
      1. He doesn’t outmach his enemies in unbelievable ways. The last “final boss” battle was technically won by Urahara. Aizen survived Mugetsu, stood up, and was about to win, if not for that sealing spell. The hollow help was believable in the case of Byakuya because the powerlevels were still vanilla then, but even in case of Ulquiorra the full transformation was played more for drama than for climax. It is not how the series functions, simply the fanbase was filled with a lot of… uh… people… who can only think that way, and can only expect those things. That’s how they socialized while reading this genre. But that’s not how Aizen was defeated either.

        In that case for example, it was stupid as hell that Ichigo could accomplish that, but guess what? Kubo simply went around the shonen rule and only had Ichigo “fight” Aizen, then involved somebody at the last minute who actually knew his shit. Urahara. Without that sealing spell, Aizen would have murdered the powerless Ichigo on that right spot, Mugetsu regardless. So in the end, what did Ichigo really do other than being a powerhouse and contributing to the fight by weakening Aizen down? It would not have worked without him, but it would not have worked without Urahara either. So in the end, Aizen was defeated through teamfight, and Urahara got his revenge too, which he deserved just as much (or more) than Ichigo.

        And people call “that” stupid, even though it ended on a high note for both of these major characters of Aizen’s story arc, because it was an asspull power on Ichigo’s part. The question is given then, why the fuck are they reading shonen?

        But the point is that expecting anything less in case of the defeat of Juuha Back would not make any sense, considering our experience with the manga so far. So why is anyone concerned about that fight ending up being “stupid” is anyone’s own guess.

        Kandur
      2. I personally don’t see huge amount of difference. Yes Urahara trapped Aizen in the end, but as he said, hoygoku and even Aizen’s sword started to reject him. He was pretty done.
        And i doesn’t even matter to my point, which is: Ichigo will always prevail. You mentioned Aizen battle, but there were tons of non-plausible encounters that he won. Kenpachi, Ulriqiorra etc.

        Arri-att
      3. Let’s not go into detail about who was right about Aizen, Ichigo or Urahara. If you think that character narration means anything in this manga you haven’t been readng it for long enough. Everybody is always wrong about everything. Urahara is especially fond of that.
        “Let’s use the Hogyouku on these guys, it will cure them.”
        “The Hogyoku needs 3 months to awaken, we have time to prepare.” (Aizen did it in 1 month)
        “Inoue-san and Sado-kun, your powers were awakened by Ichigo’s leaking reiatsu”
        But I could meantion Yamamoto’s magnificent deductiuon about why his bankai was not stolen, or Aizen’s tryhard analysis of FGT Ichigo too.

        Kandur
  4. damn man, see the most powerful shinigami getting cleaved like that somewhat killed his “going down in flames”, no more glory for old man yama, getting cleaved in half is definitely not glorious for the good guys. So basically everyone else lost off screen, and SS got trashed big time, let’s see who brought the sky cracking.

    gawrshness
  5. To the right of Yamamoto (er.. left from our POV) is that Unohana?

    Next to Yamamoto, Unohana is the oldest active Shinigami. Plus as seen in this arc, she does seem awfully knowledgeable about how much carnage Yamamoto’s bankai can really dish out. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Captain Mom used to be one of those ancient “Bloodthirsty Genocidal Shinigami”

    Crazyguy
  6. I really wonder if they will actually publish this arc here in Germany…
    Somehow, I get the feeling they will just stop at volume 54. This country is still really sensitive when it comes to Nazi references.

    virox
  7. I’m glad Soul Society is getting wrecked.It’s full of jerkoffs anyway.And I hope Yamamoto died permanently, he was king jerkoff.

    The only people I want to survive from Soul Society is Rukia and Renji.I would’ve added Kenpachi too, but apparently he was killed off, but I call BS on that.

    Magoiichi
  8. Meanwhile with Ura- you know what, never mind.

    Pretty shocked to see such a violent kill. Slicing the hand off afterwards too was just brutal. I’m not sure if I should be shocked that Kubo gives no more fucks and is killing off important people left, right and center or delighted for the same reason.

    It also looks like I’m not going to see my Yachiru Yoda action any time soon if ever. Which makes me saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad.

    P Ko
  9. Just a couple quick thoughts/things that interested me..
    Poor Yamamoto. He went full power against a copy and got one shot against the real deal. But not only that, he dies realizing how weak he has gotten. I actually liked the narrative set up in the first few panels by Shunsui and the painting. The old “demon” Yamamoto would not have lost in such a way, but he put those days behind him. This decision would eventually cost him and his subordinate’s lives as a result. Hindsight is 20/20, and also a biatch. Juda confirms this sentiment and states that Yama-jii wasn’t even one of the 5 war potentials. Ouch, way to kick a man when he’s dead.

    A part of me still wants to believe that the Ishidas will play some vital role in this arc. The Quincy that Ichigo fought hinted that they should be much more powerful than what we’ve been led to believe. Uyru was introduced as a “rival” to Ichigo. He was pretty badass when he fought Mayuri, but since then has become a Hollow “fly swatter”. At this point, even Vegeta was a better rival to Goku. At least he got to Final Blast Cell in the leg so that Gohan could save the day. That’s all I’m asking for. Is an arrow to Juda’s knee too out of the question?

    ploon
  10. I still say Ichigo is going to do 1 of either 2 things. Discover a level above Bankai that only the spirit king before him knows how to do or find a way to either fullbring or resurecion(can’t remember how they spelled it) the thing that the Arrancar do to reach their higher forms.
    If it’s the latter, I’m going to guess fullbring because why else would that have been introduced. Otherwise if he becomes more of a hollow, we will meat the Spirit king as an enemy of Ichigo’s that he will have to fight(possibly defeat) but in the end will convince him to stop.
    If it’s the former, Ichigo will appear, but be beaten. Then Zero squad will get there, but be beaten. Ichigo reaches the stage above bankai, defeats the enemy and is after words brought to meat the spirit king(so we get to see him) and is offered a spot on Zero Squad, but he will refuse and return to his normal life, hunting hallows as they show up. End of Bleach

    Zero Hour 17
  11. I felt like with Aizen’s battle and Yamamoto’s plans to keep sacrificing himself that deep down he wanted to die. His plan A against Aizen was to sacrifice himself…whose first plan is to do that? I think he was a very sad man; he was sad because he knew that he had done a lot of bad things like killing ten trillion people. It makes me wonder why Soul Society was even established. What was the purpose of Soul Society? Who dealt with Hollows before they were established? Yama didn’t want his arm healed because he knew he was old, he was tired of dealing with everything, and they needed a new leader. I could see in his character that he though he was a failure for not defeating Aizen and not healing his arm was a constant reminder of that. After massacring the Quincy so long ago he knew he couldn’t justify doing that. In the first arc Yamamoto was ruthless. He did not tolerate Rukia’s rescue and planned to kill Renji, Ichigo, Utikae and Shunsui. After meeting Ichigo and his friends and realizing they were never the enemy, he changed his tone quite a bit. Yamamoto’s never been my favorite character, especially since Kubo has had a hard time knowing what to do to him to get him out of the way so Ichigo could shine. I still wonder if Yamamoto was ever in love at one point? Who appointed him as the leader? Even know we’ve known him for awhile I feel like we’ve never had a chance to get to know him…if that makes sense. I know there was more to him being an arrogant and superior man.

  12. Wow. Many of you take this sense of ownership of the Bleach series. As if the story goes a certain way kubo is a troll? Remember this isn’t yours, on the contrary, this series’s sole owner is Tite Kubo himself, whatever way he decides to branch off this story is his decision alone and we all should respect that instead of diminishing his decisions. Tite was inspired to create the bleach series in forms of expressing himself, any fan based negative comment, criticism or complaint, keep it to yourself. Bleach is his baby, he will nourish it whatever way he sees fit. We are no one to tell him he’s doing a terrible job. I have supported everything he has done since day one on the series, and if you are displeased with the anime, stop reading, stop watching, forget the damn thing, and get back to work. Create your own and wait for it to be successful, and then bathe on the fan’s hate. See how it feels.

    Jeez, just stop and let everyone else enjoy the story for whatever it will turn out to be!
    Is that too much to ask?!

      1. Joking aside. When you say “any fan based negative comment, criticism or complaint, keep it to yourself.” Your going into the field of Free Speech. I’m not allowed to have an opinion? I’m forbidden to say I don’t like something? I believe the point of comments on the blog is to speak our minds and to give our feedback on the story. People can say whatever they want. I don’t believe that “Bleach can do no wrong.” Cause it can. For better or worse I enjoy Bleach.

    1. They are Angry, while they known that this is the last Chapter of Bleach. And they want Ichigo save the World, the Universe, your Mom and all kind of things…

      Because their “favorite” Manga is about to end. A Hole is there. And right now they dont know how they will fill the gap

      Germanguy
    2. To a lot of us making fun of Bleach is the only way we can enjoy it nowadays. And I don’t see what’s wrong with that. Who are you to tell people how they should enjoy things?

      Reinou
    3. I agree with most of what your replies say. I just cant bare to stand bashfulness.

      Freedom of speech is a double edge sword. Look at what happened with Lybia and Egypt’s crazy outrage over someone else’s freedom of speech, now that was fu**ed up. Telling someone how to enjoy something is absolutely not the intent.

      Have any of you seen the Indie Gamer Documentary yet?

  13. Ok so this is what I dont get.

    People keep thinking “oh yay Zero Squad is coming to save the day!” but honestly how much of a difference will they really make? Yamamoto went down like nothing, Juha has the his bankai. I cant imagine Zero squad doing much against Juha. It’d be like lambs coming to the slaughter.

    Also, arent all shinigami’s body spiritual and not flesh? So Yamamoto getting diced in pieces may not necessarily mean he cant be saved still (thats probably how Hiyori survived after being chopped in half). They were spiritual bodies right?

    I expect Unohara’s bankai to magically revive a person, lol.

    PS: We need Aizen to fight Juha :3

    YanDaMan
  14. Quincies retreat to their base,
    Juha Bach tests Yamamotos stolen Bankai on a captive (for later use against Zero Squad),
    can’t control the bankai’s flames,
    all Quincies (and their base) are incinerated.

    Somewhere else:
    Aizen: “Just as planned.”

    Terra
  15. I think Yamamoto has changed during this long period of peace, aspecially by Ichigo. Ichigo his action in the past has inspire Yamamoto in many different ways. For example, the williingness of sacrifice himself for people,and benevolence attitude, etc. Turning Yamamoto from a cold heart, blood thirsty and utilitarianism person to a complete opposite. In the end, he knew what he will be facing when Quincy coming back to Soul society. Whether Filling with regret or not, and he has tried to defend for Soul soceity. Just like Ichigo trying to defend for those people he know and close to.
    The the end, Yamamoto is just a normal person like everyone else.

    Nine
  16. I’m interested to know exactly who the Zero Squad are now and how strong they are too. I’ve wondered for some time now but fear their arrival/ long-awaited reveal will be wasted as there literally can’t be much they can do to help now. Here are a few things I thought about after reading this chapter:

    First of all I’m uncertain why the soul society (and outside parties to Ichigo and his friends) always choose until everyone in the first wave is dead or has lost before entering, it seems to be Kubo’s way and this time I feel it just seems foolish as the world is on the brink of destruction.

    Secondly, what good can they do? I know that they’re rumored (expected) to be strong but really, the head captain’s Bankai (the thing which gives him power nearly equal to a god) has just been stolen and will undoubtedly make Juha the strongest villain in the series, so nobody should be able to oppose him now. Also, even if the person breaking through the sky is Ichigo then it’s likely we’ll just see a repeat of what happened when he first fought Aizen. I like the way Kubo shows he has truly become stronger and stronger to the point where he is almost the strongest character, but he should not be able to even come close to topping the CC’s Bankai.

    Thirdly,I can’t imagine the soul reapers making a comeback now, even though there are many who haven’t been seen yet (Shinji and the former Vizards, Unohana, Ukitake) however with the Quincies already having defeated so many people the odds are even more in favor of soul society’s destruction.

    Fourth, here is my prediction for what could possibly happen from this point: Ichigo arrives in time to witness Juha and the Vandenreach total soul society (end of this chapter), he will attempt to fight to save everyone (either against Juha or the white haired subordinate) and ultimately lose without having his Bankai taken. Then he will possibly be saved by the Zero squad (including the captain who Ukitake mentioned changed to there during Turn Back the Pendulum) and have to rally everyone that remains to fight against the Quincies.

    The problem with this is that even if he rallies everyone, everyone only includes Uryu, Orihime, Chad, Urahara and his ppl, the remaining Vizards, the Arrancar that are left (Harribel/Halibel and so forth), the fullbringers, Isshin and Ryuken- if Uryu and his dad are with them- and while some of these characters I find cool, everyone has either been beaten by a soul reaper in the past or has generally failed to meet the standard required to win in the past.

    In short, unless Zero Squad are broken for the sake of plot progression, the good guys in Bleach are completely doomed.

    Celecia01
  17. It’s inevitable that Ichigo will be freed from his prison. Whether or not Kubo chooses to go the usual route of having our hero go through some change that amplifies his powers, allowing him to break free on his own or take a more plausible road … Like say Urahara and his mystery savior coming to his aide? That would make much more sense and likely set more readers at ease than having Ichigo gain another power increase, despite the likelihood that it will occur later on at any rate before any final showdown.

    Rather sad about Yamamoto though. Wouldn’t have believed a death that gruesome would have been meant for him but this manga is known for its surprises. And not necessarily of the good variety.

    ichikaa
  18. No one wondered about Ichigo’s background? The final power up has been there since the beginning as long as Kubo finally spills the beans on his origins. Why hollow ichigo was there right in the beginning, his full hollow form being insanely strong rather than a lousy common hollow, etc.

    The plotlines are there. Now is just waiting to see where they lead.

    Zaku Fan
  19. Yamamoto didn’t seem so peaceful in the SS arc. When he fought Juha back in the day, did he not have this bankai stealing ability? I still would’ve expected some badass Kido. /sigh

    Olives
  20. I’m still scratching my head about one thing.

    Aren’t Quincies supposed to be human? If that was the case, has has Juha been around 1000 plus years as he and Yama-ji seem to know each other on a first name basis. Maybe Juha was a falled Shinigami who started the Quincy movement — or most likely just another plot hole…

    I guess I shouldn’t think too hard when it comes to Bleach and just enjoy the reading!

    Pinoymutt
    1. trust me dude i was gonna post the exact same question atleast 10 chapters back when they introduced kirge in hueco mundo. funny cause i can imagine these quincies to have day jobs or something like that since they’re techincally human. imagine as nodt as a supermarket worker or something lol

      Keranu
  21. I suppose killing a powerhouse ace card character (who has been outwitted many times)leaves room for all the “lesser” powerful characters to make a comeback. Underdogs comeback! Although how that will happen, I have no clue… Kirio Hikifune and Zero Squad finally revealed?!

    Superpat
  22. I can´t belive Yamamoto died just like that!. Kubo has stated that htere is no right and worong in this war but just look at Juha Bach, the guy is a sadistic monster!. Also, the power of the quincies destroy the reincarnation cycle leading to world destruction, who in his right mind would leave alone such a dangerous power, no matter how you look at it the shinigamis are still at right side.

    haseo0408
  23. It’s ok guys! I’m sure ichigo will come and lose his shinigami powers to kill the bad guys but gain it back either way
    and unohana will release her bankai or smthn and revive everyone!

    Whee
  24. Wasn’t the original Captain of Squad 12 transferred to the zero squad? before Urahara took over. I think that means we can expect to see her.

    I know some people really hate Yammamoto but he was my favorite character. I was thrilled to finally see his bankai but knowing that he was most likely going to die kinda ruined the greatness for me.

    I imagine we will see Shunsui’s bankai now that hes lost his damn mind. His shikai is pretty sadistic so I’m really curious about his bankai.

    I really really really hate Ichigo though. I almost wish that the series was just about the Captains and Vice Captains and we never had to see ichigo ever again

    Camora

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