There’s a bit of a lull in the action for now since the Vandenreich have retreated. Thanks to Yamamoto’s orders, the entire Fourth Squad has not seen any action, instead having stayed in their barracks for the duration of the battle. Interestingly enough, it seems like all the other captains and vice-captains besides the Captain Commander and his lieutenant have survived, including Byakuya and Kenpachi. I had thought for certain that Byakuya had died, but I guess this goes to prove that, unless the body is completely annihilated, no injury is truly too grievous for Bleach protagonists. There is much less damage than I had expected. Regardless of the news though, all the death and destruction has caused a lot of emotional injuries that won’t be healing anytime soon, and tensions are at an all-time high in Soul Society, even in the aftermath of the battle. Some of the captains crack, and it’s left to Kyouraku to take control, cool things down and harden their resolve again. Perhaps he will be the de facto leader now (or maybe even the new captain commander), since he is among the oldest and most experienced captains and he is also proving himself to be capable leader.
Ichigo’s friends all seem fine, though he is still left in a bit of a wary state after his zanpakutou was smashed. With no resolution to Juha’s parting words either, he’s left hanging just as much as we are; no doubt he will make it a point to get to the bottom of it. As it seems, there’s a lot about his family that he still doesn’t know, and that is information he could almost certainly get from Isshin. Speaking of cliffhangers, there is still no clue as to who the person Urahara met was. Evidently it was not an enemy though (unless he managed to beat him) since he was able to fax an update to Soul Society. Other than that, we really don’t know what’s going on his, Isshin and Ryuuken’s end. If I had to guess though, I’d say they are preparing some secret strategy or power-up for Ichigo.