It looks like I was mistaken about the time frame of this flashback last week – these events seem to have taken place roughly a couple years before the birth of Ichigo and Uryuu. More interestingly this week, we find out that Ichigo’s mother Kurosaki Masaki was actually living with Uryuu’s father, Ishida Ryuuken as part of a planned arranged marriage. I found the character dynamics pretty fascinating, especially with regards to how this may all be linked with the current relationship between the two families. For one, it’s pretty funny how Kubo made their personalities line up almost perfectly. Ryuuken has a cold, stern attitude, much like his mother; I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Uryuu acts in the same way. In contrast, Masaki is much more happy-go-lucky and sassy, and perhaps even a bit flirty. In this way, she’s quite like Isshin and it’s easy to see them clicking together easily.
Of course, the most intriguing thing that we don’t know yet is how exactly they will get together, and what happens between Masaki and Ryuuken (who are betrothed to each other). This has potential to be a juicy romance drama, and who knows – it may turn out that Ichigo and Uryuu are actually half-brothers since we don’t know their exact ages. There’s no clear sign of who Uryuu’s mother is, and it’s hard to judge anything from Isshin and Ryuuken’s love-hate relationship, but there’s little doubt that Ichigo is in for some more ridiculous surprises before his old man finishes spilling all the beans on his past.
Last but not least in this chapter is the appearance of an arrancar-like creature that slices through two shinigami right in front of Isshin. Of particular importance may be the fact that it bears some clear resemblances to Ichigo’s hollow form, especially the mask. It’s probably one of Aizen’s creations, and may also has some connection to Ichigo’s inner hollow.