Public Service Announcement:

For those who follow the Bleach manga coverage, you may or may not be aware that the wonderful Prooof has decided to go on an indefinite hiatus, which means that he can no longer write about Bleach like he has done on RandomC for many years. Thankfully, I, Samu, am a massive fan and with the spot vacant I couldn’t refuse the chance to talk about the series for as long as we have left – which will probably be sometime this year by my own predictions.

My History with Bleach:

I should preface by repeating what I said in my introduction post back in September: Bleach is my favourite manga.

Does that mean I consider it the best? Heck no. Does it mean it’s my top weekly read? Most of the time, but I’ve been following this series for 8 years now; it was my first proper anime/manga experience, so it has a special place in my heart. That being said, I am also very critical of the series and if I feel negatively about certain developments then I won’t hold back. Just don’t expect a hate-fest. I’ve managed to find something enjoyable in nearly every Bleach chapter all these years (I can think of maybe two chapters that I straight up hated). I’m enjoying this final arc and I’m looking forward to covering it on RandomC for the remainder of its lifespan.

Ichibei vs Yhwach:

In the chapters before the winter break and Kubo’s time in hospital we got to see the conclusion of the epic Ichibei vs Yhwach fight. Out of the Bleach fights in the past year this one seemed to be the most praised by fans. The fights throughout 2014 were a mixed bag for many – there was never a consensus on what was great and what was terrible (but that’s very common when it comes to Bleach, so I shouldn’t be surprised by that). This fight, however, seemed to be the most accepted as a top-notch display of ability from both sides. Ichibei and Yhwach are both among the very strongest that we’ve seen in the Bleach universe, so watching two powerhouses wreck carnage was really fun.

But things were going too well for Ichibei and it was obvious that he was never going to win. By the end Yhwach revealed that he is stronger than ever, with powers that border on god-like with nearly no way of defeat. Also, he’s the Soul King’s son. I called that a while back, but it was a nice confirmation and I’m looking forward to see where Kubo takes this.

Gathering the Divisions:

As for chapter 612, it was mainly a recap and regathering of all those still able to fight. We get caught up on what happened with the off screen fights, which is one thing that’s really irritating about Bleach. I was looking forward to the Shinji/Momo/Omaeda vs Bazz-B fight before it got thrown out the window. Still, the gaps have been filled and we’re left with only a handful Soul Society’s Captains and Vice Captains who are now part of Urahara’s plan to break the barrier and head to the Soul Palace before all the worlds literally fall apart.

At this point Urahara is the biggest plot device in Bleach and he always has some plan to fix whatever’s going wrong, which means we’ve got characters ready to head up there and join the fight, leaving the injured and unaccounted for behind The panel with Komamura and Iba in particular brought back memories to his sacrifice, which made his fight with Bambietta one of the best of this second invasion. Mayuri (my favourite character) is set to arrive soon with Kensei and Rose, but Toshiro and Rangiku are missing from the names mentioned. Are they really dead? That would be a twist, for two popular characters to be truly deceased. Here’s to hope.

Overview – What’s Next?:

As it’s been 4 weeks since the last chapter, one like this can be forgiven. Sure, nothing drastic happened – it was mainly tying loose ends before heading forward with the final act of the arc. I’m hoping we’ll get a flashback to Yhwach’s life in the Soul Palace alongside the Royal Guard. It was obvious that they knew each other well (particularly with Ichibei and Shutara), so if I’ve got one wish it would be for another TBTP-style flashback to shed light on the history of the Soul Palace and the first generation of the Gotei 13 before we dive into what could be the final fight of Bleach.

43 Comments

      1. “Hot mess” is putting it lightly. I had so much hope for a change of pace after the timeskip… But no, we’re already back to endless repetitive battles with full-page spreads of opponents glaring/smirking at each other before pulling out their “unstoppable” finishing moves. I honestly think I keep reading out of habit at this point.

        And speaking of not knowing what he’s doing: is anyone else seriously bothered by the fact that Kubo made a big deal about Ichigo and gang returning from the Soul King’s palace… only to send them right back up to the Soul King’s palace?? Like, what was the point? Why did Ichigo come back just to leave again in less than 20 chapters (I counted)??

        I’m calling it now: Show Spoiler ▼

        randomly
    1. Look at the bright side, there are small things we can now understand. We know that Suì-Fēng isn’t 100% yuri since she is attracted to Yūshirō Shihōin; I ship her and our little cute shota warrior T_T, hope they get married after the arc.

      Anyway, I really am wondering what the hell the Quincy King did to our female Espada; we can understand that he is a whimsical king, but there is a limit to how many times you do things on the whim.

      Not to mention we still haven’t heard from the Fullbringers, don’t tell me that Kubo forgot about them.

      What we can understand now is the fact that the “world is offically ending.” Now what will happen is something I hope next chapter can show us, and if Kubo was really planning to run his manga for 10 years after the Aizen Final Battle arc.

      L002
  1. I don’t think this will be the final act. There are too many loose ends and I think we will get some big twist soon, similir to when Aizen revealed, he was alive. Also the fact, that Ichibei knowingly sent them to their deaths and lied to them, is suspicious and Urahara did basically the same thing, so I’m awaitng a big shocker and a part three.

    dean
    1. Yeah, no, this is pretty definitively the last arc. Confirmed by Kubo himself, but also unavoidable considering Bleach hasn’t been ranking well for years now; what was once a “Big 3” manga now never manages to break into the top 10.

      randomly
      1. What I meant was part three of the last arc. Part one was the first invasion, part two was the second invasion and whatever happens next will be part three. Ichigo is not going to win against Yhwach, at least yet. And he always wins after at third time, this is just the second.

        dean
      2. Personally I can see Ichigo losing to Yhwach, and Yhwach getting his way, before Ichigo fights him again(Perhaps 20-30 chapters from now). Having Ichigo fight and defeat him now would be unrealistic, the man has cut down pretty much everyone.

        Lyfe
      1. I figured everyone had just given up on it, kind of glad they didn’t. Its been 11 years so we might as well all see this train-wreck to the end together. I hope it ends with Salad.

        deVaras
  2. I like the general chaos that’s been going on Soul Society. It’s also nice to see the Shinigami actually get wrecked for once. Unless Kubo does some really dumb mass resurrection, Gotei 13 will never be the same after this. That’s not to say there aren’t things that bother me, but I’d probably put this arc right behind the rescue Rukia arc at this point in time.
    As for this chapter in particular, not really much to discuss. Only thing that I’m curious about is whether or not Byakuya told Kisuke about what Mayuri did to Kensei and Rose….

    This Guy
    1. As I said, I think there’s a clear a difference between something being my ‘favourite’ and being the ‘best’. If we’re talking about the best manga I’ve read then that would go to Watashitachi no Shiawase na Jikan followed by 20th Century Boys, Hunter x Hunter, Haikyuu!!, Bakuman, and Oyasumi Punpun.

      Samu
  3. Man, Ichibei vs. Yhwach was one of the best fights in the series. Here’s to hoping the anime returns so that we can see it animated.
    https://randomc.net/image/Bleach2/Bleach%20Manga%20-%20612%20-%2001.jpg

    Also, I don’t that the Soul King is Yhwach’s father in a literal sense. Remember that Yhwach tends to be very cryptic with his words such as when he referred to Ichigo as “my son born in the dark” as well as referring to Ishida as “my son”. Yhwach’s not Ichigo or Ishida’s literal father as we know that Isshin and Ryuken are their dads respectively. Plus Isshin confirmed that Yhwach considers all Quincy as his kin since a) he’s the progenitor of all Quincies and b) all Quincies have Yhwach’s blood and reishi flowing within them. Yhwach most likely referred to the Soul King as his father since the Soul King is God, the progenitor of all life. Hell, even in the Bible, God is referred to as “the Father” many times, so he probably meant it like that.

    Lastly, welcome aboard Samu! I look forward to hearing your commentary on Bleach!

    LaughingMan
  4. [APPLAUSE TO SAMU] Thanks for picking Bleach (manga) up. The past chapters were a breeze to read through and they just make me anticipate with high expectations of what’s about to unfold. Mentioning the word “final” just starts to bring a tear to my eye as it seems to be coming fast. Here’s to good fight scenes and action-packed chapters of Bleach.

    random viewer
  5. Hope you get your wishes come true, Samu. The 1000 years ago flashback is a must, yep 🙂
    OP is the best for me, but Bleach is second, best series ever of course 🙂

    Urahara = Kami?… Haha… Of course, he is 😉 And have always been! 😀

    Nico
    1. Funnily enough a lot of people thought he was a girl as well, but if you looked at his name it was a giveaway. Yuushirou is a boys name and only one character different than Juushirou (the 13th captain, also male).

      Samu
  6. Bleach is my favourite manga. Does that mean I consider it the best? Heck no. Does it mean it’s my top weekly read? Most of the time, but I’ve been following this series for 8 years now; it was my first proper anime/manga experience, so it has a special place in my heart.
    And this is EXACTLY my stance on Bleach. Word for word, I wouldn’t describe any other way, except maybe that I’ve been following it for 9 years or a bit more.
    Thanks for picking it up, Samu! I’ll be looking forward to your reviews.

    Wanderer
    1. At least Aizen had a Zanpakuto with unbeatable illusions and sacrificed it for the Hogyoku’s ridiculous evolution. Both are interesting concepts and mutually exclusive. Yhwach is all-knowing and he has the powers of every Quincy he’s absorbed. He’s pretty much a generic ability-stealer/nearly omnipotent character, there’s hundreds of them in manga.

      Thermitekitten
  7. You know its sad when in the latest chapter where Urahara was listing each division’s captains and who’s coming and what not, I didnt even know who’s who and which number is which. I have no clue whos still left to fight and who bit the dust, lol

    I probably would’ve remembered every division captain’s number back in the days.

    YanDaMan
  8. I have to say that I was initially disappointed with the Royal Guard. By anime rules the leaders are ALWAYS the strongest. Ichibei restored my faith in them. We knew all along they would lose but I think his powers are very fitting for the head of the strongest faction of the Soul Reapers and personal guard to the King.

    But on another note, there is so much to tie up right now. I always have had the feeling that the Soul Reapers are not the good guys. Even though I loved Ichiebei’s powers, I don’t really consider making a mausoleum from the darkness of 1000 nights to be an ability that a protagonist usually has. You really only see that kind of stuff from the bad guys. Which is ironic that the villains in this story wield “the light.” I might have over analyzed it but those are my thoughts.

    Camora
    1. Well from the looks of it he is nothing more than a limbless torso floating in a protective shield. At this point we could assume that he is utterly defenceless, which is funny considering he is the lynchpin of the Bleach universe, but then again that explains the need for the Royal Guard to be the strongest captains in SS history.

      Samu
  9. Thanks Samu for blogging on the bleach Manga. I’m liking this new format.
    Like you Bleach was one of the first series that introduced me to anime/manga and it’s also one of my favorites. Definitely not the best series but one that has a special place.

    tuksumbum

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