Many Familiar Faces:
This chapter was definitely one for the fans. Golden week has come and gone, and as is all too common, Kubo ended it on a pretty damn good cliffhanger with Grimmjow’s return. But as it turns out, this chapter was even better than last weeks. First off, Grimmjow is still Grimmjow – wanting to fight Ichigo at any given point regardless of how out of place it is. He’s not my favourite character in the series, but at least he’s consistent, so I’m sure his many fans will be happy to see that. Frankly, I care a lot more about Nel’s return (and her return to her adult form). Her reunion with Ichigo was pretty damn cute – as was Orihime’s jealousy – but the best part was her almost-instant switch in mood when she shot Grimmjow down as ‘Number 6’ and basically dismissed how powerful he was compared to her. You can argue about how much the Espada numbers really matter, but I think it is fair to say that Nel (and Harribel) are both stronger than the fan favourite. I would believe Nel having a better chance against the villains that remain that I would with Grimmjow.
We also saw two familiar faces make a surprising return: Riruka and Yukio. First off, I loved Riruka in the Lost Agent arc. I always enjoyed the scenes she shared with the main characters (Ichigo, Rukia, and especially Orihime) and part of me really wanted her to join the main characters for the final arc. Of course, that didn’t happen, but I’m over the moon that she’s back. I expected her to be written out of the series completely, but she’s back with a super cute onesie, and her and Yukio’s powers are being used to set-up an effective counter-attack when the time comes. I’m glad their rather obscure abilities are being put to use, so kudos to Kubo for that. It really does feel like Ichigo’s harem is returning one after the others (except for Rukia – then again the apparent main characters of the series have only had about four scenes together in the past 6 or so years). I’m rooting for IchiHime in the end, and it’s Orihime that’s had the most time with Ichigo this arc, so I can’t complain.
Quincy Waiting Room & Juha’s Absorption:
How many times has Juha absorbed the Soul King now? At least this time it looks like the deed has been done, and I highly expect him to return with a new look. I had to laugh at the Elite Sternritter sitting in the Soul King’s Palace as it were a waiting room, but at least we know they’re all together again and will likely see them in action before too long. I just hope the Royal Guard factor into this as well. Perhaps if Juha becomes the new Soul King then they will be bound to protect him and switch sides? That would even out the numbers on both sides (though the power levels would be very skewered).
Overview – What’s Next?:
As I said, this chapter was for the fans, and as a fan I had a grin on my face the whole way through. It’s fantastic to see familiar faces return and being put to use in the best way possible. The plot is progressing once again and this chapter was quite dense in content, so I hope next week delivers the same enjoyment that the past two have.