Bazz and Jugo’s Past:
This is exciting stuff right now. This is the beginning of the one thing I’ve been waiting to see: the 1000 years ago flashback showing the beginning of the Thousand Year Blood War. Honestly, I didn’t think we were going to get it any more, but this is a perfect opportunity to see it from the Quincy’s point of view. This week it’s all about Bazz-B and Jugo, who do turn out to have a close relationship from a long, long time ago. Bazz-B is still a good-hearted jerk, but he proves that he’s a nice kid by taking back that Jugo was ‘lame’ for not being able to hunt rabbits. Jugo, however, seems like a very different boy. Clearly, he has being abused by his uncle, which explains him not liking being called Jugo.
But, everything changes when Juha appears to conquer their country (which looks distinctively European – could be Germany or maybe Roman going by Bazz’B helmet?), and burns their village and forest to the ground. The death of Bazz-B’s parents are what motivates him to kill Juha, but Jugo is clearly less affected by the death of his uncle. Still, these two kids were seeking revenge, living together for five years before the formation of the Stern Ritter. It now makes sense why they’ve had those little conversations throughout the entire arc, hinting to the fact that they’ve known each other for this long.
The Sternritter Formation:
This could have just been the story of Bazz-B and Jugo, but now that we’ve seen Juha in his younger years -after apparently being alive for 200 years at this point – I believe we could be in for a lengthy flashback. If that’s the case, I’m over the moon. Chapter 632 is the beginning of a new volume, so that would be a perfect opportunity, and there is so much that Kubo could reveal in this timeline. Hopefully we will see more of the Sternritter joining and preparing for the battle against Soul Society. And hopefully we get a good view of the first generation of the Gotei 13. Yamamoto and Unohana are the only two confirmed captains from that era, and it would be amazing to see them in action again, even if we already know the outcome of the battle. I would also like to see who the other eleven captains are – presumably five of them will be the Royal Guard, but that still leaves six to reveal. Kubo may not go that in depth with this flashback, but honestly, I would love a volume-long arc showing the Shinigami and Quincy war.
We know that Yamamoto failed to kill Juha back then, which caused him to go into that 999 years of solitude. Presumably Bazz-B, Jugo, and all the other Sternritter were frozen in time as well (could this explain the ice palace that looks similar to where Bazz-B and Jugo lived?). Another noteworthy detail from this chapter is that we actually get to see Zeidritz, who may just seem like another irrelevant background character; but if you recall Yamamoto’s fight during the previous invasion, when he used his bankai to revive the army of the dead, Lloyd Royd (with Juha’s memories) recognised the revived Zeidritz. It’s a nice tie-in to the present time and this flashback, proving that Kubo doesn’t just make up this stuff as he goes along. If we stick with this flashback for a while, we’re bound to see Juha’s anguish over losing his closest comrade to Yamamoto’s blade.
Overview – What’s Next?:
There aren’t too many flashback in Bleach (compared to some long-running shonen), but whenever they come around I remember how good they are. The panelling, pacing, and jumping back to the current battle was all very well done. I just hope Kubo sticks with this for another few chapters. The more, the merrier. We’ve very rarely gone this far back in the Bleach timeline, so I have no qualms with staying here for a while. We need to learn more about these Quincies, and the beginnings of the Thousand Year Blood War. Some people may think we’re just stalling for time, but I’d say this is the most necessary flashback of the whole series, before we head into the climax of the series. Overall, a fantastic chapter that made me care for Bazz-B and Jugo a lot more, and gave me hope for another Turn Back the Pendulum-style flashback.