An unexpected callback to one of the best fights in Bleach.

Nemu’s Final Strike:

Well, my prediction for how this fight turned out was wrong. I thought we were going to see Nemu’s soul being used piece by piece until there was nothing left of her. Obviously, that’s not how Kubo wanted it to play out, but what we got this week was better than I envisioned.

I have to say, this fight is shaping up as one of the best of the Thousand Year Blood War. Yamamoto vs Fake Juha is still the best (and probably one of the best of the entire series), but this battle earns a place right at the top along with Ichibei vs Juha. At first, I thought Zaraki and Mayuri were going to team up, but this was very much a Mayuri fight, with Nemu coming at the end to deliver the necessary final blow. It’s a shame we won’t get to see her power past the 6% threshold – if we saw anything more, she’d probably knock the power scale of Bleach off kilter.

Kubo is using effective panelling to convey how quick the balance of this fight is changing.

A Brutal Death:

I don’t think Kubo has ever killed off a ‘good guy’ without any remorse. Sasakibe comes to mind, but even then there were several chapters leading up to the moment. Here, it seems like Nemu had just beaten Pernida, until she falls to ground, sharing panels with the remaining pieces of Pernida. There was always a good chance that this was bound to happen, but I suspected after she decimated the first hand last week, that she’d destroy all evidence of the second hand. As it turns out, Nemu’s final attack wasn’t enough to win. And it all happened so fast…

As soon as all those nerves went into Nemu, I knew she was a goner. No less than a page later, she exploded, blood splattering around Mayuri in one of the most haunting death’s of Bleach to date. Kubo did not hold back, and what follows is even more impressive. While Mayuri stood there, unmoving, repeating Nemu’s name as her body parts rained from the sky, I thought we were going to be in for a serious rage-fest. That would have been incredibly satisfying to watch unfold, but it wouldn’t exactly be in character with Mayuri. What we got instead was a look inside Mayuri’s head as he was overcome with grief.

Probably the most insight we’ll ever get into Mayuri’s psyche.

Attaining Perfection:

I don’t think any of us expected Szayel Aporro Granz to make a return this chapter, but that’s why this is Kubo’s story and not ours. It makes perfect sense that the Arrancar scientist would return as a manifestation of Mayuri’s grief. I wouldn’t take his appearance as him literally being a part of Mayuri’s being; Szayel’s return is more a call back to my favourite moment in all of Bleach: Mayuri’s perfection speech. It was the moment where I knew Kubo was a truly talented writer – despite what people may say about certain developments – and that he had put a lot of care and detail into his favourite character.

“The perfect being, huh? There is no such thing as perfect in this world. That may sound cliché, but it’s the truth. The average person admires perfection and seeks to obtain it. But, what’s the point of achieving perfection? There is none. Nothing. Not a single thing. I loathe perfection! If something is perfect, then there is nothing left. There is no room for imagination. No place left for a person to gain additional knowledge or abilities. Do you know what that means? For scientists such as ourselves, perfection only brings despair. It is our job to create things more wonderful than anything before them, but never to obtain perfection. A scientist must be a person who finds ecstasy while suffering from that antimony. In short, the moment that foolishness left your mouth and reached my ears, you had already lost. Of course, that’s assuming you are a scientist”

— Kurotsuchi Mayuri (Chapter 306)

Szayel screaming at Mayuri about how he’d thought he’d achieved “perfection” with Nemu was a moment if I’ve ever seen one. I doubt we’ll ever explore Mayuri’s inner thoughts/feelings as much as we do here. My interpretation is that Szayel is essentially a worm of doubt that Mayuri has within himself. Because he detests perfection so much, and cares for his most precious project, despite what we originally thought, it makes complete sense that those feelings would manifest in the form of Szayel. Their fight was my favourite of the whole series (you can a pattern here…), so seeing that brought back in this chapter was wonderful to read. Of course, Mayuri was not overcome with grief or self doubt for so long. I thought maybe he’d shed a tear or two, but by the time he’d composed himself he had already won the battle.

Not quite tearful, but undeniably furious.

Overview – What’s Next?:

We saw Pernida absorb Konjiki Ashisogi Jizou’s powers last week, so I assume its desire to devour the remains of Nemu’s body could be linked to the cannibalistic nature of Mayuri’s bankai. All of this is resolved when Mayuri steals Nemu’s brain, and reveals that eating her cells will regenerate Pernida’s body at an uncontrollable rate. With that, Pernida basically got cancer. I’m sure some people will complain that Mayuri always has an asspull to ensure his victory, but all I can say is… this is Mayuri we’re talking about.

Maybe it allows Kubo to go all-out without being too grounded in reality, but it makes for fantastic fights, and proves why Mayuri is one of his favourites. Of course, the battle may not be over, since there should be a third arm left, but I feel this is a good place to end. This is already the longest fight in the arc, so a wind-down next week before switching over to another Elite Sternritter would be the best course of action.

16 Comments

  1. There are few characters in this series I would not want to see angry to the point of full blown fury.
    Yoruichi
    Urahara
    Yachiru
    Mayuri
    ______
    These 4 have struck me as dangerous enough to summon enough demon force to strike down God (Yachiru because she’s too mysterious and docile).
    So while I kinda wanted him to get batshit angry and destroy the world, I prefer this. This is in character of him.

    Kabble
  2. There is not only a third hand, but the main hand, Nemu destroyed last chapter should be able to regenerate, because some of the fingers were intact. And there is a Vollständig. I think next chapter Pernida will surprise Mayuri, kill him and give a conclusion to this fight. I also think the only way to truly kill Pernida is by destroying just the eye.

    dean
    1. True, but if Pernida kills Mayuri that is not a “conclusion”. No matter how you look at it, this is shonen and Pernida isn’t a final villain (sub-villain at most) who will almost definitely die. The shinigami are going to win in the end, so unless he returns as the Soul King’s arm in future, I can’t see Pernida winning/surviving this fight. This fight can’t go on for that much longer.

      Samu
      1. Why not? Just because Pernida wins this fight, doesn’t mean the arm won’t die at a later fight. We are only at day two of nine, so something is going to happen, that changes the situation. Pernida may win this fight, go to rest and fight again at day nine and then die, for example. Also it is too soon for Pernida to die. That’s the left arm of the Soul King. We still need a backstory and why Pernida is on Yhwach’s side.

        I don’t think the Shinigami are definetely going to win in the end. Ichigo and his friends, yes, but nessecerarily not the Shinigami and Soul Society itself. And there will be definetely some conflict in the future, with all the “We’re going to lock Ichigo up” and that they simply can decide on a new Soul King.

        dean
      2. This is Kubo we’re talking about

        Indeed, but this is already the longest single fight Kubo has done in 5 five years (since the Deicide chapters), so if anything this fight is an exception to what Kubo usually does. I can’t see it lasting much longer; we’ve already seen Pernida and Mayuri show off just about all they can do, so there’s little chance there’s a follow-up fight coming up. Perhaps someone will come and defeat the remaining arm, if Kubo decides to bring that back up, but I still think it’s pretty much over at this point, else it will become one of the longest fights in the whole manga.

        As for the shinigami winning in the end, I think that’s a given. There may be a sacrifice and a few more deaths, but assuming anything otherwise is a little silly, imo. Ichigo may no longer be a human like Shunsui mentioned to his friends, but that’s a whole other discussion. My point is: Pernida almost certainly has to die. It’s shown off all it can this fight, and there’s no reason for it to survive while Mayuri dies. Unless we get another link to the previous Soul King later on, Pernida’s purpose has be fulfilled.

        Samu
      3. @YanDaMan263

        Rukia

        With her Bankai she could freeze him to Paralyze, and just an Slash to break him into Pieces. Because Rukia’s Bankai is the 0 Kelvin. Like this Super Freeze Mecha from Aldona.Zero Season 2. All living Cells, all chemical Reaction come to an Stop

        WorldwideDepp
    1. It seems to me that Mayuri imagining Szayel Aporro Granz was also his subconscious reminding him how he can make use of Nemu’s useless corpse as a weapon in a similar manner to the way he beat that hollow.

      Psithief
  3. That was a cool chapter, Szayel appearing out of no where surprised the hell out of me o_O! I’m now expecting Nnoitra appearing in Kenpachi’s head and saying something like “HEY KENPACHI YOU CAN’T USE KENDO NOW CAN ‘YA!?” xD. Or Yammy being like “I thought I was bad but you’ve been sitting on the ground for 5+ chapters.”.

    Yogo
  4. You know Mayuri’s not his usual self when he isn’t smiling. He often smiles like a complete psychopath after every battle, but here, he couldn’t even smirk at the stunt he had just pulled. Nothing, but composure and emptiness. Rather than collecting the usual samples, he decides just to outright destroy his opponent.

    Jake

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