Returning from the operating table.

Lille Lives!:

If there’s one thing to take from this chapter, it’s that Kubo will do whatever the fuck he wants, and I commend him for that. Last in the Weekly Shonen Jump table of contents? Doesn’t even matter! Let’s keep this fight going for another week! On one hand, I predict this will cause many groans (and perhaps outrage) as Lille’s remains scatter down to Soul Society below, where he reforms into a donut-head owl with flamingo legs. Truly, his design cannot get any more bizarre. I’ve seen plenty of hate thrown at it, but I like Kubo’s dedication to keep pushing it, chapter after chapter. Not only that, but there’s now several Lilles roaming around, without halos – which may be noteworthy later on – killing fodder shinigami and cursing Shunsui for besting him.

Aizen and his wondrous chair.

The Return of Familiar Faces:

I have a feeling the two returnees this week are what’s gonna have been talking. First off, there’s Aizen, who is still strapped down to that chair. It’s amusing to think that Shunsui broke him out of the prison only to leave him down in Soul Society while everyone went up to fight Juha. His grand escape seems rather pointless now, but I suspect the glimpse of him watching Lille landing on SS ground is foreshadowing that Lille will encounter and end up freeing him by accident, which is when Aizen will decimate him and head up to the Soul Palace.

The other familiar face is none other than Izuru Kira. Robot-Kira, Cyborg Kira, Dead Kira; whatever you want to call him, he’s back. This may come as a surprise to some, but if you knew about chapter 520.5 (which was released in the latest Bleach volume, and the recent databook before that) you would know that Mayuri was the one to piece Kira back together. There was also a short story written by Narita Ryougo (Baccano, Durarara!!), which isn’t exactly canon, but might as well be consider so as it wraps up a few hanging plot points. Basically, Mayuri brings Kira back, who is still technically ‘dead’, and then he fights Shaz Domino, who reveals himself as one of Gremmy’s creations.

Fast forward to this chapter, and Kira is in the streets of Seireitei, encountering the roaming Lilles and cutting them down. He looks pretty damn cool, and we got a few heavily shadowed panels that go with his blunt dialogue. I suspect we won’t be seeing much more of Lille for the time being, though I could be proven wrong yet again. However, I do feel the next time we cut back to this scene, it will be when Aizen’s role in this final arc will start to become clearer.

A dead man vs a flock of godly birds.

Moving on to a Miracle:

Back up at the Soul Palace, we’re moving onto our next elite sternritter fight. With two down, that leaves us two to go, and we’re cutting back to the the “Miracle”, Gerard Valkyrie, as I expected (and hoped). If the past two battles are anything to go by, we could be in for another long fight that will carry over into 2015. What exactly the “Miracle” entails is yet to be revealed, but I expect next chapter will deal with that.

I believe in miracles!

Overview – What’s Next?:

Quite a few things happened this week! Shunsui and Nanao finished their fight, as Shunsui collapsed and admitted that he needed some rest; Lille landed far below in Soul Society; Aizen was his ever smug self; Kira made his grand re-appearence; and we see Byakuya and Renji facing off against Gerard. I’m quite looking forward to this upcoming fight – hopefully it’s more to the level of Mayuri/Nemu vs Pernida, and not Shunsui/Nanao vs Lille Barro. Personally, I’d like to see Shinji and Momo join in on the action. Perhaps the vice captains will shine once again – that seems to be the new formula Kubo has going for these elite sternritter battles, after all.

30 Comments

  1. Bleach ranked 12 out of 13 in WSJ ratings yet again this week. Kubo is due for the ‘wrap it up’ message from his editor any week now. He is consistently in the bottom 3 for almost this entire arc.

    This chapter was crap as usual, lets pan back to the Byakuya fight that start months ago like anyone remembers or cares. The enemy be wiped out in 1 chapter, then reveal some dues ex, then Byakuya will reveal some deus ex, then the enemy killed for good, and no one will care. On to the next fight!

    Spike
    1. I think you’ve just contradicted yourself. You say Kubo is going get a ‘wrap it up’ message any week now, but then point out that this arc has always been in the bottom 3/5. As we’ve been in this arc for 3 years, I think it’s safe to say nothing has really changed. Bleach’s sales are still the same per year, and it’s still one of the top selling series in the magazine despite zero effort put into promoting it.

      WSJ may be infamous for its chopping block, but Bleach is a special exception, as it’s one of the best selling manga of all time. If anything, this chapter proves that Kubo isn’t wrapping things up anytime soon. He’s taking his time and doing what he wants, which is bound to be an unpopular move.

      Samu
      1. See, it being there is what makes me not want to buy WSJ, as it, Nisekoi, World Border and Black Clover (Awful, Go No Where, Naruto by way of Fairy Tail) gets in the way of Soma and Hero Academia and I ain’t paying anything (even the low price of £0.69) for something that’s only 2/5’s worth a damn.

        Craig McLeod
      2. Does a few titles you don’t enjoy really prevent you from purchasing the magazine? That seems a bit harsh, especially when there’s usually at least 16~17 manga each week to read. And those ones you named don’t get ‘in the way’ of Boku no Hero or Shokugeki no Soma, as those two nearly always rank in the top 5 and don’t have to worry. Those series can co-exist without hurting each other.

        As I’ve said, Bleach is one of the top 20 best-selling manga of all time. That’s an incredible feat, and the fans who purchase the volumes have remained stable for the past 3 years. I’d reckon that the reason Bleach is so low is because (a) WSJ knows it doesn’t need promo anymore, and it can sustain its popularity even if it’s left at the bottom, and (b) because fans of Bleach probably don’t even vote for it, because it doesn’t really matter. They likely spend their votes on a series that may need that extra push to be saved from cancellation (ie Samon-kun wa Summoner, Mononofu, Buddy Strike).

        As for Nisekoi and World Trigger, they were both in the top 30 of best-selling manga this year, so while they usually appear in the bottom half of the magazine (away from BnHA and SnS) they’ve got their own loyal fanbases. Black Clover only started this year, and could end up popular, but we’ll have the see. Basically, my point is that each of these manga can co-exist in the magazine + there are other more vulnerable titles that likely deserve more concern.

        Samu
      3. We all know it took a dip since the Arrancar arc, but have a look at the overall sales at the end of each year since Bleach peaked in popularity:

        –Bleach’s peak popularity–
        5.  *3,161,825 Bleach (2008)
        3.  *6,471,021 Bleach (2009)
        5.  *5,204,193 Bleach (2010)
        –Bleach Fullbring arc–
        8.  *4,187,258 Bleach (2011)
        –Bleach Blood War arc begins + anime ends–
        12. *2,974,750 Bleach (2012)
        15. *2,752,588 Bleach (2013)
        18. *2,986,968 Bleach (2014)
        21. *2,818,926 Bleach (2015)

        Obviously, it was one of the best-selling manga back in 2008-2010. And then, as we know, the fullbring arc wasn’t well received, and it lost about 1 million sales (about the same difference between 2009/2010, interestingly enough).

        Since then Bleach’s rank at the end of each year has decreased, but if you look at the last 4 years (since the anime ended and the Thousand Year Blood War arc began), then you can see that Bleach has sold nearly the exact same amount every single year. Individual volume sales may be gradually decreasing – depending on when they leave the top 50, which doesn’t mean people aren’t still buying them – but the overall numbers still remain near identical.

        My theory is that while Bleach isn’t as popular as it used to be, it has now reached the point where the core fanbase will continue to support the series and buy the volumes no matter what, which equates to the 2.7~2.9 million numbers per year.

        Samu
  2. Lol, people still thinking that ranks affect what Kubo does. They read Bakuman and think they got it all figured out. The same ranking talks year after year, since when? 2010? And yet, as Samu pointed out, Kubo does not give a fuck, he does what he likes, and takes his sweet time to progress at the slow pace he’s fond of. No way in hell Jump is gonna axe a veteran who still sells a lot, especially in a time where there isn’t yet a reliable successor. As if Jump is gonna leave the fate of a top seller franchise to middle school readers who are late to the party, some of which could be younger than the Bleach itself.
    Also I didn’t know that people hated Lille’s design just because it’s bizarre. Bizarre = bad? ridiculous, if anything designing bizarre characters is closer to being creative.

    If there is any criticism I’d address to Kubo, it would that a) Lille is awfully one-note in his lines (sins, god, blah blah) and b) there isn’t a connexion between the sniper character and the bird creature, we don’t feel it’s one and same person.

  3. Pretty sure the Miracle’s power is to make “miracles” happen. Anything that his enemies declare an impossible task is suddenly something he will have the power to pull off.

    SlinyBlack
  4. I’m sorry in advance. I’m going to break my silence.

    Samu, I have a problem. Kubo can do whatever he wants…yeah…but at where, as a reviewer, is there a point where Kubo does something that is not acceptable? In your review it sounds like he could literally do anything at all, and you’d still be ok with it. I’m saying this as sincere as I possibly can, not trying to be a troll, I just want to discuss. I’m not saying this chapter broke the camel’s back, but I don’t think it’s fair to review anything if no matter what the author does…you still give it a pass.

    1. Kubo can do whatever he wants…yeah…but at where, as a reviewer, is there a point where Kubo does something that is not acceptable?

      I think I’m reviewing it rather fairly (and honestly); I would only have to direct you to my impressions of last week’s chapter where I called it ‘laughably bad’. I was pretty harsh with every aspect of ch653, but because I enjoyed what happened in this one, I had mainly positive things to say. I can still see why this chapter is causing some readers to rage: Lille still not dying, Kira seemingly appearing from nowhere, Aizen doing nothing in his chair – but I don’t think negatively of any of those things. I can’t pretend to be outraged by any of it when I quite enjoyed it.

      Samu
      1. Ok. That’s fine. I suppose I’m too harsh, I don’t know, I didn’t like the last chapter either, but I didn’t like the chapters before it as well. The backstory was fine except it had no impact to me because it was about Nanao. There’s nothing wrong with Nanao at all it’s just she was a character we knew next to nothing about and after 600 chapters to reveal this powerful backstory to I didn’t feel anything. I wasn’t invested at all in Nanao…That’s just my opinion though.

  5. Seriously, if this sword doesn’t turn out to be thing, that made the Soul King lost his limbs. Though I’ve to wonder what Kubo exactly plans with letting Lille and Kira fight. Maybe there really is somhething more going here, as Kira said. I think these aren#t actually the final battles, but rather, we’ve just reached the half-way point, the is arc is supposed to be longer than the Arrancar saga after all.

    Speaking of zombies and Arrancar, I wonder if Mayuri revived more zombies, than we’ve seen. I wouldn’t be surprised if zombie Staark or Nnoitra would appear again, since they left a body behind.

    dean
    1. It wouldn’t surprise the Kira/Lille fight unfolds off-screen and we’ll just see Kira dealing the coup de grace some time later.
      Seeing how Luppi was revived although his whole upper body was blown up, there might be a little possibility for Nnoitra to appear. It would be a bit too much but I wouldn’t mind it as I loved that character back in the day. It was 2008 when he died, I think? Man, so much time went by!

      1. Well I think that depends on whether or not these are the final battles. If Yhwach will be defeated now, then Lille will be Yammy’d. If Yhwach will be defeated much later, this war is supposed to take nine days and we’ve yet to reach the third one, then Lille will survive somehow. If nothing else it gives me hope, that Gerard and Askin may survive their battles too and that maybe Pernida could survive, since he is the left arm and very plot important.

        I actually remember a chart, where Kubo’s editor made predictions about the return of the Espadas based on an interview with Kubo. That chart said, Grimmjow and Nel will return, Halibel may return and Starrk , Nnoitra and for some reason Zommari (maybe Kubo talked about Pepe and the editor mixed them up :D), have a small chance to return. Everyone else has zero chance to return. I would say, if Kubo is going the nine days route, then they will probably return, if not, then probably not.

        dean
    1. As Khalid says, it was over 2.5 years ago, and Bazz-B blew up most of his right side. If we’re to believe the databook info, then we can assume he is still ‘technically dead’. Just a re-animated body. You might be able to argue that his personality has been wiped as well, because while he was always a grim fella, his dialogue in this chapter was a lot more aggressive than I recall.

      Samu
    2. If i would not know, that our “Zombie Blood” prince/princess would not be already taken out, then i would assume it would be her/his work. But then, how has the known length to reanimate the dead? the “rebuild the Flesh from the Bones” (or something) Bankai Captain?

      WorldwideDepp
      1. if it would be Orihime, then he would be completed healed, in turning the time back until this happen. or the turning back time has it’s limits

        But i do not think that Orihime would do such Necro stuff

        WorldwideDepp
  6. I think the Narita novel is kinda canon, but the events and the way they happened were likely changed up.

    This is likely the same for Memories of Nobody as the only time Ichigo’s ever been to the Valley of Screams is in that movie. He even admits he’s been there in the chapter where he tells Yukio and Riruka to stay behind.

    TheVoid

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