Shot through the heart.

Askin’s Curtain Call:

Let’s have a round of applause for Askin, one of the best villains of the Thousand Year Blood War. We were introduced to him in between the first and second invasions, and everyone laughed him off as a camp Aizen clone. He then encountered Mayuri, deciding he would be too tricky to face off against and they agreed not to fight. For some time he watched the shinigami and sternritters brawl while having a picnic and watching through his binoculars, before eventually being called up to the Soul King’s Palace to fulfil his duty as an elite sternritter. He then went on to defeat Nimaiya – one of the royal guards – proving he likes playing dirty with his tricky ability. He then knocked out Grimmjow, defeated Ichigo, Orihime, Chad, Yuushirou, Yoruichi, and heavily injured Urahara, before meeting his maker when Grimmjow re-appeared, confirming that Urahara had planned for this all along. And here we see Askin in his final moment in the spotlight, choosing not to ramble about his power, but instead confirm that if he dies, everyone inside his limits goes with him.

I think it’s fair to say that Askin surpassed expectations. He provided comic relief, he was a sternritter we had known for the longest time, and never seemed hellbent on “killing” his opponents. He encountered and bested the most enemies of any quincy in this arc, and right up until the end he appeared collected and always able to make light of the situation. He was no Aizen rip-off, but a seriously enjoyable villain. I’m glad he didn’t have a final form; this felt like the right time to end the fight and move on, but I’m going to miss his presence. I suppose you could say he wasn’t really that evil. Sure, he’s siding with Juha Bach, but we learned he was more curious to see the new world than anything else. He was an atypical villain by Bleach standards, and I hope people remember him as one of the best characters of this final arc.

That being said, do I think Urahara is really dead? I’m going to go with no. It would be killer if Askin took him out at the very end, but I don’t see Kubo going that route. I read Urahara’s words as him apologising for not being able to assist in the battle any longer; he’s now leaving this up to Ichigo (and Rukia?). And even if he did mean he was dying, it’s clear that Nel has something planned. She noted that Urahara had thought this one of the five most likely outcomes, so there must be some preparation in place to make sure they survive.

The end of Urahara Kisuke?

Everyone vs Gerard:

That leaves one elite sternritter fight before we move into the final stages of the series. We can presume that the Lille flamingos are still running around down below, but I suspect this will be our last proper battle before we switch over to Ishida and Haschwalth’s conflict. I’ve got to be real and admit that this is the fight I’ve been least looking forward to. Even though there are plenty (at least a dozen) of characters surrounding the miracle growth giant, he’s just not that interesting. What I expect is an oppertunity for several (literally dozens!) characters to use their shikais and bankais. This is last chance to see for the supporting cast to show what they’ve got. And with that, we have Zaraki joining Toshiro and Byakuya at the end of the chapter. It should be an interesting combo, but I hope more shinigami step up (Shinji!) and help out before time runs out.

Let the brawl begin.

Overview – What’s Next?:

This was another great chapter, concluding the second best of the elite sternritter fights. Perhaps that’s not saying much as the Shunsui/Lille battle is a clear third place, but I loved the Mayuri/Pernida madness so much that I can’t bump it down. As this post makes clear, I was a fan of Askin’s character, and his final fight makes him a memorable one. Who knows, perhaps he will manage to secure a kill in his last act, whether it be Urahara, Grimmjow, Nel, Yoruichi, or Yuushirou… I’m sure we’ll find out eventually. Maybe in the next 20 chapters if we’re lucky!

11 Comments

  1. Askin’s not dead. He’s dying but not dead. Nel sensed four Reiatsus inside the Giftball. Yuushiro lies at the end of the Ast right before the Wahrwelt castle. The Giftball deluxe is right in the middle of the Ast. So the four Reiatsus belong to Grimmjow, Yoruichi, Urahara and Askin. Well, I wouldn’t call any of the Schutzstaffel exactly evil. It’s more the lower ranks that are evil. Gigi is still best though.

    Anyway, is it just me, or does it look more and more like Urahara is going to become an enemy of Ichigo? Well this certainly won’t be the final battles. To many things still need to happen or be explained and too many characters still need to make an appearance. Not to mention Haschwalth as he’s now can’t even use his letter. There’s also the nine days prophecy.

    dean
    1. I still think Askin is as good as dead. Though I would be happy if he was one of the few quincy to survive, like other characters have in previous arcs. But we already got several sternritter who joined with the shinigami to take revenge on Juha. I wouldn’t say they were that evil (Bazz-B especially – even though he killed Kira), since they did join the “good guys” in the end.

      As for Urahara becoming Ichigo’s enemy – it was always a theory of mine that he would be the sub-villain of the series, but I don’t think so after this fight. It seems he’s fighting on the right side, and there’s nothing here that really suggests otherwise.

      Samu
      1. Well it’s hard to call Giselle or Quilge good. And their reason for joining was revenge. While understandable, it’s not But only three Sternritter switched sides (well four if you count zombie Bambietta). One more wouldn’t hurt. Though I don’t think Askin will join Ichigo.

        There are actually things that could point towards Urahara being a potentially enemy. I’m saying enemy, not villain. Urahara would be more of the well-intentioned extremist kind of enemy. The first indication was his little speech about scientists. He said “He wouldn’t be interested in something of Yhwach’s creation. If we want to witness something nobody has ever seen before, we’ll create it ourselves. That’s how us scientists are.”, when talking about Askin wanting to see Yhwach destroy and recreate the worlds. Askin seemed to get, that Urahara would be someone, who would want to create the world with his own hands. Askin saying “When will someone like Yhwach appear again?”, may be foreshadowing for that next person not being so far away.

        The next thing is his Bankai. His Bankai has the ability to reconstruct everything. But if you want to reconstruct something, you need to deconstruct it first. Urahara can choose to stop at the deconstruction phase and not let something reconstruct, as could be seen with Askin’s arm. The chapter was called “The Princess Dissection” afterall. So his Bankai is de- and reconstructing everything. A Bankai is a representation or mirror of one’s soul. So what does a Bankai that allows to de- and reconstruct everything tell about Urahara? Considering his little speech about scientist, Urahara may want to de- and reconstruct the world, so he can create a new and better world with his own hands. And he may convince Askin to join him, because if Yhwach is not around, then Urahara may be Askin’s best shot at seeing the creation of the new world.

        When Urahara dissected Askin’s arm it looked alot like the dimensional rifts that appeared at the begining of the arc. Urahara said it was the Quincy screwing with the balance, but Hiyori smelled Shinigami when the rifts appeared.

        Also there was his conversation with Isshin where he said restoring Ichigo’s Shinigami powers is akin of robbing him of his future. I’m not saying Urahara will become an enemy, but it’s not really farfetched.

        dean

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