She’s back!

Tactics vs Brute Strength:

Before I delve into the obvious talking point of this week’s chapter, I’d like to touch on Hitsugaya and Byakuya. While I originally thought this fight would give many of the side characters the opportunity to display abilities we have yet to see, it appears that Hitsugaya and Byakuya are the only two to help out. Clearly, this is a Kenpachi fight, but I do enjoy that there is some tactics going on behind the scenes, even if it doesn’t work out for them.

But even so, Hitsugaya is just as useless as I expected him to be, and Byakuya hasn’t really displayed his newfound strengths after training at the Soul Palace, which lends to my belief that Kubo intended to kill him off in the As Nodt fight, as he has yet to prove why his presence in the story is important when everything could have played out almost the exact same without him around. Sorry Byakuya fans, but he should have stayed dead.

A match made in heaven, or hell?

Yachiru’s Return – Kenpachi’s Bankai!:

And now to the meat of the chapter: Yachiru’s back! And she’s Kenpachi’s zanpakutou! And he is about to go bankai! Even as someone who has never been a massive Kenpachi fan, these final few pages got me incredibly hyped. I wasn’t sure it was ever going to come, but I’m glad that Kenpachi is getting the chance to end his final fight of the series on a high.

Reactions to this chapter seem to be both positive and confused. Positive because people have been waiting for this to happen since.. well… ever. And also, Yachiru reappearing is a good thing in itself. But that’s where the confusion comes, because she’s pretty much confirms that she is the spirit of his blade and has been waiting for this opportunity all along. This has raised some eyebrows, but I’m going to give Kubo credit here, as this seems like something he has planned from the very beginning.

Remember the flashback in Soul Society arc when Kenpachi remembered his first encounter with Yachiru – how she came up to his blade and played with the blood while smiling and giggling. That must have been the moment where he unknowingly encountered the spirit of that sword, and just assumed it was a little girl. But no little girl would survive one of the most dangerous Rukongai districts, it just doesn’t make sense. We know that Kenpachi took her with him and named her after the one woman he looked up to (and unknowingly caused him to limit his potential), meaning that all along Yachiru has been going by a name that is not her own. If this all works out, she should in fact be called Nozarashi, and she must have been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. Her sudden disappearance after the shikai release and her unchanging sword during her own “shikai” also lend to this theory.


Overview – What’s Next?:

As a fan, I loved this chapter. It’s great to see theories coming true, and even though this was one I never totally bought, it makes more sense than some will initially assume. I would recommend reading over three key parts that hinted to this: Kenpachi and Yachiru’s first encounter, Yachiru watching and then disappearing when Kenpachi released Nozarashi for the first time, and when Isane made a point of how strange Yachiru’s zanpakutou abilities were and how her sword never changed when her two friends were summoned. But enough of the details. Kenpachi is going bankai next week! This is a pretty big deal! The possibilities are endless…


  1. Yachiru fought a Sternritter who wasn’t real. Turns out she isn’t a real Shinigami either. But it was quite obvious. I hoped Yachiru would reveal herself once Kenpachi would fight Nimaya. But that can still happen, just without the Yachiru reveal.

    But I do wonder if Kenpachi’s Bankai is really going to defeat Gerard. The sad reality about Bankai reveals is that whenever a captain reveals his Bankai for the first time, the Bankai will either fail or not defeat the opponent. Think about everytime a captain revealed his Bankai. How many times did that work and defeat the enemy? The only exception is Byakuya vs Renji. I also think it would be too early for the heart of the Soul King to be defeated, especially since Gerard revealed that the Miracle is much more complex than just growing bigger. Though I would welcome it if the scene changes to Ichig confronting Yhwach. And Orihime healing Giselle, Liltotto and Bazz-B.

  2. It’s one of those things that looks like Kubo pulled it out of his ass on a whim but makes so much sense in hindsight. I’m torn as to whether the man is a genius or not. Either way, can’t wait until next week!

    1. its probably a little bit of A and a little bit of B

      just as ppl often incorrectly believe George Lucas literally wrote out 9 movie scripts 40+ years ago, when all he really had (per statements by the man himself) were some 9-part series story notes; Kubo’s probably had a little sheet of concepts next to his computer for years with various half-formed concepts.

      the idea that Yachiru is Kenpachi’s bankai was probably floating around on that page all this time.
      but the details (like when/if its revealed) he’s probably winging it to a degree (or at least he didn’t have this very moment all planned out 15 years ago)

  3. For years on here I have been saying that she is his Bankai. Finally I was proven right. Ever since they 1st appeared together Kubo has been very careful to steer clear of explaining their life together.

    1. Traditionally, the final act required to obtain Bankai is to physically manifest the spirit of your sword in the world and then obtain it’s “submission”. Kenpachi has apparently been subconsciously doing the former for years. However, he also rejected the entire idea that his sword was his partner so it’s only now that he’s willing to accept that and seek his true power that Yachiru is willing to open up to him.

      So, in this case it’s arguable that the reverse is happening and it’s Kenpachi who’s submitting to his zanpakutou by forgoing his pride as being the most powerful.

    2. Similar to what dave_k says, each zanpkutou is different. Urahara and Komamura for example both summon their spirit along with/as their actual bankai. Whereas Shunsui’s spirit appeared to only be visible by him, as Lille couldn’t see her. My guess however is that Yachiru’s spirit forced itself into a physical form after all the years of fighting and it she just “appeared” among those dead villagers

  4. Even though this theory has been true (well not yet, but it seems pretty likely), I still had a few issues. I went back and reread the Ichigo-Kenpachi fight and paid attention to Yachiru’s reactions. She seems obsessed with watching the fight and is completely devoted to Ken-chan. Okay, that makes sense. But what makes this confusing is that she supports his fighting style and complete disregard for his Zanpakuto. Why would his sword want him to completely waste her potential? In addition, she claims Kenpachi was stronger since the fight was really two-on-one, that referring to Ichigo and Zangetsu working together. She then watches in silence as he tries to speak to his Zanpakuto. This is a really interesting way of thinking, especially for the Zanpakuto in question. My problem comes from the following flashback from her perspective and a short monologue:

    “I had no name. I had no parents. I was from Area 79 of North Rukongai “Kusajishi.” I had never seen anything in colors other than the bloody red. Everyone was more beast-like than the humans. […] But then you appeared. From Area 80 of North Rukongai “Zaraki,” even deeper in darkness… you demolished the chaotic world that was dyed in blood… then you gave me a name.”

    My problem with this was that, on the first read, it made her sound like just an ordinary child orphaned by war and violence. However, once I started thinking about it, I came up with a theory of my own. What if Yachiru is a rogue, nameless Zanpakuto? I’m not sure how she would have gotten outside of Seireitei in the first place, but that’s not the point. My point is that she could be the one who slaughtered several people in her district, albeit in sword form and against her will. If her power was abused, it would explain why she was attracted to Kenpachi, who only believes in his own absolute power. Coming back to more current events, this would also explain why Nozarashi didn’t awaken until Kenpachi stopped holding back; Kenpachi’s reliance on his own power is one of the reasons Yachiru followed him, and to have him hold back on behalf of someone else is unforgivable. I just thought of this today, but I wouldn’t be shocked to be proven wrong.

    In short, I didn’t want to, but I’m going to give Kubo the benefit of the doubt. At the very worst, it will just be another retcon.

    1. On a somewhat related note, right before that flashback Kenpachi has his own where he names Yachiru. He names her after “the only person he ever cared about.” Nice foresight, Kubo.

    2. Why would his sword want him to completely waste her potential?
      She likely didn’t but Kenpachi at that point in the story completely rejected his sword as anything other than a tool to cut others with. He openly mocks Ichigo’s suggestion that he’s drawing more power from Zangetsu as the action of a weakling incapable of fighting on his own.

      Yachiru can only sit back and watch because her partner outright refuses to ask for help and until he’s willing to do so she’s even more unwilling to ignore his wishes. Which again gets back to the whole “physically manifest and submit” nature of the Soul Reaper/Zanpakuto relationship.

    3. Those are all good points, but I think even all the unexplained scenarios could be brought back to this theory somehow. I highly doubt she was a real toddler roaming around a village that was just massacred, in the 2nd most dangerous district of Rukongai.

      As for her watching over Kenpachi and Ichigo’s fight, perhaps she knew whenever he did communicate and learn the name of his zanpakutou that she would disappear (like she did after fighting Gremmy). My bet is that she appears as a spirit in this chapter that only Kenpachi can see, or she is part of his manifested power.

    1. I could deal with a flashback if it fleshes out the explanation. Normally I don’t mind when a story foregoes overt explanation when it has already hinted at it sufficiently (which, since people have been suggesting this for such a long time, it clearly has), but this one I think is still warranted.

  5. She does have her own Shikai but she never has to call out a release commmand to use her Shikai. Probably because its her own power shes using and not actually from her sword.

  6. I just hope it’s fairly simple and not overly complicated like the last few bankai’s have been.

    We still haven’t gotten an explanation on what the heck was up with Unohana’s and the past few fights have been a head scratcher for sure.I don’t know what’s Kubo’s obsession has been with overly complex abilities and such but I just hope with Kenpachi at least this is just a simple badass hack and slash between two brutes. Would be a nice change of pace considering the theme of this arc has been a constant “whaaattt? O_o”

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