「MARCH OF THE STAR CROSS」
“Ooh, a Quincy. They are a rare breed. I haven’t seen a live one for many years. However, I’m sorry, but I’ve already finished studying your kind. I have absolutely no interest in you.”
– Kurotsuchi Mayuri (2004)
A NEVERENDING CLOWN CAR
It’s an open secret that the Soul Society is run by buffoons. Bureaucracy is completely undermined on a regular basis because everyone wants to do all of these power plays to go against everyone’s authority. When it comes to the balance of souls, everyone has their fair share of impractical methods for short-term gain to undermine long-term sustainability.
Whether it’s the most recent reveal of what happens when a Soul Reaper gets powerful upon death or this current anime’s reveal that they genocided the Quincies to prevent more hollow souls from being purged, there isn’t an ironclad plan for any of their emergencies. I suppose the Aizen reveal was more than enough proof that they aren’t equipped to handle anything more than wandering intruders given that a rogue captain was able to rig the justice system in his favor before chucking up the deuces. Or the fact that poverty exists in the afterlife.
Spearheading a genocide through the Quincy Extermination Operation is but one of the many screw-ups their captains wound up going all-in on. Mayuri seems to be the most gung-ho about it all, given how he admitted that he didn’t gain permission to kill 28,000 Rukongai citizens because it’d mean he’d have to take responsibility for it. He treats orchestrating mass murder as if it’s a big workplace whoopsie that he has to duck behind his fellow co-workers to shirk accountability. It also didn’t help that he wanked himself off during his fight with Uryuu about his love for experimenting on and murdering Quincies, including Uryuu’s grandfather Souken.
It’s all of this that winds up coming to play when Uryuu can’t suppress his anger upon finding out what really happened with the Quincies. And with his father keeping that hidden from him as to distance him from the plight of the remaining Quincies or the looming threat of an inevitable war, there’s no way Uryuu won’t be involved in this battle. At this point, Uryuu would end up entangled in the ongoing invasion of the Soul Society purely because he was never given the true answers as to what happened to the other Quincies.
An invasion, mind you, that our top captains can only gawk at as if they didn’t realize that they needed to come up with any provisions to protect the barrier against a possible Quincy uprising. The fact that the Quincy Extermination Operation could’ve easily been justifiable to the rest of the Soul Society and quickly brushed under the rug does note that they were careless enough to act as if their sins wouldn’t backfire.
YOU’VE HAD THE RESTIA, NOW TRY THE BESTIA
In other news, the fight between Opie and Ichigothany still rages on, but not without a few added caveats. Mainly, we find out about some of the techniques that the Quincies have under their toolbelt. It was very useful to learn about Letz Stile and how it offers them a court of last resort when they’re in a tight pinch. These were details that were mildly glanced upon with some of Uryuu’s fights, but the TYBW arc has been a good chance to offer more lore to how a Quincy’s powers operate aside from being able to exterminate hollows entirely.
As far as the Opie fight goes, only time will tell how this one turns out. This episode alone has the Tres Bestias waking back up to help fight Opie only to have to strategically retreat once again when Apache is given a rough wound. I enjoyed the “On The Precipice Of Defeat” remix that happened as Ichigo and Opie crossed swords. It makes me look forward to seeing any of the new updated tracks on a soundtrack eventually. I also got a good laugh at Ichigo throwing Nel to Orihime like a football because of how second nature it felt for him to just yeet her across the desert instead of having her run over to his friends.
With the stakes rising for both the Soul Society and Ichigo, I am cautiously optimistic about the fighting abilities of the Wandenreich. Opie alone is a solid first-phase antagonist with his sleek, menacing appearance and uniquely wonky abilities. His relatively calm demeanor when he is pleased to see that Ichigo is terrified by how creepy he looks is highly effective for creating a fun villain character who throws respectability to the curb without going cartoonishly wacky just yet. I’m anticipating how this fight’ll turn out as well as some of the nuttier matches that’ll unfold in the Soul Society.