Bleach 639 came out yesterday. You probably already read it, but if you haven’t, go for it.
I kind of feel like Kubo-sensei is channeling his inner twelve-year old boy. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But, I have a twelve year old boy at home, and I can tell you that storytelling isn’t necessarily his strong point. What my twelve year old boy wants is cool-ass explosions, freaky power-ups, and a truck load of action. He’s not super-critical if our heroes are fighting giant sentient hands, so long as, you know, sh*t blows up. Boom! Pow! Zap!
This is where Bleach is at right now.
Like I say, it’s not a bad thing, per se. I have my own inner twelve year old boy who likes all the same things. But, I’ll admit that my exterior forty year old is really starting to crave STORY like oxygen.
A quick recap of the action in this chapter goes like this: Mayuri continues to fight Pernida, the 80-foot Left Hand of the Soul King and his pinkie finger (who becomes its own full hand) and his middle finger, which Pernida ripped off himself to make more hand combatants–because fighting ONE 80 foot hands wasn’t nearly enough, apparently. Mayuri counters all this with his usual evil science. Turns out, he’s continued to
torture experiment on his zanpakutou and has developed a new bankai.
An o-jizo-sama who can give birth to whatever function Mayuri needs, so long as he can imagine it. Which, my twelve year old boy (my own inner one and the one who lives with me) would like you to know is WICKED COOL.
The fight seems to be over when the birthed o-jizo-sama eats the hands.
“Nemu’s quiet gaze belies her true feelings and determination…!!”
OH PLEASE GODS let this be an indication that Nemu is finally going to betray that bast*rd “father” of hers. I am starting a prayer circle right now that Nemu stabs Mayuri in the back at the start of the next chapter. PLEASE PLEASE OH PLEASE.
The reason I want this is deeper than the fact that I have never liked Mayuri. I can’t imagine how he plays in Japan, where o-jizo-sama is seen as a beloved protector of the souls of the children who died before their parents. You often see the statues of o-jizo-sama in the winter wearing knit hats that people have made for him, because to not protect this protector is seen as truly heartless. Here’s Mayuri who actively tortures this spirit. It freaks me out. I makes me think that Mayuri is one of the most screwed up souls in all of the Soul Society. He might have had a kind and benevolent soul if he didn’t keep f*cking with it.
Anyway, I would like Nemu to betray Mayuri because I feel like one of the things that’s been brushed under the rug of this whole Thousand Year Blood Arc is, in point of fact, Mayuri. When we first met Mayuri, it was when Ishida (our ONLY Quincy back then. Ah, the halcyon days, indeed) fought him. We learned that Mayuri tortured and experimented on Ishida’s grandfather and presumably all of the Quincies that the Shinigami killed (news flash: you MISSED A FEW!!)
At any rate, this story stuck with me. I’ve been waiting and waiting for any one of these Quincy Sternritter to see Mayuri and freak the f*ck out. I’ve been waiting for people to hurtle accusations and recriminations and point out why, maybe, the Quincy have a GOOD DAMN REASON to hate the Shinigami.
As I was telling my twelve year old, one of the things I really, REALLY love about shounen is that, more often than not, the rivals have just as interesting, detailed and sympathetic backstories as the heroes. That way, when the inevitable clash comes, you FEEL it. You kind of don’t want the rival to die/be defeated, because you GET them. You might not like them, but their motivations make sense. Even better when their motivations make sense, but they’re also TRAGIC. Then you cry your way to the end, and a hero like Ichigo who then befriends his enemy is really awesome and wonderful and you feel good through the tears.
Right now I got nothing.
I mean, I’ve made a whole lot of reasons up why the Soul Society isn’t the paradise it seems to be. But Kubo isn’t really hitting those notes very hard. I wish he would.
The end is neigh.