Go read it… or you know, I can save you some trouble and just sum things up for you: more fighting, little to no character development. Oh, you still want to read it? Okay, I’ll wait…
Before I begin, I feel I must point out that I am the biggest Bleach nerd there is. Okay, actually, there are probably bigger ones, but I am a LOYAL fan. So loyal, in fact, that I have written over one MILLION words of fan fic in the Bleach universe. I kid you not. Bleach is my f*cking jam, people.
So when I say that this story is starting to bug me, I think that’s pretty serious.
Part of the problem I’m having right now is that Mayuri and Nemu are STILL fighting the giant hand, Pernida. Now, I understand that this will probably read better in collection, in the tankōban. It always does. When I recently re-read the Mask du Masculine fight in volume whichever, it whizzed by, and I remember thinking very all-cap thoughts at the time along the lines of DEAR GOD NOT ONE MORE CHAPTER OF THIS CRAP PLEASE MAKE IT STOP.
So, there’s that.
But, I think I’m also having an issue with the larger story. I can not help thinking that instead of focusing on how Pernida is evolving, I wish Kubo-sensei would remember that Mayuri Kurotsuchi is fighting the Quincy Hand of God (Left Hand of the Soul King…. Whatever.) What do I mean by this? I mean that when we were first introduced to Mayuri Kurotsuchi in the rescue arc, one of the major moments he had was his fight with Uyuu Ishida, the so-called Last Quincy, in which we learned that Kurotsuchi is responsible for the death by torture of not only Ishida’s grandfather, but also all the remaining Quincy prisoners of war from the last big Shinigami/Quincy dust-up.
With Kurotsuchi facing off with a Quincy, I feel like Kubo-sensei is missing an opportunity to tell us a STORY. I would like to hear from a Quincy (even if it’s this weird-ass giant, talking hand) how horrible the Shinigami are, and, in particular, how awful and evil this Shinigami captain is. I want some angry accusations and recriminations. I want to FEEL the loss and anguish of the Quincy here. Because, they have every right to hate this man deeply. He’s their universe’s version of Dr. Mengele, for crying out loud.
And I feel like Kubo-sensei has forgotten this. Or for some reason, he thinks we remember and, thus, he doesn’t think he needs to remind us.
That’s a mistake.
In order for shounen to WORK on a fundamental level, we have to love both sides of the battle–or, at the very least, understand them. Shounen works best, IMHO, if there’s a tear in your eye for your enemy’s defeat, even as you’re cheering on the main characters/heroes.
So, I fee like if Kubo would take some time to reminded the reader of the Quincy’s side of Kurotsuchi, the ugly history there, this battle would have MEANING. I think, if we were given concrete examples and stories from that war/battle, we could sympathize with Ywach a little–or maybe not him, since he’s an OP goop-and-eyeball covered weirdo, but certainly his subordinates, like Haschwaldt and Bazz-B and the others, who have chosen to stay in this fight despite the fact that their leader is a madman, and then all these fight-for-your-life battles would make more SENSE and have more PURPOSE.
Because I’m really losing sense of all that. It doesn’t help that I feel like Kubo-sensei has this repetitive pattern of: we’re winning, no the enemy has a power-up, no we do, no wait… that seems like some kind of never ending, no-purpose to it, merry-go-round.
Of course, the other problem for me with this series of chapters is that Kurotsuchi is my least favorite character. I actually really love him for what he says about the Soul Society–which to me is: “So long as you have bankai, you can be captain of your division and run it how you like even if what you like is cutting people up and putting bombs in them while they sleep (as the least of your sins.)” That, to me, is fascinating. Also, that he was “rescued” from prison by Kisuke Urahara. Also, DEEPLY fascinating. If Kubo wanted to use this fight to explore more parts of THAT side of Kurotsuchi, I would also be super down with this never-ending fight.
BUT, my problem is that we’re not getting that, AND my more favorite characters are, in some cases, literally languishing.
Ukitake… are you dead or just passed out on the floor?
Grimmkitty… is the ball of poison yarn your doom?
Aizen… did Head Captain Kyoraku actually leave a war potential sitting in a bondage chair in the middle of the wreckage of the Seireitei with nothing to do?
Bazz-B… are you dead? Likewise, your buddy Haschwaldt should be sitting on the throne any minute now… is he going to turn back the clock now that “no one is watching”? Or was I just reading a better story than was actually there with all this “why is it suddenly morning?” stuff?
Kon… you ridiculous character, where have you even been this whole time? What are you doing right now? Are you sneaking up on the Ywach? Please tell me you are. (Same goes for you, Ganju. Please tell me you’ve gone to fetch your boar and plan to ride into the final scene on Bonny??!!!)
Ishida… where even are you? Why are you not taking revenge on Mayuri right now? (I mean, we know you’re not REALLY a traitor, but this guy should die, let’s all be clear on that.) Also, on that note, where is your dad, Ryuuken, who really ought to have a bigger role in this final arc. I still want it to be significant that the Quincy power you have came from him, because you were forced to give up your own to… wait for it… defeat Mayuri Kurotsuchi. (See why I feel like there’s a circle here that needs completing, Kubo-sensei???!!)
Hisagi… are you dead? Shot through the heart by X-Axis from a distance? Or just mortally wounded? Are you going to get to the final reel without EVER showing us the bankai we know got beaten out of you by your captain and his vizard lieutenant (who, btw, has been missing in action for a long, long time. Like, where the hell even IS Mashiro?)
Kyouraku… what are you doing right now? I really still don’t trust you on a fundamental level, but I’m not sure that means you’re a bad guy either. I mean, I think there is a lot evidence that you’ve been in collusion with the enemy for years, or, at least have had the agenda to try to kill the Soul King for a long, long time. HOWEVER, we all know Ichigo Kurosaki, don’t we? This manga is not going to end with Ichigo wiping the floor with the bad guys, The End. Ichigo is going to make a final sacrifice (you know it, Kyouraku, that’s why you gave his human besties tickets to visit him in the afterlife.) Ichigo, though, he’s not just a shinigami is he? He’s also part Quincy… LIKE THE DAMN SOUL KING, AS WE’RE DISCOVERING, WHAT WITH HIS LEFT ARM BEING ‘ALWAYS’ A QUINCY. So, you know, my point is, could we get to that bit? I mean, I feel like you can start hinting at this bigger story ANY TIME NOW.
So, my review? Eh, Nemu might die. Perdina is evolving. I am not giving many f*cks because if Kubo is hoping to get sympathy from me for Mayuri Kurotsuchi, he’s going to have to work a lot harder than having Kurotsuchi being mildly less abusive to Nemu in these last chapters.
You people out there who are like, “Wow, Kurotsuchi is getting all papa on Nemu, isn’t it adorbs?”? I’m worried about you. Your family dynamics might be a little… worrisome.
But, yeah… that’s Bleach right now. I am anxiously awaiting some story. Please send story ASAP. Thank you.