Bleach 657 is out. Go read it. I’ll wait here.
It briefly looks like I’m going to get my wish and Yoruichi is going to clean up this fight early. She even takes some time to rescue the others in her group.
Which is, frankly, nice to see. Yoruichi tells Orihime to heal herself and then Ichigo and Sado/Chad.
I went back to check the order she put everyone in. Ichigo ranks above Chad, no surprise, though I wondered if she would have reversed that because, well, Ichigo is pretty resilient, being part Hollow (and Quincy and Shinigami…) and Chad is, technically, only a human/Full Bring.
Of course, as soon as she says this…
…I have to admit I figured Askin was going to come strutting out of the smoldering ruins. In fact, I started to work up a groan of “oh, god, here we go again.”
Only, for once, it’s something new. It’s this cutie:
The return of the younger brother! Yuushirou.
They have a very cute game of “attempted glomp,” which Yourichi mostly wins. She scolds her younger brother for leaving Kisuke (Urahara/Hat-and-Clogs), but Yuushirou tells her that he just had to come rescue her.
Just when I’m kind of getting into the funky family dynamics of these two, the shoe finally drops.
At this point, things start to feel familiar, with the exception of the Shihoin younger packing a surprise punch. Unfortunately, Yuushirou’s moment of triumph… (wait for it!)… backfires.
I know, right? WHO COULD HAVE PREDICTED IT?????!!!???
Even though he has a technique with the ultimately ass-kicking name of “Unparalleled Combustion!” all it does is super-power Askin.
ALMOST EXACT SAME WAY that Byakuya accidentally powered up Thor.
On the other hand, we got to see Ichigo pull himself up to his feet.
And, we get treated to Ichigo’s determined shounen hero eyes:
Also, I think it’s a strange little moment of character growth for Ichigo that he’s able to leave another warrior to their fight. Not that long ago, Ichigo hesitated about splitting up in Hueco Mundo because he didn’t want to have to leave anyone to their own devices (especially Rukia, since he’d just rescued her in the previous arc) and Renji had to remind him that Rukia was a warrior just like he was and to be worried about her during a battle is an insult.
Now, Yoruichi has always been Ichigo’s teacher/mentor, but I still think it’s a moment for him to be willing to turn his back on this fight and leave it to her.
I’m probably grasping at straws to find something of forward motion here. I did really love the sibling interaction in this chapter, but I’d really like to know more about the Quincies in all this.
Ah, well. Maybe next time?
I live in hope.