Okay, I have start by saying I was wrong. Kubo didn’t troll us. We do get our favorite four syllables (ba-n-ka-i!) in this chapter, after all…. Bleach 664 is out. Go read it.
I’m not really going to even pretend to care about anything else that happened in this chapter. Here is Urahara Kisuke’s long-awaited bankai.
Wow, isn’t she gorgeous!
You have a lovely soul, Urahara Kisuke.
And she is, among other things, a goddess of mercy who can see and hear all… and possibly has a ‘Hail Mary’ ability to transform into anything or anyone in order to save those who invoke her. And… return poison to the poisoner.
Which would be DEAD useful.
As it were.
Actually, I lie a little bit, because actually there are some things I’m interested in besides the bankai in this chapter. The thing that stuck me in this chapter was Urahara’s discussion with Askin about his intent, his loyalty.
This relates to the bankai in that that doorway (Avalokitevara) is a mantra for heightened or mindful listening….
And despite the constant insults to his intelligence, Urahara listens very carefully to everything Askin tells him. Then, out of the blue, he says his thing about loyalty…
For some reason, this diversion(?)/conversation reminded me very strongly of the flashback that Ichigo has during the second Renji fight in the Rescue arc. I remembered something about Urahara admonishing Ichigo about his lack of intent. So, went back to look. (Chapter 97 if you want to re-read the whole interaction)
Here’s what happens:
Ichigo and Urahara are fighting in the secret training facility under the shoten:
Shortly after this, Benihime starts to speak. We see waves of kanji sounds coming off her, even though Urahara hasn’t asked Ichigo to listen to her cries for blood yet.
Instead, Urahara seems to have come out of this interaction with some information:
I find this important to whole interaction with Askin, because before Urahara asks Askin about his intent/loyalty on page 11, we get this close up on page 5 of him reaching under his haori to touch Benihime’s hilt:
My theory? Urahara and Benihime have always had this ability to read/hear/sense intent. This would also explain why Urahara made an excellent warden and punishment squad leader, also, perhaps, why he’s so preternaturally good at dodging (if he can see your intent before you’re even aware of it.)
I think it’s also important to note that Urahara fought against the poison long enough to make sure to score a hit/draw blood with Benihime with Askin:
Of course, none of this necessarily means anything, it’s just interesting to notice the parallels.
I’ll be curious to see what other people have discovered about the meanings behind the name of this bankai.