Empty Hall of the Puppet Temple – Bleach 666

The newest chapter of Bleach is FINALLY out.  Go read it, and then grab your favorite beverage.  We have a lot to talk about.

SPOILERS

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Rumors started circulating yesterday afternoon that we were going to get an early chapter of Bleach.  So, like the obsessive otaku that I am, I spent a large portion of today refreshing MangaStream and oscillating between actively avoiding and desperately seeking out spoilers.

I have to say that I suspect my appreciation of chapter 666 is entirely down to the fact that I read some spoilers that used words like, “Just before dying, Urahara apologies to Ichigo and Rukia…”

Dying?

Then I saw this image on one of the spoiler sites:

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And my heart started going all doki-doki on me, and I spent much of the rest of the day basically acting like this….

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… and preparing a blanket fort to hide under, just in case Urahara died.

I kept thinking, “No. Not like this.”

Which, only made this moment more poignant…

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My heart remained in my throat for several pages.

Which meant that, by the time we got to the end of this scene, my relief was palpable.

Relief, you say?

BUT URAHARA FACE-PLANTED. HE LOOKS PRETTY DEAD TO ME!

Yeah, but he’s not.

In fact, I think that Kubo-sensei made it very clear that Urahara is going to make it.  For one, most of the entire Askin/Grimmjow/Urahara conversation revolved around the idea that Urahara is, as my friend put it so succinctly, the ultimate boy scout.  He’s prepared for every contingency.

Even before Urahara face-plants we see this shot of Nel, where she’s basically saying, “Wow, Urahara actually predicted even this outlandish possibility,” and she’s even waiting for a particular opening to appear to dive through.

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In case you’ve forgotten, one of Nel’s superpower is super-snot healing.  So, I presume she’s on her way to hock up a louie on Grimmjow and Urahara to save the day.

I hope so, anyway.

If, somehow, I’m terribly, terribly wrong and this is the end of the Fifth War Potential (and/or Grimmjow) I may have to scream uncontrollably.

TBF, it’s legitimate to worry. Kubo-sensei has killed off people more ridiculously.  I know a bunch of fans who are still angry about how easily the Royal Realm Guard/Zero Division were plowed through, and I don’t blame them.

The only thing I can say about that is that it’s slightly more reasonable to one-shot characters that were made up in this arc, than it would be to let Urahara go out so… unceremoniously–Urahara who has been with us since the first collected volume.

Grimmjow, I have to say, was spot on Grimmjow throughout this chapter, having some very quotable lines, as usual.

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And, it turns out Askin doesn’t shut up. He keeps on ticking like some kind of perverted Energizer Bunny, despite missing a heart and most of his brain.

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Kill him some more, Grimmjow.

After it seems like Urahara is dead and he makes his apologies to Ichigo and Rukia (at least I presume she’s the Kuchiki he meant or there’s a WHOLE OTHER STORY ABOUT BYAKUYA I WANT RIGHT NOW), the action then switches back to the Thor/Miracle fight already in progress.  There we have a very lovely exchange between Toshiro and Byakuya, in which Toshiro attempts to make a joke about his height, and Byakuya attempts to appreciate it.

Their witty repartee is interrupted by the return of none other than Kenpachi Zaraki, who also gets the great line of “What’s this? Captains holding hands and singing Kumbaya. I think I threw up in my mouth a little.”

If this is not how official translation ends up, I will be a little sad.

(In fact, I should remind myself to check next week’s JUMP chapter, when I get the official release.)

Mostly, my take-away from the Thor/Miracle battle is that Byakuya Kuchiki still has really sexy hair:

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Is it me, or does this look like pre-timeskip length? NOT THAT I’M COMPLAINING.

The only other thing of note, for me, is that I get to do the ‘called that sh*t’ dance with the reveal from Urahara that the whole Hollow = Quincy poison stuff is still important.  If I’m reading what he says about it correctly, it’s the Espada (with Resurrection?) who are the most dangerous.

This fails to explain how Hallibel was defeated so easily by the Quincy, but I’m still going to guess that it’s going to have something to do with needing to be absorbed in one way or another.

But, I have to admit I adore how far ahead Urahara was thinking. (Also goes to my personal head canon that some of the Shinigami knew a new war with the Quincy was brewing.) It’s tempting to complain about all this as a retro-fit, but we’ve actually known that Urahara has been on to this Hollow thing for quite a while, since it came up way back when the Quincy first absorbed several captains’ bankai.

Anyway, here’s what Urahara says about it, if you’re curious:

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All and all–and I think in large part due to being so freaked out by the spoilers–this chapter made me happy.

I kind of love blood thirsty Grimmjow was throughout this chapter, and how, for all the times he tried to kill him, Askin still wouldn’t shut up.  The banter was amusing.  Kenpachi’s return (fully armed?) was satisfyingly spectacular.

I will be saving that final image though… because it may prove very useful in reviews to come.

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This could have many uses in the future.

So, what are your thoughts?  Do you think Urahara is really dead?

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3 thoughts on “Empty Hall of the Puppet Temple – Bleach 666

  1. Honestly, I don’t think Urahara’s dead. The scene read to me like he was apologizing that he wouldn’t be there to pull off a last-minute save like he has in the past.

    And really, I’m of two minds about the first part of the chapter. I’m relieved, because Askin was, ultimately, what he kept saying he was (giving his all in this fight, he hasn’t been holding anything back), and the lack of a sudden power-up is really nice to see (As an aside, I have this theory that Askin was a sudden promotion from the normal ranks to the Elite Four after Imagination Lad Gremmy got loose and was offed). That being said, I wouldn’t have minded a sudden power-up that gave us more of Kisuke’s bankai in action. The bit about the Arrancars in Resurrecion being poison to Quincies is brilliant, and really expands on the confusing thing about Arrancars becoming Quincies and why the resurrecion couldn’t be stolen like bankai. Because Aizen’s Arrancars are more Shinigami than Hollow, and the release of their resurrecion is more “transform into the Hollow you were before” than “release the power you sealed away”.

    I AM excited about the triple team-up for taking out Thor, though. Even if there isn’t much else we’ve wanted to see out of this group *coughshinjibankaicough* it will be exciting to see how they play off of each others attacks.

    • Oh, I really love the idea that Askin was a sudden/field promotion. That makes a tremendous amount of sense. I will miss the randomness of his “let’s picnic during the battle” and “damn I just wanted a latte”-ness. And Gemmy did seem far more powerful in his own, creepy way.

      Despite all of your and Urahara’s explanations, I’m still not entirely sure I understand all the Hollow/Arrancar/Resurrection bits, but I am really, REALLY glad that it’s not nearly as random as it first seemed.

      Also? Thanks for the comment.

      • Oh, and another thought. I agree with you whole-heartedly about Shinji and bankai. It is a *must* see.

        Speaking of deaths (?*) that still have me ragingly angry–Rose and Kensei. Neither of whom attempted to mask-up before they fought Mask de Masculine, which is another WTF DIDN’T YOU GET THE MEMO ABOUT HOLLOW=POISON??! moment for me. My main Bleach-theory friend has suggested that maybe this reveal about the Espada resurrection power means that a Vizard’s hollow-ness isn’t enough to do significant damage. The only thing about that is that I really, really think that Ichigo is going to die at the end, and the reason is that all Quincy (which Ichigo is one of) are re-absorbed into Ywach at the end, and I just figure his death is going to poison Ywach and that’s how we’re going defeat the All-Mighty.

        *Did we see them taken to the hospital by Isane? I can’t remember any more. I think so.

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