Bleach 670 is out. Go get it IMMEDIATELY and, as my friend cautioned me this morning, BEFORE YOU GO TO ANY SOCIAL MEDIA, but particularly Tumblr…
So…. apparently we were lied to and what happens when the last of Hitsugaya’s ice flowers crumble is that HE TURNS INTO A SUPER HOT GROWN UP.
Actually, the thing I want to say about this beyond HOLY-SH*T-HE-GREW-UP-HOT is about what this transformation means about aging in the Soul Society.
If you’ve been a long-term fan of Bleach, I’m sure you’ve struggled, like I have, with the question of: the f*ck, how do these people even age? It would be one thing, right, if everyone looked to be in their late-20s/early-30s. Then the answer would be, obviously: dead people don’t really age.
The problem, of course, is that we’ve seen flashbacks to much younger-looking (even child, and in the case of Rukia baby) versions of many of the characters regardless of their backgrounds. So, it’s not, say, only souls from the Rukongai who visibly age, since we’ve seen a teen version of Byakuya, who is presumed the epitome of ‘pure souls’ since he makes such a big deal about it in his fight with Renji.
The problem arises because there doesn’t seem to be any kind of consistent pattern to aging. There are entire forums dedicated to this on the Bleach wiki because of the various inconsistencies, and most fans have come to the conclusion that aging in the Soul Society must be contingent on some factor other than the actual passage of time. I long wondered if it had to do with the availability of food, but then Hitsugaya was always the exception because he came from a much higher district than Renji, who seemed to spout into near adulthood overnight after he and Rukia made the decision to become Shinigami.
So, the next theory I played around with was power. This makes sense when you look at the former Captain-Commander, Old Man Yama. He looks super-old, and is clearly super-strong. Similarly, both Kyouraku and Ukitake look like they could be well-preserved 40 year-olds, and they’ve been around a long time and, for sure seem super-powerful (and given that Ukitake was harboring a GOD, I’d say, yes.)
But, then you have Aizen, who always looked really fairly young as such things go (mid-to late 30s?), and it’s well established that he’s über powerful.
And now this. A bankai technique (final form?) that, as part of transformation, hits Toshiro with the puberty stick.
I’ll be most curious to know if this is now permanent or only ever a feature of final-form. I was joking to a friend that if this is only Toshiro’s bankai “costume change” as it were, there will suddenly be a lot more slash where things START with Toshiro calling bankai.
The only funny thing to report is that my son, who is a long time Toshiro fan boi completely lost his crap this morning. He was nearly inarticulate with squee the entire ride to school.
You may be surprised to know that other things happened in this chapter. Absolutely no one was shocked when
Thor Miracle did not die, but in fact went into his release form, his Vollständig, in which he turns into Marvel’s BEARDED Thor….
Pretty good rendition there, Kubo-sensei. Marvel may hire you yet!
I was a LITTLE disappointed that Miracle didn’t actually go full hydra head on us, and turn into TWO Miracles after being bifurcated, but you know, I can’t always guess Kubo’s mind accurately.
I did, however, nail Zaraki’s quick defeat. He was pretty much squashed like a bug with Yachiru apologizing for having put too much energy into him too fast. (Which actually started my friends speculating about who is whose zanpakutō, since normally that works the other way around.) Also, you’ve got to figure that for many people squeeing over Hot!Hitsugaya there must be people feeling really ripped-off that we finally got Kenny’s bankai only to see him soundly defeated (and his arm ripped off AGAIN) in a chapter and a half.
The only other moment of interest, in my opinion, was this nervous exchange between Byakuya and pre-hottie Hitsugaya about Zaraki:
Yeah… here’s the interesting part of that. So… if you recall, Central 46 was really against training Kenpachi Zaraki for reasons. I long suspected that given Zaraki’s normal behavior, they generally didn’t like the idea of an OP Kenpachi.
They actually seem to have been right about something.
It really seems in this section of the chapter that, having appeared to have defeated Miracle, Kenpachi was mindlessly looking around for another fight, any fight. That he had in some way actually transformed into a red oni with no loyalty to any particular side so long as he was fighting something.
Which, isn’t unlike non-bankai Kenpachi at all. We’ve seen him do this sort of thing before when he randomly attacked Tousen, during the ryoka invasion arc.
Central was right.
This is like the most radical thing that has ever happened in the history of Bleach. Like, screw the Zangetsu reveal, this is Big News. When the hell has Central 46 ever had good instincts on ANY DECISION THEY EVER MADE???!!
Of course, because of my current obsessions, I now wonder if they were right about Aizen. Kyouraku made his case to them and won (like he did with Kenpachi), but you’ve got to imagine Central did not want Aizen out of Muken no matter how dire the situation. My current dream, of course, is that Aizen will actually be Bleach’s final boss, if the fight comes down to it and Kyouraku releases Aizen as a kind of desperate Hail Mary Pass… and Aizen destroys Yhwach and then turns on them and then… and then…
So… we’ll see.
The only bummer about Hitsugaya taking up the Miracle fight now is that I suspect Miracle won’t be defeated now for at least a month (real time), because the only person on scene who can deal with a guy who gets stronger (and bigger) the more you hit him is Yumichika. If Yumichika stays to character, he won’t jump into the fight until Kenpachi (check), Hitsugaya (next), Byakuya, and probably Ikkaku are all out for the count. By that time Thor is going to be so massive that absorbing all of his reiatsu will probably kill Yumichika.
If Yumichika dies without ever “coming out” about his true shikai I may have to kill someone, notably, Mr. Noriaki ‘Tite’ Kubo (that is, after I recover from the massive brain aneurism I will have given myself.)