See what I did there? If you have no idea why that’s a joke, go read Bleach 674, it’s out at MangaStream now.
I’m reviewing this somewhat later in the day because there was, actually, a fair number of things that went down in this chapter.
First of all, I don’t know if it was just me or what, but I really felt like Kubo-sensei was foreshadowing the heck out of Ichigo’s death. First of all, he looked like he was really taking a beating:
On top of that, we have Yhwach nattering on about how Ichigo shouldn’t be so impatient to die and, in case that wasn’t clear enough, Kubo takes the time to remind us, “..you will be devoured by me… your death is inevitable…” Then, he says that Ichigo’s powers were always borrowed from the start and that Ichigo should, “Spew out every last bit of your energy and die.”
I don’t know about you, folks, but I’m getting an “Ichigo must die” vibe here.
Prepare yourselves is all I’m saying.
Especially since the next scene is Byakuya telling Renji and Rukia to hurry to their friend. He does it in his round-about, cold, dismissive way, but I definitely got the vibe of… “Look, there’s nothing you can do for Ichigo, but you should be at his side anyway…”
Then, Hot!Hitsugaya underscores that by saying that he has no idea of Byakuya went to Academy or not, but at Academy they stress that you should fight for your friends…or something like that (which is actually kind of weird since Hitsugaya apparently thinks the message was, specifically, NOT to fight for your superiors… which you’d think would be the LAST thing a real, working army would want. Soldiers are usually expected to follow the orders of their superiors, not, in point of fact, to think of their friends first.)
But, this also had a kind of, “Yeah, there’s sh*t they can do, but they should be there for him, anyway” feeling for me too.
The final big moment is the cliffhanger where we get this:
So, yeah, I guess the most curious thing about the late-as-usual arrival of Isshin Shiba/Kurosaki and Ryuuken Ishida, is this:
Okay, what? “..this portal we used decades ago…” If that’s the correct translation, decades is only a couple dozen years. When the hell/Why the hell were Ryuuken’s family in the Royal Realm before? And whose exile are we talking about here? Is the suggestion that grandpa Ishida was once in the Royal Realm (or, as my friend suggested, the Wanderiech, since maybe it’s all one thing under Yhwach’s command) -OR- with tho word “exile” are we actually getting a clue about the Fall of the House of Shiba?
It’s super confusing on a ton of different levels. I would, however, love it if this is a clue to the Fall of the House of Shiba, because I have LONG wondered why Ganju/Kukkaku have such a detailed map to the Royal Realm (especially when all Ganju seemed to know about the Seireitei was that there was an inside and an out.)
My friend has long thought that maybe the Shiba exile had something to do with the Soul King.
And it seems far more likely that Isshin has a connection to the Royal Realm than any Quincy anywhere–all the various Quincy former body parts of the Soul King not withstanding. Although, maybe this is an explanation for how it is that the Soul King lost his heart to the Quincy cause.
Who knows? But it’s very curious.
Also I would be remiss if the ByaRen shipper in me didn’t point out this amazing moment:
Except, apparently, Byakuya punched/smacked into the wall Renji hard enough for him to yell and spend the rest of his interactions looking kind of pouty about the hit:
So that’s pretty awesome, I guess. And a lot of people are making fuss over the fact that Byakuya actually kind of half-a$$ed showed he cared by giving Rukia and Renji a rather soulful look.
I’m less impressed.
But canon will never live up to what’s in my head.
So… what did you think?