I cannot believe how boring this chapter was. Admittedly, I haven't read Bleach in a while. However, I wasn't as lost as I expected. The last time I saw Toshiro, he was a zombie, so I am little confused by the fact that he's suddenly alive.
But aside from that, I pretty much understood what was going on here, and it was all so bloody boring. Which Is Strange because there was so much action in this chapter.
Toshiro, Zaraki and Byakuya fight a giant Quincy.
Haven't we seen this before? Zaraki and Byakuya teaming up to fight a giant villain that suddenly turns out to be the most powerful member of his group? I couldn't tell you what they call this particular giant (Thor, maybe?) but he reminds me a lot of Espada Number 0, which means Kubo has begun recycling his ideas.
Or maybe he's been doing so for a while and I only recently took notice.
Let's look at some of the failures of this chapter, and there were a lot of them:
1). Zaraki Kenpachi
Remember when we first started speculating about Zaraki's Bankai? It was supposed to be a thing of legend, a power that would level entire cities and reduce whole armies to dust. Here we are, several years later.
Zaraki finally goes Bankai and the most he could do this chapter was tip the giant over? Really? This is what we've been waiting to read for nearly a decade? Really Kubo?
Does anyone remember a time when Bankai could end battles in an instant, or at least elevate them to levels of raw epicness? Because Zaraki's Bankai is somehow more of a disappointment that his Shikai.
Seriously, Kubo? Zaraki just went Bankai and you're telling me that he needs Byakuya and Toshiro's help to beat the giant quincy? Zaraki's bankai should have been powerful enough to bring the war to an end. But, No. We have to keep doing this annoying dance.
I was honestly confused by Toshiro's transformation. Maybe Bleach has simply been around for too long because I honestly couldn't make much sense of his explanation about the wilting flowers. That isn't to say that the transformation was a bad idea.
Rather, it wasn't the massive revelation it should have been. We haven't talked about Toshiro's wilting flowers since the days of the Arrancar.
And, actually, Yes, this transformation was a little idiotic. I mean, really, Kubo. You just gave us Zaraki's Bankai. Rather than giving him a chance to shine, an opportunity to show us his power in its unrestricted form, you throw another power-up at another character, essentially breaking Zaraki's momentum and forcing him out of the limelight.
This is just like the mess with Zaraki's Shikai. Kubo has made a habit of this, showing us Bankai for characters just to kill them off. Zaraki nearly bit the dust after achieving Shikai. And now that he has Bankai, Kubo felt it necessary to immediately sideline him.
Don't forget that every time Ichigo gets a new mode, he's immediately thrown into a multi-chapter battle that showcases his abilities to the fullest. So, I guess, if you're not Ichigo then Kubo doesn't really care about you.
Even if Kubo decides to pass the baton back to Zaraki in the next chapter, he would be sidelining Toshiro before we have a chance to appreciate his new transformation. Either way, this is a corner that Kubo has written himself into. One or both of these characters will see their screen time sacrificed for the sake of story progression.
In other words, we shall be talking about these transformations in years to come as modes we only caught glimpses of but whose true power Kubo couldn't be bothered to show us.
3). The Quincy
The Quincy are some of the dullest villains in Bleach history. There are simply too many of them for any single one of them to truly matter, this excluding one or two exceptions. The problem in this chapter isn't that the giant is so dull.
Rather he will not go down. And this has become a thorn in the side of Bleach. Kubo keeps giving us these badass fights between Quincy and shinigami that end on a high note, only for the mangaka to reverse all his successes by returning the Quincy to life.
The trend is already tired and you know Kubo is waiting to do just that here. This is at a time where the giant has already overstayed his welcome. Kubo's decision to keep this villain around for so long makes no sense. He should have died at the hands of Zaraki two chapters ago.
If not, then let him die at the hands of Toshiro. Why bring Byakuya into this? Really, Kubo? You just gave two of your most popular characters awesome looking transformations. Now you're telling us that even that isn't enough to bring the giant down?
Zaraki Kenpachi's Bankai isn't enough to defeat this giant? Really, Kubo? That's what you're telling us? And you think that makes sense. Really?
This fight needs to end. It's already three or four chapters longer than necessary. Kubo shouldn't be concentrating so many important players on one enemy.
This chapter actually felt like it was dragging. There was very little in the way of plot progression. What a waste. Bleach needs help.
On the positive side, the art was great. Toshiro was awesome, as always. Too bad he's being wasted here. Even with all the action, this chapter felt so purposeless. The final panels were awesome artistically, but that ending was dumb, certainly not worth the cliffhanger.