Good to see Aizen alive....but where is he?
In Muken most likely.
chad looks like a Starkk/shunsui hybrid
and what was the purpose of ichigos crew having spiritual powers if they never used them?...we never saw the ichio/tatsuki confrontation...inoue never showed tatsuki that she was competent...I wanted more chiaki....where is kon?
....Naruto at least tied up loose ends...even if kishi had to create tons of bullshit on the fly and break his universe to do it
though I'm not sure which I like more...leaving a story open ended...or tying up loose ends instantly
also...is Kazui a fullbringer? I don't understand the last panel
Well technically both Orihime and Ichigo have survived hollow attacks so Kazui does meet the requirements to be a fullbringer. Although I think the fact that Ichigo was a shinigami trumps that. Also since I don't like fullbringers or that entire arc I'm more inclined to think this kid is a blend of quincy and shinigami. The way he donned his shinigami robes was unprecedented. Because normally a substitute human shinigami first has to separate his soul from his body. Kazui didn't do any such things. He just physically manifested robes. It could be that he is gathering reishi like a quincy and making a robe or, actually i don't know if shinigami are able to do anything like that. Seriously Kubo needs to release a new datebook with all this information and all unrevealed bankai.
While there is a similarity to Ichigo's Fullbring's second stage, the earlier scene with Kazui and Yhwach's reiatsu makes me think it's more akin to Soul-King-absorbed-Yhwach's reiatsu cloak. But there could be a Fullbring element to it. Perhaps some combination of Quincy, Shinigami, and Fullbring all in one?
Whatever the case that kid is a genetic mess. Like father like son.
If Kazui has Soul-King-Yhwach's reiatsu, then he would have even more potential than Ichigo. And I wonder if he inherited Orihime's rejection abilities as well?
Whatever the case that kid is a bonafide monster. To simply squash or absorb the soul King/yhwach power is no easy thing. You need immense reiatsu control like Aizen.
Fuck, I'm getting nostalgic. I will start reading the manga or watch the anime tomorrow.
It was a weak chapter...A bad way to end this manga.
Kubo had left a lot questions unanswered (some of you have already posted them). Perhaps he wants to milk Bleach as Naruto franchise, Harry Potter are now being milked - new generation, new chapters... all for the money....
But seeing how Kubo destroyed Bleach in the last 2 major arcs, I will not read Bleach 2.0.
To the people who have not read any other mangas than the big 3, I recommend the following mangas still ongoing:
1) One Punch Man - the hype around it is deserved. It is a great parody of the shonen tropes while telling a great story;
2) Attack on Titan - great manga, great consistent quality;
3) Vinland Saga - a "little known" manga with Vikings - what more do you need (it is as bloody and violent as the historical Vikings);
4) Kingdom - for the fans of Bleach, the hero is Shin who wants to become a Great General of the Heavens during the Spring - Autumn period in the Chinese history. A cast of badass characters, each unique and interesting. It has the most chapters of the four.
Sheesh.....12 years? Good lord....
I'm a little late posting/reading this chapter, and I never got my full rundown of this manga out of the way...Here's one more last, stupidly long post...for old times sake.
Let's knock the negatives out first..
1. Last arc. Had the potential to be Bleach's best. For sure. The enemies were different enough and powerful enough to make it happen, we got so many epic moments...and we needed so many more. The Bach battle...I still got the "Kubo you crazy bastard" smile (two spread page turn of Ichigo's ban kai...and then the sword just broken in half killed me. Typical Kubo page turn, loved it...) but...that fight needed to be six months. Everyone needed to take a shot at him. Kenpachi, Chad (more here later...), Byakuya, grown up Hitsyu, Ban kai Aizen, Hidden Vaizards, ban kai Yourichi....Isshin and poppa Quincy...all of em. Everyone taking shots, some getting two three weeks, some done in a few panels...cause Bach WAS the final villain Bleach deserved.
I always knew Bleach would get the route of Yu Yu Hakusho...always knew the ending would be rushed and it would have a "what if" moment for a lot of plot threads...but damn.
2. Arrrancar. The hell happened here? Hallibel (my favorite.....) Grim, the rest of Hueco Mundo. I might've missed something...but that kinda just...whatever. Stopped mattering, even though the build up was Shinigamis and Hollows vs. Quincy's. A core pillar of the series, and we just get Grimm in the ending? Nope.
3. Like a few peeps mentioned, lack of Urahara in the ending. Nope. He WAS the plot power of this series. The first 3/5 of the manga happened mostly because of his bs. This manga for so many years was Aizen vs. Urahara....and the man doesn't even make one appearance in the last two chapters? Naaaaaahhh bro. Not close to good enough. Again.
4. Royal...Guard? Idk. Another reason this arc should've been two years longer...but whatever....
5. Missing ban kais. Too many unseen. At the very least I want the Shinji deal fixed. Did he ban kai vs. Aizen or didn't he? Cause my own hypothesis (that Kubo legitimized earlier in this arc) was that multiple ban kai's against one opponent just wouldn't ever work. Power level wise...Shinji is supposed to be a tier below Shunshi/Unohana/sarsless Ukitake....Little obnoxious.
6. Rukia. It's always going to be me and Rukia...but whatever Kubo. So consistent with your power levels...then Rukia. WHATEVER. I love the character but....WHATEVER. Your story. Do what you want. If she had this potential though...this series NEVER. HAPPENS. Ugh. It'll always be Rukia with me.
7. Chad. Chad hasn't had a one on one fight since he got his second arm. Probalby my favorite "strong guy" manga character...someone who was already at VC and then ban kai level so early, basically at Renji's level before he gets his true Ban kai/ban kai fixed...and nothing. Chad deserved better than this. He was a well designed character, had tons of personality (yes stoicism is still personality), he wasn't the typical strong silent type...sigh. The nod of making him the most popular of all of them by the end of the series tells me Kubo probably wanted to use him more, but character popularity no doubt hindered that. Still. Chad. Completely wasted character potential.
8. Hime...I'm not gonna go in as hard as DM did on Hime...but she should've been better. He spent so much time developing her character but...idk. There should've been a lot more there. Of all the Big 3 female main chars, her and Rukia are the best(Robin 3rd I guess...but who knows with OP anymore? ) Missed potential. Letting her finally help Ichigo was good..but just felt off. So much of it.
9. This is more my pet peeve...but...we never got Ichigo vs. Ishida. I wanted it...but I'm also cool with the fact we never got it. It's the Ippo vs. Miyata of the big 3 though. We all know we'll get Luffy vs. Zoro in OP...but not getting Ishida vs. Ichigo just to see how Kubo would write Batman vs. Superman in Bleach terms. Would've been great.
Think that's it on the negative I can think of off the top of my head though.
1. Power Levels. Yup. Again, like Yu Yu Hakusho...Bleach Power levels make sense, despite the complications. Kubo stayed true to his system even by the end...because what actually killed Bach? A stab through the chest. What seems to always end mortal characters in this series? Stab wounds, slashes, etc. Even at it's pinnacle of battle...it's someone getting cut down that ends it.
That's consistency you really can't find in any other super powered series, sans Hunter X Hunter. You land a mortal wound in Bleach, you can be a VC vs. a Royal Guard...you're gonna get that kill. For all Bach's power, he kept steady with that breaking Ichigo's sword mess. He knew Ichigo had the raw power to defeat him from the jump, it was all about landing that hit. In that regard, I'm really not mad at Kubof or using Aizen's shikai on him (other then him not having enough pages to show when Aizen showed him his shikai, which of course would show US what Aizen's shikai release looks like....) because it gave him the opening. It's clear he had the elements down to take down Bach ready to be drawn out for another year world of manga...but sadly...
2. Villains. Of the big 3, Bleach not only did villians the best, but it almost always gave them a solid send off, while still allowing you to see how powerful they were. Grand Fisher. Ishida. Renji. Kenpachi, Byakuya. Grimm. Uliq. Aizen. Ginjou. Bach. Worst one on that list is Ginjou, but rereading that mess, he's STILL better then the majority of villians in OP and post-timeskip Naruto (average level Aktsuki member). Even if you thought their powers were overbearing...you couldn't help but love how ridiculous they were.
3. Female chars. DM mentioned this one...but none of the bi 3 come close to presenting powerful female characters as well as Kubo has. Hell, the verdict is still out on exactly how strong Yourichi is compared to everyone else. She has a Senior Captain ban kai level ability...and still has a shikai she hasn't shown off. (unless you take the theory that all her Shinigami ability is based in her Hoho techniques...but I don't think so.) And let's not even get into the Unohana reveal and the fact holds true that she is the one character Aizen ALWAYS ran away from. Consistently. He never wanted a damn thing to do with her, and I do not blame him in the least.
We can go to Rukia, Hime, Tatsuki(my fav of the humans...), the lesser Shinigami females, that they were never left out or sidelined, or seen as less than by any of the other characters. He was doing this before it was popular to do it 12 years later. He created powerful females before anyone was asking about it...in JAPAN, and he didn't even rely on sex appeal to do it (he still USED it, but it wasn't what the characters were only about).
Oda has to create powerful females now in OP. You look at early OP you don't see wiff of that. Naruto tried but...we all know where that went. I hope he gets credit for it, for trailblazing on this front in Shouen mangas...but....he probably won't.
4. Never playing to fan service as much as others would have. Yes, Hitsyu was a fan favorite. Yes, he got picked in a lot of situations where another Captain who needed more plot time would've fit better (Konamura, Soifon, Ukitake...) but Kubo never broke his power levels to make him more powerful. Hitsyu lost and barely drew in so many of his forced fan service fights. For a fan favorite, he got his ass kicked consistently with where he power actually was. You can say the same for Rukia, and even Ichigo (will get to him later...have to..) He always got that label, but it was far from the truth. He had fantastic balance against forcing fan service on his readers.
5. Symbolism. I'd have to dust out my Bleach knowledge to really get into and explain how symbolic this manga was...but I figure anyone taking the time to read this gets it. The man knew his art, knew his art history, his world history, knew about cultures outside of Japan...and he used that. Other religions, so much.
6. Use of language/themes. Japanese for Shinigamis. Spanish for Hollows. German for Quincy's. Didn't have to put that in there. Could've kept everything Japanese, but he took the effort (probably to the dismay of many a translator..). This ties more into my next point, but it deserved it's own section.
7. Use of other cultures. I'm a black dude. I'm a black dude who when I had/could grow hair...(12 years.........T_T...) loved his fro. And I loved my twists in dem younger days. Seeing that Kubo had the foresight in Turn Back the Pendulum to give Tousen a nappy ass fro...........it really cemented my respect for the man. He wasn't just going to assume that's how Tousen's hair workedin the current timeline...he knew before he could ever grow out his locks, he'd HAVE to have a fro. And he did it. He took the effort to show Tousen growing a fro during his time in the 9th division.
I loved Tousen....because Tousen wasn't close to the typical Japanese black character sterotype. What's more...people hated (then forgave) Tousen because of his decisions and his own story. Yourichi, the most powerful characters in the series. Zomari, a throw away Espada who got a bad matchup...Sniper dude...again one of the most powerful characters in the series.
If you were a black nerd who wanted to watch/read manga/anime and still feel represented back in 2004....good luck to ya. That was it. then Bleach happened...and we saw Chad, who was authentic Japanese Brazilian (which is a thing...) and then, that opening shot of the Gotei 13 Captains and seeing a black dude, with dreads, and not super pink lips....It's hard to express how awesome that was 12 years ago.
Again...I feel like this is something Kubo might not ever get credit for doing, because he didn't HAVE to...but he did...and it was really cool that he did it.
8. Style. No manga has, or ever WILL have the style Bleach does. Go find all the color spreads of Bleach, find the title pages...no other manga comes close to the amount of style and individualism that oozes from his characters.
9. Artwork. Consistent. Even his chibi's were consistently well done. He found a style ad made it his...and it's perfect for what the manga was. It's the small details that go unnoticed that make it great, and make it consistently great as art.
10. Panel usage. No other manga that I've read uses panels as well as Bleach. (Attack on Titan is pretty good too though). Battles, showing speed, strength, epic page turns...scale...Bleach anime fights were never as good as their in manga version. They could never get that feeling for me. The way he wrote his sound effects, the way he drew so many panels, he had a Bill Watterson like take on the comic format.
11. Ichigo. Of the major Shouen Jump heroes...Ichigo will undoubtedly be the most forgotten. He's not a flamboyant type (Goku, Luffy, Naruto), he's not super broody (Sasuke, Vegeta, Hiei), he's not even a bad boy (Yusuke, Vegeta again, Sanji to a certain degree.). He's not the goofy, but serious one either (Kenshin). Ichigo was a good student, he got into fights...and he wondered about what his power was, what he was capable of...but I never felt he was ever all that broody about it. He never wanted to be a hero, which borrows from Kenshin some, but a part of him really loved it.
And his epic, badass moments...Showing up to save Rukia, ban kai vs. Byakuya, his first Vaizard mask use, beating Uliq, beating Aizen...so many more inbetween, always as good as anything else by anyone else on that list.
And his loses...Ichigo...Ichigo lost a lot for a Shouen hero. He lost so, so, SO much, or he got lucky. I'd say his only true win against a non-sandbaging opponent post...didn't really come till old dude at the satrt of the Hueco Mundo Arc. Grand Fisher was a draw. Ikkaku sand bagged him. He cheap shotted Renji. Kenpachi had him beat, but Ken's sword broke. Byakuya beat his untrained ban kai, but got cheap-shotted by his Hollow Side. He might've beaten armless Grim, but his mask running out....
Far more well rounded than he'll ever get credit for (a lot like Yusuke that way). And the perfect hero for this series.
12. Ichigo's friends. This could be an entire huge breakdown post, but the core group, Hime, Ishida, Chad, Rukia, and Renji...definitely my favorite Shouen group (Straw Hats come close and will probably surpass by OP's end...though again with how post-timeskip OP has been on average idk...). Fun characters, top to bottom. Hilarious interactions, and I always wish he'd of been able to do more slice of life stuff with these characters. Bleach's slice of life was severely underrated. And he proved it wasn't just an early in the series fluke with TBTP and the Fullbring arc.
13. …....Reading in bunches..........:-D couldn't help myself.....
I could keep going...but probably best to stop here, I got four pages in a word doc...
To end though, I gotta see reading Bleach, Naruto, and OP when all three were in their prime with peeps on this boards was one of the best parts of my life. I know life for a lot of us has kept us off getting in the same ridiculous discussions that we could have when we were in school, but man...it was fun.
And frustrating. Rage inducing....
But lots and lots of fun.
With Bleach ending, it really feels like a chapter of my life is ending too. This is my favorite Shouen manga, for all the reasons I just listed and so many more, but what made it so great was seeing it face down the two behemoths in it's own magazine, and never flinching and never swaying from it's core. True Bleach fans never flinched regardless of what everyone thought about the series outside of it's fanbase. And we were called insane for it, and even more insane when we could decipeher Kubo's thought processes for other people...but that was all part of it.
I'm gonna miss this damn manga so much. I'll refresh the manga list...and not see a new chapter and just...idk. It'll be tough. And sans Attack on Titan I just haven't found anything in the current gen that's piqued my interest enough that I'd want to spend an entire weekend reading chapter 1 to 137 (Renji's ban kai...). Going into IRC to download the zipped chapters that weren't even on line yet because I was just hooked.
Haven't felt that since, and I'm not sure I'll ever feel it again.
Can't wait for Kubo's next work. I'm not sure I want a Bleach sequel...even with everything left undone. But I do know that the genre is going to be missing the style he brought that no one else has ever emulated.
Yeah...think that's it....Peace out Bleach.
excellent post as always
...I was honestly hoping Tony would make an appearance with this being the last chapter
man...to think that it has really been 13+ years at this...feels like a highschool reunion
also...excellent point Delph, I never thought about the respect that Kubo gave ALL of his black characters....chad too (Japanese/Mexican)...
sad thing is...I doubt Ill ever pick up a new manga...I feel that it was acceptable to keep reading something I dedicated 10+ years to....at 31+ years old now...I doubt Ill do it again (I don't really read anything new...when OP and Berserk run out...I'm probably out of the manga industry -- besides maybe reading a few completed works here and there...and again, maybe)
I think I'm gonna actually take my time and read all of Delphs post again. It's been awhile.
Wow; Delpheous clarified so much about the manga I hadn't even realized or simply forgotten. I just read the stuff, never got any deeper into it with all theory crafting and discussions. And damn, I needed someone else to mention Ulquiorra for me to remember that insane fight. I've forgotten so much, man...
Chad ended up getting the Bob Makihara treatment. We never really got to see him shine and go all out.
One thing I'm still confused on
Did Ichigo killing Ywach stop and dissipate his reaitsu that appeared in the future?
Or despite being killed, did Ywach still leave a trap in the future, because it looks like Ichigos son does something when he touches Ywach's remnant, it's in that moment that he also disappears in SS.
It makes me wonder if Kazui acquired Inoue's power of event rejection
Aizen basically hands ichigo the WIN, and SS throws his ass back in Muken(How did they even do that?)
Sasuke got a good ass deal lol
this finale was Matrix 3
all the power scale (technology) advances since the first...but it was lacking
again...I think Ill read through it again in 2020....by then Ill forget the story and only remember a few of the bigger high points...so a few more of the shockers should surprise again
Wrote all that and barely commented on the last chapter...
I think Kubo left a door open with Bach. It's clear this isn't the ending he wanted to write, (to a point) and Bach is such a core character in his series, despite us not really knowing it till midway through this Quincy war arc. Bach is as important to what happened in Bleach as Ichigo was...
I'm not sure if Kubo knows exactly what he's gonna do next, so maybe he'll be able to do a Bleach 2.0...but idk. The ending for the main characters feels like it's what he'd of wanted. Ichigo and Hime, Renji and Rukia, peace throughout SS and Earth, and everyone together and finally happy without worrying about any coming threat.
On the real with his world...peace is more of a norm than war is, so having an entire generation of peace isn't out of the ordinary for Bleach.
I'm a little perturbed on Rukia and Renji's kid being so powerful though...particularly because neither of them was considered genius level (though I guess post training with the Royal Guard, they are the next gen of great Shinigami...so I guess it woks...)
There's a Goten and Trunks feel to the kids as well. And I'm a sucker for Goten and Trunks, one of my favorite parts of DB.
I was ok overall with the chapter...it just felt like as rushed as the last thirty or so chapters of this series have felt. He managed to get to his finale...but there's just so much missing in between.
Renji was always battle talented. He surpassed Rukia in school. He was in the advanced class in the academy. He was close to bankai at the start of the series.
Rukia was kido talented...that was pretty much it.
not really...they got their power boost as a fluke (learn your swords true name)
...they didnt have the training to go with it...if anything they are toddlers...with a remote that controls a nuclear weapon
renji was a brawler who left 11 div to serve under Byakuya...Rukia was a talented kidou user
the next generation is byakuya..kenpachi...and hitsugaya
not really sure where the returned vaizards fit in because we didnt see anything from them