Bleach Anime Preview

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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by Neo Bahamut on Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:04 pm

I just thought that some among us might enjoy this. I didn't realize that I was going to be put on trial, here.

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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by HarleyThomas on Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:42 pm

Some meaning you.
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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by Script-Z on Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:03 am

I enjoyed it... Also, what does 'Some meaning you' mean?
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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by HarleyThomas on Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:11 am

The implication was that he would be the only one who'd enjoy it.
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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by Script-Z on Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:22 am

Ah, 'some' was a quote... I get it now.
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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by Seraph on Wed May 15, 2013 1:33 am

why.

Why does Bleach always do this? It goes from shit to being soooo good again.
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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by Neo Bahamut on Wed May 15, 2013 11:12 am

I'm not sure how I feel about this chapter. The explanation would have been way simpler if Aizen had just arranged it. On the other hand, we finally have some more characterization on Bach. Also, that thing at the end better be "infiltration" & not "brainwashing."

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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by Script-Z on Wed May 15, 2013 2:53 pm

I have my hopes that Ishida is there for, in order of importance, that pimp ass uniform, and to shoot Bach in the dick for all the fucking matricide that is going on.

I like the fact that it wasn't Aizen actually. I feel like it would have been easy to say it was, but would have had no relevance to the current plot. The way it is now is a more intricate plot web that links Aizen, and Bach, if only tangentially. Grand Fisher killed Masaki because Bach took her powers, then Aizen took Grand Fisher and made him an arrancar. It shows that the characters at least occupy the same universe, which can sometimes be hard with characters from one plot arc never mattering in the next, and vice versa.

Anyway, I don't like the insinuation that Bleach was shit until now. I quite like most of the second Gotei invasion, as well as almost everything leading up to, and including the flashback (even the obligatory 'Ichigo must train!!!!' thing was done better, as it gave us insight to the 0 squad. Compare that to the visord one which did not clue us in to them much at all). Only thing I disliked, that I can call to memory, was Unohana dying, and the Unohana/Kenny subtext going on therein, and I'm still holding out hope on that front.
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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by Neo Bahamut on Wed May 15, 2013 5:07 pm

I have my hopes that Ishida is there for, in order of importance, that pimp ass uniform, and to shoot Bach in the dick for all the fucking matricide that is going on.

Heh. It would be fucking hilarious if Uryu was all, "I don't like fights" & then Bach made to protect his arms, but Uryu just shot his crotch out.

In all seriousness, though, it really does seem like Uryu. "I will join you to learn your strengths & weaknesses, get new techniques, & ultimately shoot you in the back while you're fighting Ichigo."

And Bach will be all, "Lolduh."

I also figure that Ryuken gave him a virtually identical flashback to Isshin's.

I like the fact that it wasn't Aizen actually. I feel like it would have been easy to say it was, but would have had no relevance to the current plot.

Well, yeah, but not everything has to be some major revelation. We already got a lot of revelations about Aizen's plots, even though that is no longer relevant.

Also, you could build up to further events with Aizen, since it is incredibly obvious that he is going to come back. For instance, I'm now suspecting that his transformations also had Quincy power.

The way it is now is a more intricate plot web that links Aizen, and Bach, if only tangentially.

Intricate, but convoluted. As one person points out, if Bach can just steal powers from Quincies all over the world, & he can choose WHICH Quincies whose powers he stole, won't he be able to just disregard any Quincy that gets uppity? We are also required to take it on faith that all of this shit just *happened* to coincide.

It shows that the characters at least occupy the same universe, which can sometimes be hard with characters from one plot arc never mattering in the next, and vice versa.

I agree that this is a common problem, but Bleach seems to be averting it by having Aizen come back at some point.

Anyway, I don't like the insinuation that Bleach was shit until now. I quite like most of the second Gotei invasion, as well as almost everything leading up to, and including the flashback (even the obligatory 'Ichigo must train!!!!' thing was done better, as it gave us insight to the 0 squad. Compare that to the visord one which did not clue us in to them much at all).

I actually like most of Bleach's training arcs, because they are all bait-&-switch.

Knocking off Urahara's hat: The real point was learning Zangetsu's name.
Finding the right sword: We don't really see how this is resolved in the manga, but in the anime, the real point is that Zangetsu is Ichigo's power.
Hollow training: Introduces us to the Visoreds, & the connection between Zangetsu & the Inner Hollow. You say it didn't tell us much about the Visoreds, but most of their personalities were introduced here. We really only get an additional fact from the Royal Guard members, & we didn't even meet all of them.
FullBring Training: Introduces us to Xcution. Also Ginjo's grand master plan was to steal this power.

By comparison, I actually thought that the most recent Training Ac was a little dry & straight forward. Until it abruptly punted us off to Flashback Land.

Only thing I disliked, that I can call to memory, was Unohana dying, and the Unohana/Kenny subtext going on therein, and I'm still holding out hope on that front.

Your memory is worse than mine. You raged so hard at Ichigo being a Quincy.

Other things that I didn't like include:

1. Explanation of Soul Suicide does not mesh well with the events from Arrancar/Turn Back the Pendulum Arcs.
2. It still doesn't make sense how Ichigo can use Blut Vene, as he is NOT a Pure Quincy.
3. Kenpachi iz teh mozt powarfahl thang EVAH! Firefox would like to inform you all that I literally did not use any words to make that sentence.
4. Some of the Quincy powers are too cookie-cutter Arrancar powers.
5. White was in Ichigo from birth. Either the Multiple Hollows theory is true, or this invalidates the claim that Ichigo almost turned into a Hollow in the Shattered Shaft. Both of which are just terrible.

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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by Script-Z on Wed May 15, 2013 6:02 pm

Neo Bahamut wrote:In all seriousness, though, it really does seem like Uryu. "I will join you to learn your strengths & weaknesses, get new techniques, & ultimately shoot you in the back while you're fighting Ichigo."

And Bach will be all, "Lolduh."

Yea, that is almost as assured as death and taxes.

I also figure that Ryuken gave him a virtually identical flashback to Isshin's.

I was actually thinking that when it cut to Ryuken a few times. Imagine if Ryuken had a kid with Masaki. I envision it to be similar to Uryu and Ichigo doing the fusion dance.

Also, you could build up to further events with Aizen, since it is incredibly obvious that he is going to come back. For instance, I'm now suspecting that his transformations also had Quincy power.

I would call it a given based solely on the fact that even people thought dead are all of a sudden coming back into the game.

Intricate, but convoluted. As one person points out, if Bach can just steal powers from Quincies all over the world, & he can choose WHICH Quincies whose powers he stole, won't he be able to just disregard any Quincy that gets uppity?

I'm supposing this is why Uryuu is 'joining' him. The Ryuken speech probably came with him saying he can't because Bach would see it coming and fuck him over.

I agree that this is a common problem, but Bleach seems to be averting it by having Aizen come back at some point.

And the visords, captains, fullbringers, etc.

I actually like most of Bleach's training arcs, because they are all bait-&-switch.

Fair points, but I did enjoy the world building that it accomplished. Also, I think what I enjoyed was that it wasn't really training, it was introducing the Zero Squad. I guess I'm a little tired of seeing Ichigo in a Rocky montage. Perhaps that was why it was straight forward, because it wasn't really training at all.

Your memory is worse than mine. You raged so hard at Ichigo being a Quincy.

I thought that went without saying... Aside from that though, we're left with... Soi Fon not getting more screen time, and Yoruichi not showing up at all, which can only mean they're fucking each other off screen at this very moment.

Other things that I didn't like include:

2. It still doesn't make sense how Ichigo can use Blut Vene, as he is NOT a Pure Quincy.

"Those who cannot can be trained to do so."

3. Kenpachi iz teh mozt powarfahl thang EVAH! Firefox would like to inform you all that I literally did not use any words to make that sentence.

Lumping that in with Unohana dying, just so we're clear.

4. Some of the Quincy powers are too cookie-cutter Arrancar powers.

I'm cutting him some slack. It is hard to come up with you're 50th super powered character, and your 4th set of racial feats.

5. White was in Ichigo from birth. Either the Multiple Hollows theory is true, or this invalidates the claim that Ichigo almost turned into a Hollow in the Shattered Shaft. Both of which are just terrible.

You're going to have to deal with one, or both, because fuck you.
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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by Neo Bahamut on Wed May 15, 2013 6:15 pm

I would call it a given based solely on the fact that even people thought dead are all of a sudden coming back into the game.

Also Kenpachi training in Muken.
And Aizen being mentioned in the flashback.
And Bach trying to recruit Aizen.
And Aizen almost being released once already.
And Aizen being alluded to several times in casual conversation.
And Renji's statement that he's "training to fight Aizen."
And that teaser in SAFWU.

Kubo doesn't always foreshadow, but when he does, he goes balls-to-the-wall.

Fair points, but I did enjoy the world building that it accomplished. Also, I think what I enjoyed was that it wasn't really training, it was introducing the Zero Squad.

This is what I mean. I found this to be one of the most straight-forward Training Arcs that he's ever done, up until the part where he failed. Shit, even that is questionable, given how often people go "Lol Ichigo you suck." Several were him completing tasks that had nothing to do with the actual goal, a couple were fights with his Inner Hollow...the FullBring Arc probably rivaled it, though.

"Those who cannot can be trained to do so."

But Ichigo was never trained in how to use it. This seemed to be more of an explanation for why Uryu didn't use it. Because his mom was a mixed blood.

Lumping that in with Unohana dying, just so we're clear.

Figured, but that point was too funny to leave out.

I'm cutting him some slack. It is hard to come up with you're 50th super powered character, and your 4th set of racial feats.

I don't think so, especially because he had such a good division already in place:

Soul Reapers generally use weapons & magic.
Hollows generally use biological attacks, with stronger Hollows having some magic.
Quincies generally use gadgets.

AND STOP USING THE WRONG FUCKING "YOUR"!!!!!

You're going to have to deal with one, or both, because fuck you.

I literally cannot decide which is worse.

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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by Script-Z on Wed May 15, 2013 8:04 pm

Did you know the etymology of that saying is from fighter jets?

Yea, you'd think people would just fucking bet on Ichigo by this point. "The odds are 1 million to 1." "Yea, but Ichigo has the plot on his side, calm down, I've seen it happen."

The way I see it, the explanation was just saying 'Even if you don't have it naturally, you can learn', and we all know Ichigo doesn't need logic to go full retard. Once again, the plot was on his side. I'm betting the actual explanation is him learning from watching others and just doing it because 'his body reacted on instinct' or some other anime handwave.

You have a shitty sense of humor...

Yes, but there is also the need to embue them all with some kind of biological trait, something only THEY can do. They had that with the reishi control, and I suppose this is just an extension of that. It isn't even really the first time Quincy have put a German name to something that other races already do, eg. German Flash Steps.

Both.
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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by Neo Bahamut on Wed May 15, 2013 8:51 pm

Did you know the etymology of that saying is from fighter jets?

Nope.

You have a shitty sense of humor...

You can just eat exactly 21 dicks. Like you're so much better.

Yes, but there is also the need to embue them all with some kind of biological trait, something only THEY can do. They had that with the reishi control, and I suppose this is just an extension of that. It isn't even really the first time Quincy have put a German name to something that other races already do, eg. German Flash Steps.

Only they can manipulate Quincy gadgets.

It's not as though he's totally thrown out the theme, they aren't even as bad as the Espada were yet, & they still kind of kept up with it. I'm just saying, I don't like things like how a supposedly human character can physically turn into another person, or an ape. This isn't Naruto.

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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by Script-Z on Thu May 16, 2013 2:54 am

Yes, I suppose I get what you're saying. They were built up as the Batmen of the Bleach world. Limited power, badass cowls, and gadgets. Now they've taken that base and are applying things that don't seem to add up given the tool set.
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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by Neo Bahamut on Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:08 am

ARISE, THREAD LONG DEAD, & HEED YOUR MASTER'S CALL!

So I am once again going to try to make sense out of who can trade powers with whom in Bleach. I'm going to make the assumption that Kubo is even being consistent. It should be obvious that this shall contain GLORIOUS SPOILERZ:

The first thing to note is that being born a hybrid species seems to bypass all other rules. This might be why FullBringers don't simply turn into Hollows.

Quincy
Receives:
*Cannot be Hollowfied
*Can take powers from Soul Reapers

Gives:
*Only Ywach can give powers

Hollow
Receives:

*Quincy
*Soul Reaper->Arrancar

Gives:

*Humans->FullBringers
*Soul Reapers->Hollowfication

Human

Receives:

*Hollow->Transformation or FullBring
*Soul Reaper
*Quincy
*FullBringers can take power from Substitute Soul Reapers

Gives:

*FullBringers can share power with each other, or with Substitute Soul Reapers

Soul Reaper
Receives:

*Hollows->Visored, Hollowfied Bankai, etc.
*Quincy, vague statement by Ywach

Gives:

*To humans
*To Hollows->Shinigamification
*Can have powers stolen by Quincies

Quincies obviously refute my theory that anyone can gain powers from anyone else. You seem to be able to give powers so long as you can place a piece of your soul into a target.

Interestingly, anyone can gain Quincy powers. This could be a special property of Ywach's, or it could be that Hollows have evolved to digest any type of soul.

Humans don't seem to have any powers to give, making them a confusing variable. They can receive any powers, but then again, so can Hollows & Soul Reapers.

Let me know if I'm missing anything. All 2 of you.

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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by Neo Bahamut on Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:55 pm

Considerably outdated, but kind of neat: A 3 part thing on the making of the dub.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Nrp_gTx5AA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06COvVrhBxQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZf4Zkiw-Rs

Also kind of a shame, looking back, since the dub is noticeably worse now that the original was cancelled.

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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by Script-Z on Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:25 pm

I have not listened to the dub in ages, how bad could it possibly be?
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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by Neo Bahamut on Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:41 pm

Really bad.

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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by Script-Z on Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:58 pm

Unfortunate. Still JYB voicing Ichigo?
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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by Neo Bahamut on Fri Feb 28, 2014 7:14 pm

Yeah. Kenpachi & Chad were replaced. Not sure who else. And it's painfully obvious that the actors are doing less takes.

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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by Script-Z on Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:31 pm

Unfortunate.
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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by Neo Bahamut on Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:44 am

Old news is old, but I need somewhere to stick this:

1. Genryusai Yamamoto (560/600)
- Offense (100)
- Defense (100)
- Mobility (100)
- Kido (100)
- Intelligence (100)
- Physical Strength (60)
2. Sosuke Aizen (560/600)
- Offense (100)
- Defense (90)
- Mobility (90)
- Kido (100)
- Intelligence (100)
- Physical Strength (80)
3. Retsu Unohana (540/600)
- Offense (100)
- Defense (80)
- Mobility (70)
- Kido (100)
- Intelligence (100)
- Physical Strength (90)
4. Shunsui Kyoraku (530/600)
- Offense (90)
- Defense (90)
- Mobility (90)
- Kido (100)
- Intelligence (90)
- Physical Strength (70)
5. Byakuya Kuchiki (510/600)
- Offense (90)
- Defense (80)
- Mobility (90)
- Kido (90)
- Intelligence (90)
- Physical Strength (70)
6. Tōshirō Hitsugaya (500/600)
- Offense (80)
- Defense (80)
- Mobility (90)
- Kido (90)
- Intelligence (80)
- Physical Strength (80)
7. Jūshirō Ukitake (490/600)
- Offense (90)
- Defense (90)
- Mobility (70)
- Kido (100)
- Intelligence (100)
- Physical Strength (40)
8. Gin Ichimaru (480/600)
- Offense (80)
- Defense (80)
- Mobility (80)
- Kido (80)
- Intelligence (80)
- Physical Strength (80)
9. Sajin Komamura (470/600)
- Offense (100)
- Defense (100)
- Mobility (40)
- Kido (50)
- Intelligence (80)
- Physical Strength (100)
10. Sui Feng (460/600)
- Offense (80)
- Defense (60)
- Mobility (100)
- Kido (60)
- Intelligence (60)
- Physical Strength (100)
11. Kaname Tōsen (460/600)
- Offense (70)
- Defense (70)
- Mobility (80)
- Kido (90)
- Intelligence (90)
- Physical Strength (60)
12. Mayuri Kurotsuchi (430/600)
- Offense (70)
- Defense (70)
- Mobility (40)
- Kido (100)
- Intelligence (100)
- Physical Strength (50)
13. Kenpachi Zaraki (390/600)
- Offense (100)
- Defense (80)
- Mobility (60)
- Kido (0)
- Intelligence (50)
- Physical Strength (100)

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Re: Bleach Anime Preview

Post by Neo Bahamut on Thu Sep 01, 2016 2:29 pm

In other news, I saw a blog post about the top good things in the Blood War Arc & thought, "I want to get in on this!" So here's the arbitrary lists of my favorite& least favorite parts in the Bleach finale:

WORST PARTS OF BLOOD WAR

10. Zaraki’s Bankai: This is pretty low since my attitude changed on it a bit since it originally happened. I can’t help but feel bad for Kubo, since I can tell this was a big moment that he was planning on for such a long time, & the reception on it was mixed at best. Even worse, I feel he came so close to making this work. If he had just explained a few details better, I feel a lot more people would’ve accepted this. The Bankai itself is ridiculously simplistic & overpowered, but to be fair, that’s just Kubo making good on what’s been Zaraki’s theme this whole time. Still, the best that I can really say about it is that I understand what he was going for, but it didn’t really work. Also, I wanted to put the combo with him, Byakuya, & Hitsugaya on the Top 10 list, but between this & the way the Gerard fight went after that, I just can’t.

9. Zaraki vs. Gremmy: Sort of like Zaraki’s Bankai, my opinion on this has softened since it originally happened, but unlike Zaraki’s Bankai, it’s just sort of tedious. While Zaraki’s Bankai was at least fast-paced & exciting despite its logical problems, Gremmy’s fight made almost as little sense & it really dragged on with the only big moment being a lackluster Shikai reveal. Gremmy himself is also uninteresting, he’s a cocky, overpowered kid whose overconfidence winds up destroying him, they’re about a dime a dozen.

8. Uryu’s Involvement Feels Unfinished: I said him being a double agent was one of the best parts of the arc because it added a layer of political intrigue, & that’s true, but at the same time, there were a lot of hints of what was to come that never actually came. We never find out why Yhwach needs a “successor” since he appears to be immortal. Also, it was implied that Uryu would have a bigger role fighting the Soul Reapers which, of course, he did not. This last part in particular would’ve made his apparent “betrayal” so much more effective. This was far from the only thing that feels incomplete either, such as--

7. Soul King’s Arc Unresolved: While I can more-or-less guess where the Soul King came from, there are some details that need filled in, & it feels like there should have been a flashback fleshing out the bare bones of what we DO know. Also, in perhaps the biggest plot hole left by the ending, we have no idea how the universe was stabilized after he & Yhwach both died. That said, this didn’t bother me as much personally, since I feel that if something had to be sacrificed in the end, better the McGuffin than any of the core characters.

6. Ichigo’s Arc: I really didn’t like the retcon of Ichigo being a Quincy (though, in fairness, there may be more to that). I didn’t like the retcon to his Zanpakuto, I thought it made more sense before. I certainly didn’t like how he was a huge threat in the beginning, but got progressively shoved aside. And I absolutely HATE his new Bankai. That said, it did make sense for Yhwach to try to keep him out of the fight, & the retcons did lead to some genuinely good stuff. The Quincy retcon allowed Masaki to be expanded upon, the Zanpakuto retcon made for the exploration of the Royal Palace & the scene where he gains the equal power of both Zanpakuto Spirits, & it all made his fight with Yhwach a bit more personal. This is why it’s on the higher end of this list.

5. Quincy History Ignored: It was sort of implied that the genocide was motivating a lot of this war, but it’s hard to tell because it was barely even mentioned. I kept expecting Mayuri’s involvement to come back to bite him, but it never did. This arc also raised a lot of questions about the old Quincy War & how the modern Quincy & the Wandenreich are related, which were never really addressed. Finally, this would have been a great time to explore the motives of the individual Sternritter, which was a consistent shortcoming in this arc, when compared to past arcs.

4. Unohana’s Death: Of course this was going to be on here. This is like the polar opposite of Yamamoto’s death: Instead of killing off a character who’s already had their 15 minutes in a way that develops them & communicates a theme, Unohana was JUST starting to get some expansion on her character & then was killed off in an honestly stupid plot to power up Zaraki that didn’t really pan out. Worse yet, there’s not really a good reason why they couldn’t have at least attempted to save her.  In fairness, this was portrayed as a misguided strategy, & people often do make boneheaded decisions in wars. But the problem is still that Kubo sacrificed a character that was really in need of attention, & of COURSE Zaraki doesn’t learn ANYTHING from this. What’s more, this ham-fisted death & the lack of clarity with her Bankai kept me from putting the 1st Kenpachi in my favorites list, because while that development was great, what came shortly after just left a bad aftertaste.

3. Powers that Strain Belief: A common reaction to this arc was “I thought Quincies were supposed to be HUMAN!” Now, a lot of times I do think this is unfairly applied, but on the other hand...being able to regenerate through cheering? Regrowing your own HEAD? I can largely accept the ones that have some reasonable explanation--e.g. if Quincies can alter their blood & nerves based on a similar principle, why not their digestive tracts?--but some were out of nowhere & not even an attempt was made to explain how they could work. And it was often hard to tell when someone was changing their body or making a more superficial change--e.g. do the Y-twins literally shapeshift into you, or is it more of an illusion? This also kept Lille & his fight with Kyoraku, which I otherwise adored, off of the Best List.

2. Not seeing Shikais/Bankais: Pretty self-explanatory, though I’d like to add that, in my opinion, Shinji was the worst. He was one of the most anticipated Bankais & there was a lot of foreshadowing that he would use it, but he ultimately went nowhere. This was unlike Aizen & Yoruichi, who at least had major roles even if they still kept their releases stubbornly hidden. Which leads me to--

1. So Many Characters Shafted: It was a tough pick for the Worst Spot, but ultimately I think the biggest weakness of this arc is that it didn’t explore the characters as well as previous arcs. It was very kind to the older generation of Captains & even spared some development for young’uns like Komamura & Soi Fon. With the Visoreds, it started out well, Kensei & Rose getting some screen time, but after those 2 were defeated, the group barely appears again. Most of them finally appear against Gerard, which felt like Kubo’s desperate gambit to give them SOMETHING, but they don’t even use any new Zanpakuto releases, & Mashiro is still missing. It wasn’t just the Visoreds either, Ryuken & to a lesser extent Isshin didn’t get their time in the sun, & also plenty of Sternritter were swept aside to get to the end quicker. We don’t even see the Sternritter Grandmaster’s Vollstandig. This definitely feels like a symptom of the early cancellation, because it feels like a lot of these characters were supposed to be big in the 2nd act, which wound up being reduced to just a Boss Rush until the “5 more weeks!” announcement.

BEST PARTS OF BLOOD WAR

10. Femritters v Squad 11: This isn't just here because I don't like Zaraki. It was established since the beginning that basically the strongest Seated Officers in the Soul Society are either in or were once part of Squad 11. In almost killing Zaraki, decimating the Squad, & turning them into zombies to fight for them, on top of the fact that most of the Captains were already grievously injured, the Femritters came dangerously close to crippling the Soul Society, making for a legitimate moment of tension. They also already had a few Captains & Lieutenants on their side. It's fair to say that, without Mayuri's research on zombification, that would have been the beginning of the end.

9. Soul King: The Soul King was a big mystery that was built up in the Arrancar Arc, & one of the major questions since the series continued. The story took a twist with it that I wasn't expecting, with the heavy implication that the Soul King wasn't the leader of the Soul Society as we thought, but actually imprisoned against his will in an action that was covered up by the Soul Society. With his ability to reshape the universe & for his body parts to continue living without him, he also may well have been the creator of the universe. Heavy stuff. But, while it was fun to piece together his story through bits of lore, it does feel like we were missing a story where it was all going to come together & also it's not resolved how the world was stabilized without him, so I put him relatively low here.

8. Komamura: A very underrated part of this arc, it expanded on the wolfish Captain in a big way. We got an origin story explaining his animalistic features that also sheds a bit of light on how reincarnation works, & we learned that his disdain for vengeance & decision to enter the outside world was a point of contention between himself & his clan. Ultimately, he makes the ultimate sacrifice to fight the Sternritter, revealing an ominous new ability...but in the process realizes too late that he lost himself to the vengeance he so despised, which hadn't occurred to me either. Continuing the theme of his debate with Tosen, it's left up to the reader to determine whether or not this was the right decision. Then later we see how Iba has to take up the torch & defend his helpless Captain in the middle of a war zone. For a relatively minor character, I think he had a pretty strong arc in this series.

7. Uryu as Double Agent: This added a unique sort of dynamic to the arc, because we knew Uryu was a double agent, the villains knew he was a double agent, only his friends were left out of the loop. It added intrigue trying to figure out what he was scheming & why he didn't tell anyone, plus it got us some behind the scenes information on the Wandenreich, in which the Big Bads & Uryu were constantly trying to outwit & outgambit each other. Uryu even got to show off a bit by making Ichigo look like a chump.

6. Royal Guard v SS: The beginning of this fight was interesting because it showed unique, non-Zanpakuto methods of fighting & also Captains working together with a defensive strategy, both of which are fairly rare in the series. Also, Oetsu shows why the Royal Guard are so feared by single-handedly wiping out 3 Sternritter within seconds. But where this really shines is when Yhwach turns the tables & fights Ichibei. It was well-choregraphed, had an onslaught of powerful abilities from each side, & expanded on the Zanpakuto lore a bit. It was the first time we really got more than a glimpse of Yhwach's fighting abilities, & really hyped up the final showdown with him. Unfortunately, the rest of the Royal Guard got skipped over pretty unceremoniously & Ichibei being revived felt like it didn't go anywhere, though it was probably meant to, which sort of knocks it down on the list.

5. Rukia v As Nodt: This wasn't a bad fight, but it's not really the fight itself that's interesting, but rather 2 things within it: Firstly As Nodt, whom I find interesting because he uses a very common ability of fear manipulation BUT averts the stock cliche of defeating it through sheer willpower. Secondly, Rukia finally using Bankai. Rukia is sort of an underrated character, she's consistently shown to be very effective despite not being the strongest member of the group, & is considered by Kubo to be "the hero on the Soul Society's side." Well, this is when her talent finally gets recognized, & her Bankai is fittingly powerful.

4. Askin's fight: The initial phases of him defeating Ichigo & Friends, & then later Yoruichi, weren't bad, but the fight really ramps up in a big & sudden way once Urahara gets on the scene. Askin immediately pulls out his best techniques to defeat him, & Urahara promptly responds with his long-awaited Bankai, & just at the point of greatest tension, Askin finds himself impaled by Grimmjow, only to up the ante one final time by trying to take them all out with a suicide attack. It's just one of the most exciting parts in the arc, or possibly even the series. Unfortunately, the abrupt ending means this doesn't really get the resolution it deserves.

3. Backstories: This is basically cheating, since this is several different points in the story, but basically every time this arc went into flashback mode, it was guaranteed to be good. There was learning where Yhwach came from & how he got so powerful; what made Haschwalth tick & how conflicted he was over it; how Isshin, Ryuken, Urahara, Masaki, & Aizen were all connected & what badasses Isshin & Masaki were; exactly why Nemu was created & what makes her so special; the people Kyoraku lost & how they motivated him; even hints at what the original Divisions were like. All of which makes me think that we were originally supposed to get a big Quincy origin story & it would've been great. Alas.

2. Beginning: The arc had a really strong opening, containing ironically probably Ichigo's best fight in this arc. From showing us how effective of a force Ichigo's friends had become (for the last time) to revisiting Hueco Mundo to see how it has been doing, & then finally the dramatic reveal of the Wandenreich. They proved themselves formidable from the get-go with Vollstandig & Sklavrei, stealing half of the Captains' Bankais, almost killing Byakuya, & ultimately killing Yamamoto. I've sung the praises of his final scenes before, & now I'm going to do it again, for perhaps the last time: Before the fight, we see his facade break down as his oldest friend is killed & he is consumed by getting revenge on the Quincies over it. He has a decent fight wherein he shows off his abilities, only to realize that he's been played as a fool & the fight was nothing but a diversion against a fake. In the end, we're left with a hopeless, depowered man who's unceremoniously cut down by his most bitter enemy, who couldn't care less about respecting his memory. Then his body is obliterated so there's absolutely no chance of him coming back. It showed that even the strongest can be brought down & broke the No Protagonist Deaths streak HARD. All of this started a very dark tone which I think made the Blood War Arc a particularly effective fantasy war story. Fittingly enough, I think that the only thing better than the beginning is the--

1. Ending: I could complain about not seeing Aizen's Bankai, the orgy of powers that Yhwach has but didn't use, or how I wanted there to be a big battle between Yhwach & everyone else like at the end of the Arrancar Arc, but as I've said before, for having the rug suddenly swept out from under the series, this was a pretty good ending. The final fight was a lot more exciting than the final duels with Aizen or Ginjo (though I personally didn't mind those), & I can see why someone at the end of his ropes wouldn't be able to pull off all of his fancy skills. Plus, Orihime actually got some time to shine. It was cool seeing Aizen & Yhwach finally come head to head, how it took his cunning & Ichigo's power to defeat the Quincy, & how his motive came together. While not as good, it was also nice to see Uryu making his stand against Haschwalth & talking about how much he's opened up. I feel nothing really needs to be said about the epilogue, in my opinion it's near perfect.

...

I have since made a Best Fights list, which I'm editing in here so I can check this topic & avoid repeating these lists:

10. Uryu v Ichigo was really short, but was probably Uryu's best fight during this arc. For clarification, this is the one where Haschwalth forces him to fight to prove he's not a traitor. There's not much to say about it, just that it shows how skilled Uryu is to outmaneuver Ichigo, despite how insanely powerful Ichigo is by this point. Also, while both were holding back, Ichigo was treating it like an actual fight while Uryu did so well despite his only goal being to get Ichigo into the basement. Mostly this is just a really impressive moment for Uryu.

9. Byakuya v As Nodt is when we start to see signs that the Soul Reapers are outmatched, & I think it's the 1st look we get at a Schrift. Byakuya's never really been my favorite, but you can't really watch such a long-running character get reduced to wildly shrieking due to As Nodt's Fear & then being shredded by his own Bankai without feeling something. This was also an interesting fight for juxtaposing the attitudes of the Soul Reapers & the Quincy, because despite stealing Byakuya's Bankai, As Nodt's use of it is totally different. The closest Byakuya got to that kind of brutal onslaught up to that point was when he killed Tsukishima, & you can see the impact his loss had on him, as he adopts a much more pragmatic & Quincy-like approach against Gerard later.

8. Rukia v As Nodt is great for 2 main things. The 1st is As Nodt coming back & continuing to display his terrifyingly awesome powers with his Vollstandig. As this was possibly the 1st big Sternritter v Captain fight & the guy who shredded Byakuya, he had a lot of expectations to deliver on, which I'd say he did. His Vollstandig pretty beautifully combines his horror theme with the Quincies' angel theme without resorting to cliches I would've expected, like demon wings, & the wall of eyes that each project The Fear is an incredibly dangerous Quincy spell. The 2nd is how much it developed Rukia, including her long-awaited Bankai, which is now among my favorites. It was only fitting she'd avenge her brother, & it was nice to see how close they'd become since the Soul Society Arc.

7. Bazz v Jugo is another that was short but had great choreography & established Jugo as a force to be reckoned with. However, there wasn't really much emotion attached to Uryu's & Ichigo's fight. Kubo tried, but the fact that we always knew Uryu was a double agent made it hard to really take that conflict seriously. Here, the 2 friends actually are fighting to the death, & we see just how far they've grown apart before Bazz-B is cut down, despite using every single Burner Finger attack in his arsenal.

6. Lille v Kyoraku & Nanao started off pretty strong but ended rather...weird. Where Starrk was the introduction to Kyoraku's powers, this was the culmination, seeing him layer games on top of games to give himself a strategic advantage against an opponent who knows all of his tricks. Then when Lille gains his absurd Vollstandig powers & Kyoraku starts talking about his last resort, we worry that this might actually be the end for him. With the reveal of 1 of the most anticipated Bankai, Lille using some of the most powerful attacks we've seen in the series, & spotlight for Nanao, I think it was overall pretty strong, despite how off the rails it goes once Lille grows a new head out of nowhere. Finally, while some have said that Kyoraku's Bankai was underwhelming, I think it was a fitting extension of his Shikai abilties.

5. Quilge v Ichigo & Tres Bestias was sadly Ichigo's best fight in this arc, & probably the best for showing off the power of Quincy Vollstandig. Quilge recaptured the feeling of Letz Stezil in a way that none of the other Sternritter really did. Yet despite that, & despite absorbing Ayon's powers, he still couldn't get a scratch on Ichigo, showing just how far Ichigo had come. This fight was also full of twists & turns, & despite Quilge being outmatched, he managed to make a lasting impact on the arc by preventing Ichigo from coming to Soul Society's rescue & directly leading to him unlocking his latent Quincy powers.

4. Askin v Urahara, Yoruichi, & Yuushiro pit 1 of the most interesting Sternritter against 2 of the the most long-anticipated fighters. While it sucked that we didn't get to see her Zanpakuto, Yoruichi was pretty awesome, especially with her new Shunko techniques, & would've easily destroyed Askin if not for the revelation that his power could make him immune to others' Reiatsu. But the highlight of this battle has to be Urahara's Bankai & how intense it gets after that. Askin's power was also particularly interesting, because it relied a lot on trickery, planning, & positioning, unlike other Schrift. This made him a natural opponent for Urahara, but unfortunately, that was just Askin for trouble. Oh yeah, & Yuushiro was there too.

3. Yamamoto v Rroyd & Yhwach has to be on here for showing what the Head Captain is like when he goes all out, but more impressive than that is what happens when he's finally defeated. You'd expect him to go out at least doing major damage to the enemy, to have a farewell he can be proud of, but Yhwach was having none of that. What's interesting about this fight, aside from the fancy special effects, is mostly their attitudes towards each other. Despite how much they clearly hate each other, Yamamoto has this subtle respect for Yhwach, being the only person he doesn't address as a child, but if anything, Yhwach is more ashamed of his opponent. It's a complete reversal of the Aizen v Yamamoto dynamic.

2. Yhwach v Orihime, Ichigo, Aizen, & Uryu doesn't have quite the emotional weight & takes a while to ramp up, but I have to put it higher just because of how much anticipation I had for it. Not only is this the final battle, not only is Ichigo using Hollow powers again, not only is Orihime actually contributing, but of all people for Ichigo to tag team with, Aizen finally enters the battlefield in a fight that destroys some of the most iconic landmarks in the series. Even before that, we see that as powerful as Ichigo has become, it's just no match for over 1000 years of experience & the true nature of The Almighty. I mentioned before that the imagery of this fight is fantastic, & I can't imagine what it probably would've been like if the series hadn't been rushed to conclusion. Also, this is the 1st time that Ichigo's friends actually had a role in helping him to defeat the Big Bad. Except Chad, of course. Never Chad.

1. Ichibei v Yhwach is just a notch higher because it's the fight that doesn't feel like it's missing anything. It's got intense martial arts, Kido, the emotional stakes of Yhwach fighting the only Captain who can stand up to him now that Yamamoto is gone, & sooooo many badass 1-liners. It also really delivers on the "In war, both sides are evil" theme with how increasingly disturbing Ichibei gets as the fight goes on. For better or worse, it's a complete game-changer, taking the Royal Guard out of commission & leaving few obstacles in Yhwach's path to kill & replace the Soul King, setting up the beginning of the end.

_________________

"Sephiroth would play Aerith's theme at his funeral, if only to remind us all what a complete bastard he was."
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