The 13 Court Guard Squad has just lost their home field advantage in the worst possible way. Can you call it an invasion when they've been there the whole time?
If anyone ever told you that there was nothing to fear hidden in the shadows, well they were wrong in every since of the word. At least when it comes to the matter of the Vandenreich. I have to applaud Kubowith this twist. Sure, there's a part of me that finds the idea a bit silly that the Quincy could be hiding in a fold of the dimension for a thousand years unnoticed, but what does that really matter? It can be true that the last place people look for their enemy is right under their feet. Add to that, the fact that everyone believed the Quincy to all be dead.
It's a clever plan for an invasion. However, infiltration seems to be more of an appropriate description of what they accomplished. The Vandenreich have placed many of their Stern Ritter in strategic locations to strike at the 13 Court Guard's commanders. Putting the heroes at such a disadvantage from the beginning is a great place to kick off a grand finale.
If you were expecting to get more of a look at Ichigo, I hope you were happy with that glimpse of his back. That's all you get. It's a little frustrating that this final arc will continue the shōnen cliché of the protagonist rushing in to save the day after training. I guess you can just mark this up to building dramatic tension. Which is fine... for a while.
Where we last left off with in BLEACH, Kubo had a rather dramatic cliffhanger, and we were left completely in the dark about the the fate of the Soul Society. This chapter does a good job of summing up the situation in the dialog. These events are tense, but I enjoy that not everyone is caught completely off balance. It would have made the captains look rather foolish if they were tripping over each other a second time. 'Fool me once'... and all that. I'm certainly excited for next week.
Alternate title for this review: "Don't call it an invasion. They've been here for years."