Rukia claims a solid victory over fear and stands tall as a proud member of the Kuchiki family that can protect the Soul Society. Elsewhere, an ominous threat lurks in the shadows and hunts Isane and Yachiru.
It's really become such a strange world as a reviewer of the Shonen Trilogy. ONE PIECE used to be themanga that I always looked forward to above all others, but I've been finding myself very much enjoyingBLEACH and looking forward to each new chapter for quite a while now. This has also been an especially good few weeks if you're a Rukia fan.
The design of Rukia's bankai is really elegant, and I love that she has such an overwhelming victory here. It breaks my heart that the appearance of the new bankai is just so brief. Though before anyone starts throwing tantrums, I really don't think that Kubo would tease Rukia's bankai ability and the hint of the dangers behind it if this was the only time we'd get to see it. There are plenty remaining Stern Ritter for her to face in the coming weeks of this finale arc. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Rukia battles the revivedBambietta & Friends.
Rather than leave the story there, we move on to a new battle and villain that brings back memories of those aliens from the Matt Smith era of DOCTOR WHO. That isn't a complaint. I actually like the idea of a villain that just vanishes from your mind when you can't see them, but that's not what really interests me the most. There has been a hint of terrible power in the adorable Yachiru for years. Maybe this is just the battle we need to draw it out. That has me excited.
Having Rukia's bankai seen ever so briefly makes me both excited and a touch worried. I'm drawing back to memories of how Unohana's bankai was shown with zero explanation as to what was going on. However, the context is different in this more recent case. The Unohana bankai probably won't appear because she "died", and Rukia is still very much with us.
This isn't so much a critique of this chapter, but mark this up as yet another in the ever building stack of moments that would make me really sad if they were to never be animated and voiced. Not solely for myself, but think of the actors. They spend a decade invested in their role, but denied the opportunity to really close out the arcs between characters. This chapter here has such a great moment betweenByakuya and Rukia.
I used to always advise people that BLEACH reads far better collected in volumes than it does week to week. Kubo has a good story to tell but seems to suffer pacing issues. That's not a problem I've been having with this series in quite a few weeks. It's been consistently good for almost all of this war arc. It's a little deflating to have Rukia's bankai only teased at, but I hold out a strong hope that this wont be the last time it's seen. The chapter also skips pretty well into a new event that has some excellent potential. I hope you enjoyed this one as much as I did.
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