There are a lot of people who pretty rightly complained that BLEACH should have ended before the Fullbring arc, but I personally like where that took Ichigo as a character. Not that I can't understand the complaints people had with it. If Kubo had done that, we would have never seen many of the great reveals we've been seeing these past few weeks.
The realization that's dropped on our heads in this issue is world shattering. The man we thought wasZangetsu is a fake. There are going to be people who'll roll their eyes, but I have faith that this was part of the design all along. The pieces just fit too perfectly.
The thing that frustrates me in this chapter is that we have so many characters thrown at us, but we still aren't even sure what their names are. I would like some proper introductions for this band of beauties that aid Oh-etsu in forging a zanpakuto. We've met Meraearlier, but is that her real name or just some nickname. It really makes me appreciate how Oda will give a title card when a new character appears.
The only part that I don't feel that was well explained is how the Hollow that infected Masaki came to become a part of Ichigo's powers. Was it when he was born, or was it transferred to him after her death.
And the award for most improved shonen series goes to Tite Kubo's BLEACH. I was becoming so down on BLEACH, but it's truly had aFREAKY FRIDAY- esque switch with NARUTO. Chapters such as this one are one of the reasons why I enjoy reading manga over most mainstream comics. We get twists in the plot that actually feel earned. I can't wait to read next week's chapter to learn more about how things are going to change for Ichigo.
Here's a conundrum that I'm left with. Since he's not Old Man Zangetsu, do we now call him Young Man Yhwach??