Hello, let us make this quick.
I lied about the quick part.
In this chapter, Kuchki Byakuya dies and Renji and Rukia end up incapacitated. Shortly afterwards, Zaraki Kenpachi shows up carrying a few dead Quincy on his back. The enemies reaction is a simple smile. It would seem that he was bored and wanted a bit of excitement. Most likely, in the next chapter, we will see the assistant fight Kenpachi, then when the assistant is about to lose (after severely injuring Zaraki of course), the boss will step in and destroy Kenpachi easily. Oh and we also learned that the Quincies can capture more than one bankai (at least two). All in all, I think that this was a good chapter. It kept my attention and it was a page turner or so to speak. Unfortunately, I do have a few complaints about Byakuya’s death that I will get to in due time.
[Note: It is possible that Byakuya did not die or that he will somehow, magically come back, but I am going to presume that he did die. The situation seems to dire for Kubo to pull a deus-ex on us.]
A few people were complaining that they dragged out Byakuya’s death, but I do not feel that his death was dragged out. It wasn’t done well mind you, but it was not dragged out. Had they simply killed Byakuya in the last chapter, it would have been far too sudden and more importantly, it would have been a shitty death with little to no chivalry on Byakuya’s death. As bad as this death was, at the very least, Byakuya died in a slightly more dignified manner.
I like to think that after Byakuya was slashed the first time this chapter, he fell into a death trance and everything started moving slowly. As he contemplated his life, he saw thousands of pretty sakura petals coming for him and he knew his time was over. That is how I try and imagine his death, but truth be told, that is all my own interpretation. Kubo gave almost no signs that is the kind of death he was showing.
Byakuya’s death was incredibly brutal. He was attacked by his bankai once last chapter and THREE times this chapter. That was totally overkill on the Quincy’s part. It was overkill and unbecoming. After he was blown away, the Quincy mercilessly shredded him. Forget letting giving him the chance to stand up again, the Quincy asshat pretty much tried his best to leave Byakuya’s body as unrecognizable as possible.
If I perchance have given you an impression of anger and not grief, it is because the death was just not that well done. There were no slow motion scenes, no flashbacks, no “I did my best, I leave the rest to you” and worse of all, the enemy had taken almost no damage whatsoever. Yeah, this kind of death is more realistic and far more fitting for an all out losing war, but come on! THIS IS SHONEN FOR PETE’s SAKE!
There is nothing particularly wrong with Shonen trying to be realistic, grim or even brutal, but to many, these characters are heroes. You don’t just kill a hero and expect to call it a day. There has to be a certain amount of buildup, a certain amount of retrospective and most of all, you have to give the impression that these guys died happy. This kind of death goes in the face of all that. Byakuya did not die in peace and just as importantly, his death was not “epic”.
I will however admit that his final line: “Renji…Rukia…I apologize” was awesome. It showed his more caring side; the side he never shows. On top of that, the phrasing of the sentence is so old fashioned, traditional and incredibly un-climatic for what just happened, that it carries with it some of that lovely Byakuya charm. It’s that attitude of “I don’t normally let people down, but I seem to have done that this time” that makes me love Byakuya so much.
I know I said that I wasn’t sad and while the death itself had little effect on me, the loss of Kuchki Byakuya hit me quite hard. You know how sometimes there is a particular movement, a piece of animation or an image that gets stuck in your head? It becomes so deeply entrenched, that you often walk away from what you are doing and just picture that moment again and again in your head.
Sometimes when I close my eyes, I think of Byakuya’s bankai. With no fuss, no desire to rush, Byakuya lets go of his sword. As it sinks into the ground, swords rise around him and decompose into Sakura petals. All of that beauty, all of that elegance starts with one phrase: “Senbonzakura Kageyoshi”. I hold those two words very close to my heart. So, how could I not be sad to know that the practitioner of such a magnificent technique is gone? How could I not be sad to know that one of the most amusing, badass characters in Bleach, no Shonen, is gone?
Of course, I am sad, but if Byakuya is gone, then so be it.
Tite Kubo, you have taken one of my favorite Shonen characters away from me, and your execution of his demise was disheartening, saddening and somewhat terrifying. You stole his pride, his courage, his dignity and most importantly, his sword. He died a man’s death, but he lived a warrior’s life. Kubo you have let me, your other fans and most importantly, Byakuya himself, down. There is nothing more I can say, but ask of you one simple favor.
I know that I am but a simple blogger, but all I ask is that when the time comes, when the Quincy have fallen, when this arc is over and peace restored, that you give Byakuya the greatest and grandest of funerals. I expect nothing less for the Captain of the 6th Division, Kuchiki Byakuya.
This was a good chapter, but there really isn’t much for me to say. The action was great. I really hope to see this animated. Well, the anime could totally mess up and draw out each little thing and ruin it for us all. Hopefully, this fight will be well animated because it is quite intense.
Naruto’s mini kyuubi technique was pretty cool. A shame that it didn’t connect. Gai was also exceptional this chapter. I loved how he blocked an attack that was aimed at his rear.
Kakashi was awesome like always. I am not totally sure of what he did, but to me, it looked like he polarized the rocks and used those to direct the direction of his kunai. Kind of cool if that is what happened. It is a shame his mangekyo did not work on the 10 tails thing. It would have been nice to have such an anti-climatic ending. No, really, I’d have liked it.
Toby is seriously strong. I have ranted about large scale techniques or overpowered techniques before. Toby’s “you can’t touch me” jutsu is most certainly quite overpowered, but he uses it with such precision and it is so well timed, that I can’t do anything, but admire him. His fighting techniques (including his use of that fan) are incredibly solid.
Something I really liked about this chapter was that while the stakes were big, the monsters and chakra levels huge, the fights were conducted in close quarters. The fight was a technical one and I really do want to see more of those. Actually, in some ways, this was more of a martial artist fight than it was a ninja fight. Regardless, it was quite awesome.
Hopefully, these guys will find a way to beat Toby and we can learn some interesting back story in the process.
One Piece 674
This was a fun chapter. I wasn’t expecting Brownbeard to come back, but I guess he did, though he ended up getting beaten again. Had he not intervened though, Nami and Usopp would have been dead, so, I guess, it is good he jumped in. Caesar’s ability is interesting. I thought he had just used some strange trick to knock Luffy out, but as it turns out, he actually starved Luffy of Oxygen. Now, how does one combat that ability? Maybe, they need to use long range attacks? It would also seem that Caesar needs to concentrate to drain out the Oxygen as is evident from Brownbeard’s interruption.
Now, the coolest part of the chapter though was the underground market announcement. Caesar is planning on selling this thing and he has quite the audience lined up for it. So, not only do we have those super strong weapons of legend, scientists like Caesar are developing powerful weapons of their accord. This is interesting. If a pirate got his hands on this genocide weapon, they could become quite fearsome and feared. It was interesting to see Kid watching the broadcast. I wonder what Caesar meant by “food” for Smiley. Also, when he said mass genocide weapon, he was referring to Smiley, right?
Oh and as others have pointed out, now that the island is being broadcasted live, Luffy can end up becoming even more infamous.
One Piece 675
Aww, it was nice to see one of the kids fight back. Too bad her actions will likely be meaningless in the end.
Now, we know why Law got taken out so easily. That is quite a scary deal he made with Caesar. Kinda makes you wonder about how important that “something” on this island is to law. I liked how he mocked Caesar and complimented Monet. That secretary really is on top of things. I also like how Slimey just doesn’t listen to his master. I was surprised to find out that Caesar hasn’t met with Slimey in 3 years. I guess, he kind of fears the monster he created, though he clearly pretends otherwise. It would appear that Caesar had made a monster that he can’t control. This will be a fun development to follow. Who would be interested in a monster that they can’t control? Well, maybe they will just want to unleash it upon some poor island.
I wonder if the Straw Hats will randomly encounter that mini dragon somewhere and use him/it.
Oh and Caesars faces are quite funny.