God Knows How Long Shonen Catchup: Bleach 655-660, One Piece 810-814

Well, I say God Knows Long, but really it is a bit like two months (only 6 Bleach chapters) since I last made one of these.

Still, woops. Oh and this post is a real mess. I tried writing it as I was rereading the chapters, so it ended up really long and kinda boring! This post is basically just manga screenshots with large amounts of accompanying description.

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I might not bother making a post next week, so I can sync up with the Viz release schedule. It is a bit skeevy that I often talk about chapters that are technically not released yet.

Bleach

It is rather hard to talk about these several chapters of Bleach. Over longer periods of time, Bleach can operate in two different modes. Sometimes, the pacing is bad and a single fight is extended for god knows how long. And other times, like here, Bleach instead shows little snippets of many fights/events.

A lot has happened these past six chapters, but nothing terribly conclusive has come about as a result of it! I am just going to reread the chapters and provide commentary to make this easier on myself.

Stuff that happened:

  • Byakuya attempted to savagely own helmet guy. He would have succeeded had helmet guy not gotten stronger the more damage he took.
  • Helmet guy turns into a giant and beats up everyone. It was a nice little play on the standard powerup routine.
  • Helmet guy (Gerard) is apparently the Soul King’s (Reio in the Viz translation) heart.
  • By the time chapter 656 starts, annoying tolerance dude (Askin) has already defeated Ichigo because obviously Ichigo can only swing a sword without any actual thought.
  • Yoruichi shows up and ticks him off! She is da best. It is kind of interesting how Askin thinks “choking and killing someone when they can’t move” is cringeworthy and slowly poisoning them to death isn’t. The second sounds a fair bit more cruel to be honest.
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Look at that smug face.

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She is so cool. She deserves more page time.

 

  • Yoruichi uses Shunko! Raijin Senkei! (God of Thunder Battle Form or something) and the chapter ends with annoying Quincy dude receiving a nice big electric shock. Of course, this is Bleach, so he is still a-ok!

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  • Yushiro (Yoruichi’s little sibling) shows up and tries to play with her before annoying Quincy dude continues to be annoying.
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Stupid annoying Quincy interrupting a family reunion.

  • Yushiro is pretty strong and a boy (though that isn’t very surprising).
  • Of course, Askin is still alive. Annoying insect that he is.
  • We learn that even good good guys like Yoruichi take forever in comprehending a bad guy’s ability despite him explaining the entire thing. Classic Bleach.

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  • We switch back to Gerard’s scene of carnage. Hiyori and Hachigen are sneaking around trying to avoid him. I rather like Gerard. His power is simple, his mentality even simpler. His childish “I AM A STRONG BOY” attitude is refreshing!

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  • Hiyori calling him baldy and him responding that he isn’t is pure gold.

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  • Hiyori distracts him with a cero and other vaizards all jump in in a futile attempt to take him down. They fail, but are saved by none other than HITSUGAYA.
  • Hitsugaya and Gerard clash for a bit while Hiyamori looks on. You can marry him, Hiyamori. Lord Reiseng approves of this childhood friend ship. Just so you know. JUST SO YOU KNOW.

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GOD. Bleach is so unbelievably stylish. Kubo has fantastic aesthetic sense.

  • We get an Ishida flashback. He saw his dad performing an autopsy on his mother. Woah, that is fucking brutal. I can totally understand him not wanting to be a doctor after that.

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  • We get to see a conversation between Ishida and Ichigo and man, I love it so much. I have said this before and will say it as many times as necessary, but Bleach has a lovely cast. The core characters are really rather great and it is almost a shame all we really see is them fighting because the character relationships and dynamics have so much potential. Ishida – Ichigo is largely unexplored, but the two are rivals, foils and most importantly friends. Man, it is an excellent friendship and I am glad we are getting to see how despite the current problems, the two will always be great friends.
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These two are normally just bicker, but look at Ichigo here. He doesn’t force Ishida. Ichigo lets Ishida know that it is okay and he doesn’t have to elaborate on something painful. This is so sweet. Behind his brash front, Ichigo is actually really sweet and caring towards his friends. ;_____; I love bits like this.

  • Ishida mets Haschwalth, who now possesses moustache-kun’s (the Quincy King) powers. Haschwalth rambles about how he can see the future and how it is troubling. Ishida asks if Hasch saw him turn into a traitor and Hasch rambles around talking about how he found chips planted all over the Wahrwelt.
  • Ishida claims innocence, but is asked to prove his innocence as Hasch blows a hole in the wall.
  • AND THEN ICHIGO SHOWS UP.

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  • Chapter 660 opens with Orihime and Chad meeting up with Ichigo and Ishida.
  • Hasch asks Ishida to kill every last one of them (referring to Ichigo and the others) and claims Hasch can already see how Ishida will respond. Speaking of Hasch, this version that has access to his majesty’s powers is a bit annoying. The original one that had that sad flashback with Buzz B was a fair bit more interesting.
  • Ishida attacks the crew and Ichigo parries asking about Ishida’s intentions. Ishida destroys the floor sending the three one level down. He follows them and Ichigo confronts him. Naturally, Ichigo just wants to pound some sense into Ishida’s ass head.

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  • Ishida gives Ichigo a sun key that lets the Quincy teleport. A gate has already been set for the real world invasion (gotta invade the real world because why the hell not?). Ishida tells Ichigo to use it and take Ichigo’s friends back. This irked me a little because Orihime and Chad and maybe Rukia are Ishida’s friends as well!
  • Ishida reveals his master plan of taking down Wahrwelt himself by blowing it up.

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  • Ichigo gets mad and claims all they need to do is beat Yhwach, but Ishida clarifies that that is not possible and that these destruction chips were made by his master and thus he is the only one that can use them.
  • Ishida tells Ichigo to scram before Hasch notices, but WOOPS. He already did.

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Okay, apologies for the boring line by line summary. Those were some interesting six chapters. A whole buncha stuff happened and it was almost all fun. Bleach has been fun recently, and I do hope it stays fun. Bleach is normally at its best when it is kinda silly and when you can tell Kubo is just having a blast doing whatever the hell he wants.

One Piece

One Piece has been most excellent since the Zou arc started and these past four chapters have been the most engrossing in quite some time!

OP Jack

 

Chapter 810 opened with Jack in his human form. Jeez, this guy is scary looking and his appearance befits that of his 1 Billion bounty. Bepo and his crew are cool as are all of the Minks especially Nekomamushi and Inuarashi are really cool. It looks like the Minks would have eventually even beaten the monster that is Jack (Fighting for Five whole days!) had he not pulled out that killer gas.

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That gas thing was real cruel. Poor Minks.😦

We learned that the Minks were saved when Luffy defeated Doflamingo. That was when Jack left. We already knew that. The Straw Hats (Chopper, Nami & Brook) arrived the day after. They beat up and scared away the few Kaidou goons that were left behind. Brook was so cool here.

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Chopper, Sanji and Caesar arrive at a scene of carnage where Pedro begs him to save Nekomamushi (Cat Viper) and Inuarashi (Dogstorm). Those poor brave warriors and their cut of limbs. Jack is truly cruel and horrid.

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Chapter 811 opens with a really nice color page (opening image of this post).

Caesar is laughing about the gas admits that he made it. Chopper beats him up for it. Good ol Chopper. The Chopper abuse of Caesar these past few chapters is lovely. Sanji hears Nami’s scream, coerces Caesar into cleaning up the gas before rushing over and beating up one of Jack’s goons (Sheepshead). The sort of Sanji-Brook teamwork was lovely.

Caesar cleans up the gas and Chopper calls over the rest of the crew into the town. The others evaluate the scene before Nami is attacked by Wanda who thinks they are members of Jack’s crew.

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The misunderstanding is cleared up by Tristan and Pedro. It is also kind of cool how Wanda mentions the 1000 year Mink history (more possible history revelations coming soon!).

Chopper takes control and starts dishing out orders. Nami promises to not abandon anyone. We have a few pages of them running around treating people. The Straw Hats are so cool and caring. I love them.

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Franky’s reactions once more mirror mine.

The crew in the present leaves to go and check on the Cat Viper dude. They ride on alligators! So cool.

The SH decide to reveal the rest of the story to Luffy. Two days before the present, Big Mom’s crew (who had heard the destination of the SHs) arrive at Zou (only because Pekkoms is revealed to be a Mink from Zou!). Shocking!

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Chapter 812 opens up with a Nami home town reaction. We have seen this kinda reaction before, but it is hilarious seeing it again.

Nami trades clothes with Wanda (a Mink tradition) and that is why the Luffy and the others were confused when they first met Wanda wearing Nami’s clothes. Sanji naturally likes these new clothes and gets launched into space because of it.

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Caesar and Chopper are making medicine and Chopper is bullying Caesar by making him make more medicine. I still love how popular Brook is with the canine Minks.

Pekkoms is overjoyed at seeing that everyone he loves is still alive and well. They tell him the Straw Hats saved them.

The SHs encounter Pekoms (who was apparently an infamous problem child once) and Capone. Caesar begs to not be handed over to Big Mom. Apparently, he borrowed some grant money to do research, couldn’t finish it, lied, pocketed the funds and ran away (or well, got Doflamingo’s support).

 

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Sanji notes that if Caesar is all the Big Mom folk want, it is not a big problem, but Luffy picked a fight with them, so that might not be possible (and well, they busted up a ship as well). Sanji ignores Caesar’s assassination plan and goes down to meet them with Brook.

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Much to Sanji and Brook’s surprise, Pekkoms ends up super grateful for what the crew did. Pekkoms asks for Caesar and tells Sanji that Pekkoms will tell Big Mom the mission was a failure and “the Straw Hats escaped”. Capone ends up shocked and claims Pekkoms lost his mind. Pekkoms says he will take the fall because he can’t do anything to the people that saved the lives of his family.

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Capone calls him a clown and shoots Pekkoms in the back. Capone unleashes people from his belly and surrounds Sanji and Brook. He reveals that he has captured Nami and Chopper and the coerces Caesar out of the sky with a fake threat of sea prism bullets. The five of them find themselves in Capone’s stomach. Capone offers them dinner and wine before offering Sanji an invitation.

Sanji is invited to a tea party. The main event is a wedding. The wedding is between Sanji (third son of the Vinsmoke Family) and Pudding (the 35th daughter of the Charlotte family).

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I am going to a second here from the line by line read and claim:

HOLY FUCKING SHIT

As we confirm in the next chapter, this is why Sanji’s Wanted Poster was “Wanted Alive”. Big Mom or at least Sanji’s old family is interested in him. This was a really shocking reveal! We knew Sanji was going to get a hell of a lot of focus this year, and this is where it all begins.

Right. Chapter 813. It opens with a shot of happy laboon. Good ol Laboon. I am glad to see he is happy about the Straw Hats and Brook.

Nami and Chopper are aghast at the idea of Sanji getting married. Brook recognizes the Vinsmoke family name, but figures it can’t be what he thinks it is. Sanji makes a few, very serious faces as he almost burns down Capone’s castle via his cigarette.

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Capone clarifies that it is Sanji’s family that is behind the wedding and Nami recalls Sanji mentioning that he was born in North Blue. Brook points out how big a deal this is because it is pretty hard for someone to go from North Blue to East Blue. And we also get confirmation that Pudding is a daughter of Big Mom and that if he does so, the rest of the crew will become members of Big Mom’s crew by association.

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Sanji rejects the marriage and points out that the Straw Hats have no interest in joining Big Mom. After all, Luffy is the man who will be kind of the pirates (more on this in a bit, but this was SO FUCKING COOL.)

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I died.

Capone clarifies that they have already been captured and are on the move and demonstrates his ability to manipulate the castle. Capone’s Advisor, a guy called Vito the Phantom Gun talks about how one can simply not reject Big Mom’s Tea Party and then he whispers something in Sanji’s ear.

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That tongue!

Sanji is shocked at their information, but Capone clarifies that well, it is Big Mom. She is an Emperor after all. Sanji asks for paper and leaves behind a message. He talks about how his past has caught up to him and proceeds to kick Nami, Brook and Chopper outside (leaving Caesar -much to Caesar’s dismay- inside).

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lol Caesar

Sanji puts a gun to Caesar’s head and threatens Capone. We also get a clarification that yeah, Sanji’s Wanted Poster said “Only Alive” because someone wants that to be the case. Outside Cat Viper approaches Capone (the strong presence Sanji sensed earlier). Capone tries to word his way out of a confrontation and Nami desperately tries to get Sanji to stay. Sanji tells her this is his problem and to tell Luffy and the others that he will be back. Capone “tanks up and runs away.

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MY BABY SANJI ;______; ;______;

Sanji has no intention of returning until he sorts this mess out.

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Okay, right. This is getting tiring. I am going try to run through 814 real quick and move on to other things.

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As the Straw Hats go to meet up with Cat Viper, Brook has a final little addendum to the previous chapter’s flashback. Cat Viper hush hush Sanji’s capture because he figured that was what the SHs wanted.

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SUCH A COOL CAT. I loved Brook’s song about him too.

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Luffy is still confused by Sanji’s message and wonders if Sanji will bring back his bride. Brook points out how this would lead to the Straw Hats assimilating under Big Mom. Sanji obviously wouldn’t want that, so Brook expresses concern that maybe this means he will leave the crew. Luffy exlaims that him doing so would be worse than being a part of Big Mom’s crew. I loved that. I loved how Luffy’s love for Sanji outdoes his love for autonomy.

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The Straw Hats talk a bit about Sanji’s family and Nami wants to apologize for not being to hold him back, but Robin assures her that it wasn’t Nami or the others fault and Zoro couldn’t care less.

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Zoro continues to point out that the crew is in a bit of a hard place right now what with Kaidou now on their tail (for destroying Dofa’s factory). He then hates on Sanji for getting them involved with Big Mom as well and subsequently suffers Nami’s anger for it.

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Zoro is only looking out for the crew. He doesn’t truly understand that Sanji did his best to minimize damage (I assume if Sanji didn’t leave, the crew would receive Big Mom’s total, undivided attention), but more so, I think he is just being a bit brash as expected.

Luffy says they should just go and ask Sanji and everyone else immediately points out they can’t just march in to Big Mom’s place without a plan. At which point, Luffy suggests sneaking in. lol, Luffy.

Chopper points out they could still figure out how to get there when Pekoms wakes up. The crew arrive at the forest and meet the forest Mink (the ones who attacked them initially many chapters back) and Pedro.

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Pedro gets close to Luffy and “whispers” that Pekoms has woken up. More importantly, Chopper meants a Mink with antlers AND FALLS IN LOVE. OMG SO CUTE.

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Chopper goes and meets Cat Viper WHO IS EATING LASAGNIA WHILE TAKING A BATH USING A SPOON WITH HIS NOW MISSING ARM. OMG I LOVE THIS CAT. He hugs Usopp and Robin in gratitude for saving the Minks. OMG I LOVE THIS CAT.

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Naturally Chopper scolds him. Cat Viper gets in a bed claiming he is only doing it because he wants to and not because he is injured. Chopper gives him a shot and at that point Viper Cat asks for a distraction. OMG I LOVE THIS CAT.

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Luffy and Nami meet up with Pekoms who has woken up (by somehow dodging half of Capone’s attacks). And Pekoms reveals to them that Sanji’s Vinsmoke family is a family of assassins. Woah.

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Impressions

OMG. SANJIIIIIIIIIIII. I feel like I echoed most of my thoughts well enough in the summary above, but the new characters in this arc are fantastic. Cat Boss is the absolute best. I love him. He is so huggable and amazing.

For a long time, One Piece fans have been upset with Sanji. Minus one or two cool moments (like him asking Luffy if they can attack Big Mom’s ship), he hasn’t had many cool moments since Thriller Bark. Combined with some of his attitude towards the Okama folk and a few of the woman jokes, people were getting rather fed up with him. This, this looks to be the turning point in Sanji’s character.

Please, One Piece. Make Sanji cool again! When it was suggested that the Straw Hats would become part of the Big Mom crew, Sanji retorts.

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It is always amazing seeing a Straw Hat showcase their loyalty to their captain, but seeing Sanji do it was downright amazing. Sanji is cool again. Sanji is back. I am sure Sanji loves the crew (honestly, this entire arc, he has been very responsible and taken a leadership position in place of Zoro), but it was so good to see him say that line. I, don’t even.

And then there was the “I will be back” line. Dear Lord, Sanji. You are so cool. Please stay cool. One Piece has been so fantastic these past few chapters. I am really hyped for where it goes from here on. Do the Straw Hats spend more time on Zou, fixing stuff up, or do they depart and try to hunt down Sanji? Either way, I am hyped, but I really want to see where the Sanji thing ends up.

Oh and some folk are guessing that Pudding is the three eyed girl we saw many chapters ago. This would make sense too because Sanji has a lot of connections to the number 3. (Third Straw Hat, Third Son and “San” in Japanese means three as well). Cool stuff! Oh and it is also cool how some of this has been choreographed for a while.

Sanji has always been hesitant to talk about his past. He mentioned being born in North Blue, but then quickly changed topics and that was near the start of One Piece. Apparently, he also mentions this in the Strong World movie (I heard this on the OP podcast). Sanji has also been without a surname for a really long time, so I think we were always meant to get some kind of backstory for him. Sure, we know he met Zeff, but apart from that, we know little more.

For a long time, folk have hypothesized that Sanji was a noble, but as the latest, as of yet unreleased, chapter reveals, he is actually the son of an Assassin (or some other criminal if the Viz TL differs) family. That is cool! Why would Big Mom care so much an Assassin family? I am not really sure, but I can’t wait to find out.

Also cool to think about is who the next Straw Hat will be. I don’t buy into the Caesar theory (though he has grown on me a lot!), but apart from him, I am not really sure who else could join. Someone on the OP podcast suggested Pekoms and that would be rad, but in truth, I want a girl to join.

Anyway, apologies for the large ass post. See you later. Oh and it is my birthday, so, uhh, yay?!

 

 

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