Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Bleach Chapter 598 Review

The Shiba Clan and the Royal Realm

Just as Ichigo and Co are about to take off, Ganju comes charging in and we have a comedic moment between the two without a shred of acknowledgement of the Shiba name.

*sigh* Really, Kubo?  You have Ichigo interact with one of the Shiba again and you do not have it brought up that the two of them are related?  It was mentioned in "Everything But the Rain" that the two of them are cousins, so I think it would be a good idea to have at least one of them acknowledge it when they meet again. 

Never mind, that's not important at the moment.  What is important is why Ganju is there - he has a map of the path to the Royal Realm.  Although the text can't be made out, we see a series of rings of varying sizes on the scroll Ganju shows us, which appear to indicate some of the 72 barriers that are separating the Royal Realm from the Soul Society, so it is not just a straight shot into it even after the barriers are down.  You have to know the actual path to the Royal Realm to reach it, which raises the question of how Yhwach knows so much about the Royal Realm again.

It also makes it clear that the Shiba Clan, regardless of their status as a "fallen" Clan, are still closely linked to the Royal Realm and its functions.  It makes me wonder when this relationship was set up to begin with, and what distinguishes the Shiba Clan from all the other Clans.

Now that Ganju is here with the map, they are now fully prepared to set off for the Royal Realm, and Urahara launches them - cannon and all, explaining why it is a one-shot deal.

Unneeded Flashback

The title of this section says it all - I feel Inoue's flashbacks were completely unnecessary, primarily because I don't see how the current situation is anything at all like when Ichigo and go were going to rescue Rukia outside of the people who are there.  The Royal Realm is under assault, the Shinigami are fighting against the remaining Stern Ritter, and here is Inoue busy waxy whimsical about how it's like "the old days" except for the fact Uryu wasn't there.

Nor did we need it repeated what Ichigo is going to do when he reaches the Royal Realm, because we all know already what Ichigo will do - try to defeat Yhwach and bring Uryu back. 

Which brings me to something else that just occurred to me.  They're talking about if "Ishida will come back with us" and "bringing him back with us" without even an understanding of why Uryu is there in the first place.  It is almost like the thought process is this: "Uryu's with Yhwach?  Then we must bring him back to his senses and we must bring him back to us." 

People have compared this to Naruto, but I will truthfully say this: at least Naruto knew why Sasuke left Konoha.  Ichigo and Co know nothing about Uryu's reasons for being there, yet they are already making assumptions.

I did not mention it in my original rendition of this review, but it is starting to feel like their words about Uryu just show how little any of them understand his character.  None of them have given any thought to why Uryu is with Yhwach, yet they have already decided on the "kick his ass and bring him back" routine.
That said, we also have a problem highlighted about Ichigo in his words about beating Yhwach: he's always half-cocked and arrogant like this.  Always thinking that he has the power to beat the newest enemy, especially after he has grown stronger in strength, which always leaves him flat-footed when the enemy overwhelms his efforts. 

In this case, I want Yhwach to do that.  He is not some light-weight who Ichigo can take down just like that, even after the latter attained his true Zanpakuto and trained in the Royal Realm; Yhwach is the Progenitor of the Quincy, and we have yet to see his full power yet. 

Besides, Yhwach spoke of "reclaiming the world in nine days", and this is only the second day of those nine.  I'll be fully satisfied when we see Yhwach knock Ichigo down a few pegs, and we'll see Uryu's words proven true: Ichigo can't stop Yhwach as he is now, and just going after him now will be equivalent to throwing his life away.

The Reputation of Senjumaru

Back in the Royal Realm, we see more explained about Nianzol's ability, and it is finally made clear that his "The Wind" refers to the "twisting, bending" version, not the "movement of air".  As we see, objects don't simply bend around Nianzol; they can also be bent and twisted themselves.  As we see him do it to three of Shutara's men, that even includes people.  With just a finger.

But Shutara has figured a way around "The Wind".  Using her soldiers as a distraction, she was able to retailor his Stern Ritter robe, and it now includes the insignia of the Royal Guard.

As Nianzol explained before, all the enemies he sees - either with his eyes or intuition - are bent and twisted away from him by "The Wind".  However, Shutara exploits this fact by modifying his very robes - one thing which doesn't bend away from Nianzol - which end off the chapter by seemingly impaling Nianzol from the inside as blood gushes out of the robe.

Damn, Shutara must be good to be able to weaponize clothing just by retailoring it mid-battle.
I'm not really of a mind-set to give this chapter a good rating today.  While we do have a reason for Ganju being there, and we see how Shutara has managed to deal with Nianzol's ability, the scene inside the cannon with Inoue's whimsical reminiscent just felt like padding.

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