Bleach 611 Review – Death of the Soul King
Written by: ClayDragon
Normal service has been resumed (again).
I’m back, everyone! For good this time! Sorry for taking so long, but I assure you that it won’t happen again. Like last time, I’m just going to review the most recent chapter, and then talk about the interesting developments that happened whilst I was away.
As Ichibei’s head hits the floor, Yhwach walks past his legs, which have remained standing. He then boasts that he killed Ichibei three paces away from the boundary that his opponent had previously set. He then reveals that the rest of Squad Zero were defeated offscreen (we don’t see who did it or how, sadly) and restates his aim to kill the Soul King.
|You utter wimps.|
A few minutes later, Ichigo’s group crash-land into the battlefield and all of them emerge unscathed from the cannon (except Ganju, who was left out when Orihime protected everyone). Chad comments that it’s too quiet and wonders if the battle is already over. Ichigo puts two and two together when he spots Ichibei’s head on the ground, and Orihime rushes over to try and resurrect him with her powers.
|"I just didn't think you were important enough."|
Before she can do so, Ichigo hears Ichibei’s voice inside his head which asks him to say the monk’s name. He does so, and Ichibei’s eyes open and his body begins to reassemble itself in front of Orihime, traumatizing the poor girl even more. He climbs to his feet and thanks Ichigo for saving him, explaining that he was able to receive a small bit of power from Ichigo when his name was spoken, and this power enabled him to rebuild his body.
|"Wait, what is your name? Did you ever tell me your name?"|
Ichibei then asks Ichigo to stop Yhwach, as even though his body has been healed, it would take too long for him to regain his powers. As such, Ichibei must rely on Ichigo and his team to save the Soul King. Given that without the Soul King’s stabilising presence every single world will collapse into nothingness, this is quite the task. With this in mind, Ichigo’s group runs towards the Soul King’s palace.
|YOU HAD ONE JOB GUYS.|
They’re too late. The Soul King is hovering inside what appears to be a crystal cocoon, and a sword has just pierced through it and impaled him in the chest. Yhwach looks on and bids farewell to him, saying that he has seen the future. He ends his speech by calling the Soul King his father.
|"I have failed as a parent."|
Okay, this is the part that’s going to take forever, so it’s time for a speed-run through the most noteworthy events in the last eight chapters that I missed. Hold onto your hats:
From the looks of things, it would appear that both Bazz-B and Liltotto were not only able to survive the Auswählen, but they seem more determined than ever to keep on fighting. It’s good that the remaining Sternritters are going to get more focus (and the fact that they’re my favourite Quincies makes it even better), and I’m wondering if they may switch sides and help the Soul Reapers. After all, their boss just stole their powers and left them for dead, so they may be feeling somewhat annoyed.
|Please don't. I actually really like you guys.|
It was good to Shunsui and Ukitake again, even if they didn’t do too much. This ‘Kamikake’ thing that they were talking about intrigued me, as it wasn’t made clear what it was meant to do. It apparently translates into ‘Divine Presence’, but beyond that we have no clues. It seems to be more closely linked to Ukitake, as we see his shadow lengthen into the image of an eye, so it could be something to do with his Bankai. What puzzles me is that it’s spoken about as if it’s another line of defence against the Quincies, but that raises the question of why it didn’t activate sooner.
|Well, that's not creepy at all...|
Another mystery is why Shunsui is going to the Central 46. Granted, this isn’t much of a mystery – anyone with two brain cells could guess that it’s related to Aizen – but it does bring up the question of how Shunsui can get there. The Soul Society was replaced by the Vandenreich’s headquarters, so surely the Central 46 buildings would have been replaced too. The only alternative is that the buildings are located outside of the Soul Society – or the terrifying possibility that the buildings were replaced, and Aizen is now free to roam the battlefield.
|Kubo, you fucking tease, just give us Aizen already!|
So Yoruichi has a sister now, the arrival of which also coincided with the return of the Visoreds. I have to admit, this came out of nowhere. We’ve never seen any hint of Yoruichi having a family outside of her relationship with Urahara, and it raises the question of whether or not they were in contact with each other during Yoruichi’s exile. After all, Sui-Feng was furious with her, but the way Yuushirou reacts it implies that she cares a lot more about Yoruichi. I guess they could have talked offscreen whilst Yoruichi was absent, but it seems like quite a random occurrence.
|WHO ARE YOU AND WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN.|
The fight between Yhwach and Ichibei has been one of the best ones in recent Bleach memory, as it really shows just how powerful the head Soul Reaper and Quincy actually are. Ichibei’s ability to not only crush someone’s vocal cords, but also remove a person’s power and very name is a terrifying thought, which isn’t helped by his evident love of fighting. In fact, anyone coming into the series blind would have a hard time determining who the villain is if they were to see this fight without any context.
|"Wait stop I changed my mind please don't hurt me."|
I still don’t know exactly how his power works, however. He claims to be able to manipulate the ‘blackness’ of the world, but it isn’t clear what that means. Does he mean it in the sense of an evilness in people’s hearts, or does he mean it in terms of the colour? Neither of those options offers a reasonable explanation of how he can change names at the drop of a hat. The appearance of Ichimonji – a giant paintbrush – seems to imply that it requires the colour black, but given that Ichibei states that he stole one hundred nights of darkness from the Soul Society’s future, it remains unclear whether or not he was being literal.
|So can I just book a room here, or...?|
On the other side of the conflict, Yhwach doesn’t disappoint either. This fight, more so than any other, seems to serve purely as a method to convey exactly how powerful and badass he is. In the space of a few chapters, he shoves his fingers directly into his own throat to restore his lost voice, he uses a giant spirit arrow to shoot himself in the stomach and fire him back into the battle, he resists Ichibei’s efforts to halve his power, and he effortlessly throws off his new name of Black Ant and declares his name to be Yhwach. And all but the last of those are without him even awakening his true power.
|I just got shivers.|
Speaking of which, his letter of ‘A’ – ‘the Almighty’ – seems to grant him both near-omniscience and near-omnipotence. His power seems to skyrocket, but most importantly he gains the ability to see into the future. However, it does seem to have one flaw, in that despite him being able to predict all of Ichibei’s moves and speeches, he doesn’t seem to have seen his resurrection at the hands of Ichigo. Either that, or he just didn’t care enough to stick around. Whilst the whole ‘three pupils in one eyeball’ looks a bit stupid, the effects are undeniably awesome.
|Hey, look! You can see the top part of his spine!|
Finally, we have the main reveal of this week’s chapter: Yhwach is the son of the Soul King. Oh, and he stabbed him, but that’s a secondary concern. This actually goes a way to establish why Yhwach is so powerful – he has the blood of the most powerful spiritual being flowing through his veins. This also explains why it’s so easy for him to absorb the life forces of dying Soul Reapers. If the Soul King is the progenitor of all Soul Reapers, then they all have a fraction of his power within them, and by extension that power also belongs to Yhwach. No wonder he can take powers and Bankai so easily – he’s like the uncle of all Soul Reapers. Now that’s a twisted family tree…
|"I raised you from birth and this is how you repay me?"|
Chapter 611 Review – Death of the Soul King:
Good Things: Ichibei survived being annihilated.
Ichigo and co. have arrived at the battlefield.
Yhwach actually outdoing Aizen and attacking the Soul King.
The reveal of Yhwach’s parentage.
Bad Things: The rest of Squad Zero was defeated offscreen.
Manga Rating: 4/5
|"My beard! My glorious beard!"|
ClayDragon is currently studying Physics at university, and is constantly bewildered by it. The main method of contacting him is his Gmail account at firstname.lastname@example.org. The alternative is his Skype account at kyleroulston1993, but he doesn’t use it that much. When not playing games or reading, he can be found with his head in his hands whilst trying in vain to understand quantum physics. He also has difficulty with every branch of physics, ever. Stay tuned for more anime reviews and Top 10s, all from yours truly! And Shiggins.