Bleach 626 Review – The Holy Newborn
Written by: ClayDragon
So after last week’s Best Reunion Ever, the gang are ready to ride their glorified elevator up to the Spirit King’s Palace, with Yukio having the honour of pressing the button. As they begin moving upwards, Yoruichi tells them that when they briefly fought Yhwach before, she had planted another stake at the top of the Palace, and that (provided the Quincies haven’t noticed it) they should arrive completely undetected.
|"And if they have noticed it?"|
"Then we're screwed."
Chad then asks Yoruichi what power Pernida has, given that he(?) was able to break her arm without seemingly doing anything. However, Yoruichi doesn’t have an answer, and when Orihime laments the fact that they didn’t ask Ichibei about the Elite Guard’s powers, Riruka flips her lid. She explains that there’s no point in worrying about the past and tells Orihime to cheer up before she brings everyone else down. Riruka being Riruka, she ends up slapping Orihime with the ears of her bunny hood.
|True friendship, right there.|
Whilst Orihime is getting bitch-slapped by a piece of fabric, Ichigo asks Grimmjow why he defected to the good guy side. Grimmjow denies the fact that he’s changed sides, and explains that if Yhwach wins, then Hueco Mundo will be destroyed, and so he won’t be able to have a proper rematch with Ichigo. Ichigo agrees that this makes sense, although his smile does imply that he doesn’t truly believe Grimmjow’s excuse.
|You're secretly a decent guy, aren't you Grimmjow?|
Meanwhile at the Spirit King’s Palace, Haschwalth notes that the process has been completed, and Yhwach has completely absorbed the Spirit King. However, it looks as though the procedure has affected Yhwach in some way, as a black liquid-like substance is constantly flowing from his robes. As the Elite Guard arrive at the top of the Palace, Yhwach asks if Haschwalth is there. He then turns around to reveal that the black substance has covered the top half of his head, and a large number of eyes have sprouted over his face.
|"Thank goodness he's finished, we were getting bored of playing 20 Questions."|
This new sight shocks all of the Elite Guards except Haschwalth. On the other hand, Askin in particular is completely freaked out, both at Yhwach’s new form and Haschwalth’s completely apathetic attitude towards the transformation. Yhwach tells his soldiers that they shouldn’t be afraid, and that they should get used to seeing him in this form. Before doing anything else, he decides to give a display of his power and effortlessly destroys the surrounding area, causing the ground around the Elite Guards to crumble away. The four of them struggle to gain some sort of foothold, some more gracefully than others (I’m looking at you, Askin).
|How is Pernidas doing that? That's his head, so....what the hell is he?|
As he clings to a ledge for dear life, Askin pleads with Haschwalth to get Yhwach to stop before all of them fall to their deaths. Coming to a decision, Haschwalth kneels in front of Yhwach and points out that Yhwach is now the lynchpin of reality, and asks him to lead them to glory. Yhwach calls Haschwalth his first son and asks him to stand behind and follow him. With this, Yhwach decides to rebuild the Quincies’ home, and uses his new power to crush the Soul Society.
|This is the precise moment where Uryu realises just how hopelessly out of his depth he is.|
To be honest, I was expecting better things from this chapter. After last week’s excellent chapter, this one just felt like a letdown. For example, Yhwach’s new form looks pretty underwhelming – it’s as if someone has just thrown a blindfold or sleep mask over his eyes. With most Bleach transformations I can sort of understand the logic behind each new form – Aizen’s forms resembled a butterfly maturing from a chrysalis, for example – but I have no idea where Kubo is going with this.
|Who wore it better?|
Grimmjow’s explanation for joining Ichigo’s side made sense, and it fits his character, but I can’t help but wonder if there’s more to it than just his desire for a rematch. I do hope that Grimmjow has come over to the good guy’s side for real, as he would be much better as an anti-hero than he would be as a villain. Plus, Grimmjow is way down on the evilness scale when compared to some other characters in this arc, so I can’t see him going back to being a villain.
|"Have you got any antihistamines? My allergies are acting up."|
The fact that Yhwach is still emitting the black fluid is interesting, as it implies that he isn’t in full control of his power. Presumably he would be able to contain the fluid if he had complete mastery over the Spirit King’s power, so this might be paving the way for him to suffer an ‘overload’ or something similar at some point in the future. The fact that he has now taken the place of the Spirit King is worrying, as it means that no-one will be able to kill him without the universe being destroyed. So is he just going to end up being sealed away like Aizen? Because that seems rather anti-climactic.
|I couldn't resist.|
Given Haschwalth’s complete non-reaction to everything that happened in this chapter, I’m beginning to wonder if there’s more to him than meets the eye. Heck, he might not even be capable of emotions, going from what we’ve seen. However, the most interesting bit was when Yhwach referred to him as his first son. The obvious implication here is that Haschwalth is more closely related to Yhwach than any other Quincy, but how so? Was Yhwach speaking literally or metaphorically, and if he was being literal, then who was the mother?
|"I think I'd quite like to go home now."|
Finally, I’m beginning to come up with a theory about Haschwalth’s role in the story. Given that his letter most likely stands for ‘the Balance’, and that his one moment of emotion so far was showing concern for Ichigo when Yhwach stabbed him in the neck, it’s entirely possible that he might not be as loyal to Yhwach as we’ve been led to believe. After all, why would someone who represents Balance want to completely overthrow the balance of souls between the Soul Society and the World of the Living? Could Haschwalth be plotting to betray Yhwach at some point in the future? It would make for a nice bit of irony, considering Yhwach killed his father, only to be potentially killed by his ‘son’.
|This is the one time Haschwalth's face has shifted from 'stoic' to 'emotion'.|
Chapter 626 Review – The Holy Newborn:
Good Things: Riruka’s funny yet adorable attack on Orihime.
The possibility of the Elite Guards getting a bit more focus.
Yhwach is now even more ridiculously powerful.
Bad Things: No real progress on the good guy’s part.
Yhwach’s new form is…strange.
Manga Rating: 3/5
|*Elevator music plays*|
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. More Anime Reviews and Top 10s are on their way, guys.