First Impression: Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Part 2: The Separation

Part two of the “Thousand-Year Blood War” arc opens with a baby—revealed to be Yhwach—being lifted up in the air and worshipped by thousands of reaching arms. As the episode proper begins, Yhwach in the current time looks out at the Quincy and announces that it’s time to destroy the Soul Society—and one more thing as well. As he brings Uryu Ishida out onto his platform, Yhwach announces that Uryu will be his successor, a surprise move that angers most of the Sternritters. But Yhwach believes strongly that Uryu, the only survivor of Auswalhen, is the right one to succeed him, and gives him a drink that will awaken his powers. Meanwhile, those opposing Yhwach are preparing for his second invasion: Chad and Orhime continue to train, as do Rukia and Renji; Byakuya has recovered and will enter the next stage of his training; and Hiyori agrees to assist after receiving a package from Shinji and Mayuri. Even Ichigo’s friends are made aware when Shunsui visits them especially to deliver tickets to take them to Soul Society should they no longer be able to see Ichigo in their world. And why would that be? Because, as Shunsui explains, Ichigo may become so powerful that he can no longer exist in the human realm without destroying it. But Ichigo must first hurry to complete his training to become something stronger than a Soul Reaper if he’s to meet the Quincies as they enter the Soul Society once again to fulfill the Kaisen Gesang, whose last, hidden prophecy is that the world will end in nine days.

Last season, we were all super pumped about the return of Bleach. Studio Pierrot delivered updated, cool animation and this new arc was exciting! I was excited, too, even though I knew that the best material in this arc would happen in the first part. The rest is the same ol’ Bleach. And you can see the cracks in the series already in this opening episode (well, you might have to squint to see them since the Game of Thrones “so dark you can’t see anything” look continues in part two). Episode one gives a little more insight into the Sternritters’ personalities (stay away from Bambietta…yikes!) and then jumps around to see what everyone is doing, including Ichigo’s pals on Earth. The sheer number of characters in Bleach and the significance that mangaka Tite Kubo places on each of them is a major weakness in the series. While he does a fine job creating memorable characters, he can’t possibly give each of them enough opportunity to live up to the expectations he sets for them and also keep the story flowing. And yet, he keeps trying. Like…why is Nel even in the series anymore? And Keigo? We all really know that there are only two major characters left: Uryu and Ichigo (which sucks for Orihime, Chad, and Rukia), the former of which is weak weak weak, so he’s given some blood or something to make him strong strong strong. And that’s weak. Sigh.

Will I be watching? Yep, you bet I will. I’m too invested to give up at this point, but my expectations are tempered, or rather, more in line with what I know from having read this arc in manga form. On the plus side, I do like how one can explore the themes of genocide and vengeance that are so heavy in this arc, as well as parallels to the Third Reich. There’s a lot to dig through here. The OP is pretty strong , too (though the ED is forgettable), as is expected from the series. Plus, RUKIA. More Rukia, please! At least we get to see her in this opening episode and she’ll continue to play a part in the arc, which is moving along at a nice pace. And that might be the best thing I can say at this point: at least we’re past the age of fillers and moving toward an end to this once-great series.

I kind of think these two are gonna fight

Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War can be streamed on Hulu in the US and Disney + everywhere else.


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