Home BLEACH: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 20 — Kenpachi Unleashed

BLEACH: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 20 — Kenpachi Unleashed

Once again, BLEACH: Thousand-Year Blood War, Part 2: The Separation has taken the original source material and elevated it to a degree I never would have seen coming. This week’s episode, just like the prior one, featured incredible voice acting and a showcase of powers we’d never seen before. Also similar to prior episodes was a Quincy with a seemingly insurmountable and borderline cheat code of a power—but this time it was one matched up against perhaps the worst enemy possible. Rukia’s fight and the fight this episode seem to intentionally place people who share certain traits against one another. In the prior case it was two people who were desperate for someone’s approval and fought to ensure they’d have it. This episode focuses on a clash between two people who can definitely be considered “the strongest.”

Spoilers ahead for BLEACH: Thousand-Year Blood War, Part 2: The Separation episode 7 I Am the Edge

Powers of the Mind

Yachiru’s initial encounter provided excellent framing for the key elements of the rest of the episode’s battles. Gremmy’s creation, Guenael Lee, starts off the fight by showcasing the ability to vanish and erase his presence completely, even from the opponent’s mind. This goes beyond the standard shonen meaning of this skill. He isn’t merely quieting his movements or slipping into shadows. Instead, he is quite literally vanishing from someone’s mind. Yachiru, rather hilariously, just attacks him multiple times on pure instinct and manages to hit him multiple times even before unleashing her Shikai ability. Guenael’s abilities, and thus Gremmy’s by extension, require them to think and formulate ideas in their mind. Instinctive actions supersede the thinking that slows down reactions, meaning this battle is really more of a contest of reactive ability than anything else.

This was an excellent chance to see Yachiru fight (she never really does, even in the original BLEACH anime) and an excellent set up for a reformed Zaraki. Zaraki previously was holding himself back subconsciously to prolong fights and keep himself from becoming bored from the solitude of supremacy. Gremmy has never fought anyone at all due to how (supposedly) obvious it is that he’s the strongest. On the surface, his use of his power is relatively limited. He can imagine anything, including his opponent’s bones as cookies or the space around them as the vacuum of space. This power should enable him to do something as overpowered as imagining someone doesn’t exist, imagining they’re a pebble, or imagining they died instantly. But that’s what makes this fight so fantastic. Zaraki is so wildly fight addicted that he awakens the same passion in Gremmy to the point where he becomes determined to overwhelm his power with his imagination. All of his used abilities are either to bolster his own abilities or alter Zaraki’s surroundings, pitting the two together. Almost ironically, Zaraki’s bold attacking style after learning to not weaken himself causes the most overpowered enemy in the series to date to weaken himself. The vocal elements of this episode show excellent contrast between how excited Zaraki was during the earlier parts of the fight as he overcame impossible obstacles and how resigned he seemed at the end. Neither one of these two was given a kind of outcome they could appreciate.

The Original BLEACH Juggernaut Evolves

Luckily for us though, the fight leading up to disappointment for both fighters was incredible to watch. The manga version of this fight featured a lot more fighting, with other Quincy commenting on Gremmy’s meteors with annoyance and other Soul Reapers tossing out more generic shock lines at the fight itself. The BLEACH anime cut out the fluff in the absolute best way, making Gremmy’s actions a lot more fluid and expanded while showcasing how incredible Zaraki has become. His awakening of his sword is something that many people have been waiting years to see and it fits him perfectly. No frills, no wild ability, just a bigger blade that cuts stuff better. Cutting a meteor isn’t actually a massive deal in terms of BLEACH universe power (Ichigo in his fight against Aizen was casually cutting off the tops of mountains). What is impressive is cutting a meteor in one strike with enough power to completely shatter the meteor into fragments not large enough to significantly damage the infrastructure below them.

As amazing as Zaraki was this episode, we know there is a greater level of power he can reach. Bankai is typically around a 10x multiplier to strength at the bare minimum. Hopefully his bankai is coming soon. Either way he’s sure to give us incredible fights in the weeks to come.

If you enjoyed the episode, don’t forget to vote in our weekly poll.

Featured image and screenshots via Hulu.
© TITE KUBO / SHUEISHA, TV TOKYO, dentsu, Pierrot

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