BLEACH: Thousand-Year Blood War, Part 2: The Separation has brought yet another episode that I would say was perfectly adequate but not a whole lot else. Luckily, it lacked the unnecessary transphobic quips of last week while keeping a consistent amount of action and a rare entrance into combat by Kurotsuchi Mayuri. I mentioned in my review of last week’s episode that one of the more satisfying aspects of watching the scientists of BLEACH fight is how much they adapt to the various powers and circumstances of their opponents. In contrast to some innate or bestowed powers, which are often wildly strong without much justification or build up (bringing one’s imagination to reality comes to mind), these chemical attacks have the benefit of the audience slowly learning to understand effects. There’s an in-universe excuse for expository detail about the drug and we get to learn at the same pace as the adversary getting brutalized by the special weapon. Nice.
This week was more of that and a focus on the different mind control techniques available on the battlefield so far. Personally, I think it began to get old about halfway into the episode. I found myself focusing considerably more on the elements of the scene resulting from the mind control rather than the mind control itself, especially considering that zombified Soul Reapers lose opportunities to develop as characters or show their personalities. Let’s dive into it.
Spoilers ahead for BLEACH: Thousand-Year Blood War, Part 2: The Separation episode 10 Marching Out the Zombies 2
Hitsugaya the Test Dummy
Watching Hitsugaya fight in this episode was, hilariously, more entertaining than his earlier fights in the Thousand-Year Blood War arc. He primarily spent his earlier time spamming waves of ice. That was briefly the case during his fight with the squad 11 members as well, but it was bracketed by entertaining swordplay and much more decisive movement. Hitsugaya is perhaps the one example of a BLEACH captain whose combative potential might be significantly higher as a zombie; his tendency to lose confidence and behave sort of like an uncertain adolescent is gone here and he goes for the killing blow without mercy. Unfortunately, I don’t really like the drug used against him from an entertainment perspective. It’s not very well explained in the BLEACH anime or manga, but here is my best guess of how it works. It clearly isn’t the reality warping seen in NARUTO techniques like Izanami, as we see Hitsugaya’s ice reinforcements on his body stick around after “going to the past.” This has led me to believe that his brain basically fries a little bit every time he tries to kill Kurotsuchi and he freezes while experiencing a hallucination, while Kurotsuchi repeats his dialogue just to troll him. It’s just a sort of boring mechanic to me and I much prefer things like the “process reality so fast your body can’t keep up” drug from the Hueco Mundo arc.
We also got the (brief) introduction of Pepe Waccabrada, one of the more boring Quincy in my opinion. He appears to be some sort of comparative to Giselle since he also controls people and is capable of overriding her control. But, Pepe’s power is both pretty blockable (the royal guard cloak blocked it; Byakuya didn’t resist the ability himself and clearly loves his sword) and useless against anyone who doesn’t feel love. I’m relatively glad he instantly got eaten because any more of that power would’ve been annoying to deal with.
The Soul King Awaits in BLEACH
The post-credits scene saw Yhwach arriving at the Soul King’s palace and a teaser clip of a (likely) fight to come. There obviously isn’t much to analyze here yet, but I do have a few hopes about the next few episodes. One, I hope that there are extra scenes that weren’t present in the manga. I feel as though the extra training Ichigo got while at the palace, which involved extra dialogue from the royal guard, might suggest they get more time too. Two, we haven’t had a lot of Uryu bonus scenes in a while. I think he’s due for something special quite soon. Hopefully we’ll see it next week.
Featured image and screenshots via Hulu.
© TITE KUBO / SHUEISHA, TV TOKYO, dentsu, Pierrot