As you probably guessed, this chapter has the funeral of Sasakibe in it. I want to praise Tite Kubo though, because considering what an incredibly minor role the character played in the series, it still felt emotional because of the way Kubo wrote it. Byakuya is with Renji and gives a little speech about the kind of man Sasakibe was, and basically it went a long way to showing how loyal and dedicated he was to working with Yamamoto. Yamamoto himself, in a rare turn, is shown to be upset over it too. When he has his back turned to everyone else, it’s clear Sasakibe’s death has made an impact on him, with even Byakuya commenting on how he doesn’t know how Yamamoto must be feeling at the moment.
Moving on, we also found out a little more about what has been happening with Hueco Mundo. As well as Nel’s return, in this chapter we also see that her friend Pesche has come to the human world as well. It’s explained that after the deaths of Starrk and Baraggan, Harribel became the new leader. However, Hueco Mundo was invaded during this time and she was dragged away, while Dondochakka was also kidnapped. Elsewhere, we get to see a bit more from the Vandenreich king, who is seen talking with one of his men. The white haired guy is looking at Ivan’s medallion and comments on how it seems like Ivan couldn’t capture Ichigo’s Bankai. The king then says that it seems like they will need to use a special way to get him, and then orders that the hunting unit of Hueco Mundo is sent out to bring him a few more “idiots” to use.
Back in the human world, everything has clearly been explained to Ishida, Chad and Orihime. Chad immediately knows that this means Ichigo will want to go to Hueco Mundo to rescue the prisoners and says as much, but then Ishida tells them that this time he won’t be joining them. He doesn’t give any reason, but Ichigo doesn’t make a big deal out of it and seems happy enough, saying that he won’t need Ishida’s help anyway. Then, Urahara appears at the window and asks if he should arrange the trip to Hueco Mundo. The chapter ends with a guy in Hueco Mundo ordering some unseen people to keep moving and not to stop. Though with that said, the writing underneath flat out says that next time Urahara and Ichigo will be attacking the enemy army.
This was a really good chapter, and Kubo has delivered once again. The Sasakibe part was awesome as I said, and I loved the Ishida / Ichigo part too. This is a great way of hinting at a possible turn from Ishida, or at the very least having thoughts or doubts about certain things. Since Ishida has helped and backed Ichigo in practically every situation he has ever been in, it does raise questions as to why he is opting out this time. Of course we can guess because he is a Quincy he will play a big role somewhere down the line, and as an Ishida fan I welcome this possibility. I have been wanting more panel time and more of a main role for him for ages, and if he does end up siding with the Quincy it will be very interesting indeed.
I am also extremely excited to hear that Urahara and Ichigo will be fighting in the next chapter. Considering how rare it is for Urahara to physically get involved, this should be a real treat and a real epic moment. It also goes to show how serious things must be if Urahara is willing to get involved again, only previously doing so during the Aizen arc.
I am very excited by a lot of possibilities with this arc in all honesty, Kubo has done a brilliant job thus far and I can forsee that will continue since it is to be the last Bleach arc. A lot of major events are going to happen over the coming chapters, and I can’t wait to see them unfold. With this arc so far, Tite Kubo is showing Kishimoto just how a war should be written.