Just as promised in the previous chapter, this week with Bleach 487 we got to see both Ichigo and Urahara, and even some colour panels like the one above! But aside from the awesome colour pictures of Urahara, how was the chapter itself?
My first impression of it wasn’t that great to be honest, compared to previous weeks it just didn’t seem as good. Upon reading through it again though my opinion of it is a bit more favourable. I loved the colour panels with Urahara and Ichigo as you probably guessed, and was more than happy with them. Urahara was his usual silly self at times which always makes me laugh, and in what was a mostly serious chapter this kind of humour is a welcome distraction.
In this chapter we do get to see Ichigo, Urahara and Nel etc go to Hueco Mundo like they had planned in the last one. When they get there, the first thing they notice is that they are surrounded by the dead bodies of Arrancar who had been killed during the Vandenreich’s invasion. The group soon notices that there are a group of Vandenreich gathering yet more Arrancar just as the king had previously requested. The Arrancar are seen being dragged away, and when Ichigo asks what will happen to them, Pesche answers that they will be taken to a camp and be divided in to two groups – one that will end up becoming abducted and held prisoner, and another where they will all be killed immediately.
Without hesitation, Ichigo stands up and says he is going off to save them too, despite Pesche telling him to wait and saying Dodonchakka wasn’t amongst the ones captured. Ichigo replies by saying that it doesn’t matter, and that he will still save Dodonchakka but that in the meantime he might as well save these captured Arrancar as well. Urahara jokingly comments about how he wonders if Ichigo realises that not too long ago these people were his enemies, but Chad comments on the fact that they all know it doesn’t make a difference, as with the type of person Ichigo is he always wants to save people. Everyone else then begins to follow after Ichigo who had rushed ahead while they were talking.
We then see the supervisor/captain of the Vandenreich’s hunting team – Kirge Opie – who is watching as all the captured Arrancar are made to line up in front of him. A couple of the hooded Arrancar debate amongst themselves whether to go through with their plan or not, with it pretty much being agreed they would soon after. The person in charge then tells all the Arrancar that, starting from the right hand side, he was going to stab them all to death. He then asks if they absolutely wish to live, and to become their comrade, and that if they did, then they are to bow down in front of him and lick his boots.
One of the Arrancar asks that if he agrees to it right away, will they spare his life. He is then stabbed right through the chest, with the captain saying that anyone who fails to understand what he just said will end up the same, and that there is an admission test they all must pass. It’s so illogical even a couple of the other Vandenreich nearby are commenting on whether the captain had any real intentions of taking any of the Arrancar alive in the first place. Just as the captain is about to stab another Arrancar, his attack is knocked back by a sword, which is then pointed in his face.
The captain doesn’t even flinch, and comments that it’s weird they have their swords, as they were supposedly all removed from them. Then the cloaks are flung off by the Arrancar, who proudly proclaim themselves as aides of Aizen-sama, with them turning out to be Loly and Menoly. Despite their claims that they were superior, both Menoly and Loly are slashed and taken down in almost an instant by the captain. The other Vandenreich nearby asks if they should kill them both, but are told to instead keep them alive, but just give them a severe beating. He then comments to himself about Aizen, thinking that he must not have been worth much if he had such lowly people working for him, though at the same time remembering that even the much stronger Harribel was still no match for the Vandenreich king.
With his back turned, something is suddenly thrown at him, though he catches it without taking any damage all the same. As he turns around, he asks his attackers what they are. They reply by saying that despite badmouthing Harribel-sama, he doesn’t know who they are and refer to him as a useless underling. The people who attacked him turn out to be Apacci, Sun-Sun and Mila Rose.
So yes, that was the content of the chapter, and overall it was a pretty dark one. The Vandenreich of course are extremely oppressive and treating the Arrancar like crap. Anyone who is put in front of them is either cut down on the spot or else taken prisoner, so Kubo is actually doing a great job of making them come across as true villains and complete assholes.
Despite the claim at the end of the last chapter, there was no kind of fighting with either Ichigo or Urahara, so we will unfortunately have to wait a bit longer for that. This chapter did also show the return of more than a few familiar faces, though I personally am not particularly fond of any of the returning characters. But that said, with all the Arrancar members making returns recently, it does mean there is a pretty damn good chance that before long we will end up seeing Grimmjow return as well, and I know myself and plenty of other people will be genuinely delighted with that.
One thing that did piss me off (though in a good way if you get my point) was the way the captain of the hunting team badmouthed Aizen. Now I know Aizen acted like a jerk and trolled countless people, and for that some people dislike him, but I always liked him because he made for a great villain. He was someone who you could love to hate basically. The way he was basically being called weak or inferior by that piece of trash Vandenreich captain really annoyed me though, and made me wish so much that Aizen were free so he could go there, kick his ass, and have him begging for mercy.
Don’t get me wrong here, I am not angry with or criticising Kubo, in a way this is actually praising him. With Aizen he had almost that cool guy feel to him despite being a villain, someone who was just so powerful and hax that you could almost like him for it, but with the Vandenreich they are just being portrayed as purely loathsome and hateful pieces of trash. I have no problem with this, and being a villain is all about getting people to hate you, so in actual fact by getting me to hate them and get so angry with them is actually Kubo doing exactly what he set out to do, and I commend him for his writing.
But yes, it was an enjoyable enough chapter. It wasn’t the best in the world and far from my favourite, but with the colour panels, the few comedy moments, and the possibility of seeing more Arrancar return in the future, it certainly had its’ good points too.