Howl from the Jaws of Hell
It’s the 20th anniversary of Bleach and Weekly Shonen Jump’s 35th issue decided to celebrate with a special Bleach One Shot manga chapter. The last chapter of Bleach saw the Kurosaki family open the Kurosaki Clinic, Yasutora “Chad” Sado becomes a famous boxer, Uryu Ishida became a doctor, Ichigo Kurosaki and Orihime Inoue have a son, Kazui Kurosaki, while, Rukia Kuchiki and Renji Abarai have a daughter, Ichika Abarai. The Bleach One Shot opens in the World of the Living. Apparently, Kazui keeps leaving his house during the night to meet some strange man. He takes him to a shrine and opens a gate to Soul Society.
It’s not clear how Kazui knows how to open this gate, not to mention how his powers work. If we assume his power is a combination Orhime’s and Ichigo’s then he may have very few limits. One issue I’ve always had with the children of powerful characters like Naruto (Boruto) and Ichigo is the next generation is always more powerful and their parents were already overpowered to begin with. In Soul Society, Ichika trains with Madarame at his Martial Arts Dojo. She’s arrogant, claiming that Madarame has “improved.” For his part, Madarame is well . . . abusive. He keeps calling her a “little shit.” Maybe I’m getting too old but I didn’t like him calling her names, at least “little shit.”
A New Soul Society
Anyway, Soul Society is preparing for the Soul Funeral Festival. Renji tells Ichigo that it’s a ritual that takes place every 12 years after the death of a Captain. Kubo uses the fact that Captains rarely die to cover the fact that we never heard of this ritual. It’s not a feasible argument, but it’s not necessary to make the argument either. I would have simply made the Soul Funeral Festival a new ritual and I think it still would have worked. After the Thousand Year War, Captain Commander, Captain Unohana, and Captain Unitake all died. Each one will receive a ritual. The vice captains capture a hollow in the world of the living and kill it in front of the grave of the captain. While the ritual may be an old tradition, Soul Society has been developing new technologies, TV’s, phones, and social media.
Rukia mentions that Soul Society now has TV’s invented by Urahara. Captain Kurotsuchi takes issue with this assumption. While using his new invention, holograms projected from a creepy bug. Kurotsuchi has implanted one of these bugs in each of the divisions barracks. Kurotsuchi tells the Vice-Captains it “time to capture the Hollow.” Kubo introduces two new Vice-Captains, Rindo and YuYu. Rindo is deaf and Yuyu has an unhealthy obsession with gyarus. Ichika sneaks into the World of the Living, where she has little time rejoice as a odd looking hollow appears unnoticed. None of the hollows have reiatsu making it impossible to detect without seeing them. Rindo’s Shikai is interesting, because he’s deaf, he can’t speak and needs to draw on his sword to give commands.
Rinko’s Shikai seems to be inspired by origami
Szayelaporro Granz returns
It appears he’s writes “taka (Hawk),” and his Shikai releases a group of hawks that tear the flesh of a hollow. Yuyu’s powers seem to be new. She doesn’t have a sword, instead uses her well manicured nails to create bear that takes chunks out of the hollows. Akon gets a moment. The third seat of the 12th division was rare in combat during the Bleach series. As the Vice-President of Shinigami Research and Development Institute, Akon uses science more than a sword. He pours a substance on the ground, he counts a series of numbers then utters the command “Ron (melt).” When Renji prepares to join the fray, he’s stopped by an old enemy, Szayelaporro Granz. The former 8th Espada was killed by Mayuri Kurotsuchi way back in the Hueco Mundo arc.
He’s been freed from Hell. When Szayelaporro seeks revenge on Renji and wants to start with his daughter. Ichigo interferes. Szayelaporro who never actually fought Ichigo threatens to kill him. Will-o-wisp from hell begin to fill the air in Soul Society. Kubo introduces the concept of “Reii” or “spiritual authority.” According to Shunsui, it’s a “unit of measure that used to be utilized by nobles,” . . . “it represents the concentration of reiatsu that resides in reishi.” the average division member is a Reii grade of 20, with Vice-Captains between 4 and 5, and Captains grade 3 or higher. When a soul reaper dies their bodies reishi returns to the Earth in Soul Society. However, Captain have a high concentration of reiatsu making a return to the Earth impossible.
Is Bleach Special One Shot just the beginning
In order for them to return the “Soul Funeral Ritual” must be performed. However instead of being sent to the Earth they’re sent to Hell. In the World of the Living, Szayelaporro explains the rest. The balance “has been broken.” Soul Society sent too much reiatsu to Hell, allowing the mouth of Hell to be forced open from the other side. Somehow Szayelaporro is able to return as a result. The chapter ends with a title page that seems to announce a new Bleach arc, Howl from the Jaws of Hell arc.
Considering how this chapter ended, I willing to bet that there will be at least a mini series at some point. Although, I’m also hoping that it is. Bleach Special One Shot has expanded the universe, but some of the additions felt forced. Tite Kubo’s art remains on of, if not the best in manga. Kubo seems to want at least one character with an disability. It was Tosen (blindness) now it’s Rindo (deafness.) Adding new ways to perform Shikai, non-sword combat, new characters, and ideas, Tite Kubo has inject new life into his stories franchise. It would be a shame if he didn’t complete the arc.