With the “Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War” anime currently on break, many fans are excited about how the story will unfold when the show returns in July 2023.
“Thousand-Year Blood War” will feature some of the most much-awaited moments that have not been revealed in past arcs, such as the bankais of some of the remaining Gotei 13 captains.
So without further ado, here are five things to watch for in the second cour of “Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War” and beyond based on events from Tite Kubo’s classic manga series.
Highly anticipated bankai
What quite possibly might be what most fans have been waiting for in “Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War” are the never-before-seen bankai.
In “Bleach,” all shinigami students are given nameless swords called zanpakutō once they start their shinigami training and before joining the Gotei 13, the military organization tasked with protecting Soul Society.
With enough training, a shinigami who learns the true name of their zanpakutō can release its first transformation, shikai. Furthering that bond can allow a shinigami to release the sword’s bankai, the weapon’s final and most powerful form.
So far, the only shinigami or characters known to possess a bankai are series protagonist Ichigo Kurosaki, the Gotei 13 captains, a few vice captains and a few characters that are not within those positions, such as Ikkaku Madarame.
That being said, the bankai reveal has become one of the most anticipated parts of “Bleach” among fans, and luckily the “Thousand-Year Blood War” arc has tons of that to go around.
Some of the bankai fans expect to see in the “Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War” second cour and beyond include those belonging to Kuchiki Rukia, Kyoraku Shunsui, Urahara Kisuke, Kepanchi Zaraki and the true bankai forms of Renji Abarai and Hitsugaya Toushiro.
Kurosaki Ichigo’s REAL power and true zanpakutō
Ichigo’s journey is one heck of a ride. From becoming a substitute shinigami after Rukia passed her powers onto him, to learning more about being a shinigami, to attaining bankai through training and saving not only the human world but Soul Society as well, he has come a very long way.
Interestingly, Ichigo pulled through all of those life-changing events without learning about his own unique heritage or having full knowledge about his zanpakutō.
Not only did the “Thousand-Year Blood War” arc finally reveal that he is a combination of almost everything in the series — Shinigami, Hollow and Quincy — the final arc also serves as the jumping point for Ichigo to showcase the full extent of his power.
Originally wielding one giant sword, Ichigo is now a dual-wielder like Captain Commander Kyoraku Shunsui and 13th Division Commander Ukitake Jushiro. Besides that, his new and complete bankai has also merged his Shinigami, Hollow and Quincy powers into one monstrous hybrid — at least briefly in the manga.
The Royal Guards’ brief action and sudden defeat, plus Ichibe Hyosube’ powerful bankai
Ever since thefirst mention of the Royal Guards, also known as the Zero Squad, in the “Turn Back the Pendulum” arc, many “Bleach” fans were intrigued by the mysterious group — until they were revealed to be such a comedic bunch in the “Thousand-Year Blood War” arc.
Whether it is in the second or third cour of “Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War,” it is to be expected that Yhwach (or Juhabach) — the progenitor of the Quincy race and the leader of the Wandenreich, the group of Quincies that invaded Soul Society — will eventually launch his attack on the Soul Palace, the area within Soul Society where the Soul King resides and is guarded by the Zero Squad.
During the assault, Yhwach’s most elite guards, known as the Schutzstaffel — the same name as Adolf Hitler’s personal bodyguard unit — will be facing the Zero Squad in battle, which will likely result in the Royal Guards’ quick defeat, as shown in the manga.
However, the main highlight of this part of the arc is Ichibe’s showcase of his overpowered bankai, or “Shin’uchi,” as he calls it, during his fight with Yhwach.
His Shin’uchi can essentially rename anything the black ink from his zanpakutō, Ichimonji, touches or covers, thus creating a false hope that he could potentially defeat Yhwach before the latter grotesquely defeats him.
Yhwach absorbing the Soul King and Ukitake’s sacrifice
Yhwach meeting the Soul King following the assault on the Royal Palace is definitely one of the most exciting events to look forward to in “Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War.”
This event in the arc will signal the beginning of the finale, as Yhwach transcends into a nearly omnipotent being after absorbing the Soul King’s power, thus upsetting the balance of reality itself and creating tremors felt not only in Soul Society but in the Human World as well.
Yhwach’s actions also result in the death of Ukitake, arguably one of the most beloved characters in the series. The 13th Division commander will eventually sacrifice himself to maintain the balance as he reveals to everyone that the Soul King’s right hand, Mimihagi, has been resting inside him all these years.
Villains becoming allies against the Quincies
In “Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War,” fans will also see the return of some of the most iconic villains that Ichigo has fought and defeated in the past, notably Espada member Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez and Ginjo Kugo, the leader of Xcution who Ichigo was forced to kill in the “Lost Substitute Shinigami” arc.
Other returning characters include Riruka Dokugamine and Yukio Hans Vorarlberna, who are two of the remaining living Xcution members and Fullbringers, and Kutsuzawa Giriko and Tsukishima Shukuro, Fullbringers who were killed by Zaraki and Kuchiki Byakuya in the aforementioned arc.
Fans can expect to see these former villains working alongside the shinigami against the Quincies in the final cour.
Many people might not know this, but NextShark is a small media startup that runs on no outside funding or loans, and with no paywalls or subscription fees, we rely on help from our community and readers like you.
Everything you see today is built by Asians, for Asians to help amplify our voices globally and support each other. However, we still face many difficulties in our industry because of our commitment to accessible and informational Asian news coverage.
We hope you consider making a contribution to NextShark so we can continue to provide you quality journalism that informs, educates, and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for supporting NextShark and our community.