Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Bleach - Chapter 529: Everything But the Rain 2

Synopsis: Nimaiya is surprised that Renji didn't have a fit when he sent Ichigo back, and suggests that maybe it's because he realized it's useless no matter how hard he tried. He then further explains that he knows exactly where every asauchi he's made is at any given time. All Soul Reapers are given an asauchi (nameless sword) and with hard training, make it their own zanpaku-to. That's how it always is, even for the zanpaku-to of the Zero Division members, and even people like Kenpachi Zaraki who got his sword from a defeated opponent. Nobody has ever been able to awaken their zanpaku-to without one of Nimaiya's asauchi. He knew from the start this training wouldn't work for Ichigo, and so did Renji - only Ichigo didn't realize, and that's why he has to know the truth, and realize where his 'soul' is.

In the past, the assistant Captain of 10th Division, Rangiku Matsumoto, is running around looking for her captain. She borrows a tray from two other Soul Reapers nearby, and hurls it into a treetop, saying she found him. Her captain falls from the tree, but is holding the tray before his face, saying he stopped it right before it hit him - only for Rangiku to stomp the tray into his face. She tells him to come alogn so she can force him back to work, and her Captain - revealed to be 'Isshin Shiba' - gets up to follow her. He returns the tray to the other Soul Reapers, saying Rangiku broke it, but she says it's his fault for neglecting his job, which is disgraceful for even a branch member of the Shiba family. Isshin scoffs, saying she always uses his family as an excuse to complain even though all she really wants is him to work and decrease her own workload. She doesn't deny it, and he continues to mess with her until she tries to backhand him. He stops her with his own hand, and says that because of how much time she spent chasing him, her boobs are all shiny. Naturally, Rangiku beats him up for this.

Rangiku shows up at 10th Division headquarters with the beaten-up Isshin, and both are told by the then 3rd seat Hitsugaya that they're late, and that he finished a large stack of papers. Isshin boosts Hitsugaya in the air like a little kid and praises him as worthy of being the next Captain, which Rangiku balks at since she's of higher rank. Isshin says if she became Captain then the division would crumble, and Hitsugaya says his Bankai training is going well, and he and Rangiku begin to bicker. Isshin looks for his manju, but Hitsugaya tries to distract him by showing him a report, but Isshin won't have any of it. Hitsugaya angrily admits that he ate it, only to get Isshin to pay attention.

Two months prior, the Soul Reaper in charge of Narukishi died accidentally, and Isshin says it was still under investigation. Hitsugaya just received the report however, which says that the cause is still unknown but two other people have since died. Isshin leaves to investigate, saying he'll be back in about two days and leaves everything to Rangiku and Hitsugaya. Rangiku tries to chase after him, but Hitsugaya stops her and explains that Isshin is going on his own because he knows how dangerous the mission is, which is why he's leaving them behind - at their current power, they'd only be in his way anyway.

In a hidden area of Soul Society, a shadowed man enters a room where Gin and Tosen are. He asks if they got anything, but Tosen responds that while they were able to equip Hollows with target Hollowfication, it's too virulent and won't work on either normal souls nor Division Soul Reapers. The shadowed man - revealed to be Aizen - says that's fine, because soon they'll be able to find where Shinji Hirako and his gang have disappeared to. They can be patient and lure them out with their experiments, and everything will go according to their plans.

Thoughts: Holy CRAP at some of the revelations in this chapter. While most of it was stuff we already knew would be coming, it's just beyond amazing to actually get to see it at last.

We've known for a long time that Isshin was a former Captain, not only because of the ripped coat on his shihakusho when he fought Grand Fisher, but also because of his dialogue - but never before now had we known what Division he was from. Most people seemed to assume - myself included - that he was the former Captain of 13th Division, believed to have been killed by Kenpachi Zaraki, but he'd actually faked his death somehow or another. Instead though, it turns out that he was the former Captain of 10th - with Rangiku as his assistant and Hitsugaya as his 3rd seat no less.

This might seem a little weird, seeing as how Hitsugaya and Rangiku were both in Isshin's house before, but think back and you'll realize that...not once did they ever actually SEE Isshin, nor he them. They don't even know the first name of Ichigo's father probably, and even if they did, they'd only be slightly suspicious probably since Ichigo's father's name is 'Isshin Kurosaki', whereas their former Captain's name was 'Isshin Shiba'.

And that's another revelation here that I wasn't expecting - Isshin is actually from the Shiba family, or a branch of it at least. This means that Ganju and Ichigo are like cousins or something, and that's a terrifying thought.

Regardless though, even before we were told that Isshin's true last name wasn't Kurosaki, I kind of had a hunch that it wasn't, since we knew he was a former Soul Reaper and yet nobody reacted at all to Ichigo's last name while he was in the Soul Society.

I can't say I was expecting Rangiku to have been Isshin's former Assistant either, but man does it work. I lost it at him telling her that her boobs were shiny. Poor, Isshin, awesomeness.

The really unexpected part of this history is that Aizen is tied into it somehow. I had guessed this back when Aizen was still a problem, but now he's been dealt with - though there's always the option that he'll get out again somehow - so I no longer thought he had a part to play in Isshin's backstory. I've been proven wrong though, and it'll be interesting to see where it all goes again from here.

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