Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War episode 4 opens with a brutal recap of the previous episodes. Since Bleach‘s return three weeks ago, fans have been waiting for more answers about where the Wandenreich came from, how were they able to amass so much power, and what is it going to take to stop them. Unfortunately, there haven’t been very many. Even some of the most powerful characters in the franchise have been left scratching their heads, captured, or dead. This week, the build-up is over and the attack on the Soul Society is in full swing in Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War episode 4.
The end of last week’s episode saw the Quincies launch their full assault on the Soul Society. Up until this point, their appearances had been destructive, swift scouting missions and even kidnapping in the case of Hueco Mundo. Lieutenant Soul Reapers, Tier Harribel, and even the Tres Bestias, have all suffered defeats at the hands of the Wandenreich. There was some hope that a prepared Soul Society would put up more of a fight if it came to it but the waning scenes of last week’s episode showed this isn’t the case. The only person to have shown any success against the Quincies and their new ability to steal Bankai to this point is Ichigo Kurosaki. However, while he has his hands full in Hueco Mundo, the Soul Reapers must fend for themselves.
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War episode 4 finally gives viewers some of the battles that they have been waiting for. In previous attacks, the Wandenreich had been in and out before any of the more well-known Soul Reaper lieutenants and captains have been able to respond. Now, Shunsui Kyoraku, Toshiro Hitsugaya, Sajin Komamura, Suì-Fēng, Rōjūrō Ōtoribashi, and Byakuya Kuchiki, some of the strongest characters we have seen in Bleach, have their opportunity to face off with the Quincies face to face. The Sternritters the captains face possess just as diverse abilities as the Soul Reapers do making their encounters both captivating and tragic as Soul Reaper Captains can do little to stop the Quincies.
Gone are the days of fans thinking of Quincies as only what Uryu Ishida is able to do. Their greatest feat, Bankai Plundering, all but eliminates the Soul Reaper’s most powerful ability. The Wandenreich are not only able to negate the Bankai but are able to steal the power as well. Ichigo appears to be the only one who can resist the ability for reasons that remain to be seen. This is going to push the Soul Reapers to think outside of the box as we have never seen before. It also remains to be seen if the Wandenreich is the true evil that the Soul Society makes them out to be. With few words spoken by the Quincy King other than he hates conflict and he faced Yamamoto Genryusai centuries ago, we still don’t know why they are doing this or if the balance the Soul Society claims to maintain really exists. After four episodes, things are still looking bleak. This may dissuade viewers who are watching week to week, but it has me bought in.
It is this loss of hope in every single episode that has really made Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War a treat to watch. Every time there appears a way for our heroes to prevail, it is stripped away just as quickly. In arcs passed, there would always be a new ability or another layer to power scaling viewers had not seen yet. To this point even after Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War episode 4, that is not the case. The Wandenreich have laughably outmatched everyone they have faced except for Ichigo. By making Ichigo a non-factor in the assault on the Soul Society with his battle in Hueco Mundo against Quilge Opie, the path to victory for the Quincies are clear. I am not sure how they will defeat the Quincy King and his Sternritters, but I will be back every week to find out.
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 4 is streaming now exclusively on Hulu with new episodes every Monday.
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 4 - "Kill the Shadow"
It is this loss of hope in every single episode that has really made Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War a treat to watch. Every time there appears a way for our heroes to prevail, it is stripped away just as quickly. In arcs passed, there would always be a new ability or another layer to power scaling viewers had not seen yet. To this point even after Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War episode 4, that is not the case.