During last week’s episode of Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War, Ichigo’s fight with the Yhwach, the Quincy King, much was revealed, giving viewers a lot to think about. Despite Ichigo’s long-awaited arrival to the Soul Society amid the Quincy attack, he was all but powerless against the might of Yhwach regardless of his haggard state. However, it was clear that it wasn’t Yhwach’s intention to kill Ichigo but to bring him back to the Wandenreich, alluding that Ichigo also has Quincy blood running through his veins thanks to his mother. With the Yhawch having to return to Wandenreich after being away for too long before the final blow could be struck, the Soul Society looks to recover in Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 8.
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 8 opens with a broken Soul Society scrambling to treat the injured, headed by Captain Retsu Unohana and Squad 4. It was really unclear who survived the attack after Quincy’s abruptly leaving the Soul Society. If Head Captain Yamamoto was defeated, it left little hope for the other Soul Reapers and even Ichigo’s friends, who had also been defeated. Thankfully, Urahara, Inoue, Sado, Rukia, Renji, Kuchiki, and Zaraki had not perished, but all with various severe injuries. While Ichigo avoided being bedridden and having his Bankai stolen, his Zanpakuto was shattered, which may be worse than any injury he could have sustained.
From here, I was hoping that Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 8 would take a lot into Ichigo’s Quincy connection, but it looks like that will be something for another episode. Instead, viewers are introduced to Squad 0, the squad designated as the Royal Guard. The 5 member squad that protects the Soul King consists of all captains whose combined powers are greatest than all of the 13 Squads in the Soul Society. In true Bleach fashion, the captains are introduced with their connection to the characters we already know, which gives for great banter with the 13 Squad captains but also allows the viewers to piece together their connection with the lore at large. Like the Quincy King, Squad 0 also has an interest in Ichigo. This pull in either direction of the Soul Reaper x Quincy conflict makes me think that Ichigo will be at the center.
While it is nice to finally get a peak at the Soul King Palace after all the efforts that Sosuke Aizen took to get there himself, I would be lying if I wasn’t a little disappointed. Up to this point, the Wandenreich is clearly out to destroy all of the Soul Reapers. To have 5 characters who are stronger than the entirety of the Soul Society waiting in the wings takes away some of the tension that Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War has worked so hard to build. It is Squad 0’s charge to defend the palace, with the 13 Squads’ charge to defend the Soul Society, which is given as their chief reason for not interfering. However, given Yhamch’s threat to all Soul Reapers, it is hard not to think the Soul King Palace won’t eventually be next on the Quincy King’s invasion list, as we have already seen Yhamch talk to Aizen, who was the closest to gaining access to the Soul King Palace. With that in mind, their sudden appearance cheapens the absolute destruction that has occurred up to this point and even in arcs passed.
With only three episodes left, this week’s episode felt like a miss. Usually, once the credits roll, I am full of questions and optimism. After Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 8, I am searching for justification for the Squad 0 introduction at this pivotal point in Ichigo’s development after finding out he has Quincy connections. Ultimately, it furthers the implications that the Soul Society is not the virtuous organization they have claimed to be. I am all for highly anticipated battles with solid characters, but with so little time left in the season, I was hoping for my progression with characters we have known. This season has introduced so many new characters that the plot feels bloated with yet another group of unknowns. Ultimately, one miss does not negate how great the season has been, but it puts the pressure on for next week’s episode.
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 8 is now streaming now exclusively on Hulu, with new episodes every Monday.
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 8
- Rating - 7/107/10
With only three episodes left, this week’s episode felt like a miss. Usually, once the credits roll, I am full of questions and optimism. After Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 8, I am searching for justification for the Squad 0 introduction at this pivotal point in Ichigo’s development after finding out he has Quincy connections.
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