Last week’s episode of Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War slowed down the pace considerably. While it wasn’t my favorite episode of the season so far, it wasn’t without its highlights. The introduction of Squad 0 added a new level of power scaling to the mix, as the five members are said to be stronger than the entirety of the other 13 squads combined. Ichigo, Rukia, and Renji were all taken to the Royal Palace for recovery and training to prepare them for the next battle with the Quincies. While the episode only showed glimpses of the Soul King, his interest in Ichigo is clear. Given Yhwach’s interest in him, it would appear Ichigo has a crossroads approaching soon. As Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 9 continues to slow the pace, viewers will have to wait another week for answers.
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 9 opens with Shunsui Kyoraku being appointed the new Head Captain for the 13 Squads. As a fan favorite, I am sure this will be a delight to many. Kyoraku was the only level-headed captain following the aftermath of the Quincy assault and the death of Yamamoto. Despite Kyoraku being less than thrilled with the appointment, he is already ready to put measures in place to defend the Soul Society from the next invasion. He plans to increase the power of Squad 11’s Captain Kenpachi Zaraki. While some are hesitant to make the captain who obtained his position by killing the previous captain even more powerful, Kyoraku’s logic is sound, as Zaraki was the only captain outside of Yamamoto to actually defeat multiple Stien Ritters by himself. Too often does the Soul Society rely on Ichigo to save the day. The attack by Quincies proved that they needed their protector in the Soul Society, even one as unhinged and unpredictable as Zaraki.
In line with training for the next encounter with Yhwach, Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 9 flips between the Soul Society and the Royal Palace. At the Royal Palace, Ichigo and Renji are making the rounds between the different Squad 0 captains. The significance of the members is undoubtedly more than just being powerful. Each member can be tied back to creating major elements of the Soul Society’s power. The creation of Gikon, healing springs, and even Zanpakuto were created by members of Squad 0. These are all things pivotal to Bleach as a whole over its storied run, which puts into context how powerful these individuals are. The first two captains Ichigo and Renji see are all about recovery, but their next training session should be very intense. And if you have been waiting for some fan service, there is certainly some to be had this week with Kirio Hikifune.
The highlight of Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 9 is, without a doubt, the start of Zaraki’s training. While Ichigo and Renji are bathing and eating their fill to start training, Zaraki faces off with Retsu Unohana. At first glance, Zaraki, a battle-hungry savage training against Unohana, a soft-spoken healer, seems onesided, given everything we have seen of these two up to this point. However, there is more to Unohana than meets the eye. Without giving too much away, the start of this battle that will likely carry over to next week is one of the best of the season. There is much revealed for both characters, and fans will walk away with more appreciation for both characters. Their interactions alone have me jazzed up to see the conclusion of their battle soon, even if it means one of them will likely die.
Unfortunately, Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 9 is the second week in a row where we haven’t heard or seen anything from Wandenreich. While I very much enjoyed the nuggets of lore while at the Royal Palace and the start of a very intense battle between Zaraki and Unohana, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t more entertained by the mystery and intrigue surrounding the Quincy King. The more episodes they are not present, the more I am worried about a rushed ending to the season with only three episodes remaining. Neither Ichigo’s nor Zaraki’s training seems to be near an end, so they will likely not be present until the end of next week’s episode. However, I am optimistic. Given how amazing the season has been as a whole, I have to trust in Pierrot to make these moments that the anime has now dedicated two episodes to will pay off.
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 9 is streaming now exclusively on Hulu, with new episodes every Monday.
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 9
Unfortunately, Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 9 is the second week in a row where we haven’t heard or seen anything from Wandenreich. While I very much enjoyed the nuggets of lore while at the Royal Palace and the start of a very intense battle between Zaraki and Unohana, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t more entertained by the mystery and intrigue surrounding the Quincy King. The more episodes they are not present, the more I am worried about a rushed ending to the season with only three episodes remaining.