The battle between the Soul Reapers and the Quincies rages on in Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 16, titled “The Fundamental Virulence.” Glimmers of hope have started to appear for the Soul Reapers, and the chance at victory has significantly improved. The only question is if these new revelations will be enough to defeat the Quincies or if it is too late.
One of the most significant issues plaguing the Soul Reapers is that the Quincies have the ability to steal their Bankai and use it against them. It has severely hamstrung the Soul Reapers and limited their ability to fight back. In Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 16, a way to reverse this and reclaim their Bankai has been discovered, giving the Soul Reapers a chance to fight back at full strength. The way this is actually revealed and explained is done quite well, the logic makes sense and it actually has even more significant ramifications in the long run.
The Soul Reapers have come to realize the real reason why the Quincies are so opposed to Hollows. It isn’t an ideological difference like they had thought, but instead, the Hollows and their lack of purpose or ideology are actually poisonous to the Quincies. Using this knowledge, the Soul Reapers can absorb a portion of the Hollows to taint their Bankai and act as a trojan horse against the Quincies stealing it from them. Both the Hollows and the Arrancar are going to play a vital role going forward and that is explained quite well in the episode.
Now that the Soul Reapers have a chance to fight back, it allows Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 16 to highlight just how skilled Pierrot is at animating battle sequences in Bleach. Most notable is the moment when Shinji Hirako (Masaya Onosaka) is able to use his Bankai while surrounded by a massive amount of Quincies. His Bankai allows him to force enemy targets to change, turning the Quincies against themselves against their will. It is a very well-done scene that turns hopelessness into hope on a dime.
Where it all really begins to unravel is once Shinji confronts Bambietta Basterbine. He uses his ability to reverse things for Bambietta, and the way it is presented is one of the coolest anime moments in some time. The subtitles themselves reverse while an amazing R&B soundtrack builds slowly in the background. It establishes how powerful Shinji is and really builds him up in the battle before things take another sharp turn.
It turns out the Soul Reapers reclaiming their Bankai has more consequences than they realized. Sure, it allows them to regain their strength, but it also unleashes a new power that the Sternritter, the elite squad of Quincies, have been held back from using because of their absorption of Bankai. Taking a moment that finally felt hopeful and turning it on its head is hard to execute, but Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 16 delivers in a way that made me audibly gasp. The line “the true despair begins here” right before the end credits really hammers home just how much more room this arc has to grow as the battle ramps up exponentially.
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 16 is full of twists and turns and some amazing heart-stopping moments. The Thousand-Year Blood War continues to ramp things up week by week, and just when it seems like the Soul Reapers have found the key to victory, the rug is pulled out from underneath them. I’m not sure how they are going to manage to defeat the Quincies, but the suspense and intrigue continue to keep me on the edge of my seat.
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 16 — “The Fundamental Virulence”
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 16 is full of twists and turns and heart-stopping moments that continue building on an incredible story arc. The Thousand-Year Blood War continues to ramp things up week by week, and just when it seems like the Soul Reapers have found the key to victory the rug is pulled out from underneath them.