Friday, May 20, 2016

Bleach 673-674 Father 1 and 2/The Seven Deadly Sins 173-174 Darkness Descends and Meliodas vs. The Ten Commandments Review

Written by: Pomelote

If you've been checking the calendar, you may notice that I've missed a few articles in the last week or so. My bad, everybody! My laptop died last week, and I've only just got around to buying a new one and gutting and scraping out the remains of the old one's drive. Today, I'll be catching up on Bleach and The Seven Deadly Sins, and next week's Kasane will be a super-special double chapter post of 75 and 76.

Bleach 673 - Father 1

On the ground level of Wahrwelt, Renji and Rukia get back into the fray with Gerard and gape at the new Hitsugaya, who warns them to be careful. Understandably, given the recent introduction to Yoruichi's little brother, they mistake him for his own non-existent big brother, but Hitsugaya is nice/lazy enough to play along with it.

 Let the wacky sitcom begin!

Suddenly, the three of them (and Uryu) sense something from Silbern, at the summit of Wahrwelt, and they call out Ichigo's name.

Up in the throne room, Ywach suggests that Ichigo ought to attack him. He remarks on Ichigo's boost in strength and reiatsu, or rather, his "attainment of (his) original power", and theorises about what Ichigo's first move will be. Ichigo looks peeved at Ywach's small-talk and says that Ywach should already know exactly what his moves will be from The Almighty, but Ywach replies that he isn't using it, wanting to enjoy their fight.
He also calls the two of them "father and son", which Ichigo obviously takes issue with, asserting that Isshin is his father. Ywach poo-poos that, reminding Ichigo that he is the source of Ichigo's true power. Ichigo then brings up the fact that Ywach killed his mother, Masaki. Since he's a solipsistic psychopath with terrible facial hair, Ywach basically just tells him to get over it already.

"I... I was just being metaphorical, Ichigo." "Oh! Now I see what you're doing, sorry."

Ichigo angrily draws Big Zangetsu, and in a number of this series' characteristically lovely splash panels, attacks Ywach on his chair. He fails to even cut a part in his moustache, and Orihime creates a shield to protect him from the counterattack. Reeling, he draws Little Zangetsu and attacks again with both swords.

Mmm, that hits the spot.

As they fight, Ywach continues to needle Ichigo about Masaki, calling her "sustenance" that enabled him to give birth to Ichigo. He hits Ichigo with a burst of that gross black Mimihagi energy and knocks him back into a pillar on the other side of the room. Orihime screams "Kurasaki!". Oh, don't you even start, Orihime.

 Just. Don't. Even.

Ywach, incredibly prematurely, declares that their conversation/fight has to come to an end, and he finally starts to stand up from his throne.

Oh, Ywach, that's nasty. You don't need to show us, just flush it.

And we're out.

Bleach 674 - Father 2

And we're back.

Ichigo flops down from the pillar onto the ground while Orihime rushes towards him, caught in the early stages of one of her Kurosaki-kun loops. Ywach stands up, dripping Mimihagi/Soul King goo-reiatsu. He offers to show Ichigo what he can do, while in the background panels, rain starts to fall.

Ichigo gets up and charges Ywach again, against Orihime's protests. Even Ywach chastises him for his recklessness, telling him not to be so impatient. As Ichigo continues to struggle to attack Ywach and Orihime shields him, Ywach launches into a suspiciously Aizen-like speech about how it took a lot of time and effort to put the events that "created" Ichigo into motion, and he demands that Ichigo give all of his power back to him and then die.

Back at the Gerard fight, Rukia and Renji are almost crushed by Gerard's fist, but Byakuya snatches them out of harm's way. He tells them to go ahead to Silbern and join up with Ichigo, telling them that they're useless in the battle with Gerard. They happily rush off, and Hitsugaya basically calls him a big softie for being concerned about them. Then he observes that as Ichigo's closest friends, they should probably go to him anyway, since Shinigami are taught to fight for their friends. Oh, gag me.

"Boy, are they useless in a fight, though. We're talking complete dead weight. Hope that won't be a problem!"

We switch back to Uryu and Haschwalth's barely-seen fight, where Uryu lies face-down on the ground, his ass thoroughly kicked. Haschwalth gives him a borderline-incoherent speech about how the decisions between right and wrong that people make throughout their lives pile up on each side of a "scale" and define the person they are. I have no idea why Kubo is so coy about revealing that this guy's epiphet is "The Balance", but these hints are getting annoying.

Boo, get off the stage!
He goes on to say that he can't see Uryu's "scales" or the person he's become, and he asks who the "real" Uryu is. Uryu gets up off the floor, mocking Haschwalth's weird speech, and he forms a new four-pointed Heilig Bogen. He tells Haschwalth that even he himself won't know who he is until "(he) sees all of you drop like flies". Haschwalth mutters his understanding.

"Wait, wait, wait, I was just kidding! I have no idea how to use this thing!"

Meanwhile, two mysterious figures chat at one of the nearby Gates of the Sun, dropping a Wandenreich medallion. Figure A says- oh, wait, it's just Ryuuken and Isshin, that's not mysterious at all. Anyway, Ryuuken is surprised that the portal that they used decades ago is still operational, and Isshin comments that he's grateful to Souken, Ryuuken's father and Uryu's grandfather, for bringing the medallion with him when he was exiled. Ryuuken shit-talks about how his dead, tortured dad had a habit of stealing things, which prompts Isshin to sarcastically remark that Ryuuken always wondered why people called him a bad son.

I won't even dignify this by asking where you two have been this whole time.


This is mostly more set-up, but I suppose if you wanted, you could reduce everything that ever happens down to the phrase "set-up chapter", so I should really contribute more than that.

Ryuuken and Isshin's re-appearance is long overdue, and their potential confrontation with Ywach (and maybe Haschwalth) has a lot of weight behind it. 

It remains to be seen whether Orihime plans to contribute more to the cause than screaming "Kurosaki-kun" and occasionally shielding him, but all we can do now is hope. And at this late stage in the game, it's not clear what exactly Rukia and Renji are going to accomplish.

Good things:

The terrible dad duo is here!

There's not usually a point to saying that the art and composition is good (that's the norm for Bleach), but Father 1 really was a visual treat.

The pacing of these chapters, and the previous few, are starting to gel together nicely, with the reader getting to see snippets of each area instead of being stuck with a single long fight.

Bad things:

Haschwalth's long-winded spiel about the balances of life that determine who we are or whatever. Preeeeeetty sure he's drunk.

Ichigo and Orihime's lack of a plan, any kind of plan at all. 

Arbitrary numerical rating:

4 out of 5 absent fathers suddenly calling you at Christmas, wanting to "just catch up".

The Seven Deadly Sins 173 - Darkness Descends

Meliodas zips around Dolor and Gloxinia, hitting them with Kamichigiri. As Dolor is wreathed in flames, they wear off and he reveals that he's used a technique called 'Heavy Metal' to avoid being burned (no points are awarded for guessing what that technique does). Gloxinia uses the Moon Rose form of Basquias to heal himself, and for good measure, he hits Dolor with it, too.

As he's literally right in the middle of doing that, Meliodas appears right in front of him and knocks him flying. He catches up to him in mid-air and keeps hitting him, smashing him into the ground. Before he can finish Glolixinia, Dolor intervenes. You know what that means! Yes, kids, it's his turn to be the punching bag again.

Rinse, repeat.
Back at Liones Castle, Gowther observes that Meliodas is deliberately keeping the battle confined to one-on-one fights by incapacitating one of them while concentrating on fighting the other, so they can't properly double-team him. King and Ban chat about the whole "traitor to the Demon clan" thing, with Ban declaring that Meliodas is still the same person they've always known. Back at the fight, Gloxinia and Dolor belittle Meliodas, with Dolor predicting that Meliodas has a dark force and a painful defeat waiting for him in his future.
  "You guys used to be cool, man."

Meliodas once again declares his intention to finish them off, when suddenly, seven flaming comets appear in the sky and crash around them. Everyone at the castle senses something horribly off about these comets, and Ban screams for Meliodas to get out immediately. Seven figures emerge from the dust, revealing the other members of the Ten Commandments, minus Galan. They surround Meliodas, and Zeldris faces off directly with Meliodas.
Gotta admit, this was pretty cool.

The Seven Deadly Sins 174 - Meliodas vs. The Ten Commandments

They're just like a much, much less evil version of The Brady Bunch.

As the Commandments surround Meliodas, the gang back at Liones Castle give commentary on the members. Hendrickson and a few others recognise Fraudrin, possessing Dreyfus' body, and Arthur notices Galan's absence. Jericho mentions that Escanor beat him, and Ban notices that Merascylla is still alive while Elaine frets over her whole raised-from-the-dead thing. Elizabeth demands that Gilfrost teleport Meliodas away, but Gilfrost declines, explaining that he'd need to be close to him.
Meliodas swings his sword at Zeldris, but in a blink, Zeldris has already cut off and grabbed Meliodas arm. Undeterred, Meliodas kicks him in the face and tries to reattach his arm by shooting out strands of demon shadow from the stumps, but Zeldris stands on the severed arm. He commands the other... uh, Commandments to attack.
 "Hmmm, I know I've seen that arm before... but from where!?"

Grey Lord leads by wrapping some spectral chains around Meliodas, which then quickly fade away, leaving Meliodas unhurt. He kicks Zeldriss and re-attaches his arm, and jumps away, creating a smokescreen by punching the ground as he goes. He evades the other Commandments and starts to leave the battleground, but he suddenly finds himself teleported back to the centre of the Commandments again. Grey Lord explains that the chains prevent him from leaving the battlefield.
 That's pretty cheap and nasty, Grey Lord. I like your style.

Derriere makes the next attack, and the group back at the castle notice that her blows get successively stronger every time she hits Meliodas. Monspiet helpfully brings up that one of her abilities, Combo Star, adds extra force with every successful hit.

At hit number fifty-four, Monspiet catches Meliodas, noting that with his arms so badly damaged from blocking Derriere's punches, he won't be able to use Full Counter. He then hits Meliodas with his Hell Blaze Bird attack, while Elizabeth cries out for it to stop and covers her eyes.

Meliodas flies out of the blast with his sword gripped in his teeth, and flies past Monspiet, landing a blow somewhere on him. Monspiet calmly lands, while Meliodas gracelessly crashes. Monspiet then casually reveals that the ridiculous attack almost severed his neck, and he pushes it back together, as the chapter ends.
"... how about we call it a draw?"


Well, it seems like the tables have turned. That said, it would be nice to see Meliodas show any concern or fear instead of just vaguely determined resolve the entire time. That last move was utterly absurd, too. 

Good things:

Interesting development in the fight, and it seems like some more information on the nature of Meliodas' relationship with the Commandments could be due.

Bad things:

It takes a while to get there, and the tone of these confrontations are a bit one-note.

Arbitrary numerical rating:

3 out of 5 bittersweet reunions with old friends

Pomelote is the physical embodiment of first-world millenial entitlement. You can contact her on Skype with the name suukebind or Twitter at @poorlicoricekid, if you know any good spam bots. Hi, Chris. There will be a test on this.


  1. Kick his derrière, Derrière!

  2. Show some derring-do!

    I miss Galan a lot. But still, he did have a good run!