Thursday, June 30, 2016

Bleach Chapters 678-679-680 - The Future Black-THE END-THE END 2 Review/The Seven Deadly Sins Chapters 178-179-180-181 Mini-review

Written by:  Pomelote

Hope turns to despair, as it has a tendency to do. But the darkest hour is always the one before the dawn - that's what an inspirational-quote-a-day-calendar told me, anyway.

Bleach 678 - The Future Black

As we left off last time: driven to it by Ywach's attacks, Ichigo releases his Bankai. Aww yiss, the tables are about to turn now, for r-
k nvm

The moment Ichigo's new Bankai form appears in his hand, the blade is instantly bisected. Shocked, he looks down at Ywach, who has the missing half of the blade. It lodges in the ground, and Ywach explains that he has such respect for the power of Ichigo's Bankai that he didn't take any chances, breaking it "through the future" before it could become a threat.

Ywach then does the same trick to Ichigo's Hollow horn, before throwing it back at Ichigo, who blocks it. He closes the distance between them and makes a few more sucessful attacks on Ichigo.

Got your horn!

Orihime blocks the last blow with Santen Kisshun, but after a moment, Ichigo is hit with a slash down the chest anyway. Orihime, surprised, wonders how the attack got through.

While she's busy doing that, Ichigo gets sent flying by another blow, and Ywach strolls towards him, explaining that the "traps" he set were so accurate not because he just "saw" the future with The Almighty, but he actively "changed" it using The Almighty's true power.

Bleach 679 - THE END

Ywach reiterates that he "changed" the future. As Ichigo and Orihime stare at him and absorb this revelation, he chides them for their shock. He informs them that his power isn't particularly different from how they (and presumably, everybody else) can only change the future if they're involved in it, it's just on a larger scale. He tells Ichigo that the reason he was able to overcome and change his destiny in the past was because Ywach wasn't there, changing it to suit himself. He encourages Ichigo to start despairing - Ichigo screams.

Downstairs, Uryu lies slumped against some rubble, not making much of a comeback even with his new Heilig Bogen. Haschwalth walks towards him, finally explaining his Schrift.

You don't need The Almighty to see this one coming.

He goes into a little detail on how it works, telling Uryu that it "balances" fortunes by taking misfortune from the unfortunate and dispersing it among the lucky and blessed. He shows off a weird shield (Freundschild), bearing a Sternritter five-pointed cross emblem on it, that we've never seen before, and explains that he uses it to absorb the damage inflicted on him by Uryu rather than being harmed by it.

Uryu interrupts him as he walks towards him, asking him if he wants to see his own Schrift. Haschwalth derides him, calling it a stalling tactic, but Uryu declares that it's actually his trump card - A, The Antithesis.

"It hits you once for every time you've said 'balance' or 'scales' in the last two minutes."

Haschwalth suddenly reels, riddled with cuts and slashes. He demands to know what the shit, and a refreshed Uryu explains his power, which seems both pretty simple and pretty powerful: the ability to reverse a situation between two targets. In this case, he reversed the damage between the two of them. 

Haschwalth marvels at this, commenting that he seems like somebody that could actually be a match for Ywach's power. Uryu asks what that means, exactly, wondering if it has something to do with the hints that he dropped about The Almighty earlier. Haschie plays it cool and comments that it's a good thing he's stopping Uryu here and now.

Unnerved, Uryu tries to make a break for it, but is hit with injuries again, and he tumbles to the ground. Haschwalth explains that by being fortunate enough to inflict damage on him with The Antithesis, it triggered The Balance, which dished out the damage back to Uryu as "misfortune". Then, the damage Haschwalth bore was absorbed by his Friendzone Shield - and somehow also directed back at Uryu, 'cuz why not.

Uryu tries to weakly crawl away as Haschwalth holds his sword over him, preparing to cut him down. He mocks him a little bit, and then adds that he takes back his statement that he was "unable to see [your] true colours". He compares Uryu to "those foolish humans" who cling to their faith and beliefs. Nice, but that would be more of a burn if anyone had any idea whether Quincy are still supposed to be human or not.

The scene cuts back upstairs - to Ywach batting Ichigo around like a cat toy. He picks up Ichigo by the back of the head and holds him up to his face. Ichigo gives in to despair and thinks to himself, "It's over", as Orihime takes a nap facedown on the ground. Ywach declares that it's time for Ichigo to "return" his power to Ywach...

 No, I'm pretty sure there's at least a few more chapters left...

Bleach 680 - THE END 2

Ywach starts to drain the power from Ichigo, as black veins spread over Ichigo's face. Ichigo thinks to himself that both his Quincy powers (oddly enough, represented in Ichigo's mind by Masaki rather than Old Man Zangetsu) and his Hollow powers are fading... to pure white.

Bleached, if you will.

Ywach drops Ichigo, his Hollow manifestation now gone. Ywach starts laughing maniacally, as his black power spreads out and forms a giant dome/mushroom shape over the wrecked palace. 

Downstairs, Haschwalth looks up at it and lodges his sword in the ground, instead of stabbing Uryu. Panting, Uryu recalls that Haschwalth compared him to Ichigo, Orihime, and Chad. He says that in the past, he tried to think and act like Haschwalth and his "scales" - to keep calm, composed, and careful. But now, being compared to them would bring him great joy. Irked, Haschwalth tells him that he wasn't talking about "feelings", but about growth, and that Uryu "grew" more (powerful) from his brief time with Ywach than he ever did with Ichigo and the others. He suggests that Uryu's loyalties should lie with Ywach in recompense for that growth (like Haschwalth's own).

Uryu counters that he decided to stick with them not out of a strict cost-benefit analysis, or from a sense of right and wrong, but simply because he wanted to - because they're his friends.

*uncontrollable stream of vomit*

Haschwalth, probably reminded of how he choose Ywach over Bazz-B, gets a dark look over his face. He understands now, he says - when Uryu accepted Ywach's recruitment, he did it without expecting to ever have to sacrifice anything. Raising his sword, he yells that he'll make Uryu give up his life - as he's suddenly engulfed in an Auswahlen-y beam of light. Oops. Should have cut the last page of the speech.

Auswahlen 2: Electric Boogaloo

Farther below, Gerard is also targeted, but he's stripped right down to the bone, like Robert Accutrone. There almost seems to be a small spark of light in one of his eye sockets, but yep, pretty sure he's dead. Byakuya and Hitsugaya dodge the toppling skeleton and look up at the summit, where the energy is heading.

 The most satisfying victory there is - where the enemy's boss gets sick of them and murders them for you and you all go home early.

Ywach gathers all of the energy into some kind of shadow portal and says goodbye to Ichigo, telling him that he neither needs him nor the remaining Sternritter. He adds that he's going to bring "ruin" to both Soul Society and the real world. Before he can step through, Rukia and Renji make it up the stairs behind him.

He doesn't bother to fight them, instead telling them that he'll leave the portal open for them and daring them to follow. But he threatens that if they do, he'll kill them by finding the moment in the future where they feel the most joy and happiness, and slaughter them at that moment. And he adds that from now on, whenever they do feel happiness, the shadow of that threat will be looming over them. ...hahaha, what?!

"C'mon, what are ya, chicken?"


Hilariously overwrought threats aside, a nice series of WHAM chapters. First, the ineffective Bankai, second, the two Schrifts, third, Uryu's confession/Ichigo's power drain/Auswahlen Redux.

It seems like after this big low point for Ichigo, we're due for a breather and a rallying of the best friends club: Rukia, Orihime, Uryu, Renji, and... *sigh*... Chad. Plus, the fathers and whoever else is up for it.

Whatever Ywach's next goal is seems very unclear - but all of this talk of the future and the need to see a 1000-year-ago flashback makes it seem that Ywach might be trying to go back and "correct" his loss in the past, which would result in him already having conquered the real world and Soul Society. I'm a sucker for goofy time-travel plots, so that's what I'm hoping to see, anyway.

The fate of Haschwalth and any remaining Sternritter seems up in the air - it's extremely likely that Haschwalth is still alive, but this may have finished off any others with ambiguous fates (Lille, Bazz-B, Liltotto, Giselle, Bambietta, Meninas, Candice, etc.) This might be the impetus for Haschwalth to finally switch loyalties, as well - and it would be hilariously hypocritical if he did.

As a final note: it seems like Bleach is coming to a definite close in the near future. Chapter 680 debuted with a teaser of remaining chapter numbers, and the recent announcement that Volume 73's cover features Renji (combined with Volume 72's Uryu cover) suggests that there probably aren't more than four or five volumes left to go, one cover for each of the remaining main group (Ichigo, Rukia, Orihime, Chad) and possibly one for Ywach.

 Oooh, purty.

Good things:

A number of decent reveals and cappers to the previous fights.

Gerard... is... outta here!

It's a cliche, but Uryu's friendship confession actually does tug at my rusted-over heartstrings a little, given who it's coming from.

Bad things:

Uryu or Haschwalth's abilities still seem largely unexplored, but there's probably more to come.

Ywach's villain-ball moment - no, really, it's okay to kill them right now, you don't need to give them the special treatment.

Arbitrary numerical rating:

4 out of 5 darkest timelines.

The Seven Deadly Sins 178-179-180-181 Dark Britannia, The Pursuit of Hope, Wandering Knight, Holy Knight Zaratras (mini-review)

It's been a month since Estarossa killed Meliodas, and things have changed greatly in Britannia. Well, actually, it's mostly the same, but now regular villagers seem to be working for the Ten Commandments, in exchange for not having their and their families' souls eaten by the demons. 

In a town somewhere, villagers corner Ruin and Friesia, two members of Wild Fang from the very early chapters who turn out to to be alive after all! Although... I may have just jinxed them. Fraudrin appears nearby and sucks out Ruin's soul and eats it, commenting that his soul is "soiled". Friesia puts up a fight and tries to escape, but is captured by some of the villagers. She curses them as they hold her down, and Fraudrin briefly compliments her spirit before sucking out her soul and presumably eating it. He tells the villagers that they have an extra three-month non-soul-eating reprieve for the assist. The little kid Seven Deadly Sins impersonators glare at these events from around a corner.

"We've been brought back for an arc with way more powerful villains than us - can you even comprehend how dead we are?!"

Somewhere else, some grunt demons attack Arthur and some pals, who kill the demons with a little effort. One of the pals, a ronin-type character called Nanashi, tells Arthur that as long as the cat-puffball thing that sits on his shoulder is with him, he "shall not look death in the eye". Arthur wonders what the hell that means, and suddenly the cat-thing talks to him, shocking Arthur even more.
This character is what you're fixated on?!
In the south-eastern regions, Golgius, another Wild Fang, barely escapes demon-collaborator villagers hunting for him. On a hill overlooking the town, he wanders into some fog and passes out at the sight of a massive form coming towards him.

He wakes up, not dead, but in a comfy bed in a non-demonic room. He wanders out of the room and finds he's in a pub. And not just any pub, but The Boar Hat, tended by Elizabeth and Hawk.
Golgius, recognising them, tries to play it cool and find an excuse to leave, but Hawk casually reveals that he knows who he is (right in the middle of a mouthful of soup, prompting the traditional spit take). He and Elizabeth have a mini-debate about having mercy on an enemy and pessimism vs. optimism, and he heads back out in the fog, lamenting that he's spent his life in too much darkness for someone who radiates light like Elizabeth.
Back inside The Boar Hat, Elizabeth heads into a bedroom and tells somebody there that they had Golgius there as a guest! In the bed is an eerily well-preserved Meliodas. Elizabeth hugs his body and tells him that they're all waiting for him to wake up.

 "I love to watch you sleep..."

In the main bar, Hawk picks up a presence and wonders if it's the "Wandering Knight" that customers were talking about. He feels a sense of deja vu, just as a fully-armoured knight enters. Apparently this knight was a competitor during the Great Fight Festival, but I honestly don't remember. Elizabeth comes back into the room, and the knight comments that's she's grown up well. He takes off his helm, revealing himself to be the long-dead Zaratras! Dun-dun-dun!

 "Eyes are up HERE, Holy Knight Zaratras."

Zaratras turns out to be... incredibly odd and suspicious. He explains that he was tricked by Hendrickson and Dreyfus/Fraudrin into eating a poisoned fish pie (his fav) before he was murdered. Hawk doubts his identity, but Elizabeth confirms that it's him.

 Not a euphemism! ... I hope.

Zaratras suspects that The Ten Commandments and "strong, lingering emotion" have something to do with how he was brought back to life, but he doesn't know the specifics. He adds that the only emotional attachment he has is regret and anger at himself for failing to save Hendrickson and Dreyfus from being controlled by demons.

Elizabeth suggests he visit his son, Gilthunder, and Zaratras has yet another mood swing, being nervous about seeing him. He changes the subject to Meliodas, and they go to gawk at his body. Zaratras compliments the healing work Elizabeth did on it, and asks her if she went to the Necropolis to see him. She says that she did, but... "he wasn't there, right?!" Zaratras finishes the sentence for her, cheerfully.

Well, she missed those seven massive scars, but sure, otherwise, a pretty good job. 
Zaratras asks if she wants to see him, and he grinds up some herbs and berries into paste and draws (what I assume are significant) runes all over Meliodas. While he's doing this, he tells a little story about how once, Meliodas got drunk and started rambling on about his own death, but then can't remember the details at all when Elizabeth presses him. Ditz or secretly evil? You decide!

He performs an incantation, and the four of them go into Meliodas' memory - to the day of Danafor's destruction. In the memory, past Zaratras and past Baltras spot Meliodas walking out of the destruction with resolute tears and an infant - baby Elizabeth. ...So... he hits on somebody he knew as a baby? Not surprising, but eww.


Where-are-they-now?-wise, we're starting off at the shallow end of the pool - we probably won't see the other Sins for a while, given that there are so many characters to catch up with. It was interesting to start with Wild Fang - the only thing I initially remembered about them was that I thought they were dead. Wherever the plot's going with Golgius, I'm interested.

I honestly can't tell if Zaratras is meant to be charming or suspicious, or maybe some combination of both.

Good things:

Flashback time!

The Commandments enslaving regular villagers and using them to round up knights is a fairly good display of their nefariousness.

Zaratras is goofy, but fairly entertaining. His moodswing schtick could get old fast, though.

The return of Wild Fang comes completely out of left field, but hey, their scenes were my favourites. Does... does Ruin have a tiny Hawk figurine on his staff/crook, by the way?

Bad things:

Arthur's scenes are a complete snoozefest. Was anybody at all clamouring to know the origin of CatBall? Anybody??

Arbitrary numerical rating:
3 out of 5

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. Regretfully, Otaku Nuts takes no responsibility if this article wore out your scroll wheel.


  1. Not gonna lie, Bleach didn't get that kind of reaction with me. Gerard's absorption/death means that everyone else fighting him was pointless, and Yhwach, leaving a defeated Ichigo behind to be brought back up by his dad so he can go through the magic-door-thingy and have the final battle with a new power/form, is so reminiscent of Aizen that it's almost laughable.

    And yeah, Meliodas' sexual harassment has officially gone to a creepier level. It's like Jacob from Twilight.

  2. To be blunt, I just wanted Gerard gone, regardless of whether it was a yet another anti-climactic Sternritter death or not. It was never going to be satisfying, given that he had almost no build-up or personality and was just a last-minute plot device to show off various Shinigai power-ups/keep the power-hitters occupied instead of fighting Ywach. Now that he's out of the way, we won't waste any more time on him. Hooray!

    I think it's too early to say for sure that it's going to be a direct copy of the end of the Arrancar arc, but I don't blame your pessimism. The next few chapters and the climax are probably going to be painful, but hopefully not Deicide-level painful. I'm planning to just power through it, get some answers and/or closure, and maybe have some time travel shenanigans along the way, time permitting. And cross my fingers for a Quincy databook; I'll add that to my Bleach wishlist.

    Oh, good, it's not just me who thinks it's even creepier than usual? I thought I might have been being oversensitive.