Saturday, 23 June 2012

Attack From Behind: Filler Arc Review [10]

The last filler arc. Let's knock it out of the park in one article.

The Arrancar saga has ended, and Aizen has been defeated. The manga had subsequently launched a frankly arbitrary timeskip because it was what all the cool shounen series were doing. The timeskip's inaugural arc, as we all know, would be fated for disaster; the series has already been plummeting in ratings since the comical disappointment carnival of Fake Karakura/ Deicide, but the transcendant WTF awfulness of the Fullbringer arc meteor kicked the anime into outright cancellation. The article where I take a gander at the anime version of the Fullbringer arc will come someday, but this installment of Attack From Behind will close off the Filler Arc Review series, focusing on the platter of evil clones and modsoul shenanigans the anime served up between Aizen and the timeskip.

It's none other than the Reigai Uprising! Or, alternatively, the Gotei 13 Invasion Arc!

Hitsugaya might get stabbed? *I'M* hooked!
I'm most interested in the Gotei 13 Invasion of Hitsugaya's Body with Many Swords Arc, myself
Expect half of the article to focus on Hitsugaya's imminent stabbing
Look at me I can't even stop talking about now I'm so giddy

A refresher course on reigai and modsouls.

In the world of BLEACH, there is such a thing as artificial souls ("Gikon"). They're contained in pills, and are designed to inhabit a shinigami's "Gigai" artificial physical body when its owner is out doing stuff in spirit form. Here's Rukia's soul stand-in (the most popular model among female shinigami that need gigai for some reason, "Chappy!") flexing her considerable retard strength.

This was the artificial soul Rukia originally ordered for Ichigo, but she got Kon's pill by mistake.

Yes, the soul inside the pill has its own personality and mind, and can even be placed into non-living bodies like plushies. Such is the case with the character that used to be the series's kind-of mascot very early on, Kon.

In canon, he hasn't appeared in basically forever, not even after the timeskip when Ichigo settled back down to a normal high schooler's life. Kon was nowhere to be seen because Kubo has totally forgotten about him. During the arc that had Ichigo get shrunk down to fit inside a doll house to fight a plushie named Mr. Pork.

That's not Kon

A plushie summoned by a character who loves plushies and can place people inside of them as her power.

That's not Kon, either

Missed opportunity much, Kubo? What, was Kon banging on the door of the bleakest cell of your mind's discarded idea prison, and some of his muffled cries floated to the top? By contrast, this arc will actually use Kon. Not only use Kon, but use him well, as a character worthy of development just like any other.

Project Spearhead was a Research Division mad science plan to concoct stronger artificial souls that could be installed into human corpses to make them zombie weapons against Hollows, since Hollows greatly (greeeeatly) outnumber shinigami. The program was scrapped and shut down by the Central 46, Soul Society's august legislative/judicial body of nothing but self-serving dickmunches, whose only qualification is to have as little patience and capacity for understanding as possible.

"Let me guess: Your verdict is whichever option's the least progressive and most myopic available."
"You see these barriers? Yeah, we can observe your guns flapping but nope, no sound. We've streamlined the process."

Lol, the Central 46 must have been gnawing on their knuckles at all the twin swords running around this arc. So many arbitrary death matches to organize, so little time!

Kon is a "Modsoul," a remnant of Project Spearhead that Ichigo and Rukia picked up purely by chance, unless Kubo decides to retcon that as a piece of Aizen or Urahara's master plan somewhere down the line.

You may recall the three anime-only modsouls introduced in the Bount arc, Noba, Kuroudo, and Ririn (from left to right).

They appeared in the anime from time to time even during canon arcs, but the anime staff realized nobody liked them and they're never mentioned or heard from in this modsoul-centric storyline. The heroes are definitely smarting from their absence, though, since it never hurts to have teleportation, illusion, and fucking shapeshifting-with-power-copying hax on your side. Jesus Christ you're a monster and they never use you, Kuroudo. Probably because you're so repellant and annoying they'd rather die than be around you.


Urahara probably created Kuroudo as a joke, and was surprised as anyone that his ability turned out to wreck everyone else's. I bet the next inventor of modsouls that can copy people won't repeat Urahara's design mistake of gaudy clothing and stupid split-dye hair!

Meet this arc's modsoul mastermind villain, Inaba Kagerouza. He has gaudy clothing and stupid split-dye hair.

"I'm so beloved, fourteen different character designers worked on me."

Inaba isn't as cool as Muramasa/Kouga; despite having basically the same theme of "I destroyed all connections and reveled in solitude, that's true power!" Inaba can only scrape at Muramasa/Kouga's depth of character. That being said, he's definitely a refreshing villain in his own right.

For one thing, he's not a bishie, but he's not obviously-evil pug ugly like Kumoi either.

"To be a proper bastard, one must cultivate and groom the proper mien, and then the evil will come naturally!"
"If you're telling me to ditch the split-dye, then worry not: it's within the scope of my master plan."

Inaba's also really damn smart, always equipped with a contingency plan. It can get a bit irritating after the 15th time he pulls hax out of his ass, but in general I like villains that don't fall into pitfalls because of their own shortsightedness. Finally, I like it when a villain pays the heroes compliments (often backhanded, sometimes genuine) and speaks politely.

The only other anime-exclusive character introduced in the Inaba's Hair Arc (sorry, Reigai Uprising) is a Modsoul chick named Nozomi. She's one of those insufferable emotionless types in fiction that for some reason are only ever girls. Luckily, she's only insufferable initially.

"My creator exhibited massive restraint by not slapping me with titanic tatas."

She's the one they've got to protect from Inaba's dastardly ambitions of becoming one with her. (Not that way.) But the viewers don't know that until later on; Inaba just tells us that once he's captured Nozomi, he'll be able to gain control of both Soul Society and the world of the living.

In addition to being shinigami, they're both modsouls from the first modsoul experiments, way back when. Project Spearhead--of course never mentioned again in canon since 12 years of syndication or something--was essentially the last plot hook the anime staff could cling to.

Obviously there can't be just a single villain for a huge cast of protagonists, and so their adversaries this time around will be "reigai" artificial clones of themselves! Reigai are simply the spiritual-matter version of gigai. If those soul-pills need to be put into a body while in a spiritual realm like Soul Society, it's a reigai they get.

 "That's it, boys. Skip the dialogue on aesthetics and go straight for the choking."

I can imagine the reasons they went down this avenue. What do people watch BLEACH for? It must be for the Gotei 13! No one cares about a random ass troupe of fodder villains of the week who exist to be flashily defeated. Let's just have the shinigami fight each other! And creating evil clones for them to fight is the perfect method, that way there's no consequences from them duking it out in a frenzied slugfest.

However, they can't repeat the Zampak arc's character introspection angle, and so these clones are just better, enhanced versions (Reigai!Kira's blade makes things 10 times heavier with each strike!). And Inaba pulls out all the mad science stops in order to keep the clones a threat--some cool, some stupid. This arc is trying to gather appeal with the promise of nothing but fights, and the opening proves it.


See? Nothing but fights. Actually, this is false advertizing, because nowhere in the opening does it indicate that it's clones that are fighting. It makes it appear as though the Gotei 13 are genuinely out for each others' throats. That happened in SS Arc, so it's not all that much of a leap, even for a filler arc. In any case, whether or not you like the idea of this arc is a matter of taste. It's either HO FUCK AWESOME or good god such a waste of time. I myself have never read or watched shounen for the fights, like many do. But there's no reason the arc couldn't be entertaining. I watched it with an open mind.

But fuck did they start off on the wrong foot for me. This otherwise okay arc leaves a terrible first impression.

Annoyingly, the anime staff has Soul Society lock Ichigo up AGAIN on some dumb misunderstanding. WHAT REASON WOULD HE HAVE TO CONSPIRE AGAINST A WORLD HE'S SAVED

It literally takes work to calculate how many times this 15-year-old has saved the world in a single year. It doesn't make sense that they'd throw him in the slammer on a dime, folks. I fucking hate it.

"They trusted YOU to take me into custody? YOU!? You once abandoned Soul Society willy-nilly and jeopardized the fundamental laws of space and time because you were feeling a bit put off!"
"That's movie continuity, pal, that doesn't count."

And this takes place after Ichigo's defeat of Aizen, wherein he staked his life and sacrificed his massive shinigami hax (that Soul Society foisted on him in the first place, I might add) in order to take down Soul Society's ultimate enemy. How much more does the fucker have to do for you, you ingrates? Does he have to pepper your fucking steaks and unblinkingly compliment the lovely sheen of your balls?

"Ichigo, next time you need to save those seven dimensions by the time we captains finish our omelets in the morning. You'll also need to do it while tying soul-bowling balls to your ankles, for our amusement."

"You know, I can understand why I need to save Soul Society, soul balance, collapse of reality, etc. etc. I DON'T understand why I have to protect Seireitei / the Gotei 13."

"It's because uhhhhh you're under arrest. For insufficient shinigami bollocks worshiping."

"That's nice, can you please remove the dagger you've just plunged into my heart sometime before the trial, perchance?"

"...What trial?" *twist twist twist*

Man, whoever it was that was talking to Ichigo in that sketch sure is a dick!

ICHIGO OF THE REBELLION, now that would be a treat. If you think about it, Ichigo has no reason to see the Gotei 13 as good, really, apart from Aizen being even more obviously evil. Now that Aizen is out of the picture, what's to stop Ichigo from staging a coup? What are they going to do, execute you? They didn't even execute Aizen. But they did try to execute Rukia... for giving someone else powers. That would help them close the gap between shinigami and Hollows. All of this leads to only one conclusion--the less severe the crime, the more severe the punishment. Hey Ichigo, while you're staging your coup and killing Mayuri and Kenpachi and Byakuya and Yamamoto and all those evil fuckers in SS, make sure to piss on their corpses afterwards, that way they'll give you a slap on the wrist and a life's supply of lollipops in case that hurt too much.

The way they threw Ichigo in the slammer is double extra shitty in this arc because Ichigo's constantly losing spirit energy everytime he exerts himself (YOU FUCKING INGRATES AAAAAH). See, to put an end an Aizen he'd inadvertently allowed to become beyond uber-invincible once and for all in any sort of believable way, he had Ichigo sacrifice his powers in an all-or-nothing ultra attack called "Mugetsu"--not thinking ahead to what that meant for the anime, thoughtless clodpate that he is. (As an aside, in the brief period that Ishida was robbed of his powers, the Bount arc gave him a special Quincy artifact for temporary usage.) So to rationalize this, the anime staff rewrote the consequences of Mugetsu from Ichigo totally losing his powers all at once, to his losing them gradually over time. Of course, in neither continuity should this really spell trouble for him, since in theory it ought to be super easy for Ichigo to regain his shinigami-ness: he's done it before (albeit with Urahara's help). It's the same problem with the Fullbringer arc, why didn't Ichigo just return to Urahara for the same battery of endurance tests that got him his shinigami powers back the first time he lost them?

Actually, Ichigo doesn't look upon the imminent loss of his powers with any dread, which is in character, I suppose. Although he's thankful to Rukia for giving him the strength to defend his family from Hollows, he never wanted the responsibility in the first place, and who can blame the poor guy? Still, you'd think he'd want to hold on to his powers in case there's another Hollow threat to his family and Soul Society doesn't lend any help, which happens roughly 200% of time (for every second of history, there are two seconds of Hollow attacks on Karakura). Ichigo, go out with a bang, just exterminate the hideous rathole that is Yamamoto's reign. Then come back down to Earth, show the world proper evidence of your having saved everyone's immortal skins a dozen times if you're modest, and retire to a life of eternal supermodel blowjobs while Chad shoots down every Hollow in Karakura (in between his own thousand blowjobs a day) and the shinigami rebuild a better, more just Seireitei. Yes, this is now my headcanon. Oh, and Ishida can babysit I guess.

Plot! So everyone's chilling relaxing all cool, including Aizen in his wazzap bondage throne.

 "My only regret is not getting to stab Momo some more. But at least I get time to contemplate how the world should be: A world wherein every picosecond in every sector of the cosmos is filled with either a Momo stabbing someone, a Momo getting stabbed, or a double Momo stabbing. No triple Hinamori stabbings, then the universe would explode in white from my sticky white Ceros."

Since that smirking cockmunch is out of the way, they can finally do some spring cleaning or some shit, so they're setting up barriers and performing general soul-maintenance. Nanao and Rangiku traipse on through the ooky Dangai precipice world for work, but for some reason, unbeknownst to anyone, the Dangai's time axis has shifted in relation to Soul Society, making it seem as though Nanao and Rangiku are missing when, to them, it was a perfectly routine in-and-out. Well, apart from their hell butterflies spontaneously combusting.

"You know, none of this shit happened before Ichigo came along. I say we lock him up."

The Research Department gets in a tizzy over the missing lieutenants--they're monitoring the Dangai 24/7, how could they have slipped through the cracks? Because it was Inaba that fiddled with the records. He's Mayuri's 7th Seat.

"No, I've never appeared in the Research Division before this arc. There's nothing suspicious about that, viewer."

After the lieutenants return none the wiser, Mayuri reasons that the time gap is expanding, and by the next day they won't be able to intervene in the human world. When Mayuri enters to investigate, he discovers the anomaly is man-made, and then the Koutotsu death sweeper activates. State of emergency!

The other shinigami who went into the Dangai alongside Mayuri exit unscathed with some incriminating evidence--the substitute shinigami badge that Ichigo has yet to drop there.

Other plot! Ichigo and Rukia are chilling relaxing all cool at Casa Kurosaki when a Hollow appearance forces Ichigo to push Kon's modsoul pill into his body. Since it's a modsoul-centric arc, it only now occurs to Kon to question how selfishly they use him.

Kon stumbles upon the body of a girl on the asphalt of a parking lot; earlier we saw her fall to Earth unconscious from a Senkaimon portal over, say it with me now, Karakura. She's naked. All the pervert jokes you'd expect ensue, including an old lady yelling for the police on him. Kon takes her back to Ichigo's room.

You know, it sure is lucky that it's our heroes who found her first.

When the girl awakens, she's an ungrateful ass who does nothing but call Kon a huge lousy pervert (dosukebebaka). It would be one thing if she acted scared and threatened, but she's just an emotionless block.

Charmer, she is.

Ichigo and Rukia grill him over the naked girl in his bed (GET OFF HIS BED), and Rukia deduces that she must be the strange entity that fell from that spontaneous Senkaimon portal. Rukia can't sense her existence spiritually at all.

Ichigo and Rukia are off to the Research Department up in Soul Society on orders, but Urahara warns Ichigo that Yoruichi went there three days ago with the intention of returning immediately, and hasn't been heard from since. Moreover, when Rukia attempted to confirm the weird order, she got no response. In the Dangai, they get chased by the Koutotsu sweeper thing and Ichigo has to bankai to outrun it; he drops his badge in his haste.

 The animation for this arc is absolutely top notch. Visuals, Kubo, they don't entail just throwing up empty space

On top of that, he faints from overexertion; he ain't as spry as he used to be since he's losing his powers. On the other side, Ichigo and Rukia get apprehended and Ichigo is thrown behind bars.

Since the Age of Aizen, it was tempting for Ichigo to chalk things up to illusion hax.

At the end of the first episode, Inaba strides across his evil mad science regeneration tube room (comes standard with the madness), and he orders Nanao and Kira (actually their clones, but we don't know that yet).

"Pile of mannequins, that's gotta be ringing some alarm bells in some innocents."
"Gloves! Totes sinister, right?"
"Think I'm evil yet? I do hope you think I'm sufficiently evil."
"There's nothing more menacing than a cane with gloves! You think I NEED this cane? Nay, I say! With this my fearsome mien is COMPLETE."

Like Urahara and Yamamoto, the cane is Inaba's sword. Its name is Raiku.

You thought Ichinose's sword from the Bount arc could do everything with a few rainbow droplets to spare? Nijigasumi was a fucking bonsai twig next to Raiku. Let's just say when your sword comes with "space-time manipulation," you can be confident you won the superpower lottery. (Raiku's command is kurue, or "go insane," and clearly the sword takes this to heart.) This sword is coupled with a panoply of other advantages Inaba enjoys and exploits. For example, as he is a modsoul himself, he can totally conceal his spiritual energy without a problem, and thus he's immune to the dangers of the Dangai which he researched so assiduously while he was undercover as a scientist under Mayuri. Therefore, he was able to make the Precipice World his bitch and seal off shinigami transportation between worlds. Inaba has also been secretly bottling up little bits of the spirit energy from each of the top-tier shinigami as they passed through worlds, and pouring that information into his army of evil clones.

Rukia breaks Ichigo out of jail, but the two are held back by Renji and Ikkaku; we don't want to do this but orders are orders, yadda yadda let's fight now. I feel like we've heard that conversation a million times now. But this time, they actually did want to keep Ichigo in prison--This Renji and Ikkaku are reigai, and more powerful than the originals!

"I preferred you when you were just really, really, really, really stupid, Renji."

Reigai!Renji is a psycho that has no problem killing Rukia, and Reigai!Ikkaku says he just wants another fight with Ichigo before he loses his powers. Reigai clones are supposed to have all the same memories as the originals, so does that mean that the real Renji's just an upgrade away from forsaking Rukia? What a bastard. Or maybe reigai!Renji loves reigai!Rukia.

Really, they say that the reigai have the same memories and personalities, but from what we can see, they just don't, at least not personalities. Maybe Inaba added a dash of evil juice into each clone. But still, you'd think that if reigai!Renji had all the same memories as the original, he wouldn't be raring to slice up the shining star of his life, no matter the amount of roids Inaba injected into his body.

Yoruichi saves Ichigo and Rukia and absconds with them to the Research Department for some snooping (amusingly, in one of the end-episode gags, it's said that Inaba couldn't create a clone of Yoruichi because she was in cat form as she passed through the Dangai). There they discover an order to capture Nozomi, the girl Kon found on the asphalt and brought home.

Now they need to return to Casa Kurosaki to protect Nozomi, but everything is monitored by Inaba and his loyal reigai, and, for now, Yamamoto is unaware that his military has been partially infiltrated by impostors. Yoruichi devises a plan for the three of them to book it out of Soul Society.

Soul Society has a single official world portal, called the Senkaimon.

Shinigami need hell butterflies to be allowed through. With a hell butterfly alongside you, you don't need to pass through the Precipice World and can enter either the world of the living or Soul Society immediately.
 Yoruichi, Rukia, and Ichigo no longer have that luxury--in fact, they'll be lucky to arrive at the portal at all in one piece, with so many elite shinigami blocking the way. They manage it by faking them out with the inflatable gigai decoy dummies Urahara uses.

"You know, after you've created an artifact that can literally grant wishes, every invention is cake."

Those dummies are weird since they act exactly like they're fully realized people, are they controlled telepathically or what?

 Rukia and Ichigo pass on through and Yoruichi fends off all the reigai; since they're abnormally belligerent and eager to strike, Yoruichi was able to exploit that weakness by outmaneuvering them.

However, she's devoured by reigai!Byakuya's petals.

Inaba pays a visit to Casa Kurosaki with some reigai and asks Kon to hand over the strange girl to the nice shinigami.

 "No, we don't want your literature."

 Kon has no reason to think Inaba's bad so he runs upstairs to fetch her, only to discover she's jumped out the window and fled. Inaba gives chase, pins Kon to the wall with a binding spell, and corners Nozomi, but she's defended by Ishida.

Overall this is a cool scene. Ishida tells Inaba that he reminds him of a certain scientist he loathes. After he thinks he's stabbed him and put him to rest, Ishida walks off and says "We both hate Mayuri, we might have been friends." Then Inaba reappears perfectly unscathed and politely begs to differ--he doesn't hate Mayuri, he admires him, even though Inaba has deemed himself superior in every aspect.

Ishida and Chad both job to Inaba before Ichigo shows up.

Inaba drags his blade to bang repeatedly on the railing as he squares on Ichigo, taunting him that as a sign of respect for defeating Aizen he won't use any "petty tricks"--but seriously, dude, is that all you've got? Don't you have a last resort for me? Ichigo slips on his mask and fires off a Getsuga, but Inaba deflects it without too much difficulty.

It must be such a nice feeling to show everyone your supervillain chops after having kowtowed to them all your life.

Inaba is satisfied with this science lesson (even a Vizard who beat Aizen can't beat me) and laughingly elects to kill Ichigo and Rukia, but the real Gotei 13 arrives to intervene. Mayuri tells Inaba he's going to punish him, presumably Szayel-style.

"Nobody gets to kill Quincies except me."

Inaba retreats back to SS, but not before declaring that when he's kidnapped Nozomi, that's when he'll have SS and the real world in the palm of his hand. Meanwhile, the Gotei 13 are stuck in the real world. Now THAT'S an evil plan, Kubo. Not "I've got this wish-granting artifact that will activate for me shortly, then I'll become invincible."

"Aizen had a half-Hollow army? Well isn't that just cute."

Inaba still has to make copies of the remaining captains, and he's got something in store for Yamamoto, as well.

All of the Gotei 13 stuck on Earth crash in Ichigo's bedroom, which is pretty funny.

"It seems Ichi-nii's speaking to 15 voices, now. Should we tell Dad our brother's a schizo?"
"Dad is more schizo than he is."

They conjecture that Inaba must have something hidden inside of Nozomi, much like how Urahara hid the Hougyoku inside of Rukia's intentionally malfunctioning gigai. This pisses Ichigo off greatly, and he vows to protect her. However, she still ain't spilling the beans.

Mayuri tells everyone that Inaba manipulated time using his sword in order to sic the Koutotsu cleaner behemoth on them while they were in the Dangai, the same time slicing Inaba used against Ishida in their fight earlier.

In the aftermath, Ishida, Chad and Orihime cook a welcome barbeque for Nozomi.

Lol, Ishida cuts Quincy crosses onto the food he serves.

Kon gets to talking to Nozomi, insisting she needs to start talking about what's going on, and she shoves some chili powder into Kon's mouth and escapes as Kon wails from the spiciness. I guess plushies have well-developed taste buds when you insert soul pills into them.

Kon finds Nozomi and grows frustrated by her cold demeanor; "Rangiku" shows up to show the girl a good time, but Kon figures out she was a clone and goes after her, intercepting just before reigai!Rangiku can strongarm Nozomi back to SS. Kon flings the chili powder at Rangiku's mouth, but she blocks it and mocks his weakness.

Ichigo comes to save them, but the important thing is that Nozomi has warmed up to Kon a bit, and accepts his offering of a kebab to eat at the end of the episode. Nozomi will gradually open up in all of the following episodes, allowing herself hope (the word "nozomi" means desire or hope). I was fearing that she'd flip from stone bitch to happy-go-lucky flibbertigibbet in like 2 episodes; luckily it's more believable than that, and she does pull her weight once she's placed her trust in her friends.

Back in SS, Kyouraku, Ukitake, Yamamoto and Unohana haven't been replaced by clones yet--they think that everything implicating Ichigo is a bunch of bullshit, bless them. Reigai!Mayuri and !Kenpachi convince Yamamoto that Ichigo was there and sicced the Koutotsu on them somehow. Ichigo spent two weeks training in the Dangai; maybe he pulled off something nefarious during that time?

I'm glad it's only the impostor shinigami trying to push this, otherwise I'd be really mad. You read my screed earlier on the subject of Ichigo imprisonment, you wouldn't want to see how long it'd be if all the captains swallowed that shit immediately.

It's not like they've never seen shapeshifters or heard of illusionary powers, either. Dumbfucks, you just fought a treacherous villain whose power was total perception control!

However, Yamamoto, being Yamamoto, thinks there's a chance Ichigo may have truly turned coat, and orders a party of shinigami to retrieve him, still unaware that Inaba is really at the helm. Kyouraku and Ukitake ask to look over the Dangai records, which gives Inaba an avenue to have Kyouraku arrested for "tampering with records," sending reigai!Soi Fong to cart them off to jail; however, Ukitake eventually busts him out.

Meanwhile, Nozomi has escaped, and Ichigo discovers Kon tied up again. Jesus, Kon, your life is shit. First Rukia, now a fellow Modsoul.

"A moment of introspection leads to wet sheets one way or the other."

Inaba visits the Maggot's Nest prison (but we don't know that yet) to visit the original modsoul creator scientist, Yushima (but we don't know that yet). The mysterious figure (Yushima) looks a lot like Inaba, and Inaba's doing everything for him, even though he's unconscious.

It's ironic, the scientist is the mannequin and the mannequin is the scientist.

Find Nozomi! Clone Fights in the Human World!!

The next few episodes are tons of fights, and they aren't Bount level silly so I don't know if I'll be able to crack very many jokes, but for your edification I'll summarize them.

Both the reigais and the originals of Omaeda, Yumichika, Hisagi and Ikakku are looking for Nozomi and stumble upon each other. I think this is the most contrived encounter ever, the groups mirror each other fucking exactly.

Reigai!Omaeda is both more handsome and has a bigger ahem flail.

Yumichika admires his clone as a three-dimensional mirror reflection, and can't bring himself to mar his own perfection--can he and Ikaku switch opponents!?--but reigai!Yumi is more interested in seeing himself beautifully covered with blood (just roll with it I guess).

While fleeing through a random tunnel, Omaeda strikes upon an idea alongside Hisagi, and together they exploit the enclosed space and pin reigai!Omaeda's gigantic Gegetsuburi down, since it's also heavier and slower.

 "Don't hate me cuz I'm beautiful!!"

"And you call yourself Stealth Force!?" real!Omaeda boasts. His reigai clone launches a last minute kidou explosion to escape, causing Omaeda to gawk in wonder, never knowing he was capable of such a thing.

Meanwhile,the originals of Yumichika and Ikkaku are roundly defeated and humiliated, and their clones decide to just go searching for Nozomi again.

Reigai!Kira (of the amplified weight-increasing ability) fights Rangiku, and she improvises a clever ploy of her own while she's about to get decapitated by the crooked blade. She conceals an iron rod in her scarf and has Kira tap that with Wabisuke, getting him to pin his own sword under an immensely heavy rod.

Though you'd think this would make the scarf itself heavier.

After a clone is killed, the reigai body dissolves in wisps of smoke, leaving only a pill behind.

Rukia vs. Rukia follows, and reigai!Nemu gangs up on poor Rukia as well, but the real Nemu arrives to help her out. Nemu defeats her clone (just cuz, I guess--sometimes the originals defeat their clones pretty much without a sweat, which is lame because they're supposed to be weaker). But then reigai!Rukia gets the drop on her after tricking her into thinking the real Rukia won out in their ice pillar against ice pillar showdown. She proceeds to toss Rangiku and Nemu's white asses off a bridge into the cold water below, lol. Not sure how she managed that. I guess Rukia's reigai enhancement is "increased skill at throwing enemies over the edge of Earth bridges."

I also like how these spiritual beings make splashes when they hit the waves

Meanwhile, after Ukitake breaks Kyouraku out, it turns out the Kyouraku inside the cell was his reigai clone, who proceeds to slash poor Ukitake. Together with Ukitake's clone, the impostors plan to catch Yamamoto off guard.

"Jeez, is that what I look like when I'm coughing up my lungs all the time? Thank heavens I'm a reigai now."

The fake Ukitake and Kyouraku try to take out Yamamoto with his guard down; this goes about as well as you'd expect, but Inaba will have them work in concert with reigai!Unohana to take the captain commander out later. In any case, Yamamoto certainly understands his military is now infested with clones.

I forgot to mention the reigai clones sometimes sport blue electricky eyes so you can tell them apart from the originals. They can apparently suppress them if they want to be mistaken for originals.

Chad fights reigai!Renji (after SS Arc, Renji and Chad sparred against each other, so this isn't a totally random match up). Reigai!Renji is toast once the real Renji flanks Chad and they bash him into dust together.

"An enhanced Renji? Shaking in my boots, I am."

 "I won't hold back!" sayeth Renji. Who then proceeds to hold back by using his shikai. Someone ought to compile the Great List of Anime Fight Cliche Lines. Shit like "Prepare yourself," "I'm coming at you with my full strength," "Fight to kill and maybe you'll land a scratch on me," "Is that all you've got?" "Impossible!!" "That's MY line" "What is this immense reiatsu!?" etc. I love how everyone's fucking reiatsu comes in one size, IMMENSE, and yet it's always shocking

Real!Renji comments that the clones are no match for the originals, which means that reigai!Renji and real!Renji are bosom buddies when it comes to brainless posturing

Real!Unohana investigates books and records and stuff, and pieces together that it's the researcher who's obsessed with the Dangai, Inaba, that must be behind all this funny business with the weird arrests and the Dangai's slipping time axis. Inaba chooses that exact moment to reveal himself, applauding her perceptiveness, and admits that he exploited the Dangai for his time/space hax.

"You must have gotten your fashion sense from the Dangai, too--it certainly wasn't any place there were people around."

Back to Nozomi, she's leading Kon along with her to some place in the dead of night, and he has no idea what she intends to do. Finally, they reach a Shinto shrine in the mountains--a naturally occurring world gate through which Nozomi intends to fling herself, ready to spend the rest of her life in some strange unknown plane of existence where Inaba can never reach her.

Kon initally refuses to let her, but after witnessing her pure determination, he offers to walk with her into the eternity of loneliness. She once again pins him in place with a binding spell to prevent him from needlessly throwing away his life for her. However, a bunch of clones sweep in to snatch Nozomi before she can enter the natural Senkaimon, which, by the way, I really like the idea of.

Naturally, every time some peril is about to snuff out a good guy, the next second Ichigo will block the attack at the last second. Ichigo's "super speed" power must really translate to = "impeccably perfect timing."

So yeah Ichigo heroically stakes losing his powers to defeat each and every one of the reigai clones (there were like seven of them), proving to Nozomi that she should stick around since Ichigo will do anything to ensure she enjoys the nice and fulfilling life she deserves, she's a nakama, hear.

Okay, so I like that character development, but I don't like how this arc just makes whatever hero they need to win, win, without a real reason apart from "that's what the plot demanded." Ichigo doesn't rely on any strategy to defeat them, he just does. Because the writers needed those reigai clones to die, since they had way too many others to deal with.

Back at Urahara's, tranquility.

And then Kenpachi strolls quietly up to Ichigo and plants yet another foot into his cheek.

The captains stranded in the world of the living are off to SS using the Dangai, since Urahara found a way to allow them a 30-second of opportunity to push them through. Ichigo wants in, too, but Kenpachi tells him he'll get killed. Of course, Kenpachi adds:

Is this a bizarre cliche, or what? As bizarre as "I could sense your killing intent!" (which Yamamoto actually used earlier when the reigai Ukitake tried slashing at him). Kimbley-sense, I call it.

So the captains (Kenpachi, Hitsugaya, Byakuya, and Komamura) rush through to SS, while Inaba boasts to Unohana that while he can't control the restrictive current or the Koutotsu sweeper directly, he can manipulate time in the Dangai so that the process is sped up. Komamura is forced to wrestle with the Koutotsu so the rest can arrive at SS unharmed, but don't worry, our lovable furry captain will survive.

Katamari Damacyyyy

Back in SS, more clone fights!!

First it's Kenpachi versus Kenpachi. It's about as stale as you'd imagine ("I hope you're really strong," slash, blood, "Is that all you've got?" slash, blood), but there are some pretty good visuals with the rain.

I'm really starting to hate Kenpachi, though. We get it, he's insanely fucking strong and loves fighting strong dudes. He has basically no other facet to his character. Talk about a personality that's worn its welcome.

Well, there's one thing that salvages his likeability: his relationship with Yachiru. Real!Kenpachi said he wouldn't mind dying if it was to a stronger opponent, but he opens his eyes and sees Yachiru, which causes him to well up with the resolve to win. He can't leave her behind.

Heart hax gives real!Kenpachi the upper hand and he smashes his clone into dust.

Unohana, in the meantime, finds herself in a bit of a pickle as Isane (her lieutenant) reveals herself to be a reigai, and Inaba trots out Unohana's own evil clone as well.

"Yes!! As a reigai, I'll finally MATTER!!"

But Unohana escapes. Then it's real!Byakuya versus reigai!Hitsugaya.

Why do you guys ever cross swords, seriously, you're all exactly equal at swordsmanship so just do your powers

Reigai!Hitsu discusses some of the motivation behind what the clones are up to, which at this point is sorely needed, but we don't get much. And since Byakuya can't help but bark about his shitty fucking pride, I can't bring myself to type out what they say; here it is from the Wiki:

"""The Reigai apologizes to him, stating that the showdown between the two 10th Division captains is inevitable, claiming that they both want to protect the same thing. However, the Reigai states that the strength granted to him by Inaba will make him able to realize his goals. Hitsugaya states that, until that moment, losing is not an option. Byakuya berates the Reigai, stating that using another's powers for their own means is how someone with no pride acts. He states that he cannot lose to someone who has discarded his own pride... leaving Hitsugaya surprised."""

Shut the fuck up, Byakuya. Ugggh. You can change whatever "pride" means to suit the moment. If Byakuya doesn't happen to like mustard on his hot dog, he could say there's no pride in eating mustard on hot dogs, you distasteful glutton; if he likes building ships in a bottle, then why it's the "proudest " fucking hobby in the universe.

Or how about the fact that reigai!Hitsugaya was born that strong, you shit heap? What, should he unmake his own birth because he was brought to this world with powers given to him by an external force, that he didn't earn? That's rich coming from the mouth of a noble. Go die, Byakuya.

Hitsu retorts that he hasn't done any such thing as throw away his pride, but he's going to do what it takes to "protect his will." He can never replace the original even if he defeats him, but hey, a living's a living. Byakuya wins because fuck.

Real!Byakuya then has to face off against his own clone while injured, but he can't run away because there can only be one head of the House of Kuchiki! Lol, or you could let your clone build another House of Kuchiki with reigai attendants. They'll repeat that there's no need for more than one head of the House of Kuchiki like four times. Is that the only dilemma here, Byakuya?

"There can only be ONE 6th Division Captain. And there can only be ONE big brother of Rukia."


"Furthermore, there can only be ONE emotionally undead, imperious elitist who makes up for his lack of the milk of human kindness with a marked tendency to embark on self-absorbed, often quite homicidal adventures because he pulls the word 'pride' out of his saintly fragrant rectum, thereby giving everyone their cue to wax lyrical about how great and just and noble he is."

"...Can there be less than one of those?"

Yamamoto is still fending off the clones of Ukitake and Kyouraku, who are at their limit until reigai!Unohana arrives to keep healing them over and over. This is Inaba's gambit, to have them wear Yamamoto out this way.

...Stop her, dude.

Basically, there isn't a real ending to the fight, since Yamamoto just keeps powering on until the reigais are summoned elsewhere (he is forced to use that giant pillar of fire spam technique he used to try to fry Aizen). By the way, I should mention that during this fight, reigai!Ukitake said something along the lines of "We have a reason we're fighting you that has nothing to do with some petty rebellion against the originals, but we can't tell you why yet." This is only brought up again at the very end of the arc, and it turns out to be mega uber stupid, so you can look forward to another massive rant.

All right, the time has come. It's the laugh-a-minute Hinamori clonathon of my dreams.

So Hitsu spots Hinamori just chilling relaxing all cool seated on the edge of a rooftop, mumbling about how, when she woke up, the division barracks was deserted and she felt lonely and confused or some shit--and Hitsu buys this COMPLETELY with no suspicion whatsoever. Hitsugaya, you gobshite, it's a CLONE WAR.

"Everybody was gone, so that's why I'm on this random ass rooftop, still so weak from when YOU fucking STABBED ME and stuff. Tee hee."

"This does seem like something you'd do, Hinamori, since I know 90% of your brain is still undressing Aizen (only eight more super-forms to go!) and the other 10% is just straight up retarded. YOU HAVE MY FULL SUPPORT, SUCCUMB TO YOUR THE VAPORS WITH NARY A CARE!!"

Is Hitsu's opinion of Hinamori ridiculously low, or what? Dude, she recovered from the last time she got stabbed through by someone she loved decently enough, and in time to kick some ass on the battlefield to boot. Do you really think she'd get so mind broked again? Or have you always seen her as a delicate little lily incapable of intelligent thought? I never thought I'd say this, but he's smothering her with his condescending "caring"!!

Hitsugaya catches her before she falls off the roof, and then Hinamori (a reigai! WHAT IS THIS!?) pulls a sword on him in that moment.

"I should have guessed, you didn't even mention Aizen ONCE within the space of two sentences."

Reigai!Hinamori guilt trips Hitsu by asking if he's going to run her through again, to which Hitsu takes the Ichigo option: freaking the fuck out and zipping away. But only after Hinamori apologizes with a meek and pleasant GUT STAB

Benny Hill is playing in your head. 100% chance.

I guess no matter how IMMENSE OMG your lolreiatsu is, shorter legs = not as speedy. What happened to flash stepping, Hitsu? Or does shunpou necessitate a less life-threatening arrangement of innards? (Which by the way HAHA!!!) I'm not going to say "go die, Hitsugaya," but only because you're doing it without having to be told, which is a step above Byakuya so kudos.

"Silly Momo, I'm just an ice clone! That's running away, clutching his wound, and ducking your sword swipes--but if you actually landed a hit on me I'm totes an ice clone, that's just how it works."

Gallantly, another Hinamori comes to Hitsugaya's aid against this despicable yet quite apologetic reigai impostor! They clash, but, one can't help but conjecture, only after the two Hinamoris have exhausted every possible permutation of the phrase "I'm sorry" offscreen. This is the most scintillating apologyfest since Tsukishima!

Hitsu can't pick out which is the real Hinamori, which is unsurprising since he can't do that when there's only one Hinamori. He intervenes when they try to kill each other, as he's uncertain which one is the genuine article. However, it turns out that BOTH Hinamoris are reigais!!

D-D-D-DOUBLE STAB! Achievement unlocked

"Just as I'd expect from a genius of your caliber, Shiro-chan!! The ice in your ice clone looks so much like real flesh and blood it's unreal! Also, I'm SO sorry but Inaba told us to test our blades against the ice in your ice clone by twisting them a bunch."

"Are you sure Inaba didn't order you two to twist swords inside each other? Otherwise I don't see why he'd bother cooking up two Momos. No offense."

Oh, Inaba might have come up with a counter against an actual potential ice clone switcheroo because the Hinamoris then shoot some dainty fluffy fireballs at Hitsu and send him hurtling.

This strategy of Inaba's was totally working, you guys. Hitsugaya really was in mortal peril at this point. This is made even more pathetic when both of his attackers, aside from being little girls with all the muscle power of a rotting earthworm, say nothing but "We didn't want to do this, Shiro-chan!" and "Please, please forgive us!" Not even Hitsugaya deserves a death this lame--but still, kindly die painfully, Hitsu.

Of course he doesn't die, but I'm not too mad since the following gif has illuminated every dread corridor of my soul. By the way, the sad music is still playing when this happens.

  Say hello to the most lulziest scene in all of BLEACH.

Before dissolving, the reigai Hinamoris lament that they wish they were the real Momo. In a competent series this would lead to some real pathos reflecting the ethical quandary of killing clones that have no less right to life than the originals do, and clones that have all the same memories and emotions as your best friend (in fairness, Hitsu does tell the Momo clones that he's glad the real Hinamori didn't get involved in all this, because he never wants to hurt her again). BLEACH characters, on the other hand, have long learned the law of the land in Soul Society--if you act cool and emotionless, then what you've just done isn't even worth questioning.

"Now I know why Aizen turned bad. Did Momo squeal like this all the time?"

Yoruichi calls Hitsu "too naive." I'd like to think that's just code for "too colossally stupid to deserve breathing," but she does understand tact.

Finally, I like how fucking Inaba knew Hinamori and Hitsugaya and how they'd act better than they themselves do.

Then, there's Komamura vs. reigai!Soi Fong.

It seems like a strange match-up, but it's not particularly lulzy. Well, apart maybe from the final bankai clash:

It is, however, as entertaining as you would imagine, so if you want to watch it, go watch it.

Back to the Byakuyas, they fight a bunch and then they square off on a rooftop and let loose their bankais in a storm of petals.

To activate his bankai, Byaky lets his sword sink through the floor. Except, they're not on level ground. How do you animate that? Do the swords emerge from the roof at a slant?

NOPE, JUST ERASE THE BACKGROUND (this is Kubo's bankai)

"My Valium is now radiating from my very being, rendering all of reality drab and blue."

This arc has a bad habit of resolving fights offscreen as an afterthought flashback when the other plot lines advance too far for that fight to matter anymore. So the next time we see Byakuya, the fight will have already ended (lol I won. dunno how though sorry viewers).

The next plot thread has the Gotei 13 attacking Inaba's lair. Hitsugaya (stab wounds still fresh!) and Kenpachi (who was also stabbed) just sort of stumble into each other (the got stabbed buddies!!), and then just sort of stumble into Inaba.

"Kenpachi here got stabbed once, I got stabbed thrice, that means it's nine stabbings for you, Inaba. Also, I'm okay for some reason, so your plan ended up being shit."

"You're right, I should have equipped those Hinamoris with extra arms for hugging while they stabbed you, and extra mouths for added apologizing."

Inaba staves the two captains off by showcasing his sword Raiku's ability. It can summon portals that "record" a moment in space and time, which he can then "replay" whenever he chooses.

Inaba can use that technique to send the captain's own attacks back at them.

As per the new novel, the only way to kill a Zaraki Kenpachi is with a Zaraki Kenpachi

This means that Inaba has both reigai clones and space time clones to work with. Not bad. Definitely still a threat, even with many of the reigai clones already defeated. After all, it's not like the writers are just going to cheaply bring all those reigais back shortly. psst they're totally going to do a thing like that

A bunch more captains (Unohana, Soi Fong, Byakuya, Ukitake and Kyouraku) show up all at once to stomp on Inaba's ass. Byakuya explains oh yeah I killed my clone, let's not jettison our pride.

Just like that

The captains rush in to attack, but suddenly all those reigai clones appear to guard Inaba. Okay, so he didn't "bring them back," they're just "spares." Still, the effect on the viewer is the same.

"And Muramasa thought himself a 'pimp.' Pah!"

The captains manage to land a hit on him anyway:

But then Inaba pulls a Yoruichi shadow clone thing and just sort of teleports above them unharmed. And then he slashes the shit out of them. Inaba's got contingencies up the wazoo, but here's something he truly couldn't have expected.

Behold, a truly epic Mayuri moment.

I'm sorry, who's the clearly superior in every way scientist now?

They were blue electricky contacts! That conniving....!

Mayuri explains: he offscreened his own clone in the Dangai with a surprise attack when the lieutenants were bolting to the human world to catch Nozomi.

"So the sound my throat makes when stabbed is "grrwll," that's one for the records!"

It's kind of disappointing, though, I mean you'd think Inaba would have had larger plans for the clone of Mayuri, regardless of whether or not he thinks he's inferior. Also, Mayuri can regenerate pretty quickly and easily. Not to mention, shouldn't Mayuri's clone have seen what his original's plan coming? But oh wellsy wells.

The paralytic poison in Ashisogi Jizou doesn't seem to be taking effect on Inaba--he had prepared for this, too! Meanwhile, Mayuri is pretty pissed at his former underling, but he's not just going to rush in like a brainless brute, oh no. In fact, he closes his eyes and flings his arms wide--he's letting Inaba take a free swing.

"Not gonna lie, that hair of yours is a factor in this decision."

Inaba mouths off that "I won't be fooled by that trick, whenever you make a move like that, you're... you're... you're..." This is not a paralysis of muscles--this is a paralysis of thought, Mayuri's new wonder drug. He forced Inaba to focus on what he might be up to, and thereby precluded a counterattack driven by instinct. Mayuri is thus able to stab Inaba through the chest.

Mayuri speechifies: What scientists fear the most is the specter of oblivion. He's made Inaba temporarily unable to marshal all his knowledge to his advantage. He's now totally at Mayuri's mercy, and he can do nothing more than cry out in animalistic anguish.

Reigai!Isane (the healing squad lieutenant under Unohana who earlier had a brief flirt with mattering) comes to Inaba's aid; Inaba, reduced to a being of instinct and emotion, and always assured of his own superiority, stabs the presumptuous little mannequin out of sheer rage and then swallows her modsoul pill in a really gross animation

 A Modsoul's ENHANCED tongue!!

Remember, no one knows he's a Modsoul at this point, so Mayuri's all like how do you know Modsoul technology? Apparently, the only reason Inaba studied the Dangai in the first place was to gain access to an information record on Modsouls that had been hidden in the corrosive muck of that dangerous dimension.

Anyway, that Modsoul pill patches him up--he's pushed Isane's clone's soul into his original, dying body, and spontaneously generated a brand new body for himself.


So Inaba reveals that he developed the modsouls--he was the researcher behind the Spearhead Project. (This is at the same time Nozomi tells the Karakurans the same thing.) He couldn't forgive the Central 46 for fearing his research and ordering him to bury it unto that terrible oblivion all scientists loathe.

Then he gathers up his forces and orders them to take off their power-limiting bracers. Yeah, I forgot to mention those lol, but we didn't know they were power limiters. Only the reigai bodies Inaba made could store this insane level of reiatsu!!

"For many reasons, I'm sure, only one of which is because plot."

Kyouraku makes a rather suggestive noise as he powers up.

Released: The Kyouraku Way

And Komamura just goes RAWAHRRR

"This is like somebody rubbing my tummy TIMES FIVE!!!!!"

Inaba and his army will appear again for another all-out showdown later in Karakura; the originals recuperate in the meantime

Nozomi/Kon, Ichigo/The Sweeper!!

Let's return to the Karakura plot, rewinding a bit.

If you just heard about it secondhand, you'd think the burgeoning relationship between Nozomi and Kon would be lame, but it's handled pretty well, establishing the empathic link between Nozomi and the viewing audience that was absent (albeit probably intentionally) during her introduction. Themes are explored and true friendships forged!

So, Ichigo gets it into his head that he ought to proactively go to SS to defeat Inaba. That's actually rather smart, since the more stuff Inaba couldn't predict happens, the easier it is to take him down.

Inaba doesn't fail to spot Ichigo running through the Dangai, but he lets him through on purpose. Ichigo is a spanner in the works, and Inaba intends on making his erasure permanent.

Inaba uses Raiku to send Ichigo into a prerecorded portal into the Dangai, just as the Sweeper is about to devour him--this way, there can be no evading it whatsoever. And it works.

Ichigo was doing this for Nozomi, so when everyone at Urahara's gets the news that his reiatsu has disappeared, she metaphorically shits her jeans. Kon gets over his reluctance to say anything nice about Ichigo and tells her to trust in him.

A couple of episodes later, Ichigo wakes up inside the Sweeper's bowels, pale as the palest ghost.

A mysterious shadowy figure appears above, reaching down to him.


Urahara and the gang recover Ichigo's unconscious form from the floor of the Dangai once they see he's reappeared on their monitor. No one understands how it was he was able to survive. They find traces of the data on Modsouls that Inaba hid in the Precipice World earlier, clinging to Ichigo's form, and Urahara concludes that Inaba must be using Modsoul technology.

Nozomi finally admits that she is the first Modsoul.... but is that all there is to it? (No, it isn't.)

Nozomi is introduced to Casa Kuchiki as a lost relative of Rukia's.

"Now now, Nozomi, you're going to have to learn a word besides dosukebebaka for pleasant human interaction."

Kon is sulking over the modsoul thing, and during a stroll through the stroll he takes a free giveaway promo cell phone strap of a lion that turns out to be defective and shoddy, since the mane comes off too easily.

Kon bitches that if they're not going to make it correctly, don't make it at all; clearly, this is what he's thinking about himself as well.

Kon and Nozomi's relationship becomes strained as they have no idea what to say to each other.

"Can I enter your body, Nozomi?" No, that's not it...

Everyone can tell Kon is depressed, so when they come to together for dinner at Casa Kurosaki, he overcompensates and acts GENKI--much to the confusion of Yuzu and Karin, who still think it's Ichigo.

"He's not schizo, he's just a growing boy who needs his uppers."

After overhearing Ikkaku and Yumichika grilling Ichigo over "the Modsoul" continuing to keep things secret and being a liability in general (Ichigo retorts that as long as she's alive, she's got a right to live), Nozomi leaves unannounced to stroll through Karakura as a sort of death wish, only to be attacked by a Hollow. Kon rushes to her side to snap her out of it.

Nozomi is filled with the desire (nozomi) to protect Kon, and her Zampakutou awakens in answer.

She slays the Hollow and Kon attaches the broken cell phone bling to the cross-guard of her new sword as a memento and symbol of friendship (cell phone straps are the go-to accessory for Japanese girls, especially one of Nozomi's apparent age).

Next, Nozomi must train intensely with her friends in order to further unlock the power of her sword by learning its name, operating on a hunch that her sword must be able to counter Inaba's. Inaba is gearing up to invade the human world again, so time is of the essence.

Sparring with the Karakurans, Nozomi earns Ikkaku's respect when she shows him her resolve to fight or die fighting--her friends are now coming at her with killing intent. The reigais land, and Nozomi's sword's ability to absorb attacks manifests as she remembers her sword's name:

Arazome Shigure

And she saves Ikkaku from certain death by momentarily blindsiding reigai!Kenpachi with an energy blast. From then on, Nozomi herself can join the fray and protect herself. However, she wants to help others in their fights as well--she wants to be a protector--but they won't let her take their flanks and duke it out alongside them, even though none of the good guys are any match at all against the reigai captains.

I want to mention one moment in particular, wherein reigai!Byakuya snubs Omaeda by saying he's got himself "a filthy face." Uh, how exactly? I mean, sure, it's ugly, but it's not "filthy."


Apparently, reigai!Byakuya's new thing is that he looks down on all the originals as "filthy," and he even goes so far as to say he'll need to clean his sword after facing them. Rukia objects that the real Byakuya would never say such a thing, and she's right: The real Byakuya would say they're all trash a lot more eloquently.

The clone captains are all insanely overpowered, so the only way to defeat them is to pool all their attacks into Arazome Shigure.

It works, except an enraged reigai!Byak Byak shielded himself with a force field. However, before he can chop everybody up into a fine mist, Yamamoto shows up and kills the shit out of him. Who's got a filthy face now, bitch?

But then Yamamoto basically belittles Nozomi as a mere Modsoul, and states there's no need for her assistance. I like how Kon calls Yamamoto out on his bullshit, but they don't call him Mr. Rigidity for nothing. Luckily, it won't take thousands of years for Nozomi to prove herself to him.

Reigai!Unohana attacks with a barrage of binding spells.

Then the real Unohana scolds her reigai: How could she think something like that could hold him down? Actually, yeah, how could she? They're supposed to have the same knowledge as the originals.

Yamamoto breaks himself free with an oversize explosion of flame, which might have incinerated Nozomi as well if Ichigo didn't sweep her out of its range at the last second--Rukia and Renji speculate to Kon that it's a possibility that was Yamamoto's intention, since Modsouls are a dark legacy in SS's past, and killing Nozomi would stop Inaba's plans for good.

As the reigais of Ukitake, Unohana and Kyouraku round on Yamamoto once again, Inaba appears and tells them to stand down--he'll take it from here.

Yamamoto understands he can't attack Inaba willy-nilly, since he can fire back all of his attacks. Nozomi volunteers to serve as a decoy, absorbing Yamamoto's power on the sneak and attacking Inaba.

Yamamoto uses that window of opportunity to preoccupy Inaba with a torrent of fire, in turn allowing Ichigo to sacrifice all of his power to land a final blow.

However, far from defeated, Inaba used the situation to his advantage; he surreptitiously copied Nozomi's absorption ability and replayed it to absorb both Yamamoto's and Ichigo's attacks into his sword. Not even the head captain could withstand such a devastating volley! Inaba crows.

Nozomi throws herself in front of the blast, struggling to absorb it all; Inaba desperately pleads with her to stop and escape the blast, since she can't wangle it. Oh, I see how it is, Inaba, you've got a bigger sword than she does, is that it? Yamamoto is impressed that she stepped in to save him, but he slaps her back down to Earth to save her.

After Yamamoto and Inaba themselves taste earth, Nozomi asks the head captain why he'd care about a modsoul like her: He responds that while she's a Modsoul, she's still just a little girl. Besdies, like he'd ever need to be protected by the likes of her!

Inaba picks himself up and laughs, happy Nozomi is okay. Renji, Rukia, Kon and a depleted Ichigo stand between the two.

That's Yamamoto in the lower right, crumpled and out of commission for now. This is actually good because it amplifies the tension considerably to write Yamamoto out of the ensuing conflict.

Why won't Nozomi come with him? he asks.

After all, it would make him happy, which in turn would make Nozomi happy.

...Huh? What's that cracker on about?

Inaba cackles: Both he and Nozomi were born from a single person. Inaba doesn't want her because he's got something hidden inside of her--he wants her so that they may become one again. That's why Nozomi didn't want to tell them anything.

Inaba defeats them all, and lays his hand on Nozomi's arm, but Kon literally throws a rock at Inaba, which causes him to lose his grip and allows Nozomi to run away. Inaba declares Kon a total failure of a Modsoul. He kicks the soul pill out of the plushy and vows to destroy Kon--his own creation, mind you.

Nozomi blasts Inaba away with a wind spell, having stuck around to defend Kon. Then the chase begins in earnest, as Nozomi ducks into the woods with Kon in tow. What follows is a hilarious Scooby Doo villain failed grab from behind.

I love this trope. THAT'S NOT THE MOST EFFICIENT GRABBING MOTION, CARTOON VILLAINS. And then Inaba slips off the side of the ledge as randomly as he appeared. It's pretty lulzy.

Later, Nozomi collapses to her knees from fatigue; she can't run any longer. Once again, she pins Kon to a rock with a binding spell when he insists to stay by her side forever, but much more affectionately this time, bringing into view the lion cell phone strap as a token of faith. In spite of this, after a while Kon's determination and he runs after her, heaving the hefty rock all the while.

Meanwhile, Ichigo is in similar straits, holding on with every ounce of willpower so he can land one last blow on Inaba before his powers give it out for good. Ichigo exercises his impeccable timing power as Inaba converges on Nozomi. Ichigo bats Inaba, who's lacking his sword, with the final last last final last last I swear it's the last last final Getsuga Tenshou.

If you think Inaba didn't have a plan here, you don't know Inaba. That was merely a double of himself he created using his sword's copying ability. Ichigo is down for the count, and yet again his efforts proved futile. His shihakusho turns white, which I guess is what the anime staff decided it looked like when Ichigo is still in soul form and yet his shinigami powers are stripped away. They weren't just going to make his shinigami shihakusho evaporate, that would be indecent--not to mention a moodbreaker.

Inaba absconds with Nozomi, victorious.

Ichigo awakes inside his physical body at Urahara's again. Ichigo's pathos over losing to Inaba and failing to protect Nozomi is nothing next to Kon's.

Why it's our dear old friend, SHOW DON'T TELL. Now let's get SHOW DON'T TELL to pay Kubo a visit.

Kon becomes utterly dejected at his powerlessness.

On the other hand, while Ichigo may have lost his spiritual power, that doesn't mean he's given up. He's still got his soul, after all. And he can actually exploit his lack of spirit energy in order to dive into the Koutotsu sweeper without harm. They can grab some of the traces of Ichigo's reishi still suspended in the abyss inside the Koutotsu, and then hack Inaba's technology to restore his powers, just as Inaba would use a trace of reishi to manufacture a Modsoul.


Ichigo's still got that white shihakusho when he's in soul form--shouldn't a normal soul without shinigami powers have a chain coming out of its chest? I mean, it's not like Ichigo's been soul-cleansed by another shinigami or anything. Then again, during his endurance tests with Urahara (which lead up to his unlocking Zangetsu and his inadvertently becoming half-Hollow) his chain did devour itself, so I dunno. Maybe the white shihakusho means that while he's lost his shinigami powers, there's still a scrap there to regenerate, which would also explain how Zangetsu is still alive inside of him, and why his Hollow half doesn't just conquer his soul outright (or perhaps this is the only way one could be half-Human half-Hollow without any shinigaminess, so weird).

Urahara tacks on a tracking device to Ichigo, hands him a reishi collector, and sends him off to get eaten up in the Precipice World. While Kon is initially resistant to the idea--why should everyone else have to fight when it's ultimately all his fault!!--he agrees and attaches the lion cell phone strap to the reishi collector thing, which turns out to be the only way Ichigo could have grabbed the device back from the brink once the immense pressure inside the Koutotsu caused him to let go.

After collecting the reishi, Ichigo discovers that it was he himself who saved earlier!Ichigo, in a classic stable time loop. Damn fictional time shenanigans, you're so hard to understand!

This doesn't really match visually with what earlier!Ichigo saw as a distant figure reaching down. Plus, shouldn't the colors of their clothes be reversed?

Kon insists on infiltrating the Science Department alongside Ichigo and Urahara, in order to prove himself useful. It was around this time I was thinking, why doesn't Urahara just give Kon an honest to God reigai body to use, instead of just leaving him inside a plushy that's as weak as weak gets? If Kon is getting treated seriously in this arc, then why stick with the plushy, why not give him a body, at least temporarily? Then you could say he goes back into the plushy because he's proven himself, or something. Hell, you could just give him Ichigo's real body like always, and have an astral Ichigo and a soul-converted physical Ichigo side by side. That would have been a nice surprise.

Back in the science division, a mega cliche regeneration tube holds Nozomi!

These things are fucking everywhere in fiction.

Inaba wants to rig the fusion process as fast as possible, his current condition notwithstanding. This makes the fusion a risky prospect, but Inaba is so close to fulfilling his progenitor's wish he's rushing through it.

Urahara's wearing his reishi suppressing cloak, and they step into the natural portal at the Shinto shrine so they can avoid the Senkaimon and head towards the Science Department via the sewers. Inaba's defense line of reigai minions try to intercept them at the Senkaimon, only to find out it was Rukia, Orihime, Renji, Chad, and Ishida that had come through the Dangai to draw out the reigais as decoys.

Urahara uses the tech in the lab they've infiltrated to infuse Ichigo's powers into soul candy, but they can't complete the process in time before they're discovered, so while the candy gives Ichigo his powers back, they're just as unstable as they ever were, AND his Hollow half is using the instability to its advantage

As Inaba enters his own regeneration tube, he flashbacks to his master's backstory. Yushima Ouko, the creator of the Modsouls.

Yushima was a loser shinigami who resented everyone looking down on him for his relative weakness and his asocial nature.

Constantly excludedand negelcted by his peers, and shifted around divisions multiple times, he finally found himself transferred to the Science Division due to his intelligence. When his research on Modsouls was ordered to be destroyed and he was chased after by guards for his arrest, he transferred his consciousness into two Modsouls he'd created--Inaba and Nozomi--using one of those cliche sci fi brain swap machines.

Later, this is explained as Yushima's having wanted to evade notice--nobody would expect he transferred himself into two beings, splitting his consciousness in two so it's unrecognizable as Yushima. And now Inaba's mind harbors the dark side of Yushima's heart, while Nozomi embodies the light side. Guess you should have used more troubleshooting there, Yushima, one half of yourself ended up reluctant to recombine and forgot a bunch of pretty vital info (like her sword's name).

Urahara, Kon and Ichigo escape the lab, only to be surrounded by reigais, only for those reigais to be surrounded by originals.

Impeccable timing power!! Now Ichigo can apply it to allies, too!

So the anime staff figured that, right about now, viewers would probably like an explanation as to how the originals managed to escape all the reigais back during the battle where Mayuri epically schooled Inaba. Well, Kuukaku, Ganju and Jidanbou (the giant with the fez) randomly showed up to bail them all out!

"We Shiba may hate shinigami, but we love plot relevance more!"

It was at Kuukaku's place that all the original captains recovered. Inaba must never have heard of them, which we can't blame him for, since the Shiba haven't appeared since the Bount arc.

Ichigo is tied to the floor so he can't rampage. But he breaks out and rampages anyway. I'm just glad it's not his asspull super-form.

Then the captains fight. It's very meh.

 Ugh, when the AI high jumps you're forced to, too

Look at those two, giggling like schoolgirls at a slumber party

They have this thing where the reigai captains will sneak under the guard of an original as soon as that original finds him or herself momentarily isolated. If the reigais' lolreiatsu is so untouchable, what's the point of this strategy

Yeah okay suuuure

Later the strategy is explained as an aspect of Inaba's personality--the valuing of isolation as strength. I don't really get it, though.

Urahara hacks another lab to access some 12th Division records. It only takes him three tries to figure out Mayuri's password.

You'd think Mayuri would make the computer shoot lasers if you put in the wrong password or something.
 Anyway, they discover there's no data on the original developer of the Modsouls.

Seireitei's library  must be filled with picture books, because I swear SS history books must each be like nine pages long

Urahara explains to Kon: at different points, Inaba and Nozomi told everyone they were both the first Modsoul, and then they said they developed the first Modsoul--what if both really are true? They've got to find out more about the guy behind the Spearhead Project. After some sleuthing, Urahara discovers Yushima's name in an unaltered record from 96 years ago, detailing his transferal from Squad 10 to Squad 12.

Urahara pays a visit to the Maggot's Nest penitentiary to see Yushima; there, he faces off against reigai!Soi Fong and makes pretty short work of her.

They find Yushima's body, but he's unconscious.

Plot hole time! Urahara sees a drop of Inaba's blood on the floor of Yushima's cell, and he uses a fancy device to locate Inaba through the drug Mayuri injected into him. However, Inaba switched bodies altogether shortly after his fight with Mayuri.

Urahara and Kon find where Inaba's fusion with Nozomi is taking place, but it's guarded by reigai!Urahara. Urahara sends Kon into the lab to create a proper pill for Ichigo, but he stumbles on Nozomi outright. Kon convinces her that he's gotta save her. Because they're...

And that's when the musical number started.

The fight between the Uraharas is hilarious because real!Urahara keeps pulling the inflatable gigai thing, even when it makes no sense. Like this one bit where the reigai shoots a succession of fireballs at a succession of portable decoys.

This same sequence happens so many times in a row it's hysterical. How does this even work? Is the decoy piloting the decoy piloting the decoy piloting the decoy? How is that one gigai instantly appears behind the one that got hit by a fireball? Where are all these gigais coming from, hammerspace?

Holy shit I can't believe I found this

At one point they even slash at each other but they're nothing but decoys each time.

Kon creates the pill for Ichigo, but then reigai!Nemu prevents him from tampering with the fusion process, and Yushima is reborn as the fusion of minds and bodies.

Nozomi explained to Kon earlier that she'll still exist as a distinct personality inside Yushima's brain, since the fusion will be unstable, but the longer she has to fight the more likely it is that Inaba's personality will swallow hers up. I like how people stuck in regeneration tubes are always able to speak like they're not immersed in liquid.

Yushima sees the rampaging Hollow that is Ichigo and effortlessly seals him. Ichigo is a pitiful being, totally opposite to Yushima's absolute perfection.

The amazing spinning Ichigo

Yushima uploaded his consciousness into Modsouls in the hope that he would one day gain a body physically stronger than his body as a mere shinigami. As a mere shinigami, he could not control the raw power of the Zampakutou he possessed. Yushima's sword has returned to its original form, a combination of Raiku's space/time hax and Arazome Shigure's absorption hax. This old sword, named Sumitsukigasa, is definitely Muramasa and Kyouka Suigetsu (Aizen's illusion sword) level hax.

Okay, problem. So you're saying that Yushima's old sword split into two different sword spirits when he uploaded his brain into Inaba and Nozomi? Which reminds me, how did they come to be named Inaba Kagerouza and Kujou Nozomi anyway?

Not only that, but each sword spirit cleanly took one of Sumitsukigasa's two abilities? I mean, I guess we know that binary soul spirits exist (like Zabimaru), but still, it's weird.

And another thing: Yushima avers that his real objective is not to take over SS, but to DESTROY it--which is also a headscratcher.

Um... why?

No seriously. I guess he's just THAT butthurt.

All of Ichigo's nakama come to protect Ichigo, but they're all defeated.

Fail more, Renji

Yushima literally GOT IN THE WAY of your arrows so he could fire them back, great job Ishida

Ishida successfully activates a Sprenger after carefully outmaneuvering Yushima with the help of all the others, but then Yushima just pulls a giant reishi fortress out of his ass, ahem, sword, to absorb the attack. Goddammit, why does it always have to be Ichigo that kills the big bad? Ichigo is just the designated hero, there's no reason apart from that.

Hollow Ichigo does this, and it's an episode cliffhanger that left me chuckling immoderately.

But when Ichigo's mask came off, for the brief moment it was just Ichigo's face on the Hollow body, I loled so hard I'm pretty sure I now have heart problems

Yushima is practically enraged at the very concept of nakama; to him, it was his loneliness, his lack of friends to fall back on, that made him strong. So after Kon arrives inside Nemu's body (remember, Kon is himself a pill that could be placed inside any body, artificial or otherwise) to give Ichigo the pill that restores his powers properly

Yushima goes all "You have friends, so how are you so strong!?" You know, the kind of shit only cartoon villains say.

Before that, though, Nozomi's half of Yushima's brain briefly wrested control over Yushima to give shinigaminessless Ichigo the opportunity to kill him/her.

Of course, Ichigo doesn't go through with it. They're nakama. Besides, if they target Yushima's soul chain, they can halt the fusion and save her.

Also, you're probably wondering how it was Kon's pill got into Nemu. Well, it's quite simple:

I forgot Urahara's cane could push soul pills out. You'd think he'd have used that against any of the reigais.

Ichigo rightly tells Yushima how retarded his "isolation = strength, I created a whole army all by meselfs, Mummy!" idea is--especially considering he need the reishi of other shinigami for his army to begin with--before kicking his ass. By the way, the animation is absolutely stellar.

"You don't understand nakama? Read more JUMP, asshole."

Yushima's body starts to wig out since Nemu never gave him the medicine he needed to keep the fusion stable. But before he can slice out Yushima's soul chain like Byakuya did to Ichigo when he took away his powers, Yushima rallies again and summons an even bigger absorption fortress. The fortress starts blasting Seireitei randomly with nuke lasers.

Okay, so this is around where the arc starts failing miserably--at the very very end. All the reigais were good guys and secretly working against Inaba/Yushima and they all rush into Yushima's giant reishi fortress to die

This is the giant fortress all the reigais rush into to die

YES. THAT SERIOUSLY HAPPENS. They each shoot into the fortress as a phallic burst of light and disintegrate, which somehow causes the fortress to crumble as well (even though it's made of energy and literally designed to absorb reishi).

Not to make the article even more prolonged, but...




was that!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?

Reigai!Ukitake brings up the words he told Yamamoto, about how they had an ulterior motive they couldn't tell him--turns out, they just want to "take down a fellow Modsoul gone rogue."

I think listing all the plot holes here is going to make the article twice as long as it already is, but dammit if I'm not dedicated to it at this point. Let's see how many we rack up! How many plot holes from this ONE extremely last minute twist?

  1. Why couldn't you tell the originals? Say they needed to keep it secret from Inaba, that doesn't mean the originals couldn't have been let in on this grand plan, whatever it was supposed to be before Yushima pulled the Bleach-movie-like endgame death laser fortress.
  2. Why have so many of the reigais acted like such dickcheeses 100% of the time? Why did they seem to relish all the evil shit they got to do with big goofy evil smiles, especially when Inaba wasn't around? What, did Inaba's dosage of evil juice wear off?
  3. Why did all of the reigais legitimately target Nozomi for kidnapping so many times, especially early on?
  4. Why couldn't they have simply taken Inaba down by ganging up on him? All it took was a single drug by Mayuri to defeat him.
  5. Speaking of which, why did reigai!Isane step in to save Inaba after he got injected by the drug?
  6. Why did reigai!Nemu and reigai!Isane do everything they could to make sure Inaba and Nozomi's fusion went off without a hitch?
  7. How is it every reigai could possibly be on the same page on this? Did they have a secret round robin discussion and all reach the same conclusion behind Inaba's back or something?
  8. Why would they give a shit about a fellow Modsoul going rogue? They don't necessarily have anything to prove to the originals.

Yushima stabbed himself (under Nozmi's direction) back into Nozomi and Inaba.

Inaba's body and soul pill vanish first. Then Nozomi begins to, but, as always, she only dies after she's said everything she needs to. Now that she's learned the power of friendship, she's going to teach Inaba... wherever they're going.

 Nozomi tells them they're at peace, and it's all thanks to their efforts.

I can't believe that after watching this for the third time for the review, I started to tear up only now, of all times.

This is touching, but it also kind of pisses me off, because no matter how you send her off, having her die conflicts with the "She deserves to live!" theme. She could have stayed on as a character in future filler arcs. If the fucking Bount arc modsouls could even invade canon, why couldn't Nozomi?

Final thoughts?

The arc might as well have not been about clone fights, because those didn't really leave any impact, they weren't very thematically compelling at all. As it stands, the only thing the clones contributed to the arc was to make Inaba a threat. So the whole premise of the clone fights was stupid, and was resolved as an afterthought.


Inaba is a good villain, and he's enough to carry the arc. The themes are handled competently enough to land the story an overall okay/slightly positive score (like giving Kon an actual character thread), but the arc can't be called great, unfortunately, despite its myriad of surprisingly original ideas. That ending for the reigais really does leave a bitter aftertaste. But I'll leave you with something sweet the ending gave us.

Lulz Index: 8.5/10

Where a score of 1 means it was so soul-draining and humorless it made you want to die

Yeah, like that

And a score of 10 means it was so devastatingly lulzy you're now a gibbering wreck and a shadow of a human being.

Thanks again for the visual aid, Inaba!

The Hinamori Conspiracy fucking clinched this majestic lulz score, it had me in stitches when it really wasn't supposed to. And then Yoruichi just up and roundhouse kicks both of her Stepford selves into next year. That is the funniest thing ever for me. Not even with three of her around can Hinamori keep from getting curb stomped, her life's even shittier than Ichigo's or Kon's.

But there were even more lulz to be had, from the reigai rapeface "POWEEEER!" scene that almost rivaled the infamous and intensely hilarious Bount bug juice scene, to Uraharas' nonsensical Gigai fireball dance, to the absolutely awful "We're suddenly good now, let's charge into death because the writers don't know how to get rid of us otherwise!!" plot twist.

SSS Rating: 7.63/10

This rating was carefully calculated using the internal Soul Society Shittiness analysis core of my brain, which over the course of this filler arc review series has become so finely honed that Soul Society Shittiness vectors have conquered 100% of my available grey matter (as evidenced by the deterioration of my writing skills) and have leaked into my peripheral nervous system, cannibalizing my spine for whatever remaining processing power it can splurt out.

The main consideration involved in this arc's SSS Rating is just how easily all of Seireitei can be fooled by mad scientists and by people who happen to sport illusion hax, neither of which are very rare abilities. Another factor was the juggernaut nature of those who are just ridiculously strong because they're ridiculously strong. What if reigai!Kenpachi had been allowed to live? Fucking everybody would have no choice but to bow down to him. We're talking about a Kenpachi that's unambiguously evil here.

Overall Score: 6/10

I really can't give the arc a higher score than this. It did have some great ideas, and it was quite entertaining. I don't know that Kon and Nozomi's interaction as fellow modsouls was more compelling than Yoshino and Ishida's pseudo-romance as sole survivors during the Bount arc, but it definitely seemed more organic and less weird. But if you stop to think about the whole premise of the Reigai Uprising and how it was executed, there are tons of logical pitfalls.

Logical pitfalls of the Reigai Uprising (that I didn't already mention)

  •  So, does copying a shinigami end up copying their Zampakutou spirits, too? Is he enhancing the shinigami or their sword spirits (most of the enhancements we saw were to their swords)? If he's enhancing their sword spirits, what's to stop him from simply making copies of his own sword and inserting them into his minions?
  • For that matter, why didn't he create more copies of each clone and deploy them all at once, like he did with Hinamori? Hinamori is the only one he did that with, why? If he had simply created a dozen Soi Fong clones, that's every one of his enemies dead, how could you possibly defend yourself against twelve Soi Fongs? Or how about Inaba creating multiple copies of himself? Hell, he didn't even need reigais to copy himself, he could just use his sword!
  • If the heroes had at any point decided to kill Nozomi or simply let her die on her own, Inaba's plan would have been utterly and completely fucked. So much for being a master planner.
  • What was stopping Inaba from loading up each of his clone minions with their own mad science hax? If he had simply given each one injectable mad science drugs or a treasure trove of healing pills, they would have been utterly invincible. If you recall, Inaba had gained control of the Science Department.
  • Why didn't Inaba pull that Dangai sword portal he used on Ichigo at any other time?
  • Okay, Yushima, so you've released a ridiculously uber Zampakutou, but you're too weak to use it. I can buy that maybe it didn't occur to him to consult with his Zampak spirit, what with his "isolation makes me strong" nonsense. But how about hitting the gym? Both Ichigo and Renji leveled up in like a day, and you're probably as smart as Urahara, aren't you?
  • Inaba, why did you wait until they defeated Aizen to do all this? Wouldn't it have made more sense to enact your plan when SS was preoccupied with Aizen? Hell, you could have even made a reigai clone of Aizen, he didn't have any Hollow in him in the end! Neither did Gin, for that matter. Remember, it only takes a modicum of a soul's reishi to be able to extract a clone and then enhance it.
  • So, Inaba, you stumble across the last Quincy in the human world, and he shows you he's got a blade that can loosen up the bonds of spirit particles in people's bodies. It doesn't occur to you to steal this weapon to gather more reishi?
  • Uhhh, why did you want to destroy Soul Society, Yushima? Remember the whole if you destroy SS you destroy all of reality thing? Jesus Christ I feel like I need to do a fucking Powerpoint presentation for all these villains.
  • Why did Nozomi suddenly appear in the human world in the first episode? What happened there? How did all of this start off in the first place? If Inaba was monitoring the Dangai, how was Nozomi allowed to escape? What instigated the chase?
  • What's up with your hair, Inaba?
Here's another thing that I forgot to mention: Inaba couldn't copy people with Hollow powers, right? And there was no reason they couldn't write the Vizards into the plot, since this took place after Aizen got taken down and they reconciled with the Gotei during the war. Meaning, they could have been integrated into the battles against the insanely powerful reigai. At least at the climactic final fight, as a dynamic entry! Now tell me that wouldn't have been a better ending to the reigai menace--the Vizards and the originals teaming up and working together to defeat the clones.

In the end, I'm going to lump this arc in with the Bount arc, which received a 5/10 from me. Both enjoyable arcs, but saddled with a gargantuan list of problems that prevent them from shining. With the Bount arc it was the sigh of course the Bounts are beating everyone's asses as well as the sheer WTFery of it all, and with this arc it's all of the logical hiccups and the asinine ending.

Of course, the canon BLEACH universe doesn't make very much sense, either, so maybe I'm being unfair.

Inaba definitely fared better as a villain than Kariya and fucking Amagai, but was he on Muramasa's level? Sad to say, not really. Inaba is definitely resourceful and cunning, whereas Kariya always just tromped on through to the next plot point ("oh yeah I know about this secret no one else knows about, too") without much effort or brain flexing on his part--much like Aizen, come to think of it--and Amagai might as well have done nothing but drool into a cup at the end of his arc. But Inaba's plan eventually came to, sigh of sighs, DESTROY THE WORLD, which is made even more atrocious by the fact that he basically had no reason to. Muramasa's ultimate goal (to revive his master) was not only more interesting, it was heart-wrenching. And while Inaba/Nozomi/Yushima's reveal that they were both modsouls AND the modsoul researcher was pretty inspired, Muramasa's ruse and successful plan to steal Ryuujin Jakka made for a plum amazing reveal.

Before we wrap this up, I just want to assert that both Inaba and Muramasa/Kouga did the "too strong for their own good" theme far better than Aizen. Making them better Aizens than Aizen.

Farewell Rukia

The transitional episode between the Reigai arc and canon (i.e. the timeskip).

Ichigo is an idiot and keeps trying to fight Hollows even though he's become so weak he can't even beat normal single-soul (but still giant lol) Hollows attacking Karakura. He's being utterly oblivious about it, too.

Ichigo: Why are you staring like that, it was just a little slip up!
Rukia: Seriously, Ichigo?
Ishida: Uhh, you stay here and beam up this fifteenth little kid soul, we'll go fight the Hollows mmkay?

Rukia is tasked by Ukitake to try to get Ichigo to stop that shit, but she can't bring herself to say "You suck, Ichigo."

The next day, Ichigo takes Rukia out to a skating rink that has Karakura's only happy citizens. "No dead children today! As far as I know! Let's go ice skating and hope we don't explode for no reason!!"

Or maybe everyone in Karakura is as oblivious as Ichigo. The high school system is probably the culprit for that, but still, you'd think there would be some wariness after THEY ALL GOT BEAMED UP TO HEAVEN. I bet Soul Society is glad the residents of Karakura have nurtured a culture of blissful ignorance. Maybe it's a side effect of Tsukishima's constant history manipulation.

Ichigo soon reveals that he understood, of course, that his powers were fading. A heartfelt goodbye as Rukia becomes invisible.

If only the series were more about Rukia, it would be way, way better. She's been downgraded from primary to secondary character and Kubo keeps writing her out, only to have her make dramatic reentries (after SS, timeskip). Just keep her around, Kubo, seriously.

And that's the end of the Filler Arc Review series--I hope you had fun reading, I certainly did writing. This is not the end of the column, but it is the end of massive articles like these, lol. Until next time!

Well, okay, maybe a final, final last final hurrah.

  • You didn't think the Fullbringer arc was as Chad-centric as promised? How's this for a Chad-centric arc? Ichigo and friends are forced to travel to a small village in Mexico to defeat a powerful Vasto Lorde from whom Chad's mother once narrowly escaped with her life (and then gave birth to Chad). The Vasto Lorde has invaded the human world and enslaved the population of the town as an experiment to create a soul farm so that he may ceaselessly feast without ever having to worry about the balance of souls, which ties in which Chad's past, since that's how his parents died. The Vasto Lorde's main purpose is to fill up with so many souls that she is able to create her own "negative" Hollow universes which she can selfishly control. Ichigo is overconfident, and the Vasto Lorde defeats Ichigo since her power is to rip out the Hollows from inside people like a dark vacuum; Chad is somewhat affected as well--but, much to the Vasto Lorde's shock, it's only given Chad new avenues through which to explore his power, like unblocking a chakra. Now it's the incapacitated Ichigo that needs Chad's help, and they fight back to back against the Vasto Lorde's legion of shinigami possessed by Hollows (if the Vasto Lorde sucks the Hollow back out of the shinigami, they go into shock and die). Ishida is needed to keep the other, smaller Hollows from crushing them in or returning to their master's body, and Orihime provides much needed support shielding everyone against Ceros from Gillians and Adjuchas. The Vasto Lorde, being by her nature especially heartless, laughs at the bonds between humans, which will surely seal their doom. Each of our heroes is assaulted by a possession Hollow that drills into their souls, inflicting immense trauma. This is especially horrifying to Ishida, who as a Quincy despises Hollows. In his soul-turmoil he nearly fires at his comrades in a haze of hatred against shinigami and Hollow abominations, but he masters himself, and tells the Vasto Lorde that no matter what his friends are, in the end they are all human. This inspires Chad to activate his pride as a human, his skin, the gift given to him by the mother he never met but brought him into this world. His Fullbring, a power the Vasto Lorde has no experience fighting against at all, causes the Hollows inside them all (now rendered unvacuumable) to writhe and inadvertently give them a boost in energy, allowing them all (including Orihime, since she knows true evil must be vanquished) to defeat the Vasto Lorde in tandem; they're sure to give Ichigo the final blow so that the Vasto Lorde may be purified, rounding out Ichigo's arc of settling into his powers and Chad and Ishida recognizing they should attempt to keep the world in balance more. In the end, Chad wonders if he'll ever see the soul of his Mom in SS now that the Vasto Lorde has been purified, and he wryly acknowledges that he might not even recognize her, but he can still feel her love alive in his skin, a la Harry Potter and (gag) Gaara but without the magic of it lol. NO GOTEI 13 INTERVENTION WHATSOEVER.
  • An arc based on the blurring line between illusion and reality, between wishes granted and hard work. Orihime's fairies have grown disappointed with her--there's no question she's improved her abilities, but like with Muramasa egging Kouga on, they think she isn't ambitious enough. She has a tremendously powerful ability, but she hasn't used her fairies for any sort of personal gain, or even to better the world. Those fairies are just aspects of her own soul, and so this reflects the inner turmoil she experienced during the Ulquiorra fight, wherein she cried at her own weakness and begged Ichigo to save her--a character development that was never addressed after the fact and represented a remarkable backsliding for her growth arc. She now secretly wrestles with whether or not she should give in to her power and start using it to reject everything that's bad, therefore becoming a god on Earth, all the while remembering that's what made Aizen and Tsukishima miserable, delusional husks in the end. She also feels guilty that the only reason she has her powers is that the Hougyoku inside Rukia happened to grant that wish, which makes her all the more averse. The fairies that want her to use her powers more proactively separate from her and create a sort of pocket universe where all her wishes are granted (and since Orihime has an amazingly overactive imagination, this chaotic world threatens to bleed into the real one and cause havoc), but Orihime still isn't happy without her real friends, no matter how many idealized facsimiles of her friends--negated of all their negative traits and made much more fanciful to appeal to her--the fairies concoct. In the real world, Orihime is suddenly catatonic, and Ichigo and Rukia, her closest friends besides Tatsuki, plunge into her inner world to save her. They soon discover that with every step they take in Orihime's inner world, they forget something bad that happened to them--this is terrifying since it's stripping them of their identities, and therefore erases their determination and bond to save Orihime little by little. Rukia sucks it up and says "I've lived for a thousand years, I can take a little forgetting" and forges on to the center to hug Orihime. Bolstered by this selfless act, Orihime gathers pluck and ejects herself and her fairies from this fantasy world, but that only sparks the rebellion of her traitor fairies in the real world. Each of her rejection fairies embodies a different aspect of rejection, which is reflected in their powers--in order to fight equally with top tier shinigami, they attach themselves to people Orihime has wanted to help in the past but decided against it, and those people's wishes are granted in a dark and twisted way so as to make them weapons against the Soul Society that would suppress Orihime, and the Soul Society that never helped Orihime when she was kidnapped by Aizen. Each of the fairy hosts are defeated by one of the shinigami, not through brute force or tactics, but through appealing to their hearts--and for that, each one of them needs Orihime's help and guidance. After everything's brought back to normal, the Gotei 13 display a newfound admiration and respect for Orihime, and Orihime has learned to exercise her powers to protect others, but to do so with caution never to get too hubristic

  • Yoruichi Suddenly Meteor Kicks Two Hinamoris Through Some Buildings: The Arc
Can you think of any other ideas for filler arcs? Flesh them out in the comments!


  1. Wtf Gliblord. This probably has more text than the last few years of Bleach posts lol. But damn I might have to dl this arc just to watch some Mayuri. To me he's easily the best character in Bleach by far.

  2. I think the best possible filler arc would involve an army of Hinamoris, and lots of stabbing.

    Other than that, possible filler arcs could be...

    ... The Karakura Superheroes Arc. Would be a bit more down-to-earth and allows more screentime for Ichigo's school buddys.

    ... The Soul Society Peasant Riot: Day by day, countless souls enter the Soul Society, hoping to be reunited with their loved ones - until they quickly realize that Soul Society sucks and the higher ups don't want to change anything about it. Some rogue shinigami could easily lead the people into a full-on rebellion. Their soldiers might not even be a real threat to the shinigami, but would they be willing to slaughter thousands of souls that only want to see their family once again?

  3. The National Pyschopomp Association arc- It is discovered that SS is an island nation in the afterlife when a floating ship docks a its edge. The ship is revealed to belong to an organization known as the N.P.A. which is made up of pyschopomps from the afterlives of the main landmasses such as Africa, the Americas, and Europe. The N.P.A. reports several facts about how the afterlife works. These include: the knowledge that completely destroying hollows does not affect any sort of balance; if SS is destroyed nothing else in the spiritual world is effected, it is possible to not only reproduce spiritual weapons, but to also implant them into human souls as well, a hollow can be turned into an incredibly powerful explosive, etc. The Central 46 tries to silence them, by assassination, but the plot fails and the N.P.A. is alerted of the assassination attempt. The N.P.A. sees this as a declaration of war and invade using advanced technology such as airships to bomb SS from the sky. Mayuri defects to the N.P.A. and shares his knowledge of the most strategic locations to bomb SS. SS finds a way to get onto the airships, but the soldiers are shot down by a team of snipers who all possess a spirit gun that can always hit a target no matter what's in the way. When there is no longer any way to win, SS allows itself to be conquered. The N.P.A. then goes about improving SS and decide to execute the Central 46, Yamamoto, Kenpachi, and Byakuya for crimes against humanity after a fair trial. The story won't be shown through the perspective of SS, but through the perspective of the invading force. Insight will be given into why Mayuri is the way he is now and the name of the protagonist is Admiral Isaac Edwards who doesn't use a spirit weapon.

    1. This reminds me that we STILL have no official answer about how this whole Soul Society setting (with Japanese grim reapers, Spanish monsters and German energy archers) actually works on an international level...

    2. Lol that wouldn't really fly as a filler arc

      It would, however, fly in a novel

    3. Speaking of which, will you review the bleach novel ever? Also, is this idea I had for a filler plot good?

    4. That's not a filler arc, a filler arc has to be in line with Kubo's bullshit. It is, however, fertile soil for crackfic.

      I'll gladly rip on the novel if you can find me a translation

    5. Sadly, I cannot find a translation nor translate the 2 parts of the novel. On another note, will you be doing a character study on Mayuri? He seems to be the most logical of all the characters in SS. Also, how do you think the series will end? On one last note, what elements in my idea make it seem like I was high while writing it?

    6. I'll probably make the novel review, if I should ever get my hands on a translation, a character study of Kenpachi (and not a flattering one). As for Mayuri, what's there to say? He's a sadistic and proud mad scientist who is only tolerated because he's gotten designated hero status. Although I will say it's hilarious how during his first appearance he literally exploded his own subordinates just to catch the heroes off guard--what was the point of that lol. I guess Mayuri loves killing souls so much he can snap his fingers and kill tens of thousands of Rukongai souls. But hey, they reincarnate anyway.

      No idea how the series will end. Probably with Ichigo accessing his hidden true bankai, which is a sword the size of Delaware with a rocket launcher as a hilt

      A crackfic can drastically alter the status quo for lulz, a filler arc can't.

  4. great review.atleat the fillers can be used for lols.wonder if you can do similar reviews of one piece fillers