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Posted by Hadz-x on 02 January 2014 - 10:05 AM
Posted by Damanos on 29 October 2013 - 03:40 AM
Oh no! Will
Goku Ichigo be able to cross the entire snake road Royal Realm stairs with his new power in time before the Saiyans Quincy murder all his friends?! Find out on the next exciting episode of Dragonball Z Bleach!
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Posted by ArSoNiSt JoE on 12 May 2013 - 01:21 AM
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Posted by DaEvilWithin on 27 November 2013 - 12:28 AM
I better throw away my immortality and infinite chakra if I want to win!
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Posted by Greg on 12 January 2013 - 02:06 PM
As you guys have realized, this is now the second time in three days that we've had significant downtime as a result of a SQL error. Apparently the SQL process on the server keeps on crashing, and do to some convoluted infrastructure I can't even do something like write a cron job that checks if it's up every 15 minutes. Regardless, I'm trying to get to the bottom of all of this with the server people.
If we do keep on getting issues, I'll definitely be looking into a better server. Due to cost reasons, I'm a little hesitant about that. I also feel a little wary about asking you guys to donate when I'm not sure what's going on at onemanga.com- if the old forums comes back up and zabi is alive, then that is something we'd want to consider.
Regardless, if we don't hear things about OM soon and we keep on having issues, I'll get a better server and open up donations.
Sorry about all this, guys. I know that this is annoying, but we'll get it sorted out.
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Posted by Kinky Deviance on 24 March 2014 - 02:36 PM
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Posted by PlasmaWolf on 22 January 2014 - 03:40 PM
I'm going to put something out there based on one of the panels in this chapter:
Those are pine trees in the background. It distinctly looks like a pine tree forest, more specifically one you'd find in a Scandinavian country, or Germany. The relevance? Matsumoto. The kanji for the name "Matsumoto" (松本) mean "root of the pine tree," which is only one hint to her past gradually becoming more significant to the story, even without the character herself being mentioned. The name "Rangiku" also uses two kanji: the first, 乱, meaning a "rebellion" or "revolt." The second one, 菊, is the character for the Chrysanthemum plant.
The throne of the Emperor of Japan is referred to as the Chrysanthemum Throne, a metonymic term that serves as an illustration for the Japanese hereditary monarch and its authority for the monarch's governing power. There are Japanese emblems called "monshou" that are used similarly to a coat of arms, distinguishing people and individual families. The Imperial Seal of Japan uses a Chrysanthemum crest and is referred to as the Chrysanthemum Flower Seal. The Constitution of the Empire of Japan represented Japanese law until about seventy years ago; one of the decrees within the constitution stated that the only person permitted to use the Japanese Imperial Seal was the Emperor himself, who chose a chrysanthemum with sixteen tips and sixteen petals. Its appearance is like this:
The number sixteen (十六 in kanji; "juuroku") has been alluded to in the past regarding Juhabach:
There were at least sixteen individuals during the first invasion of Soul Society as noted by Akon, which in my view does leave open the possibility for thirty-two Stern Ritter in total (which would tie into what Kubo said during the pre-final arc omakes about the enemy numbers starting out small, then increasing in amount later on). In chapter two hundred and twenty-three (entitled, "The Scarlet Creation"), Yamamoto informs Hitsugaya, Matsumoto and Orihime about Aizen's plan to wipe out Karakura Town using the Hougyoku. I would say this is one of the most interesting chapters in the entire series. Matsumoto is featured on the cover, in which the title, "Scarlet" evokes a sense of blood and martyrdom. The Catholic Church even uses the color scarlet as a symbol for/of sacrifice and the blood of Jesus Christ.
Of course, it was said in the same chapter that Aizen would require "one hundred thousand" human souls to forge the Ouken (more on that, after), which makes Mayuri's leveling of the soul balance seem tame by comparison (in which he commanded his division to kill twenty-eight thousand Rukongai citizens in order to offset the loss of Hollow souls caused by the Quincines). In that very chapter, however, Yamamoto states (in the raw) that the "location" of the Ouken is passed on by an oral tradition only to the captain-commander, meaning himself; he goes on to say that Aizen wouldn't be able to determine its whereabouts because there isn't a book or chronicling of its location.
Although, what if Aizen did figure out where the Ouken was? This is where my post begins to get - as Random would say - "cracky," but follow this for a moment. Yamamoto possessed the Ouken within his arm or body. I'm assuming it was the same arm that Yamamoto used for Ittou Kasou, which coincidentally, didn't inflict much damage onto Aizen. In hindsight of certain events and Juhabach, Ittou Kasou didn't appear to be anything other than a last-ditch effort by Yamamoto to prevent Aizen from obtaining the Ouken, as Aizen himself surmised (indirectly) that Yamamoto was never going to use bankai in that circumstance as the barrier containing Fake Karakura Town was his top priority.
I also believe it was the real reason as to why Yamamoto decided to remain amputated after the Winter War and chose not to have Orihime restore his arm. Juhabach supposed that Yamamoto's stubbornness in relying upon a human was his (Yamamoto's) rationale for not seeking out Orihime's assistance in healing his lost arm, but it doesn't add up considering Kubo emphasized Yamamoto's altered personality as a result of Ichigo "changing Soul Society's ways," which Hitsugaya and Rukia mentioned in the Lost Agent arc. Yamamoto practically became the biggest shill for Ichigo during the Lost Agent arc when he deliberately ordered the captains and vice-captains to break Soul Society rules by transferring a portion of their power to a human. This was a man unwilling to ask for the aid of a human? I don't buy it.
I don't think Yamamoto's aversion to regenerating his lost arm had anything do with stubbornness; my guess is that he was worried about Orihime's power potentially having re-created the Ouken in his arm (intentionally or unintentionally), and thus, it would have been easy pickings for Juhabach to steal and use for his own benefit. Juhabach himself claimed he wanted to draw out the Royal Guard, but why? Aizen has described Orihime's power as "the ability to intrude upon the territory of God" (I translated the raw a couple of days ago in the previous Orihime thread), which may very well be what Orihime's power is: it's everything, and nothing at all. It can re-create Soul King-level power (my assumption), if she wills the event to occur. It's almost akin to the Hougyoku's power of realizing the desires within one's heart, portrayed as a "wish-granting ability" not unlike a God blessing an individual being's prayers with intelligence, power, immortality, etc. Dat Orihime.
Anyway, back to Matsumoto. I definitely think she's connected to Juhabach in some way, and to Urahara. I also think Matsumoto is a noble and/or member of the Royal family. Well, "Rangiku" is, anyway; nobles don't go through the Shinigami academy and we know Matsumoto did (along with Gin), but we also know she's been affected by the Hougyoku during Aizen's experiments with Rukongai citizens' souls. However, we know that Matsumoto survived said Hougyoku experiment, and even went on to become a vice-captain. The databooks also say that Matsumoto was once considered for the vacant captaincy of the Tenth Division, until Hitsugaya was ultimately chosen.
So, what explains Matsumoto possibly being a noble clan/Royal family member while also attending the Shinigami academy (which nobles don't normally do)? An identity change, and memory loss. It wouldn't be the first instance in which someone heavily associated with both Urahara and the Hougyoku suffered from apparent memory loss after undergoing a change of surname. Aizen and Urahara are framed as "two sides of the same coin," meaning because Matsumoto served some form of a purpose for Aizen, Urahara probably found some use for her, too. In Norse mythology (continuing a Germanic-theme), the Yggdrasil is an enormous world tree at the epicenter of the cosmological nine worlds. It is described as a tremendous "ash tree" perceived to be exceptionally holy. Matsumoto has an ash-themed zanpakutou.
In the Arrancar arc, Matsumoto was about to die against Luppi, but who rescued her in time? Urahara. I'm convinced that was subtle foreshadowing. Kubo, like most shounen authors, adapts the model of traditional Japanese combat fairly straightforward. In other words, Bleach characters (mostly Shinigami) apply their fighting mentalities to an Edo-period style of combat, in which the battlefield is considered to be sacred ground; it shapes the warrior, defines him, reflects on his past, and serves to establish the warrior and his future.
In that era, directly intervening in someone else's battle would be taken as an insult. It would be like besmirching the pride and honor of the warrior being saved, which is Ukitake's philosophy to a tee and one that he teaches to his division. There have been many examples throughout the manga when certain characters would reinforce this narrative, such as: Yumichika staying out of Ikkaku's fight with Edorad, Ikkaku refusing to fight Luppi while Yumichika was doing so, Komamura apologizing to Hitsugaya (like the bro he is) for attacking Aizen (Hitsugaya said he didn't mind because he didn't view it as a one-on-one fight, anyway), and Love taking issue with Shunsui stepping in to fight Starrk (to which Shunsui disregarded with his more pragmatic view on war, while claiming the tradition can be left to the mooks).
Therefore, for one to "violate" that warrior's pride and honor by interrupting their battle, there had to be a certain justification: a familial bond, a historical connection, a friendly association between the savior and the saved, etc. That's why you'll likely always see Rukia being rescued by either Ichigo or Byakuya, or certain Shinigami being saved by their direct peers (Hinamori and Matsumoto being saved by Hisagi and Kira, for example). In that case, I think there's a lot more to that scene; not Urahara showing up to save Matsumoto when he did, only that it was him. Urahara is sort of like Aizen in terms of planning and being methodical, similar to brilliant/strategic characters in general: they don't prefer to fight whenever they can avoid it, yet the lazy bum of the manga was fully prepared to join the fray.
I think Rukia and Matsumoto are meant to be contrasts of each other: the former was a commoner-turned-noble who was eventually chosen by Urahara (we don't know why) to house the Hougyoku within her soul; the latter - if my theory is right - was a noble-turned-commoner who was affected by the Hougyoku, but managed to survive (a feat in itself, and one that illustrates Matsumoto's special nature/unique power).
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Posted by Furinji Saiga on 28 August 2013 - 05:02 AM
I guess this pic that was posted earlier is indeed appropriate.
cred to Marcelle
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Posted by McCree114 on 18 February 2013 - 05:56 PM
Saw this on NF
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Posted by Damanos on 22 May 2013 - 04:55 AM
Looks like Kishi saw people complaining that the Tobito reveal was the worst chapter ever.
So he was like "Hahaha, **** you. You think that's the worst I can do? Watch this."
This is just hilarious at this point.
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Posted by alekos23 on 15 July 2014 - 04:55 AM
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Posted by Milareppa on 22 January 2014 - 09:27 PM
Episteme can handle the philosophical exploration better than I can, usually covers everything I want to say (and better worded, too), and finds extra things I don't have the knowledge to have explored. So, I decided not to go down that road. I'm also not touching on the mythology and religion that much for once either. I've got enough to cover just by focusing on the story itself.
So, the story: the chapter doesn't answer questions, it raises more. However, what it does do is make so many chapters tie in together that it looks like Kubo really is keeping his promise about trying to make the story as internally consistent as he can before it's over.
This is only going to be brief. It's not the main point of my post.
There are babies - youkai - in Japanese mythology that have the power to attract people to them and, once the people pick them up, they are killed. In the legend's case, the baby usually becomes heavier and heavier until the person is crushed to death, but my point here is the issue about people being attracted to, being unable to avoid touching, the baby to become ensnared in the first place. For the record, there are similar creatures masquerading as babies in Norse and Germanic mythology as well.
There is also the Jiangshi of Chinese mythology, a vampiric-esque or zombie-esque creature that kills by absorbing the qi of people, although it usually does so by night, resting by day. A lot of the jiangshi mythology won't be directly relevant, but there is the issue that the jiangshi can 'spread' its qi-stealing power through its victims. Its victims come into contact with new people, who also become infected, and so on. Which begs the question of what the quincies are - vampiric? parastic? virulent? Mythology can accommodate all that.
Christianity is, of course, replete with miracles. The issue we see here is that to the people around him, and the people underwent a pilgrim (and I choose that word deliberately) to find him, he would be a miracle child, a holy child. After all, from their point of view, he's working the same sort of miracles Jesus worked. It's even said later on by Haschwalth that Yhwach started out only being able to touch but eventually learned to do it at distance. Eventually, he worked out that he could enscribe the soul through the drinking of blood for the greatest effect. Jesus's miracles are also stated to have begun with him touching people (or people touching him), but eventually there are accounts of him being able to heal at a distance, too (that depends on which Gospel you read).
Of course, what the people don't realise is that he is, in fact, a curse. For each person can be healed, but at a price. It's like making a deal with the devil: without even knowing it, these people sold their souls to be healed of whatever malady their hearts (be it physical or mental or emotional) desperately wished to be healed of. The chapter talks about dying, but what it really talks about is them losing their souls.
There is also the Antichrist. Now, popular belief is that there is only one. Biblical studies and research tends to lead scholars to think that's not really true. An antichrist is a deceiver, of which there have been many. So, what people tend to think of is the one that will come in the form of the Beast in Revelations (well, depending on school of thought). The Antichrist will work through what people think of as miracles, but they won't be miracles at all. The Antichrist will arrive, and walk, on a platform of peace, but they will bring war. That sort of thing. It's all very relevant. Included in that is the role of the False Prophet, that looks like the Lamb (Jesus) and speaks like the Dragon (Satan). He supports the Antichist and his authority derives from the Antichrist. There will be a single religious organisation whose purpose it is to worship and support the Antichrist, and they will be led by the False Prophet.
I'll stop there because we can keep going in that vein where Yhwach, Haschwalth and the Vandenreich are concerned, the Mark of the Beast being the Schrift carved into the souls of the Stern Ritter, and so on. That's before I get to the subject of God's only begotten son saving the sinners... because that brings us to Ichigo/Uryuu issues (Ichigo is an only son but not an only child whereas Uryuu is an only begotten son) and I want to discuss Ichigo and Uryuu in other ways later.
Anyway, that's a brief overview of some of the directions religious/mythological ramblings can wander off in.
Yhwach's power introduced
What Kubo throws at us first is quite overt: the healing power; the first example is curing lung disease, relevant to the very first captain introduced in this manga, including the subject that made him the very first captain introduced (the full story of which we only see when Rukia is facing execution). Ukitake.
Broken hearts? Well, we're not told if that's physical (heart problems) or emotional (loss of a spouse, for example). It could easily be both given that personality traits are covered; cowardice, for example, and people have been commenting for weeks now that it's nice to see Oomaeda no longer acting like a coward, so deliberate perhaps? We'll see.
The curative power for cripples. Well we haven't really seen examples of that, but hold Yamamoto in your thoughts. The implication here can take us so far as to wonder if Yamamoto's missing arm could be restored just from having had too much contact from Yhwach. More on that later.
The other very curious statement is the idea that the portion of soul allotted to the person is the right amount to fill the 'void' that needs to be filled. So... do more broken/damaged people receive greater power? I'm not going to try and answer that right now. I'm just going to talk about the void of the soul. Nevermind these physical, mental, or emotional ailments that create a 'void', what about a real void? What about cases where the soul really is missing pieces of itself? We know there's at least one character in the story who is strongly implied to be in this position.
So, right from the start, we have a list of curative measures and descriptions that might have an impact on known characters: Ukitake, Oomaeda, Yamamoto (again, more on him later), Matsumoto. So, here's another question: Kyouraku's suddenly restored face. Artistic error or deliberate implication?
It's a back story, sort of. It makes us ask what his real name might have been before he named himself - if he had a name before, that is. It doesn't tell us how he could be born with power like this. It doesn't tell us where this power can come from. It also muddies the water over what is meant by First Quincy. Did Yhwach create the quincies, or was he the first of a new kind of quincy - a new kind he created by manipulating the souls of others (be they quincy or not). Some of us have been asking for a long time whether there may have been two lineages of quincies. This does not answer the question and keeps it wide open. It does not solve the question of what the First Quincy really is - both in terms of title meaning and in terms of what Yhwach really is.
It definitely doesn't explain what a quincy is. It creates certain connections to Fullbring. Ginjou described fullbring as the power to draw out the soul, and combine it with the fullbringer's soul to create the intended effect using the object. Yhwach is using his own soul to draw out the target's soul. The main difference is that Ginjou describes an externalised process - the effects are external, impacting the world around. Yhwach's process is internalised: it's an effect on the target's soul, regarding the sum of the target's own existence, designed to enhance and empower Yhwach's own soul.
Still, it begins to draw in fullbring as relevant to the meta-plot. There's enough overlap for fullbring to clearly have meaning, for there to have been a reason why Kubo introduced fullbringers before launching into an exploration of quincies. After all, the internalised process I just described could be used, with a few word alterations, to describe Tsukishima's power. Tsukishima's power does not seem to be on the scale of Yhwach's power, but there's quite a lot of overlap, conceptually. Especially if we consider what Haschwalth told us: that Yhwach originally started out limited to direct touch. So far, that's where Tsukishima is. Had he been empowered by Ichigo, however, in what direction would his power have developed?
There's also a significance for substitute shinigami. Ginjou claimed that a substitute could take a fullbringer's power, that a fullbringer could give up their power to the substitute. It may be on a smaller scale, but Ginjou is, in a rudimentary way, covering similar ground to Haschwalth's description of Yhwach's power. If a substitute shinigami comes close, conceptually, to Yhwach, we have to bring in the idea of Grand Fisher calling Ichigo a trueblood. That's still not explained, nor do we fully know who Ginjou meant when he talked of another child born of shinigami and humans (whether it's Ginjou himself or someone else). But suddenly, two out of three fullbringers under Kuukaku's guard seem quite relevant to the concepts this chapter has begun to discuss. I'm not going to write that off as coincidence.
It also has connections to hollows, sort of. The idea of Yhwach portioning out his soul... the idea of splitting a soul was introduced to the story via Starrk. There's also the issue of soul layering that Menos go through to 'evolve'. Yhwach's using souls to 'evolve' as well. But he's doing it akin to an Asauchi.
An Asauchi (to the best of our knowledge) imprints the shinigami's soul to create the Zanpakutou. Nimaiya said the creation process is similar to the method Aizen used to create White. Now we have Yhwach doling out pieces of his soul, getting those pieces 'imprinted' by the sum of the carrier's knowledge, experiences and power, before returning to Yhwach to deliver its contents. There seems to be some sort of connection between Yhwach and the concept of Asauchi. Yhwach was even born like one - nothing, but with the potential to become anything.
If that's the case, then it's no wonder that Old Man Zangetsu could function in the place of an asauchi - that's exactly what Yhwach seems to be: a living asauchi.
One question worth asking though, how fast would Yhwach go downhill if he couldn't absorb souls: how fast would it take him to return to being a 'blank' asauchi... and if this is the case for him, is this what happens to zanpakutou after a shinigami's death? Without the shinigami to keep 'fuelling' the zanpakutou, will it slowly blank out until it becomes an asauchi again? Is this how shinigami like Kenpachi can steal a shinigami's sword and use it for themselves?
There's an indication Yhwach may have a vulnerability when he sleeps. That or it's far too obvious and Kubo is going for the red herring. However, is this what the seal did? Keep him in an effectively suspended non-sleeping non-awake state where he could neither replenish his power nor activate it?
It also gives us some more spin on the War Potentials - or the idea of having them, at least. What can they do for him in terms of keeping war going and spreading his soul so that there's more for him to absorb? Is that why he wants them? Then again, if quincies are like a disease carrier, would hollows be the vaccine? If so, and if hollows are absorbed to him when quincies 'destroy' souls, why would he be capable of this when quincies lack antibodies? Is this something he did deliberately to keep them fighting? Mayuri did say it's the instinct for survival that's driving quincies to war with hollows. Is that Yhwach's way of depriving them of 'antibodies' so that they'll keep fighting and providing him with souls?
It also begs the question: if he takes back soul pieces when the target dies, what was going on with the dead quincies Mayuri was experimenting on? Was the soul-recovery the reason why Mayuri was dealing with what he thought of as weak quincies? What about Souken? What state was his power in, especially if we go with the two-lineage quincy theory?
Consequences of Yhwach's power
So far, the chapter makes it sound as though the quincies act like a soul-virus of sorts. They pass on Yhwach's soul, maximising his ability to expand his knowledge, experiences, to expand his opportunity to obtain the 'nourishment' he needs to stay active. Or, perhaps more accurately, not soul-virus so much as disease vectors: witness the mosquito, the vector (carrier) of the parasite responsible for malaria.
Quincies aren't the virus. They're the carriers. Everytime they use their power, they're passing on a piece of Yhwach's soul that he can potentially exploit.
However, Haschwalth indicates that the methods for doing this aren't necessarily efficient, or useful enough for Yhwach's purposes, anyway. That's where the engraving of the soul comes in. So, it's not just any quincy that's the problem - they're problems, but not the significant threat. The biggest issue comes from the engraved quincies, like the Stern Ritter. They're the ones with a significant 'gift' from Yhwach. They're the ones, by using that 'gift' pass on the virus at a much greater, more dangerous (more usable for Yhwach), level. They don't even have to be aware they're doing it - they only need to serve Yhwach and use their power on his behalf.
So, those that have come into contact with Stern Ritters are potentially in trouble. Let's list all the shinigami that have done so:
Yamamoto, Choujirou, Soifon, Oomaeda, Rose, Kira, Shinji, Hinamori, Byakuya, Renji, Komamura, Iba, Kyouraku, Nanao, Kensei, Hisagi, Hitsugaya, Matsumoto, Kenpachi, Ikkaku, Yumichika, Ukitake, Rukia.
Those that have not: Unohana, Isane, Mayuri, Nemu, Yachiru.
The whole of the captain class have come into contact with Stern Ritter in battle, with only two exceptions... and Yachiru. We don't know how much Mayuri knows, but go back to when four captains activated bankai and we saw a range of reactions. Mayuri's anger was depicted in such a way that he seemed more upset with their timing. More specifically, that they hadn't waited for him. Kyouraku himself commented that if they'd had more time, waiting for Mayuri is exactly what they would have preferred to do.
So, at that point in time, what did Mayuri know? He already knew about Yhwach and the battle a thousand years ago and Yamamoto's role in it. What does he know about Yhwach's origins? Did he know it back then, or will he find out from this chapter thanks to his bacteria inside Uryuu? What was his motive to objecting to the bankai use? He did end up confronting a Stern Ritter (Askin), but was in no hurry to fight him. Then again, Askin was in no hurry to fight either. He seems to know more than other quincies. Did he need to fight to pass on a piece of Yhwach's soul? Or was there another reason for his reticence? After all, the way he seemed to mock Haschwalth over being the 'next emperor' was almost the way Haschwalth spoke to Uryuu about being the 'successor' - and Uryuu's reaction was almost the same as Haschwalth's to Askin.
So, we have yet more layers to explore regarding the Askin/Mayuri confrontation.
What do people know?
This brings us to Unohana. Yamamoto ordered the entire fourth division to stay out of the fighting, no matter what. Again, we go back to what was known about the origins of Yhwach. Did Yamamoto know? Unohana explained to Ichigo how shinigami healing works, and there's a lot of reiatsu transfer between healer and patient. Fans asked why the Stern Ritter, despite being practical, didn't take out the fourth division - scupper the healers, and there won't be recovery from the war. There's a possible reason here: the method of shinigami healing would work wonders in spreading Yhwach-taint around the place. Not only would that be an incentive for Yhwach to let the division live, it would be an incentive for Yamamoto to keep them out of the fighting - the shinigami healers need to be kept as pure as possible just to contain the kind of threat Yhwach really poses.
And so we come to Kirinji, and his special method of healing, which focuses on a highly aggressive, highly invasive method of cleansing taint from every pore of a patient's being - even if it means practically transfusing their entire blood supply (and again, Kirinji's focus on blood, something vitally important to quincy power). I've said for months that perhaps there's a reason why Kubo spared Byakuya, that it seems like Kubo's really been focusing on the issue of taint, and that Kirinji's description of what Byakuya would need to undergo seemed to be emphasising this for some reason. Perhaps this chapter is a part of that reason. How tainted is Byakuya? He was listed in Yhwach's panels - in fact, he was the most significant panel of all in terms of being position on the page to be as eye-catching as possible. Ichigo and Renji only went through the pool once. We don't know how many times Rukia went through, but she was able to catch up to Renji. Byakuya had to go through many, many times.
So, can Kirinji combat Yhwach's invasive soul? If so, he may have to take on the other captain-class shinigami, if only to save their souls. However, I suspect he can only address the issue to a point.
Otherwise Urahara's comment about Ichigo saving everyone would hold less meaning. After all, this chapter makes that statement very grim and very universal. This chapter reveals how doomed the quincies really are - not because they're fighting the shinigami, but simply by being connected to Yhwach. And now, because they're fighting the quincies, the shinigami are almost as doomed.
There could be a reason why Urahara has been keeping certain people in Hueco Mundo. That said, Orihime and Sado have also come into contact with a Stern Ritter. Urahara himself has. So, the issue isn't just what Kirinji can heal, it's what Orihime can heal as well.
So, how much does the Royal Guard know? Shutara said the quincies were more evil than Aizen. If they're spreading Yhwach's soul every time they fight in battle, that's a scale of threat beyond anything Aizen himself posed. If the reason quincies destroy souls is because every time they kill someone in battle the target's soul gets absorbed by Yhwach, that's a huge problem. I'm betting the Royal Guard understand the nature Yhwach's power.
How much did Yamamoto know? He once said to Kyouraku that a great threat had arisen, hence the coming of the that 'fire god' Kyouraku asked about. He said that 'fire god' had only made things worse and if such a threat arose again, there'd be no coming back from it. In this war, he seemed to give up when he saw Yhwach's sky-arrow-blade and allow himself to be killed. Was Yamamoto's soul tainted by Yhwach? His blade was full of the ashes of the quincies he'd killed. He could have been. Did his shinigami, the first time around, spread about Yhwach's soul in battle? I can see that making things much worse. It might also be a reason for him to limit using his bankai, even beyond his insane power level. Or is it that he realised fighting Royd had effectively tainted him, meaning he needed to limit his own power as soon as possible for everyone's sake? I could ask other questions, suffice it to say my point is that these things feel connected in some way.
How much does Kyouraku know? He tried not to fight Haschwalth, and Haschwalth wasn't in a hurry to fight either. It almost akin to the Askin/Mayuri situation, and Nanao had created a special barrier for the occasion, which again prevents fighting. He's already fought a Stern Ritter, so is he tainted? Is he trying to protect Nanao from it? Was she tainted by her encounter with Haschwalth? Is Kyouraku's disappearing injury artistic error or a clue about soul-taint?
Further more, is the reason why Kyouraku pushed for the training of Kenpachi because Kenpachi is soul-tainted? Training Kenpachi would become imperative if the only way to combat Yhwach is to effectively keep as many affected people alive as possible. Unoahana does potentially become expendable at that point - if she fights, she helps spread soul-taint, if she heals, she potentially helps spread soul-taint.
The most significant thing she can do is get one of already-tainted War Potentials up to spec as fast as possible. Then again, does this fall into Yhwach's trap? Will Kenpachi be spreading soul-taint around on Yhwach's behalf?
Kubo could go anywhere with regards to the 'virulence' of this soul issue. Especially since that may be the point: if Yhwach can pass pieces of his soul on, then pull them back with all the knowledge and experiences of the target, that means he has an incredibly effective way to replace the Soul King. Infect the Soul King, become the Soul King. And that means he, theoretically, gains access to all the souls of existence. In short, Yhwach would weaponise pantheism. He'd have everything he needed to sustain himself for as long as he needed.
Ignoring the asauchi comparison for a moment, in some ways, Yhwach both is and isn't a living Hougyoku. His soul could, in a way, grant the deepest desires of the people that came to him - especially if the 'flaw' his soul 'healed' was a flaw that held them back from other ambitions. Aizen's Hougyoku consumed souls to empower it. Yhwach's been doing that, too. We still don't know how either Hougyoku was made or what triggered the research. I've said for years it felt like Aizen's experiments touched on everything so quincies had to be included at some point. I was pleased by EBTR when we found out quincies had indeed been a part of it for at least a century.
We do know, however, that Urahara realised, as soon as he created the Hougyoku, that it was too dangerous, so he sealed it away. Why did he realise it was dangerous so quickly before even using it? What did he recognise? Aizen's implication was that he'd recognised something, too, but wanted to pursue it. Yhwach may have created/redesigned quincies to make it easier for him to steal souls. The Hougyoku had a knack for this as well. Aizen ended up feeding Urahara's to his own to 'complete' it. He also said the Hougyoku has a will to survive, as all sentient things do. He didn't expand much on that, but we can assume that whatever the Hougyoku does, it's going to want to survive, so its actions may be dictated by that will.
White and Ichigo
Ignoring the obvious confirmation in this chapter that Young!Yhwach looks like Tensa Zangetsu, in light of this chapter, what was White's interest in Masaki?
White was created to engage in target hollowfication. His main targets were supposed to be shinigami. If quincies act like a vector transmitting Yhwach's soul, then they have the potential to make target hollowfication much easier. Did White sense something 'like-minded' about the quincy soul to its own purpose? Did it target Masaki because of the soul-infection issue? In other words... is the reason Ichigo has an inner hollow because of the target hollowfication or because his mother's quincy soul transferred it to her son? (Again, see the overlap between the fullbring inheritance and this. It doesn't make quincy power fullbring, it means there's a unifying factor to different kinds of power.)
Something I've wondered for a while, and this chapter makes me think it again: why do both Ichigo and Isshin have Getsuga Tenshou? When EBTR happened, I wondered if it was actually because Isshin used his power inside Masaki's soul. Now that we have this chapter, it begs the question: does Ichigo have Getsuga Tenshou because he inherited it from Isshin via Masaki rather than directly from Isshin? Ever since EBTR, the more I think about it, the more it seems like Ichigo inherited most of his power from his mother - even his shinigami power. He resembles Kaien a lot, and there's the theory that White's shinigami soul was using Kaien's. White was rain-connected. Kaien was a water-connected shinigami. Ichigo himself is rain-connected. I have wondered ever since EBTR if Ichigo inherited more of his shinigami power via Masaki than he did directly from Isshin. Ever since it was revealed his true shinigami power was hollow/shinigami fusion with the White hollow as apparently the basis of this, it feels as though the power itself has been inherited more through Masaki than through Isshin - not because Ichigo inherited nothing from Isshin, but because the flavour of his power seems entirely connected to what was going on in Masaki's soul. With this chapter, I have a possible reason for why I've been feeling this way.
Yhwach said that Ichigo was his son 'born in darkness'. Now we know that Yhwach was born in darkness. He was born in almost complete sensory deprivation. In fact, Tousen's bankai produces a mockery of Yhwach's state when he was born, by depriving the opponent of all senses but touch. That was Yhwach's state at birth. Now we have another reason for why that phrase may have been used: if Yhwach owes his senses to spiritual power, then Ichigo (who was born with his power sealed) was also "sensory deprived" at birth, and needed to absorb power to gain his "senses". Yes, he could see spirits, but he was powerless, paralysed from any effective measures. He was no better than Yhwach's effectiveness at birth - from a point-of-view of effective spiritual power, that is. In fact, Ichigo was worse off than Yhwach - Yhwach at least had a very effective power that could be passively active. Ichigo, being sealed, could do nothing but watch the world pass by. Yhwach had to feel the world, but at least he could move his soul around.
We also have the issue of Old Man Zangetsu. He said he originally didn't want Ichigo to develop shinigami power because it would put him in danger and, one day, Old Man Zangetsu would have to turn on Ichigo and kill him. He doesn't want to do that, he's proud of Ichigo, and he's proud to stand by Ichigo no matter what. Yhwach talked to the soul of James (and it was James, not Mask, he spoke to, as if the origin soul for the James/Mask power was James not Mask), almost like he was calling the soul back or inviting it back, or it had wanted to come back. So, what happens if a piece of Yhwach's soul refuses to return?
Is it possible for a piece of Ichigo's soul to fight to remain free? There are two reasons for asking this: Not only Ichigo's soul, where Old Man Zangetsu has indicated he will protect Ichigo (the implication being he will refuse Yhwach), but also for Katagiri, who once made a vow that she would never leave Ryuuken's side, no matter what happened. Did the soul that Yhwach recalled fight back? Was her coma evidence that she tried to resist? The information in this chapter suggests that the soul piece should depart immediately, and that it's likely to be willing to do so. Ichigo's piece has raised the possibility of reluctance or resistence for whatever reason.
Is Katagiri the hint that it might be possible for a way to be found for the quincies to resist Yhwach without needing to be as special as Ichigo? Perhaps they might need help, but that, in theory, it can be done if they have the will and resolve?
Uryuu, as the Prince of Light, was not born in darkness. To me that may be another clue that there's possibly two quincy lineages at large and Uryuu was effectively born to both lineages. It might also explain why the Ishida family was so fixated on the idea that a marriage could protect the future of the quincies - by choosing the right partner, it would ensure the Ishida family could be kept free of the Yhwach lineage. If so, then the special healing/cleansing techniques Katagiri mentioned Souken and his wife knowing may not have been widespread quincy techniques. They may have been designed to protect the Ishida lineage. The quincies left in the World of the Living could have been the quincies (whether Echt or Gemischt) that were trying to remain as free of the Yhwach 'taint' as possible.
We still don't know what is meant by 'successor'. I've already mentioned that conversation was almost a repeat of the Askin/Haschwalth one. In some ways, it was almost a repeat of the Ryuuken/Katagiri one, too (Ryuuken's frustrated outburst against Katagiri, which was mostly born from guilt and powerlessness, seems to be mirrored in Haschwalth's outburst against Uryuu). It's definitely looking like a cursed position to be in, given the vibes both Askin and Haschwalth have given off... and Uryuu seemed to have an idea of that anyway, even before Haschwalth waxed lyrical.
Still, is Haschwalth right about the reason Uryuu joined? Uryuu doesn't confirm it, and it's by far the dominant theory fans have had about Uryuu's motive. Kubo already made it clear that Yhwach and Haschwalth took on Uryuu expecting Uryuu wanted to betray them. Haschwalth now admits he fully expects Uryuu's motive to be to avenge his mother: that tells us Haschwalth knows all about the Ishida family and it also confirms the Vandenreich approached Uryuu with an invitation to join. So, the implication here is that Yhwach needs Uryuu and dangled the carrot of revenge in front of him to snare him into a trap.
Haschwalth's anger seems misplaced for someone who's acted all along like Uryuu's motives couldn't be trusted, so I don't think that's why he's angry. It goes back to frustration: the entire conversation seemed to be Haschwalth saying 'This knowledge makes me miserable in my powerlessness; join me in my misery, I insist'. However, it's too pat. Kubo knows the storytelling cliche as well as anyone: protagonist joins villain as a fake defector to avenge loved one's death. He knew that's what the fanbase would think. No-one would buy Uryuu 'turning evil'. So, from the outset, he's made it clear that the villain believes Uryuu's doing exactly that, and expanded it now to confirm they effectively believe exactly that.
Which is precisely what they should obviously think unless they're stupid... and I'm sure Urahara would know that. For the record, I'm sure Uryuu genuinely is hoping he can avenge his mother. However, I don't think it's the reason he joined. It might be an added bonus, but I think there's more to it. And, especially if there's truth in it (and he's a shounen protagonist, so of course he'll want to avenge his mother), it'll help hide his real motive. Because, while Yhwach plays divide-and-conquer among his men to ensure Uryuu is kept too isolated and watched to betray him, Uryuu can hide his real motives by lying with the truth. So, that's what I think the situation is.
That said, I don't think Uryuu's been told everything. While I expect Haschwalth to be wrong about the deeper motive, I think Uryuu's shock in this chapter was genuine. He seemed a bit shaken to be made successor from the outset. I suspect he was planning on joining as just another Stern Ritter, and has been surprised by the elevation and scrutiny he's received - not because I think he didn't expect any scrutiny, but because he didn't expect to be thrust so deeply into the limelight either. As a result, I don't think he fully understood the issue of Yhwach's soul or the scoul-inscribing either.
Just as Isshin has done with Ichigo, I believe Uryuu has been told just enough to point him in the direction the elders need him to go. I expect him to know more than Ichigo, but still not know the full truth. If he truly didn't know about Yhwach's soul, and the inscribing ritual, I don't think he knows the truth about Ryuuken yet. He might know something more than the reader at this stage, but I don't think he knows everything. I still think it's more likely that he's dealt more with Urahara than with Ryuuken over the issue of allowing himself to be recruited, but we still don't know when he learned the truth about his mother's death, so we definitely don't know how involved Ryuuken is (from Uryuu's point-of-view, I'm willing to bet Ryuuken far more involved than Uryuu knows).
Still, I think the point Souken warned about - the moment when Uryuu faces the question of whether or not to continue being a quincy - has yet to arrive. It may be fast approaching, but I don't think he's faced it yet.
Anyway, now Uryuu's facing a little insight into Yhwach's power, and what Yhwach has done to Haschwalth. Haschwalth no doubt has his own motives for revealing this, but his expression wasn't any happier than Uryuu's, so I don't think he told Uryuu out of enmity. Misery loves company, it's possible that he so loathes his own hopelessness that he cannot bare another carrying any degree of hope and seeks to crush it under his own despair.
One question is, does Yhwach want to absorb something from Uryuu? Is there something he cannot absorb directly, but might be able to via Uryuu? Did he hope that engraving Uryuu's soul would make Uryuu fall (finally) under his power? Preferably before Uryuu can surpass him?
We should also note that we never learned what was bothering Uryuu or what he wanted to ask Yhwach. Perhaps we'll find out later.
Haschwalth's power of balancing seems directly tied into Yhwach ability to send out and capture his soul. Shinigami balance the flow of souls between world. Haschwalth balances the flow of souls between Yhwach and his targets. That puts the chapter with Chang Du and BG9 into new light. It may also put the scene between Bambietta and the gang into a new light. However, there's something tragic almost, about Haschwalth's power. It's a like a parody of the real thing, or perhaps a shadow of it.
Haschwalth mentions he and Yhwach are bound to each other, then corrects himself and says Yhwach is bound to all quincies. That's a different spin to Isshin's comment about the blood of Yhwach flowing through all quincies. Isshin makes it sound like quincies are bound to Yhwach - although that's not what Isshin actually says. Haschwalth says it the other way around. Ultimately, it's probably a case of being bound to each other. No matter how cavalier Yhwach is about his subordinates, he does need some at all times to ensure he's never reduced back to the state he was born in. It still begs the question of whether he can survive the extinction of quincies or whether quincies can survive the extinction of him. This question is made more interesting by the idea of rebellious soul pieces, however.
He's also the Mask of the Ruler. The mask of the ruler tends to be the formal trapping of power. It's 'business mode' it's the 'face' the ruler shows others. So, Haschwalth is what Yhwach needs to be seen to be. Strip away masks, and all you get is the reality of the face beneath. So, Haschwalth is a sort of buffer that protects Yhwach in a way.
Still, if Haschwalth is right - not only that Yhwach lives for war but has a life because of war, then Orihime's musings on the possibility of creating peace between all worlds becomes significant. That means there was probably a very important reason why Souken kept petitioning for peace between shinigami and quincies - it's the best way to oppose Yhwach, and he knew Yhwach was on the way back to the world. So, Zommari's question really does have a point: what was the origin of the shinigami decision to begin hunting hollows? It seems to fuel war, feeding Yhwach, and is not their original duty. However, it might also tie into the curious relationship between hollows and quincies, especially if Yhwach is capable of absorbing quincy hollows.
Ryuuken, Yhwach and Uryuu
I've said before there's a strange comparison between Ryuuken and Yhwach, but it seems to exist on so many levels that it doesn't seem to be an accident. I've also said before that, based on what little we knew about the quincies, it felt odd, as if it didn't make sense, that Ryuuken could perform Letzt Stil Restoration if Yhwach was the First Quincy that created other quincies.
Now this chapter comes right out and says it: Yhwach is the only quincy who can impart his soul into others. And that it's the letter inscribing on the soul that allows Stern Ritter to more efficiently plant his soul around the place.
What is Letzt Stil restoration? From what little description Ryuuken gave it, he didn't really speak of whether souls were being transferred, or just reishi, or what. However, this chapter does not make sense of the restoration technique if Yhwach is supposed to be the only quincy capable of transferring power: even if quincies act as carriers for his soul, that's not what the restoration did. The restoration restored power. This feels important. This chapter feels like Haschwalth's saying Ryuuken shouldn't exist... not if Yhwach is the only and true progenitor of the quincies, all quincies, at any rate.
So, this begs the question: has the restoration protected Uryuu's soul? Haschwalth knows how the inscribing ritual works. The fact Yhwach performed it means Haschwalth has no reason to doubt it's succeeded (unless he's keeping secrets, and he probably still has a lot of secrets). Uryuu, who seems to not know much about the subject, may have no reason to doubt it's succeeded. What does Yhwach know? If restoration can interfere with this, if Ryuuken's soul is protecting Uryuu's soul, Yhwach may be in for a surprise (in which case, Urahara would have had good reason for needing Uryuu to go in - if Uryuu has an immunity to being scrawled on by Yhwach).
It goes further than this, however. It goes back to Chapter 49 as well. Letzt Stil restoration always seemed connected to Chapter 49, so if there's a connection to this chapter, that includes Chapter 49.
Uryuu and Ichigo were sharing power. Uryuu thought it was because Ichigo was doing it and he was just picking it up. Uryuu may have been right, but it may have been himself instead. It could even have been both of them. However, Uryuu's plan was to take in Ichigo's power, fire off the excess and give the rest back to Ichigo in a controlled manner. Again, we don't have much context to 'soul' here, but this chapter still implies Uryuu shouldn't have been able to do that. So, if both Ryuuken and Uryuu can do this, that's turning into an Ishida lineage question.
The last question I have about Yhwach (well, last for this insane post), is this: I'd like more translations, but Mangastream makes it sound that, as well as being able to move pieces of his soul into others, Yhwach is the exact opposite of all other quincies, but the comment that's referring to is that quincies draw in reishi. If Yhwach is the opposite of that, does it mean he can create reishi as well as impart pieces of his souls into others? I think more translations would help for this section as Manga Panda doesn't quite imply this.
Anyway, so ends Day 1. Let Day 2 commence!
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Posted by Damanos on 06 November 2013 - 03:03 AM
"That's my girl."
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Posted by Donquixote Doflamingo on Today, 05:29 AM
Like Kid, Law just bet his arm on the new generation.
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Posted by DaEvilWithin on 16 December 2013 - 11:02 PM
Awful. Terrible. Worst New Post. 0.0 Metacritic. Never post here again.
That hurts me right in
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Posted by Damanos on 27 November 2013 - 12:27 AM
"I'M ABSORBING YOUR ABSORPTION BY ABSORBING YOUR CHAKRA WITH MY CHAKRA BEFORE YOU CAN ABSORB THAT CHAKRA MADARA"
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Posted by WaffleCopter on 13 November 2013 - 04:56 AM
"My body is nothing but a shell now. It's just a tool to defeat you all."
Komamura's a ****ing crazy immortal badass.
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Posted by Damanos on 13 November 2013 - 04:55 AM
Warning: Chapter is so ridiculously manly that reading it will instantly cause you to grow a coat of chest hair rivaling Komamura's.
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Posted by alekos23 on 06 November 2013 - 03:46 PM
credit to Mist Puppet in NF
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