Shonen Jump Round Up: Bleach 618 & 619 and One Piece 779

Welcome back to the round up, everyone! After missing last week due to an vile incursion of REAL LIFE BIZ, we're back with an extra fat installment. So, we'll be doing the two most recent chapters of Bleach and one chapter of One Piece (there was no new chapter of that this week). Let's get on with it!


Bleach 618: The Dark Arm and Bleach 619: The Betrayer

Picking up from last time, we finally get more than a tease of Aizen's release. I mean, I guess anything involving Aizen doing anything other than being a magnificent bastard is technically teasing, but we certainly see he hasn't changed. He continues exuding arrogance while threatening to kill the new captain commander and unlock the rest of his restraints. Fortunately, Shunsui comes prepared and ties his life to the prison's exit key. With no other option, Aizen is forced to let his jailers carry him out to Soul Society in what can only be some kind of special chair (it's the same one he was sentenced in, so maybe it binds his reiatsu? Kubo never bothers explaining).

One of the prison attendants gets a little overzealous, though, and tries to bind Aizen just a liiiiittle more before bringing him outside. This turns to be ill advised, as the instant the poor fool's hands come close to Aizen, they straight up dissolve into bloody stumps. Why? Because it's Aizen, I guess. It must have been the best way to say this guy has still got it. At that point, Aizen decides to stop beating around the bush and talk (spirit) turkey: once he is released, Shunsui expects him to help defend Soul Society.

The Captain Commander is a bit more savy than his predecessor, though, and opts to point out a little verbal loop-hole. Shunsui isn't asking Aizen to fight for Soul Society — just to realize that fighting on the same side benefits both of them ("the enemy of my enemy is my friend," kinda thing). Aizen gives a trollish, Kubo-inspired non-answer instead of the straightforward one everyone is craving, but his expression is interesting. Despite everything he did to Soul Society and the Gotei 13, Aizen looks legitimately upset about the destruction Yhwach has wrought. Perhaps he's just jealous that he didn't get to do the wrecking, or maybe there's a deeper motivation to Aizen's brand of evil. I'm guessing we'll find out eventually.


Anyway, the story then jumps back to the "Dark Arm" himself, still surprised by the interference of Mimihagi but determined to put the Soul King down for good. Ichigo gets in the way of his attack, though, prompting the emperor of all Quincy to non-nonchalantly tell Ichigo to GTFO. Yoruichi uses the opportunity to do... something. It involves re-making the Soul King, somehow, and there's no mention of how she knows a technique like that. Maybe it's supposed to leave us asking questions, but it could just as easily be an ass-pull of some kind. It can be hard to tell at this point in the series.

After that, Yhwach and Ichigo get into a shouting match about morality and blah, blah, blah, Getsuga Tenshou. The room blows up but everyone is still alive and unharmed. The good news is that Ichigo, at least, isn't doubting himself anymore. I mean, Yhwach still thinks his eyes have all the power, but that much will probably never change.


In the next chapter, Yhwach starts things off by doing his best Aizen impression and claiming that everything Ichigo has ever done served his plans. I mean, in one way it's technically true, but the same goes for any random human living in the real world. If their plan was to keep being alive, everything Ichigo has done served them. It's pretty stupid logic but Yhwach is mostly trying to get under Ichigo's skin. He's almost 100% ineffective too, until he pulls the mom card on Ichigo (apparently it is his fault again for Masaki's death?).

Regardless, the impending "yo mama" fight is interrupted by a heilig pfeil striking Yoruichi! And then the audience is left to ask, "where, oh where did it come from?" Since it was only a single arrow and not some kind of OP-murder attack with a long explanation attached to it, there can only be one culprit. And yup, it's Uryu Ishida. Everyone is horrified that Uryu would do that, but they're also probably forgetting that he could have probably launched an attack way more powerful than that. If anything, he was doing the bare minimum required to maintain his facade of being on Yhwach's side.


Whatever Uryu is doing, it screws up Yoruichi's weird ritual thing, and apparently pushes the advantage back to the Quincies. Still it's hard to know why what Uryu did is so terrible without understanding key points like a) why Yhwach wants to kill the Soul King b) what the Soul King does c) why he's in that weird crystal d) why did he send his arm to live in Ukitake and e) how is what Yoruichi doing helping anything? Unfortunately, it'll be 50 more chapters before we get any of those answers.

Ok, some of that was off topic. After the shock settles down, Yoruichi tries to recover but gets owned by Pernida (sternritter c). It's kind of hard to tell exactly what's going on action wise, but it doesn't look very good. Ichigo continues trying to fight Yhwach off but Uryu is putting some pressure of his own on the substitute shinigami. Apparently, despite being easily deflected, Uryu's attacks are enough to distract Ichigio long enough for Yhwach to try ripping Mimihagi apart with his bare hands. Again, not really clear what's happening or what happens after, but stuff gets blown up and Ichigo is pissed at Uryu. The end.


One Piece 779: The Last Battle

This is both a pretty transitional (read: dull) chapter and an exciting one. For the most part, it handles the aftermath of most of the more recent battles. Kyros, Robin and Rebecca meet up with Leo and Mansherry, Zorro and Usopp, the Smile factory explodes, and Koala and Sabo discuss some secret plan that might endanger Luffy. And speaking of Luffy, that's where things start to get interesting!


The first we see of our hero, he's standing, exhausted, over a very bloodied Bellamy. There's an immediate flashback to what must have been 10 minutes ago where the two are still in the thick of things. Bellamy knows he can't win and that continuing to fight might kill him, but he's really committed to Doflamingo. Luffy tries to talk him out of it with some really good points about the Shichibukai's manipulative nature, but it doesn't work. For Bellamy, respect is all that matters. On the inside, though, Bellamy is really torn up about fighting Luffy. He really does respect Doflamingo, but he also values Luffy as a friend. And deep down, he even admits that he should have been admiring Luffy from the beginning — but a man has his principles and he has to stick to them.

I think that while their argument about respect and admiration was a great part of the fight, the best aspect was Bellamy putting up a decent struggle. It's obvious that Luffy was holding back and we already know that Bellamy has gotten much stronger than his days on Jaya Island. Still, it's always cool to see a pirate with an unorthodox power (spring legs in this case) come up with creative ways to be an effective fighter. It's why we love Luffy so much, after all!


Anyway, after Luffy ends the battle (possibly killing Bellamy? I don't know, that would seem too dark), the last page cuts to Doflamingo himself looking pretty damn satisfied. And while he usually looks like that, this time is special — assuming it's true. According to the maniacal ruler of Dressrosa, Luffy is going to be really pissed when he shows up to find Law's dead body.

Before feigning shock and outrage, I'm pretty skeptical that Law is actually dead. After all, this is a series that has barely had more than two onscreen deaths in hundreds and hundreds of chapters. More than anything it's some trick that has to do with his Ope Ope no Mi fruit. Unfortunately we didn't get to find out what that trick may have been this week, or even see more of the circumstances surrounding Law's alleged "death." We'll have to wait another week to really see what's going on.

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