Written and drawn by Tite Kubo
Published by Shueisha
After Yoruichi’s feline-tinted efforts were rendered meaningless by Askin’s resilience, it was up to Urahara to review his options as The Thousand Year Blood War enters its final phase. Truthfully, Askin still being on his feet after taking on a ferocious Shunkou assault was not a scenario within Urahara’s calculations, as illustrated by a rare expression of shock. But Askin’s explanation as to how he successfully countered 48 reiatsu changes in a second held a satisfying amount of merit.
A general rule in fantasy manga is that clinging to the laws of science we honor in real life might prove to be detrimental to your reading experience. So I was delighted when I came to the realization that Askin’s eloquent exposition doesn’t only hold up in the realms of fantasy. Blood, poison, and now also reiatsu can be categorized in groups. Askin’s activated Voll Stern Dich heightens his analytical prowess, allowing him to pick up even the slightest of changes in poison (or reiatsu) and gain deeper insights of their chemical buildup. Once he analyzes a certain type, he acquires a “blueprint”, encompassing the original version and all variations. Much to Yoruichi’s dismay, rapidly changing your reiatsu 48 times isn’t effective, as altered versions never stray far enough from the original.
The 664th chapter of Bleach then sets the stage for some interesting dialogue between Askin and Urahara. The Quincy’s playful taunts were quickly met with smooth comebacks from Urahara, who had returned to his more familiar collected self. Matters like loyalty, curiosity, and what constitutes a true scientist were discussed with various degrees of aggression. But as animated as this exchange was, it turned out to be merely an appetizer. Askin, unashamed to acknowledge Urahara’s strength, uses his Gift Ring. Directing all of death-dealing’s potency to one focal point was sure to be a successful trump card after all other measures had failed. But most Bleach readers know it isn’t over until someone utters “Bankai!”
Yes. It’s finally here (or should I say she?). What started out as a fight in the shadow of Ichigo closing in on Yhwach is transforming into what will be a monumental sequence in Bleach.
I was glad to see that Yoruichi’s rather convenient ability was nullified by what was a sensible upgrade in Askin’s Voll Stern Dich ability. Askin lives up to the hype as far as Imperial Guards go. Between fending off Yoruichi, nearly getting in Urahara’s head, and forcing him to use his ultimate attack, he’s most definitely an opponent worthy of note. Next week we should be getting a closer look at Urahara’s Bankai. After so many years, Kannon-Biraki Benihime Aratame takes center stage. Are you excited? I know I am.