Bleach: The Thousand-Year Blood War anime episode 10, ‘The Battle’, focused on Unohana helping Zaraki grow stronger, as well as Ichigo and Renji learning more about Zanpakutos.
The fight between Unohana and Zaraki was an important moment in the Bleach manga and I have to say the anime adaptation did not disappoint. The fight was well choreographed, with fast movements and lots of blood. The scene where Unohana released the Bankai ‘Minazuki’ and then proceeded to dissolve Zaraki’s flesh to reveal his bones was so good. Minazuki’s Shikai form being about healing others and Bankai form being about death worked well to showcase the two sides present in Unohana.
A bunch of flashbacks were also sprinkled in to add gravitas to why such a fight happened in the first place. It is revealed that a very long time ago, Unohana had grown tired of not being able to find a worthy enough opponent to truly challenge her. However, that changed when one night she was attacked by a young Zaraki. The evil and power that Zaraki possessed thrilled Unohana. In a way, she was okay with being killed by his hands. However, because Zaraki, who was also bored, did not want to lose the chance to fight someone like Unohana forever, he unconsciously began to hold back to ensure that Unohana survived their original confrontation.
The fateful battle they were so excited about ended up serving as a nightmare for both of them with young Zaraki putting a limiter on himself and Unohana feeling bad for making him do it in the first place. Zaraki made herself weak to continue fighting and Unohana learned healing techniques to continue doing the same.
According to Unohana, an adult Zaraki should have fared much better during the fight against Ichigo, Yhwach and the others. However, he failed to realize that he was holding back during these matches. Unohaha, who had observed him, concluded that whenever Zaraki faced a strong opponent, a small layer was shaved off his limitations. So it fell to Unohana to help Zaraki regain access to his true potential.
I really enjoyed the scene where Unohana shared her philosophy on what should happen when someone strong (person A) faced a stronger opponent (person B). According to Unohana, there were only two possible outcomes. Either person A managed to kill person B or person A used his power to lift person B up. Unohana chose to raise Zaraki and prepare him to face Yhwach’s forces properly and protect Soul Society.
While I’m sad to see Unohaha die, I feel like it made sense for her character arc. And besides, nobody actually dies in the world of Bleach. Therefore, I am very much looking forward to what can happen as the story continues Bleach: Hell the manga series.
Another thing that happened in ‘The Battle’ was about the history of the Zanpakuto. Renji, Ichigo, and Kon were sent to Squad Zero member Oetsu Nimaiya. He is the third officer and the divine general of the West. He is also known as the god of swords. Ichigo and Renji being confused and annoyed by Oetsu Nimaiya’s over-enthusiastic personality provided some nice comedy in an otherwise heavy episode.
Nimaiya explained that each Zanpakuto started out as something called an Asauchi. When the Shinigami spent time with their Asauchi/sword, they implanted Soul Pressure on the sword and helped shape it into what suited them best.
Nimaiya was disappointed at how easily Renji and Ichigo’s Zanpakutos were destroyed during the battle against Yhwach and his Quincy army. Zanpakutos that were loved by their wielder did not break easily. That’s why Renji and Ichigo were thrown into the Hood to face many angry Asauchi.
Although we didn’t get to see Renji and Ichigo actually fight the Asauchi, we did learn that they had been fighting them for three days and three nights. Renji won. But in a surprising twist, Ichigo lost.
Bleach: The Thousand-Year Blood War arc is a lot about Ichigo learning about his true origins. Yhwach told Ichigo about how he was connected to the Quincy. And according to Nimaiya, Ichigo cannot have his Zanpakuto forged without learning about his roots. It makes sense considering Ichigo didn’t go through the normal Shinigami training routine with Asauchi.
Although the scene where Ichigo was forced back into the human world was sad, it was necessary. I’m really looking forward to the anime adaptation of Ichigo’s past, especially his past related to his mother.
As far as I know, the first part of Bleach: The Thousand-Year Blood War arc will only be 13 episodes long. So that means we only have three episodes left. I expect we will get answers about Ichigo’s parentage in these three episodes, with the finale ending on a very exciting cliffhanger. You know Yhwach has something planned, and with Ichigo back in the human world, let’s see if Yhwach strikes now or later.
Speaking of discovering your roots, Zaraki’s fight with Unohana opened him up to finally hearing a strange female voice calling out to him. The voice introduced itself as one who had watched him most carefully. And before she could give her name, the episode cut to Renji and Ichigo.
With ‘The Battle’ heavy on Zanpakuto lore, I think the audience can easily see where the connection between Zaraki and the strange female voice goes. Zanpakutos are meant to be more than just weapons for Shinigami. In a sense, they are also living beings, and they deserve respect if a Shinigami wishes to unlock their true power. Now there is a certain thing that happened to Zaraki’s Zanpakuto in the manga. I personally didn’t like it. But I’ll talk about it when that particular event happens in the anime adaptation.
Until then, I’m very excited to see Ichigo go through his much needed personal journey to learn more about himself and regain his Zanpakuto. Renji, Rukia, and Byakuya are also going to level up because of Squad Zero. The upcoming battles are going to be epic!
Did you see “The Battle”? What do you think about that?
Let us know.
Farid has a Double Master in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books, including Missing in Somerville and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV series, anime/manga, video games and movies.
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