Bleach: The Thousand-Year Blood War anime episode 4, titled ‘Kill The Shadow’, was all about death and sacrifice as the Soul Society tried to hold the line.
After a lengthy recap of the previous three episodes (which I could have done without), ‘Kill The Shadow’ opened with the Soul Society’s department of research and development trying to keep up with tragedy. A total of 16 enemies had appeared and they had proceeded to cause more than 1000 deaths in seven minutes. Things were indeed grim.
While I could understand why the Captains wanted to handle the situation on their own, I do feel that they should have decided to contact Ichigo a lot sooner. Yes, he’s human, but considering he’s helped out Soul Society numerous times and is insanely powerful, I think asking for help ASAP could have prevented some of the deaths that occurred. But then again, creator Tite Kubo had to figure out a way to raise the stakes, and keeping Ichigo off the board served said purpose.
The Captains, as always, stepped up to the plate to protect everyone. However, going into battle without a whole lot of information about the enemy came with major risks. Due to the Sternritter being way too strong, the Shinigami didn’t stand a chance of fighting them without activating their Bankai. But activating their Bankai would allow the Sternritter to “seal” them away.
I liked how the anime writers showed that a certain type of sacrifice was required. Byakuya Kuchiki (one of my favorite characters) was the first one to state this. His plan was to release his Bankai in front of his enemy and then ask Renji to observe how his Bankai would be “sealed” so that the Shinigami could use said data to come up with a counter.
Along with Byakuya Kuchiki, Sajin Komamura, Soifon, and Toshiro Hitsugaya also got their Bankai taken away. The realization that their Bankai hadn’t been “sealed”, but had been “stolen” instead was animated well on the characters’ faces.
Even though rendering four Captains powerless was a blow to Soul Society’s overall combat ability, with Captain Kurotsuchi and Urahara on the case, you know that the two geniuses will come up with a countermeasure soon enough. The Shinigami just have to survive until then. The fact that Ichigo’s Bankai refused to be stolen came up again.
As for Ichigo’s battle with Quilge Opie, even though he’s not as strong as Ichigo, his abilities are annoying to deal with. After getting the call from Akon about Soul Society needing Ichigo (yes, to Akon seeing sense and deciding to not gain permission from the higher-ups to contact our lead), Urahara got himself involved to land a surprise hit on Quilge Opie. Urahara needed the fight to end already because Ichigo was needed elsewhere.
However, due to a plot convenience that made me roll my eyes, Ichigo’s unable to get to Soul Society because of Quilge Opie still being able to land an attack on Sado, Orihime, and Urahara while also blocking the gate to Soul Society.
We will surely get more information about Quilge Opie’s ability in the next episode as Ichigo tries to escape from his confines. But the way someone as smart as Urahara overlooked the possibility of Quilge Opie still being able to move by using his Ransotengai ability didn’t sit well with me. I think the same result could have been achieved in a manner that didn’t undermine Urahara as a character.
What did you think of ‘Kill The Shadow’? Why do you think the Quincy are stealing Bankai?
Let us know.
Farid has a Double Masters 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 shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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