Bleach – Thousand-Year Blood War 1×05 Review: “Wrath as a Lightning”

wrath as a lightning Bleach anime episode 4 review
A young Yamamoto listening to a younger Chojiro in ‘Wrath as a Lightning’ (Image: Bleach – Thousand-Year Blood War Anime Episode 5)

Bleach: The Thousand-Year Blood War anime episode 5, titled ‘Wrath as a Lightning’, showed the odds shift a bit to favor our heroes. But actual victory is still quite far.

I have to begin by applauding the anime team for how they handled the emotional turmoil Ichigo felt when he realized he was trapped and couldn’t get to Soul Society in time to help his friends. No matter how much power he used, Quilge Opie’s ability kept Ichigo contained inside a spherical jail made of energy.

The way Ichigo teared up as he heard the cries of people he knew during the Sternritter attack was well-animated. The Shinigami had found hope when they heard Ichigo was on his way, but things had turned back to hopelessness after he got trapped. Of course, Rukia believed that Ichigo would somehow manage to arrive soon. Everyone just had to stand their ground until then.

I am a fan of Ichigo and Rukia’s friendship. While I get that a large portion of the fandom ships them romantically, I have never sensed anything romantic between those two. Especially when it was obvious that Ichigo and Orihime were going to be endgame. It’s very reminiscent of how certain fans thought Naruto would end up with Sakura, even though Hinata existed.

Anyway, hearing Rukia say that she knew Ichigo will make it helped boost Ichigo’s resolve to break free from the energy jail. While it didn’t work, it added to the overall emotional impact and helped the audience remember the strong connection between Ichigo and Rukia.

Even though Ichigo was delayed, I liked how the Soul Society found another way to feel hopeful again. Yes, Ichigo would have been a huge help against the current enemies, but you have to remember that a lot of the characters in Bleach aren’t pushovers. They can at least try to handle things on their own.

‘Wrath as a Lightning’ was about having Yamamoto enter the battlefield to put an end to His Majesty. With the two sharing history, I’m looking forward to learning more about what transpired between them thousands of years ago.

The flashback took us to a time when a young Chojiro asked a comparatively younger Yamamoto to make him his right-hand man. Due to Chojiro being at Yamamoto’s side for a very long time, I liked seeing the creative team taking the time to flesh out their relationship and how his death impacted Yamamoto in the present. Due to the nature of Chojiro’s Bankai, as far as my opinion goes, the title of the episode was about him.

Seeing their leader be so ready to battle helped invigorate the rest of the Captains and their subordinates. Even some of the Sternritter were surprised because it looked like the Shinigami were close to dying a few seconds ago. It’s obvious that they still need an assist from Ichigo, but their determination to never give up is going to make for some very cool fight sequences. And I can’t wait!

Wrath as a lightning Bleach anime episode 5 review
Byakuya faces his own Bankai in ‘Wrath as a Lightning’ (Image: Bleach – Thousand-Year Blood War Anime Episode 5)

A major revelation for the residents of Soul Society was how the Sternritter could use the stolen Bankai. As Nodt (given the letter F for Fear) used Senbonzakura Kageyoshi against Byakuya. And Driscoll Berci (given the letter O for Overkill) used Chojiro’s Koko Gonryo Rikyu against Yamamoto. Similar to the characters, we still don’t know how the Sternritter are able to do all of this. The good guys need to get to the bottom of it to launch a counterattack.

The scenes concerning Kenpachi were fun to watch. He was able to defeat three Sternritter. Jerome Guizbatt (R for The Roar) had the ability to grow into a giant monkey-like creature and release a sonic scream. Kenpachi simply sliced Jerome in half. He then proceeded to rip Berenice Gabrielli’s (Q for The Question) throat out. Bernice had the ability to instill self-doubt. And with Loyd Lloyd (Y for The Yourself) having the ability to transform into Kenpachi, the original Kenpachi just had to be stronger than the version of himself he was fighting.

Of course, things didn’t end well for Kenpachi when he decided to battle His Highness. While the fight occurred offscreen, Your Highness was close to killing Kenpachi until Yamamoto arrived to distract him. Experiencing such defeat is going to make Kenpachi want to grow stronger.

Byakuya’s fight with As Nodt progressed as expected. There was no way Byakuya was going to win against an enemy capable of using his Bankai against him. The information we got regarding As Nodt’s ability was interesting. The energy thorns As Nodt used were capable of instilling fear in opponents. And while Byakuya was able to hold off against feeling fearful of being defeated by his opponent, the fear of losing Rukia made him hesitate long enough for As Nodt to land a hit. I liked the explanation As Nodt gave about how fear was an instinct no living being could run from. You could try and overcome fear birthed from reason or something justifiable. However, the raw form of fear (that a person knew had no logical reason to exist) was incredibly tough to beat.

Back in Hueco Mundo, Quilge Opie revealed he had been given the letter J for The Jail by His Highness and that it was going to be impossible for Ichigo to escape his trap. With Quilge Opie losing the energy he absorbed from Ayon, he turned to quickly kill Sado, Orihime, and Nelliel, but before he could do something, he got sliced in half by someone.

I’m not going to give any spoilers, but Urahara was concerned about the newcomer.

It’s obvious that Ichigo still needs time to get to Soul Society. But again, his being temporarily delayed will allow other characters to shine during their respective battles. The animation quality has continued to deliver. So, the upcoming fights are going to look visually pleasing. If only Naruto and the current Boruto series thought it was important to allow supporting characters to get a few moments under the spotlight. Sigh!

What did you think of ‘Wrath as a Lightning’? Do you think Yamamoto will be able to defeat His Highness?

Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

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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