Bleach – Thousand-Year Blood War 1×09 Review: “The Drop”

The Drop Bleach Thousand Year Blood War anime episode 9 review
Unohana trains Zaraki in ‘The Drop’ (Screengrab: Bleach – Thousand-Year Blood War Anime Episode 9)

Bleach: The Thousand-Year Blood War anime episode 9, ‘The Drop’, continued with allowing the Soul Society to heal and enable certain characters to grow stronger.

‘The Drop’ opened with a scene that showed Shunsui Kyoraku being promoted to Head Captain of the Gotei 13 after Yamamoto’s death. Kyoraku understood the danger Soul Society was still in and he immediately decided to make some changes. He wanted Genshiro Okikiba and Nanao Ise as his two lieutenants. And not knowing if Ichigo, Rukia, Renji, and Byakuya would even come back from the Soul King’s Palace, Kyoraku decided to make use of an extremely powerful weapon still present in Soul Society… Zaraki Kenpachi.

It was understandable for Kyoraku to find a way to unleash Zaraki’s true potential even if it meant risking him becoming way too strong to be controlled. Soul Society needed all the help it could get. The Captain tasked with training Zaraki in Zanjutsu ended up being Unohana. I remember how huge the reveal of Unohana being the first Kenpachi was when it was originally shown in the manga. Again, kudos to Tite Kubo for making a female character the strongest in the history of the Gotei 13. We don’t get to see that much in Shonen content.

The anime did a good job of visualizing Unohana’s bloodlust as she prepared herself to fight Zaraki to death. The flashback sequences showed that a young Zaraki was the only one capable of ever leaving a scar on Unohana when she used to be a notorious criminal. Similarly, Zaraki always wanted to have a rematch with Unohana because she made him feel excited to battle. He looked up to her and wanted to grow strong enough to defeat her.

According to Unohana, Zaraki grew stronger whenever he faced death. So, it’s obvious that her plan was to continue killing Zaraki and then healing right him up until his power level surpassed hers. Unohana realized that doing so meant she would need to die in the end, but that was a sacrifice she was willing to make to protect Soul Society.

With Soul Society preparing for Yhwach’s second invasion, over in the Royal Palace, we got to see Ichigo being fully healed from his wounds courtesy of Tenjiro’s hot springs. The next stage was to send Ichigo over to Kirio Hikifune’s domain. She’s known as the Divine General of the South and the Zero Division’s 2nd Officer. Her title was ‘Ruler of Grain’.

I liked how Renji got up to accompany Ichigo. Having them share the screen together allowed the writers to add a bunch of comedic moments.

Over in Kirio’s area, we got to learn that her powers involved cooking food that greatly strengthened the consumer. According to Kirio, everything she cooked was infused with the power of the Soul King. So, after Renji and Ichigo were done eating, they had new incredibly powerful Spiritual Pressures boosted by the Soul King. Renji and Ichigo might not feel the powerup yet, but it’s there.

The Drop Bleach Thousand Year Blood War anime episode 9 review
Renji and Ichigo being presented with the food Kirio cooked in ‘The Drop’ (Screengrab: Bleach – Thousand-Year Blood War Anime Episode 9)

We also got a bit of lore about how Squad Zero was selected. Each member was acknowledged by the Soul King because they created something special. Kirio was revealed to be the maker of the Substitute Soul and the ability to insert it into a body. The concept of a Substitute Soul (or Gikon) didn’t exist before that. Her concept of Gikon was then used to create the Gikongan.

During their eating session, the writers allowed Ichigo to share a valid concern. As someone who was always looking out for others, it made sense for Ichigo to feel guilty over how he was selected by Squad Zero to heal and eat. However, Renji was able to make Ichigo see the importance of what they were doing. They had suffered grave injuries during their battle with Yhwach and his forces. They needed to heal and eat to their fill to prepare for the training session that was yet to come. Everything Ichigo and Renji were being asked to do by Squad Zero was to protect Soul Society.

Once they were done, Kirio sent Ichigo and Renji to Nimaiya Oetsu, the creator of the Zanpakuto. Due to Ichigio’s Zanpakuto being destroyed during his face-off with Yhwach, I’m looking forward to seeing the upgrade our lead character will unlock.

What did you think of ‘The Drop’? Do you think the current powerups will be enough?

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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