Bleach – Thousand-Year Blood War 1×10 Review: “The Battle”

The battle bleach thousand year blood war episode 10 review
Unohana releases her Bankai Minazuki in ‘The Battle’ (Screengrab: Bleach – Thousand-Year Blood War Anime Episode 10)

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 a major moment in the Bleach manga and I have to say that the anime adaptation didn’t disappoint. The fight was well choreographed, with quick movements and a lot of blood. The scene where Unohana released her Bankai ‘Minazuki’ and then proceeded to dissolve away Zaraki’s flesh to reveal his bones was so good. Minazuki’s Shikai form being about healing others and the Bankai form being all 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 was happening in the first place. It’s revealed that, a very long time ago, Unohana had grown bored of not being able to find a worthy enough opponent to really challenge her. However, that changed when one night she got attacked by a young Zaraki. The viciousness and power that Zaraki possessed excited Unohana. In a sense, she was okay with being killed by his hands. But, because Zaraki, who was also bored, didn’t want to lose the chance to battle someone like Unohana forever, he unconsciously began to hold back to ensure Unohana survived their original confrontation.

That fateful battle they were so excited about ended up serving as cruse for both of them with young Zaraki putting a limiter on himself and Unohana feeling sorry for making him do so in the first place. Zaraki made himself weak to keep on fighting and Unohana learned healing techniques to keep doing the same.

According to Unohana, an adult Zaraki should have fared much better during his fight with Ichigo, Yhwach, and the others. However, he failed to realize that he held back during those fights. Unohaha, who had been observing him, concluded that every time Zaraki faced a strong opponent, a tiny layer was shaved off his limitations. So, it fell on Unohana to help Zaraki regain access to his true potential.

I really liked the scene where Unohana shared her philosophy concerning what was supposed to happen when someone strong (person A) faced a stronger opponent (person B). According to Unohana, there were only two outcomes possible. Either person A managed to kill person B or person A used their power to lift person B up. Unohana chose to lift Zaraki and prepare him to properly face Yhwach’s forces and protect Soul Society.

While I’m sad to see Unohaha die, I do feel that it made sense for her character arc. And besides, no one actually dies in the world of Bleach. That’s why I’m really looking forward to what might happen when the story continues with the Bleach: Hell manga series.

The Battle Bleach Thousand year Blood War anime episode 10 review
Ichigo gets to meet Oetsu Nimaiya in ‘The Battle’ (Screengrab: Bleach – Thousand-Year Blood War Anime Episode 10)

Another thing that happened in ‘The Battle’ dealt with the history of the Zanpakuto. Renji, Ichigo, and Kon were sent to Squad Zero member Oetsu Nimaiya. He’s the 3rd Officer and the Divine General of the West. He’s also known as the God of the Sword. Ichigo and Renji being confused and annoyed by Oetsu Nimaiya’s overenthusiastic personality offered some nice comedy in an otherwise heavy episode.

Nimaiya explained that every Zanpakuto started off as something called the Asauchi. As Shinigami spent time with their Asauchi/sword, they implanted their Soul Pressure on the sword and helped mold it into what suited them best.

Nimaiya was disappointed by how easily Renji and Ichigo’s Zanpakutos were destroyed during their battle with Yhwach and his Quincy army. Zanpakutos that were loved by their wielder didn’t break so easily. That’s why Renji and Ichigo were thrown into the Hooden to face many angry Asauchi.

While we didn’t get to see Renji and Ichigo actually fight the Asauchi, we did get to know that they had been battling them for three days and three nights. Renji won. But, in a surprising turn of events, Ichigo lost.

Bleach: The Thousand-Year Blood War arc is a whole lot about Ichigo getting to learn about his true origin. Yhwach told Ichigo about how he was connected to the Quincy. And according to Nimaiya, Ichigo can’t have his Zanpakuto reforged without learning about his roots. That makes sense considering Ichigo didn’t go through the normal training routine for Shinigami with their Asauchi. 

Even though the scene where Ichigo’s 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.

From what 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 more episodes to go. I expect that we will get answers about Ichigo’s parentage in these three episodes, with the finale ending on a very exciting cliffhanger. You know Yhwach’s been planning something and with Ichigo back in the human world, let’s see if Yhwach strikes now or later.

Talking about discovering your roots, Zaraki’s fight with Unohana opened him up to finally hearing a strange female voice who had been calling out to him. The voice introduced herself as someone who had watched him the most closely. And before she could state her name, the episode moved on to Renji and Ichigo.

With ‘The Battle’ being heavy on Zanpakuto lore, I think the audience can easily tell where the connection between Zaraki and the strange female voice is going. Zanpakutos are supposed to be more than mere weapons for Shinigami. In a sense, they are living beings too and they deserve respect if a Shinigami wants to unlock their true power. Now, there’s a certain thing that happened to Zaraki’s Zanpakuto in the manga. I personally didn’t like it. But I’ll talk about that when that particular event occurs in the anime adaptation.

Until then, I’m very excited to see Ichigo going through his much-needed personal journey to learn more about himself and getting his Zanpakuto back. Renji, Rukia, and Byakuya will be leveling up too because of Squad Zero. The upcoming fights are going to be epic!

Did you watch ‘The Battle’? What did you think of it?

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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