After ending back in 2016, the Bleach manga came back with a special one-shot chapter this week. “No Breaths From Hell” gave me everything I was hoping for. Also, prepare for even more Bleach manga coming soon!
Bleach has continued to be part of pop culture even though the final chapter was released in August of 2016. Chapter 686 (in the main manga story) gave us a time skip with Ichigo having married Orihime and having a son named Kazui. It served as a nice conclusion to the long-running series. But mangaka Tite Kubo’s back with “No Breaths From Hell”, a one-shot picking up two years after the events of the final chapter. And you know what? I want more!
The 73-page long one-shot opened with someone talking about how they used to have two goldfish. One was larger than the other. However, one day the larger goldfish died and it allowed the smaller one to continue growing bigger. The mysterious person states they are glad the original goldfish had died.
I found the opening of the chapter to be quite interesting. There are going to be numerous interpretations of the message behind the goldfish analogy popping up in the fandom. A pair of fish have long been used to demonstrate balance. With one dying, balance is disrupted. So, I’m looking forward to seeing if the goldfish analogy will appear again as the current arc continues. Will we meet the person sharing the goldfish story?
Two things occurred in the latest Bleach chapter. We got to learn what little Kazui is usually up to when Orihime thinks he’s asleep. We also got to learn about a traditional ceremony, called Konso Reisai, and how the lore around it might not be true.
I’m going to talk about the Kazui-centric stuff first. Being a Shinigami as well, little Kazui has been helping lost souls. However, I have a feeling that him helping said souls is making things worse. I don’t know about you, but Kazui gave me demon-child vibes in this chapter. I mean, I get that he isn’t acting in such a manner intentionally, but there’s something sinister going on. I have a hunch he can somehow open portals to Hell. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone from Hell is feeding instructions to him under the guise of being a friend. Kazui does appear to be innocent and kind-hearted enough to be easily manipulated.
As for the major chunk of the plot in “No Breaths From Hell”, it dealt with Renji inviting Ichigo to the Konso Reisai. From what I could understand, it’s a ceremony that takes place 12 years after the funeral of a Shinigami Captain. A Hollow is caught from the human world and then sacrificed in front of the Captain’s grave. Due to Ichigo being close to Captain Ukitake, Captains Shunsui Kyoraku and Rukia thought it made sense for Ichigo to attend the ceremony. However, the actual truth behind the ritual might be quite dark. And I’ll get to that in a bit.
I enjoyed the banter between Renji and Ichigo. I think Kubo did a wonderful job of showcasing how an older Ichigo (now in his early 30s) would interact with Renji. Rukia’s interaction with Ichigo was definitely another highlight. She tried to drag Ichigo by stating how he’s the type of husband who expects his wife to handle household chores. Ichigo and Rukia have always shared a fun dynamic. And it was nice to see that it hadn’t changed even though Ichigo’s grown older.
We also got introduced to two new Vice Captains. There’s Seventh Company’s Rindo Atau and Eight Company’s Yuyu Yayahara. Rindo’s communicates via sign language. Yuyu is supposed to be a Gyaru character. Both of them seem to be quite formidable. I liked Rindo’s ability to summon a flock of hawks to defeat a gigantic Hollow. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s able to summon different types of animals. Yuyu has a bear-like attack which she uses to chomp off huge pieces from her opponent. She also appears to be quite strong, being able to crack a Hollow’s skeleton by simply stepping on it. I ended up liking both of them and would like to see more.
While Kazui seems to be busy (likely) opening portals to Hell, Rukia and Renji’s young daughter Ichika ends up sneaking into the human world as the Vice Captains begin their mission to procure a Hollow for the ceremony. A normal Hollow hunt turns dangerous when gigantic beasts appear. They are different from the Hollows our cast is used to fighting. None of the Vice Captains or Ichigo were able to sense them until Ichika warned Renji about one getting ready to attack.
I liked the designs of the new creatures. There’s a skeletal aesthetic going on in their character design. For some reason, their rings are protruding from random spots on their bodies. They are humongous and look menacing.
The biggest surprise was the appearance of Szayelaporro Granz and how that linked to the truth about the Konso Reisai. Kubo laid the groundwork for exploring Hell in this one-shot and that’s why I’m excited about the Bleach manga continuing. I’m not sure if we will get weekly or monthly manga chapter releases. But I’ll be happy with any option at this point. I just want more Bleach content in my life.
Apparently, when powerful beings like Captains die, it’s difficult to have their spiritual energy (Reishi) integrate into the Spirit World or the Soul Society. As such high levels of Reishi can’t be allowed to roam around in Soul Society, the Konso Reisai ceremony is done to send the Captain’s Reishi to… wait for it… to freaking Hell!
Yes, if an old tale is to be believed, the good guys have unknowingly been sending the Reishi of their loyal Captains and quite possibly others with similarly high Reishi levels to Hell. I don’t know what to think.
Not only that, characters like Aizen and Yhwach had immense spiritual pressures that kept the gates of Hell closed. With Ichigo and his companions having defeated both villains, the gates of Hell are now open. Balance has been disrupted.
Such a revelation is sure to shake Soul Society to its core. The fandom was expecting the one-shot to be a slice of life kind of affair showing an adult Ichigo hanging out with his Shinigami friends and reminiscing about their adventures. But nopes, Kubo dropped a bombshell and the fandom needs to be prepared for what’s to come next. I can’t wait!
While Hell wasn’t explored in the actual Bleach manga, we did get an animated movie titled Bleach: Hell Verse in 2010. According to the fandom, Kubo wasn’t happy with that particular film because it didn’t follow his vision. Now, almost a decade later, Kubo’s ready to tackle Hell in Bleach in his own way. And I’m here for it!
I wonder if the upcoming manga chapters will continue to focus on Ichigo and the rest of the original cast or if Kubo will go the Boruto route and sideline the older generation for the new one. Considering Kazui and Ichika are quite young, I think while those two will play an important role, Ichigo and the OG cast will continue getting the spotlight they deserve.
Some other thoughts and questions:
- I liked how Kazui is innocent and friendly while Ichika is more spirited.
- I liked seeing Ichigo living a normal human life. Unlike Naruto (who wanted to become Hokage) and other certain Shonen leads, Ichigo’s never had a set goal in mind. He’s more into keeping his friends safe and being able to live normally.
- Yes, to Soul Society getting introduced to modern technology by Kisuke Urahara. Rukia being fascinated by a cellphone’s ability to video call Ichigo was hilarious.
- My headcanon that Ikkaku Madarame and Yumichika Ayasegawa are a queer couple still exists. Ha!
As of writing this review, there’s been no official confirmation about when we will be getting a new Bleach manga chapter. Some fans are speculating we won’t be getting any new content until 2022. The Bleach anime, which ended in 2012, is supposed to return in winter of 2021 to adapt the “Thousand-Year Blood War” arc.
Are you excited about more Bleach content? What did you think of “No Breaths From Hell”?
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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