…and why it sucked.
Almost 2 months back, when Ichigo and co. got stuck in Hueco Mundo trying, and ultimately failing, to rescue Orihime; Aizen and co. went to Karakura town to suck it annihilate it. However, Old man Yama and the remaining Captains were ready to fend off Aizen and his posse. And this, of course, was the perfect time for a flashback. To show the origins of the mysterious Vizards and the even more mysterious Urahara. How they all came to be. From 100 years ago.
To start things off, all the Vizards were either Captains or Vice Captains of the Gotei 13 squad. A refreshing change was to see these funky Vaizards we all know and love, who were ‘serious business’ way back in the day. For instance Hirako was captain of the 5th Division and Aizen was his VC. And how Urahara came from being a VC to Yoruichi to the Captain of 12th Division and how he got Mayuri to work for him in his research labs.
The painfully cutesy stuff ends soon however, as certain members of the Protection Squad start to disappear. Captains from 9th and 7th Divisions and other current Vizards members are also sent in to investigate the situation; only to get consumed by the phantom menace weirdness themselves.
Of course, this ‘weirdness’ is actually everyone turning into a Hollow. And once even Hirako has been consumed by this, it turns out that *gasp* Aizen was behind it all! Urahara comes too late to the rescue and Aizen quite obviously cunningly blames Urahara for the Hollowfication experiments. The extremely bureaucratic dumbasses at Central Room 46 charged Urahara guilty when all the contextual evidence pointed at him. Yoruichi comes to his rescue and basically they all escape to Karakura town as exiles.
We cut back to all the Vizards, thanking Urahara in hindsight for saving them from becoming Hollows and proceed to face off Aizen and his Arrancars. Next week’s preview shows that we’ll back on fillers.
The stuff I mentioned above sounds quite interesting, so why am I hating on it? Well, first off, Kubo Tite obviously had an ‘oh shit’ moment in the middle of the shovelware Hueco Mundo arc. So to prolong the, what I’m sure are extremely monotonous fights, in the ensuing chapters he decided to bailout with a flashback.
And what a weak flashback it was. We didn’t get to see any sort of character development of any of the Vizards or Urahara and Yoruichi. They were the exact same people a hundred years ago as they are now. What was Aizen’s origination and why/ when did he turn to the Dark Side is still unknown. Back in the Soul Society arc when Aizen’s betrayal surfaced, everybody flipped the fuck out cos it was so brilliant. Same shit won’t work twice, even though it technically happened before Soul Society. And how pathetic is Aizen that his plans took 100 bloody years to materialise?!
Either way, the Flashback Pendulum arc was an extremely big missed opportunity. Kubo dropped the ball with this one, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere with the manga either.
Sucks to be Bleach fans right now. Good thing my Shonen fandom started with Naruto. Atleast they seem to be having a good time. For now.