Bleach: Flashback Pendulum Arc…


…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.



17 Responses to “Bleach: Flashback Pendulum Arc…”

  1. 1 truelove15
    March 30, 2009 at 7:29 am

    I guess he did have an oh shit moment when he notice how boring HM arc had become. However, the list of reasons why you hated the flashback shows that you totally missed the point. The arc wasn’t create to answer questions, it was created to raise more questions (or Kubo Tite did it for the LULZ and and fanservice. The fandom is perfectly happy to see the young shinigamis when they were youger.).
    And, because that plan took 100 years to materialize that why it worked twice. Most of the people who knew of the first event are exiled. The people who in charged now had been left in the dark 100 years ago.

  2. 2 th
    March 30, 2009 at 9:54 am

    I agree, it was kind of neat to see young Nanao-chan and Byakuya-bo and why Hisagi got the 69 tattooed on his face. I actually lol’ed when he was so GAR’ed by Kensei.

    Anyways, if the point of the flashback arc was to raise questions, I obviously didn’t get it. And I hope I’m not so much of a critic now that I can’t enjoy simpler things which are just ‘for the lulz’.

    *Sees self in mirror, strokes chin* Nope. Kubo Tite messed this one up. Or at least it wasn’t as compelling as the Vizard arc, let alone Soul Society.

    And you can’t honestly say that you were completely satisfied with this arc can you? I’m sure somewhere deep down you too felt wanting for more. That, or I’m trying to dig too deep in Shonen animes :p

  3. 3 a patron
    March 31, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Well i think it served the purpose of elongating the gap between the mangas and TAS.
    Which is normally achieved by throwing in fillers. (Flashback over fillers anyday)

    Any way it was a good warm up for the real shit to begin

  4. 4 a patron
    March 31, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Another reason why the flashback was not that great was because no one got to know how aizen got so strong apparently overnight also tosen for that matter. and whats with Tosen’s slave like attitude

  5. 5 th
    March 31, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Tousen was always a bitch. Also, he’s blind so perhaps he feels ‘safe’ under the strong presence of Aizen :p

  6. 6 femi wheeler
    April 12, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    yeah lol tosen has always been bitch…
    it kind of doesnt make sense that they just stopped it after urahara saves the vizzards, there shud have been something to truly complete it, and the whole soul detective bit w kon was a bit random even though they showed urahara using it to remove the town… but yeah def flash back over filler ANY DAY

  7. April 23, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    tousen’s slave like attitude is do to his lack kof options. He must totally obey Aizen because he has no where else to go if Aizen kicks him out or forces him to flee. Blind does probably have something to do with it though.

  8. 8 Lilo Ichihime
    August 18, 2009 at 1:27 am

    man i dont lik Aizen he’s so annoying

  9. 9 Jay
    August 20, 2009 at 9:41 am

    aizen’s plan took a hundred years because he had to wait for the HK that Kisuke put in Rukia to resurface when Kisuke took it to the real world

  10. 10 Shankly
    August 20, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    So there was no character development. So what? Why this total obsession with character development? Do you think it is impossible for a story to have no ‘character development’ and still be successful/enjoyable/meaningful? The history of ‘story telling’ clearly shows that it can. So why so blinkered and narrow minded, focused obsessively on character development? It seems that people use it as some kind of expression of elitist understanding of things, never thinking about how it may be used, but simply demanding it, constantly, all the time. This is just childish impatience which this line shows:

    “What was Aizen’s origination and why/ when did he turn to the Dark Side is still unknown.”

    Again, so what? Why do you demand that this is revealed there and then, in this flashback? Do you know the plotlines in advance so that you can specifically call these out as (alleged) “holes”? Do you think it is simpy made up as it goes along? Why assume this is some kind of mistake rather than intented? More to the point, can you not just simply THINK why it might be as it was? Obviously not.

    Fact is, you watched these flashbacks with an expectation of how it should be, what it should say, what should be revealed, who should reveal it and to whom. You got it wrong… but you have the arrogance to blame the creators, instead of just accepting you were mistaken.

    It’s just arrogant elitism. It’s just a long winded way of saying “I could of done it better”…. but, ah, no, I VERY MUCH DOUBT that you could. You’re no storyteller.

  11. 12 Shanks
    August 20, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Heh, np… but I’d be interested to hear it, if and when you get the time. This obsession with character development is a pet hate of mine. I see too many people simply use it as an excuse, often incorrectly, for dissing something. It’s like a check list and if all the boxes aren’t checked then it’s simply labelled as crap it seems, without thinking WHY it might be. It seems to me that to make such a presumption on an ongoing series is a little premature. Could it be by design? I’m prepared to give the benefit of the doubt here.

    I’m no scriptwriter, producer or director. I have no expertise in any of this. But I can see that there are ‘classic’ movies that have little or no CD (bored typing that phrase now!). So no CD does not automatically presume something is crap.

    Now, it seems to me that this little flashback episode is merely intended to fill in the storyline and not progress the characters. It’s just FACTS to fill ‘holes’. As it happens, I have just watched those episodes only 2 days ago. I found them really interesting PURELY for explaining how things came to be. The point about Aizen can be easily explained, there is no need to show his origins…. yet… and yes, I am making a presumption that there will be an explanation later but I do not know and I realise the premise of my argument is based on that entirely – so I do not rule out that I am wrong. Which leads me back to the beginning… I would be interested to hear if I am wrong and why. But please, no spoilers – simply saying I am wrong and it will be revealed later will be enough (if you know)…. I will take your word for the time being heh!

    • 13 th
      August 21, 2009 at 12:48 am

      Quite the patient man you are Shanks 🙂

      Regarding Aizen, they have still not revealed anything yet. And by yet, I don’t mean the manga, I’m just following the Japanese TV releases as they come.

      As for CD, well, I guess you were right, in that I was going in with the presumption that there’d be some good backstory for the big characters. It just didn’t happen. Especially considering that the whole Pendulum arc showed how the Vizards were exiled and that Aizen was behind it all. It frustrated me that once again Aizen is the bad guy, yet his past, or purpose (apart from controlling SS) are not revealed.

      I guess Bleach just left me dissapointed yet again.

  12. 14 Saemon
    February 16, 2010 at 12:54 am

    It seems that if you are dissatisfied with Bleach… stop watching it. Complaining that you dont like the direction the story is taking is a waste of time, they’re not gonna remake it because YOU cant find entertainment in it.

  13. 16 Chlobo
    August 28, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    These pictures are AMAZING!!!

  14. 17 phantomking
    August 31, 2011 at 5:46 am

    turn back the Pendulum was kind of a call to the saying “those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it” and the beginning of HM was pretty much was about learning little fact that weren’t important persay but it was interesting

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