So, the last of the players finally stepped into the arena.
So far, Bleach has done very well in establishing the awesome power of the Espada. If Ulquiorra, who broke Ichigo’s bankai without having to release his zanpakutou, is only #4, then the top three espada are expected to give me the over 9,000 feel.
Pre-order of the battle
Some new information about the battlefield. While Ichigo and co. were busy in Hueco Mundo, the rest of the Gotei 13 had transfered the entire town of Karakura with all of its residents into Soul Society and put in instead of its place a copy that is constructed using materials from Soul Society. The effect was to enable the Shinigami Captains to fight unrestrained.
However, Aizen was unmoved even after realizing this. Instead, he would just destroy them there. In expectation of a prolong battle, he placed Ulquiorra in charge of Hueco Mundo.
I am somewhat unconvinced that Aizen was actually caught in surprise. He was always a few steps ahead of everyone in the Soul Society arc. Also, he had always chosen trickery instead of brute force in achieving his objectives; so this direct lead of charge into Karakura town seems uncharacteristic of him. It just seems too easy that Aizen could’ve fallen into a trap this obvious. I am suspecting that Aizen has a secret trump card not revealed yet.
But the Gotei 13 may also have a secret trump card of their own. The transportation of the Karakura town begs the questions:
- Where are Urahara and Yoruichi?
- Where are Ichigo’s and Ishida’s dads?
- Have the Gotei 13 been aware of Ichigo’s and Ishida’s dads’ existence already?
These players are likely to be the real surprises that will throw a wrench into Aizen’s plan. These are probably also the only players who can go up against Aizen himself.
The First Strike
The chapter ended with Ichigo reconfirming his commitment of protecting his friends. With that, he leapt into the air, charged toward Ulquiorra, and ushered in the first strike of this new arc.