Bleach Recap 2020, Episode 56 – A Reunion of Rivals

Battles galore!!! This would be the best way to describe the state of the Seireitei, and of Bleach in general at this point in the arc, and, well, why would anyone complain about that? This episode centres on two of those battles in particular, both of which feature younger apprentices going up against more experienced and powerful masters, in what looks like vain attempts to surpass them.

But before all the action starts, we check in on some characters we haven’t seen in a while, and may have forgotten about…

Yumichika’s victory

As new battles begin, others end, and some with such low-stakes that we don’t actually get to see them, other than their aftermath; like Yumichika vs. Hisagi, for instance. Yumichika is in high spirits after unexpectedly beating Hisagi, so much so that he seeks out Captain Kenpachi to boast to him, but only succeeds in annoying the hell out of him. Much of this victory has to do with the hidden zanpakuto ability he released during the battle, which drains the spirit energy of an opponent. As he previously explained, he’s kept this ability hidden from his squad, the 11th Division, as they tend to value close-combat weaponry, while looking down on long-range types of zanpakuto. Meanwhile, Hisagi is lying on a roof nearby, looking despondent.

Jidanbo and Ikkaku

Outside the walls of the Seireitei, Jidanbo, who we haven’t seen in many episodes, is on the mend after his run-in with Gin Ichimaru and the Ryoka at the Seireitei entrance, having gotten some help from the Rukongai villagers. He’s extremely grateful to them, but they remind him that a girl by the name of Orihime deserves the credit for most of his healing, and of course it’s no surprise that some of the villagers are still crushing on her. As soon as Jidanbo starts wishing to see his newfound allies again, Kukaku, who we also haven’t seen in ages, makes a sudden unexpected appearance and asks him if he’s like to come along on a little ‘walk’ to go find Yoruichi… hopefully there’ll be no getting shot out of giant cannons this time…

Clash of Three Zanpakutos

The last episode ended with Head CaptainYamamoto releasing his fiery zanpakuto, Ryujinjakka, in preparation for his fight with Ukitake and Shinsui. In response, they both release their zanpakutos as well, and they both look awesome and powerful, Ukitake with his Sogyonokotowari, and Shunsui with his Katenkyokotsu, both zanpakuto manifesting as twin blades. The clash of these awesome weapons cause a tremendous explosion that envelopes the entire surrounding landscape. This is probably going to be an incredible fight, but once again, it looks like it’ll be resolved in yet another future episode…

A long-running rivalry

Before this particularly high-energy and acrobatic fight between Yoruichi and Sui-Feng begins, their exchange of taunts gives some insight into the extensive history both of them have together. For starters, Yoruichi, before going into exile for a century, was the Chief Commander of the Stealth Force, a position that Sui-Feng now occupies. Sui-Feng clearly viewed her as a mentor, and also as a rival to overcome, but there is definitely more beneath the surface of Sui-Feng’s aggression, a feeling of intense admiration, perhaps; but at the current moment, all of this has to be swept under the rug, as their first reunion in years unfortunately takes the form of an antagonistic confrontation.

Sui-Feng has her black-clad soldiers surround Yoruichi in attempt to overpower her, but they are no kind of match for her, as she takes them all out in an instant. Sui-Feng then rips the sleeves off her uniform, as if to signify that it’s on, from here on out. This is about to turn into a battle of skill and speed

Sui-Feng flash-steps behind Yoruichi’s back in a dangerously close position, releasing her zanpakuto, the stinger-like Suzumebachi, which, when it strikes, leaves a death mark on its prey. Once marked, getting struck in the same spot spells certain death for the opponent. Yoruichi makes the decision to retreat, but Sui-Feng still manages to pursue and mark her several more times on her body, including her face.

Sui-Feng, now emboldened, shows off an as-yet unnamed special attack she claims she invented, enveloping herself in a dense shroud of kido. This looks pretty impressive until Yoruichi shows her up by replicating the same exact technique, and informing her that it does, in fact have a name, ’Shunko’, and it had been around way before Sui-Feng ‘invented’ it. Now in full-on goddess mode, Youruichi’s clothes start to rip to shreds, and the the ground around her begins to crack and upend itself.

It looks like Sui-Feng picked a fight with the wrong person this time. The episode ends as the surrounding forest is engulfed in Yoruichi’s kido explosion. Looks like yet another escalating battle to be resolved in a future episode, hopefully the next one…

Published by dirksblogposts

My name is Dirk O'Brien. I'm a graphic designer by profession, and have had a lifelong interest in comics and animation.

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