Bleach – Season 7: Arrancar: The Hueco Mundo Sneak Entry arc

Bleach – Season 7: Arrancar: The Hueco Mundo Sneak Entry arc

image
The advance troops led by Captain Hitsugaya are pulled into unexpected situations during their time in the World of the Living. Karin Kurosaki steps up to a tough group of older boys who want a football match, and Hitsugaya himself steps in to help her. Meanwhile, there’s trouble for Aizen in Hueco Mundo as Patras, one of his Arrancars, tries to steal the Hogyoku.

But Ichigo and friends are in Hueco Mundo too, and are now fighting their way to Aizen’s stronghold in Las Noches, where Orihime is currently his prisoner. Rukia encounters Espada Number Nine, Aaroniero Arruruerie, who removes his mask to reveal a very familiar face – could he really be the former Squad Thirteen Lieutenant Kaien Shiba?

image
The Arrancar arc continues in the same way as the previous one – slowly. Aizen seems unperturbed that the Soul Reapers are slowly closing in on his headquarters and the Arrancars are left to run amok and generally do how they please. So when the arrogant Patros tries to overthrow Aizen’s plans, I expected the obvious outcome: Aizen uses one of the unlimited tricks up his sleeves to foil Patros’ plants. And I was completely unsurprised when this was yet again the case. After all that, curiously, it didn’t really add anything to the show. I’m starting to expect these kind of sideshows from Bleach now.

Another disappointment is the decided lack of Visored in this season. They’ve been the most interesting piece of this arc so far, holding this air of mystery that keeps them rather grey in this big war of good vs. evil, being neither friend nor foe to Ichigo during his training. They mostly keep to themselves, so I would be interested in seeing more of them, their backstory and their motivations.

image
However, there’s good things to be said about this season. One of the most interesting parts is Orihime and her ‘abduction’ by Ulquiorra. Making a decision to protect her friends, she goes along with him willingly. The scenes where she is given the chance to say goodbye to those close to her, believing that she won’t be able to see them again, are quite touching and powerful by the usual Bleach standards – particularly when she visits Ichigo. If it wasn’t clear before exactly how she felt about him, it definitely is after that farewell. Whilst it wasn’t the kind of scene I was expecting, it’s good to see that this anime is still capable of having its characters demonstrate a range of emotions outside of righteous anger or determination to get ‘stronger’.

image
The Hueco Mundo raid is nothing new. In fact, the concept and execution are so similar to previous seasons, particularly the infiltration of Soul Society, that I get a strong feeling of deja vu just by writing this. The team arrive in Hueco Mundo, but discover that Orihime and Las Noches are still a long way away on the white-sand horizon. Never mind, though, as everyone knows the drill already. They just have to race as fast as they can, fighting through numerous foes in a collection of set-piece battles and, who knows, maybe they’ll even make some friends and allies along the way. Same story, different setting. I’m a little shocked at just how repetitive things have gotten, and this lazy storytelling isn’t helping to speed up this arc’s objectives.

image
The one difference this time is where Rukia couldn’t really do much but sit in her cell in a tower and await her fate in Seireitei, Orihime gets to sit in her tower cell and wait for her chance to turn the tables on Aizen in a potentially major way. She has never realised what her abilities were capable of until the former Soul Reaper captain pointed it out, but now she knows just how much he needs her it has given her power and confidence to start formulating plans. Though with Aizen’s demonstration with Patros earlier, we wonder if Orihime’s scheming will actually be enough to throw the infallible Aizen off-kilter at all.

image
Aside from this, there’s not a lot more to say. We see more of the Arrancars and their schemes interspersed with the usual extended Bleach battles. Though this kind of exposition plays well to Bleach‘s core audience, I’m beginning to think that this doesn’t include me.

The way in which this anime is presenting Orihime, however, goes a long way to making the series appealing and promising some interesting developments in the future. Though the fights are extended, it doesn’t mean that they are all tedious and repetitive and the filler here is actually half-decent (as far as filler goes). The next season looks as if things will take a more exciting turn. It’s about time, I say.