Bleach – Season 11: The Past arc

Bleach – Season 11: The Past arc

image
The pendulum of time is swinging us back into the past – 110 years ago where a chain of events was set in motion that was to impact Soul Society for centuries to come. This short Bleach season puts events of the present on hold so that the darkest secrets of the Seireitei can be unravelled involving the Soul Reapers, Aizen and how the Visoreds came to be.

image
At first I was annoyed that Bleach had once again broken off from the main storyline to address something on the side. After wishing that the main plot would hurry up and regain its momentum, things swing off into a completely different time and place. Would this little side story actually contribute anything to the main plot?

However, I did find myself actually enjoying this one. It answered a few of the questions that I was beginning to think would go unanswered completely. It delves into Aizen’s earlier days, his fascination with Hollows and his complete lack of consideration for his fellow shinigami. It goes into detail about the origins of the Visored and why they both dislike Aizen and Soul Reapers – and it is quite a harrowing story.

image
We see that the Visoreds were actually Soul Reapers themselves a long time ago – some of them even captains and vice-captains. Kisuke Urahara is shown in Seireitei, promoted up into the ranks by Yoruichi, much to Soi Feng’s amazement. There are a few snippets of humour in the dialogue and relationship between Shinji and Hiyori, but then things suddenly take a darker turn.

image
Urahara takes Hiyori to the Maggots Nest, which is where the Soul Reapers keep the most dangerous criminals. When deep inside, and much to Hiyori’s shock, Urahara approaches a younger Mayuri Kurotsuchi and casually discusses the prospect of him becoming second-in-command of a totally new division: the Technological Research Bureau.

image
Many years later, Hiyori is selected alongside Shinji (and the rest of the members of the present-day Visoreds) to investigate the strange disappearances of citizens within the Rukongai. When camping in the woods at night, everything goes wrong. The members of the team start turning into Hollows and attacking one another. Eventually, Shinji is the only one left. And that’s when Aizen, once Shinji’s vice-captain, reveals his betrayal.

image
Urahara and Tessai, who accompanies him, try to attack Aizen, but Aizen is expecting their arrival. While Urahara reveals he has been testing hollowification in the Soul Society, Aizen flees. In the twelfth division research facilities, Urahara shows Tessai the object that may be useful in saving those undergoing the hollowfication process, being known as the Orb of Distortion.

image
Urahara and Tessai are arrested and brought before Central Room Forty-Six the next morning, and are falsely accused as the ones responsible for Aizen’s acts. Just before the two are detained, Yoruichi breaks in and takes them back to her hideout, along with the eight Soul Reapers undergoing hollowfication. Urahara declares that he will find out how to save them. Time flashes forward to present day at the Vizards headquarters, as Hirako says that they appreciate what they have become thanks to Urahara and Aizen.

image
This small arc shed a lot of light on some of my favourite Bleach characters so far – the Visoreds. After being so mysterious for such a long time, we finally have explanation for who they were and how they gained their powers, delivered to us in a shocking and dramatic way.

image
For a change, I found myself very interested in this particular section of the past. It’s short, which makes a change, and makes for a much sharper, action-packed plot. It just proves that Bleach can still be an impressive watch when it sets its mind to it. Shame that this seems to be something that they generally struggle with on a week-to-week basis, though.