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Bleach 535: Everything But The Rain Op. 8 Recap

In Bleach 535 Everything But The Rain Op.8 we’re not so much on the edge of our seats or asking questions so much as we’re being filled in on some important details of the a few characters’ origins. The backstory of Ichigo’s parents has reached a very interesting point at the current stage of the manga, as we find both Ryuken and Isshin conversing with Urahara.

How Urahara finds time to monitor the goings-on of everything in and out of the human world is constantly impressive. Urahara is truly a character than has had his importance constantly reinforced as Bleach has progressed, and having him appear and offer the answers to Isshin and Ryuken’s problem – ironically so far into, yet so far prior to the main timeline – is a testament to the storytelling ability of Tite Kubo (contrary to what a lot of people online would say).

In the latest chapter, Urahara proceeds to explain to Ryuken and Isshin the process required in order to save the life of Masaki. There is emphasis – although I believe it to be somewhat implied already – that Masaki will never be the same again after that point. She will be saved, but at what cost? As we’ve been shown so prominently already, and as Urahara explains in this very chapter, once something has undergone a process of hollowfication, it’s not an easy task to come back from. The soul of a person who has undergone some kind of hollowfication is mixed up with the soul of the Hollow itself and has the potential to warp the souls and start distorting and destroying said souls. Eventually the boundaries between the souls will decay completely, also decaying the connection between the external world and the soul, resulting in ‘Soul Suicide’.

So, what is the method that needs to be used to save Masaki?

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Urahara explains that in order to reattain balance, it’s required to counteract the Hollowfication by inserting something into the soul that is “The opposite of Hollowfication”.
The first-hand example used by Urahara – directed at a stubbornly confused Isshin – is this: “I created a vaccine using the Quincy’s Arrow of Lights and human souls, and injected it into the souls of a few Shinigami that had been Hollowfied”. This refers directly, as shown in illustrations, to the Vizards. This is another great tie-in for the overall story.

Urahara and Isshin are told that this method of restoring balance to the soul is not adequate to give Masaki the life both Ryuken and Isshin wish for her. Doing so would only stop Soul Suicide.
A strong, opposing power is needed, and must remain with Masaki for as long as she lives, to ensure her safety and well-being.

At this point, a clearly love-sick and distraught Ryuken yells at Urahara, “Liar!”
The feelings of Ryuken up and to this point weren’t exactly a huge mystery, but I have to give credit to Kubo for planning a breaking point that played out as it has here. Of course, Urahara is wise to Ryuken’s feelings already and expects the backlash. The choice of whether to undertake the process of saving Masaki; however, can only be undertaken by Isshin.

The answer? A gigai Isshin must wear, disconnecting him completely from his Shinigami powers, his abilities to see hollows, and turning him into a being completely opposite to Masaki. ‘Til death do them part. Everything Isshin has in the Soul Society will be lost completely.

Of course Ryuken and Urahara are incredibly apprehensive as to whether Isshin will accept the responsibility, considering the severity of his loss doing so.
Naturally, they are extremely taken aback when Isshin flat out, and without hesitation, remarks that he will do it. He then goes on to press Urahara to basically get on with it already. The resulting speech made by Isshin about regret was my favourite part of the chapter.

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One can’t help but to be reminded of Ichigo and his unchanging resolve and honour in the face of adversity. Like father, like son!

The final panel of the chapter sees Isshin with Masaki under his arms in a scene very, very reminiscent of when Ichigo saved Rukia (Full panel below, for your consideration).

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