We’ve finally reached the big five double oh! Way to go, Kubo!
With the 500th chapter finally being breached, most of us fans probably had big things in mind for what Kubo would do. Would he reintroduce a character of old? Would Grimmjow or Aizen make a glorious return? Would Hikifune and the Royal Guard finally appear? At the end of the chapter I felt that possibly all my expectations may have been met. Why is this? Well, the ending seemed to suggest that one of these forces may have come into play.
The aspirations of hope for a new character to appear were initially supporting by the events that took place over the course of the previous chapter and this one. Soul Society broadcasts news to every participant that Ichigo Kurosaki, whose Bankai could not be stolen, was on his way to. Numerous characters were no doubt glad about it. With this key asset, an asset whom we saw put pressure on Kirge in Hueco Mundo, there would be no way for the court guard to lose.
The good news didn’t last long. Ichigo was trapped with essentially the gates of Hades opened up in Soul Society, and Uruhara was struggling to grasp the situation. This entire series of pages were quite the page-turner. Anything that could go wrong happened. Getsuga Tenshou proved to be ineffective against the barrier, Ichigo couldn’t report the situation to anyone outside, while Akon and others not only couldn’t hear Ichigo, but also had to find someway to defend themselves from attack. Even worst, Ichigo could also hear the hopes that everyone had in him. This was not the time to be trapped, but rather the time to rush on over! “What could Ichigo do?” I imagined, was a questioned that ran in our heads as we read these panels.
Ultimately, the chapter was one of desperation and intensity, with a surprise at the end. Who was this character that had not only shocked Uruhara but had essentially slashed Kirge? Is it Grimmjow, whose shikai looks like the one in the image? Or is it perhaps Aizen? Or perhaps numerous other characters?
Regardless, it means that 500 and 501 will perhaps go down as the best chapters of this arc.
GO Rating: 4/5