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The Bount Story Season 1 (part 2 of 2)

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The first Bount story covers episode 64 to 91 in total
I divided the text into two parts. This post covers part of episode 71 to 91.


SPOILER WARNING


(just in case)



While everyone around Urahara's round dining table sits in silence, worried about Uryuu but wondering what to do, the telephone rings. Tessai has good news: Uryuu is back. He is now in the Karakura main hospital. Ichigo, Orihime, Chad, Renji and Rukia are immediately on their feet and in a hurry to get to him. I liked it a lot that Urahara and Tessai went as well.

Uryuu is wearing pyjamas and sits upright in his hospital bed. Uryuu seems to be quite all right at the moment but he asks his friends with a smile not to be too noisy. He has a bad headache.

Uryuu starts to report what he learned from Yoshino. The Bount have a law that forbids them to ever consume the soul of a living human. If they do it nevertheless, they gain a powerful energy. For example, they could gain the ability to enter the afterlife. It would damage the balance of the worlds but it is first of all because of one man, their leader Jin Kariya, that this law is being ignored and the Bount are consuming the souls of living people.

Yoshino is not denying that she tried to eat the souls of living humans but she failed. She did this in order to gain more power so that she can fight Kariya. But by now she regrets that decision. This rule should never be broken. She will fight Kariya with the powers she has.

Kariya is especially interested in Uryuu. He has specific plans and for this plan a Quincy is needed. This Quincy is supposed to be the key to something. But also Yoshino is not aware of Kariya's full plan. Yoshino was not able to tell Uryuu more because he fainted at that point. He woke up in the hospital.

This gives Uryuu's friends a lot to think about. Urahara and Tessai announce that they will return to the shop and come up with a plan. Orihime urges Uryuu to lie down and go to sleep. Before they leave Rukia points out that they will protect him and Uryuu thanks her. I remember that this scene was criticized by some people. I agree, this is not the Uryuu we know from later Bleach. This Uryuu is vulnerable and insecure. I don't blame him for it. I think from his position, his reactions are understandable and I felt for him. This story includes an important character arc featuring him. What he experienced in this story made him stronger and taught him important lessons. Seeing how people deal with weaknesses and see them grow, I find this very rewarding to watch as a fan. It also helps to make characters more three dimensional.

Alone within the drawn curtains Uryuu tries to follow Orihime's good advice. He realizes how much Yoshino looks like his deceased mother. And like his mother, Yoshino seemed to be so sad. This memory flashback showing a very young Uryuu worried about his mother always made me wonder how accurate this is. Although the anime tried not to show too much of Katagiri, the looks fits. This flashback alone shows that Katagiri and Uryuu were very close.

Uryuu eventually falls asleep. Meanwhile Kariya and Utagawa are discussing Yoshino's actions. They have set a plan in motion: They will make sure that Yoshino's rescue will not last for long.

Uryuu's friends return to him in the hospital the next day. Ichigo notices that Uryuu has not only been given a single room but also how luxurious it is. It includes its own bathroom and even a fridge. Uryuu's room is located at the top level of the hospital. Right now this one is the only room being occupied.

Uryuu reveals that this is his father's hospital. By giving him this isolated room, he must have taken it into consideration that he could be attacked and other patients could be in danger if it happens - but he is keeping that thought to himself. This time the whole group of friends will stay with him over night. He better gets some rest in case the Bount come after him here.

Hanataro found a job as a shop assistant in a small convenience store. He is amazed at the wonders of the world of the living, like a microwave he uses to warm up ready meals for customers. Hanataro works hard and he obviously enjoys his job. Suddenly the shop shakes, goods are falling down and people are frightened. Hanataro is the only one who isn't and doesn't object when he is sent out to investigate. Not far away from the shop is a crater filled with sand: Ganju arrived. Fortunately people immediately start running away as soon as there is movement in the sand - thinking an alien has arrived. Like Hanataro Ganju was sent to investigate the threat that is developing on this world. I laughed when Ganju and Hanataro gave each other a bear hug. And thanks to Hanataro's recommendation, both of them are now employees in the shop.

It is late now and Uryuu's friends, who are watching over Uryuu in a small waiting area in front of his room, are getting tired. Rukia and Ichigo have decided to stay closer to Uryuu, sitting next to their sleeping friend. Unfortunately for Uryuu they decided to start a shouting match about something that is really not worth it to be shouting about. Escaping under the blanket is not helping.

Finally, it is quiet again but Rukia is still on edge. The tap is dripping. It is driving her crazy. Rukia tries to handle this but instead the water is non stop running now. This hospital is a wreck, a sentiment Uryuu hears under the blanket. Renji heard the commotion outside when Rukia and Ichigo argued about the malfunctioning water tap and brought a bucket in order to catch the water from the overflowing sink. Orihime brings a bigger container but that is also no solution to the problem.

Orihime hears noises behind the door and they discover that the whole corridor outside is flooded. The water quickly enters Uryuu's room. I laughed when Uryuu emerged red faced and annoyed from under the blanket when also Renji criticised the state of this hospital. Uryuu should get back to sleep - which is not a realistic suggestion in this situation.

The Bount are attacking now and their weapon is water. The attackers are a pair of identical twins. They look like young boys but are very much older. We find out later that their names are Ho and Ban. Two bottle caps, their dolls (Guhl (or Ghoul?) and Guenter), are moving in the water and they are controlling it. A wave is moving to Uryuu and engulfing him. Uryuu is drowning but when Ichigo hits the water with Zangetsu the water moves away from Uryuu. Ichigo's friends act quickly. Chad is carrying Uryuu on his back while everybody leaves the room. They start to run, trying to get away from the water.

The hospital is a maze. Finding the way out is not easy and it takes a long time. After several battles and overcoming obstacles they are finally outside - and discover that rain is pouring down. This means they have to fight the Bount twins. They can't escape from the fight.

Ho and Ban merge their dolls together which makes them even more powerful. Ichigo urges Chad and Orihime to take Uryuu and run. He needs to be protected. By now Uryuu is barely hanging on against Chad's back. He is in no condition to fight or even run away on his own.

Ichigo, Rukia and Renji fight the water doll with everything they can think of. Orihime and Chad see that Ichigo is in trouble and are torn. They want to help him but this would put Uryuu in additional danger. Uryuu is only too aware of it. He tells Chad that this is enough. He wants Chad to leave him. Orihime starts to run towards Ichigo but Chad and Ichigo stop her. Ichigo will manage but Uryuu needs help now. Reluctantly Orihime obeys and Uryuu feels even worse now than before.

Ichigo, Renji and Rukia keep struggling, trapped in the water doll until Ho and Ban realize that Uryuu is getting away. He is much more important. The two dolls return to their masters and the result is that the water creature collapses. Ho and Ban follow Chad and Orihime with Uryuu and shortly afterwards Ichigo, Rukia and Renji do the same.

Chad and Orihime try to get out of the rain. There is a factory nearby Ichigo is familiar with (maybe it is a place where Chad had been working or visits regularly for training) so that he should find them easily. But the dolls get in their way. Chad loses his grip on Uryuu who falls onto the wet ground. Orihime uses her shield to protect him but she is not strong enough. The water from the dolls is just pushing her against Chad.

Ban and Ho believe that they have won. Kurodo and Noba are with Chad and Orihime. Chad is taking charge, fighting the water dolls and ordering the two mod souls to protect Uryuu. Chad doesn't seem to have a chance but he noticed that Ho got very anxious after he nearly got separated from Ban. Chad and Orihime use the confusion. Chad picks up Uryuu and they continue running.

Ichigo realized that the Bount twins always attack together, something also Renji noticed. Rukia believes is is a resonance power they have because they are identical twins. Ichigo understands. Only together they are complete. All three understand what they need to do when they fight them again.

Rain keeps pouring down, also where the Bount mansion is located. A Shinigami is sitting in a cozy living room next to an old ticking clock with a pendulum, reading a book. We learn later that his name is Maki Ichinose. A big, muscular Bount with a beard is joining him. He is soaking wet. His name is Koga. He learns that he is the first. The others haven't arrived yet.

The group that is protecting Uryuu managed to reach the factory. The roof leaks but it is much dryer inside than in the open. Orihime is worried. Uryuu has a fever and is getting weaker. Uryuu is urging his friends again to leave him. He is thanking them but he doesn't want to be a burden on them any longer. He adds that there is a limit to how pathetic he can get.

I can understand him very well. Not only did Uryuu lose his powers, he is now a danger to his friends who refuse to abandon him. His sense of self worth is seriously damaged. Being weak and vulnerable is hurting Uryuu's pride. His father raised Uryuu with the belief that showing weakness, relying on others is unworthy. What I don't understand is why Orihime is not using her healing powers to help him now. If Orihime didn't heal Uryuu in the hospital because it would cause medical personnel to ask questions, I understand this. They are not running at the moment. There is time and opportunity. We have never seen her healing an illness. Maybe she can't do anything about the fever. But she should be able to heal his head injury. And if not, there should have been an explanation.

The break is over soon. The Bount twins drench the group with water. The water doll is picking up Uryuu just when Ichigo's group arrives. Ban and Ho are warning Uryuu's friends. If they try to stop them from taking him the doll will break Uryuu's back.

The twins give Ichigo and his friends the advice to start running away or their dolls will kill them. Guhl and Guenter push water into the bodies of Ichigo and his friends, drowning them from the inside. They have no way to fight this and the mod souls are horrified. Noba can only teleport very short distances inside a stuffed animal but it is enough. A first jump separates Ban from Ho, causing them to panic. After several more jumps Ban is eventually teleported over a dip in the ground. He falls and loses consiousness. Now Ichigo and friends are able to free themselves from the water that was forced into their bodies and continue to attack.

Suddenly Ganju uses his sand power for breaking through the wall. Hanataro is with him. Ichigo is surprised and very happy to see them again. Ganju throws fireworks into the water doll. It ignites, heats up the water and destroys the floating bottle tops in the process. With the dolls being destroyed the Bount twins die as well. Their bodies age rapidly and turn to dust.

Orihime suddenly notices that Uryuu is no longer with them. Uryuu decided to use the opportunity to leave while his friends were fighting. He no longer wants to be a danger to them. Only wearing his soaking wet pyjamas, sick and injured he wanders off into the darkness of night, trying to leave as much distance as he can between him and his friends before they notice his disappearance.

Meanwhile Kariya enters the sitting room where a group of Bount has joined the Shinigami Maki Ichinose and Koga. He learns that the spiritual pressure of Ho and Ban has gone which means that they failed in their mission and are now dead. It doesn't bother Kariya. It doesn't bother anybody of the gathered Bount. All of them seem to find the news very entertaining. Especially this scene shows what kind of people they are and that Yoshino is indeed different from them.

Yoshino found Uryuu lying consious but helpless in a puddle and took him to her apartment where she looked after him. Her apartment is small, barely furnished with no personal items and hidden in a clock tower. He is safe, at least for now. I am sure Uryuu has not forgotten what Yoshino already told him, that he as the last Quincy is needed for whatever Kariya is planning. Yoshino is opposed to his plans which is already a good reason to help him. But Uryuu wonders if Yoshino has another reason.

Uryuu is obviously feeling much better now although he is far from recovered. He is calmer and able to think much more clearly. Yoshino is answering Uryuu's question. She sees something of herself mirrored in Uryuu's eyes. There is some connection between them. Yoshino noticed loneliness, sadness in Uryuu's eyes, a depth that is unusual in someone so young. Uryuu asks if loneliness made her the way she is but she denies that. Once she believed in it that the Bount should live together but that was a long time ago.

Kariya points out during the meeting in the Bount mansion that the times when they have been unlawfully percecuted and attacked is over. Things will change very soon. The tables will be turned. Kariya wants their help to capture the Quincy and to set the plan in motion.

I found the conversation between Uryuu and Yoshino remarkable. It reminded me of flashbacks about the interaction between Uryuu and his grandfather, Soken. The young boy and his much older grandfather talked also about very personal, very complex and controversial topics. I am sure both benefited from this and it added to their bond. After Soken died Uryuu had nobody he could really talk to, certainly not that openly and with so much depth.

Uryuu is an extreme introvert whose mind is very active. He is also unusually intelligent. Also Yoshino must have been alone with her thoughts for a long time. They are both lonely, something they both don't admit, maybe also not to themselves. Uryuu is a loner by nature, a lone wolf. I believe Yoshino is like him in that regard.

Human beings are not meant to live forever. Yoshino believes that having lived for so long corrupted the minds of the Bount. Uryuu is shocked when she answers his question about what she wants to do with her life in the long run: Yoshino wants to die. When you have eternal life you feel like you can do anything. You begin to think that you have become a god. She is tired of life.

It has been discovered that the rogue Shinigami Maki Ichinose is on the world of the living. Kenpachi Zaraki and Yachiru remember him well. After Zaraki killed his predecessor in a duel, gaining his position as captain, Ichinose refused to accept him as his new captain. He swore loyalty to the man he murdered, in his opinion. His own squad stops Ichinose when he attempted to attack Zaraki because Zaraki won in a fair fight within the rules. Zaraki let him go after Ichinose announced that he wants to leave.

Now he is a loyal follower of Kariya, someone who doesn't asks questions and simply does what he is told. I have no respect for people who are blind followers. Even some of the Bount look at him with contempt, like Utagawa.

Yoshino tells Uryuu a bit about her life. She was born centuries ago. Eventually it became obvious that she was different: Everyone and everything around her aged, decayed and died. It felt to her as if time passes her by, leaving her behind. There was no way to hide it. When people found out they hunted her, tried to kill her. In desperation Yoshino escaped into a derelict church and decided to kill herself. Bounts don't age but they are not invulnerable.

It was Kariya who stopped her and saved her in more than one way. He was like her and he gave her hope - and what she believed for a long time, love. Kariya and Yoshino lived together for a long time. Yoshino was happy. Yoshino actually believed in eternal love but in time, the love she felt faded. Now she is sure that Kariya never loved her and showed her what she wanted to see. What was in his eyes was not love. It was ambition. He wanted to use her. She thinks that he wants to use all of them for becoming the ruler of Hueco Mundo and gain limitless power there. Kariya wants to turn himself into a god.

No, Yoshino is not loving Kariya any more, not even a little. One day she witnessed him eating the soul of a living human. Yoshino is determined not to lose the rest of humanity she still has. That Kariya lost his humanity is something she can't forgive. At the same time she couldn't forgive herself because she was unable to stop him.

Kariya gave Yoshino the hope to live but by his betrayal, she awakened to the little that remained of her heart as a human which slept within her. This is the wording she used towards Uryuu, something very poetic and full of feeling. That Yoshino's humanity is very much intact was obvious to me.

Yoshino is not strong enough to stop Kariya but she will nevertheless try. And Uryuu promises to help, no matter that he lost his powers. Yoshino is not convinced of that. She believes that Uryuu's powers are still there, hidden and dormant. Kariya must not be allowed to get his hands on him and the Quincy powers.

Uryuu tells Yoshino that he also saw something in her eyes. Yoshino has not fully fallen into despair. He may have seen a small ray of hope from her lonesome eyes. She has a beautiful light that seeks hope. Blushing Uryuu adds that he will do whatever he can and go with her. After Yoshino, also Uryuu uses very flowery and heartfelt language.

I wondered what they are feeling for each other. It is complex, something typical Uryuu who is a complex person. Uryuu sees his mother in Yoshino but I think it is love as well. I found it sweet. But even when I watched this story for the first time, I could sense that this love won't have a happy ending.

They don't know yet that their hiding place has been discovered until Koga makes his move. The lights go out in the apartment and Koga enters. He demands that Yoshino comes with him but she refuses. Yoshino calls for her doll, Goethe. Koga calls for his doll whose name is Dalk. Dalk is an interesting character. She looks like a cross between a spider and a human woman. Dalk is very chatty. She loves to fight and is looking forward to the challenge of capturing Yoshino and the Quincy.

Dalk's body consists of metal balls she can throw or rearrange at will. She starts by pelting her adversaries with metal balls, forcing everybody to escape on the roof where is room to maneuver. Afterwards her body takes on the form of a spider. Dalk is fast and agile. Goethe is very large and powerful.

Uryuu looks around wondering if there is anything he can help with or at least protect himself with somewhat. He finds a metal bar and swings it at Dalk when she comes for him. Uryuu is disarmed quickly and Yoshino immediately orders Goethe to protect him. Goethe unleashes his fire on Dalk, turning her metallic body into a glowing orange. Yoshino runs past them, helps up Uryuu and runs with him towards the stairs.

The water tank on the roof ruptures and Dalk takes a shower, cooling down to her normal temperature. Yoshino was hit by a few of the hot metal balls and can't run any more and Uryuu has no way to escape. Koga orders Dalk not to harm the Quincy. Dalk is amused: This means she can do whatever she likes with the woman. Uryuu acts immediately: He is running towards Yoshino and shields her with his own body. Dalk was about to pepper Yoshino with small balls from a machine gun but the balls fall harmlessly on Uryuu instead.

Yoshino points out that this is not the time to protect her but Uryuu explains that he is tired of running. He doesn't want to be a burden any more and refuses to be a victim any longer. Dalk is a villain but I really like this character. She is delighted by what Uryuu said. It is wonderful and so manly! Now she wants to hug him. Tentacles shoot at Uryuu. It is over.

Ichigo and his friends together with the mod souls eventually find the aftermath of the battle. Kon imagines Uryuu dressed as a princess with a crown being pulled into two directions - The Princess Uryuu Ishida story. (Or as I see it, the damsel in distress). But no matter how funny the imagery is, I don't see Uryuu as a damsel at all. He did very well for being powerless and his first priority was Yoshino, not himself.

The three mod souls Urahara created return to the shop and change back into their Gigai bodies. This way they are stronger and better able to fight.

Meanwhile a very angry Mayuri called for a full assembly of the captains and vice-captains. If these were regular squad members he would turn them into pet food because of their incompetence. Someone broke into his data bank and looked into it. They looked at data about Bounts. A wave of silence follows. Mayuri wants the culprit to step forward or be named so that he can pickle that person in a pool of acid. Zaraki only talks to Yachiru about it but he put the clues together: He suspects Ichinose. (And to me this is obvious as well).

Ichigo's group found the mansion where Uryuu is being held and are on their way to rescue him. Utagawa throws Yoshino into another dark and this time empty room, warning her that Kariya will no longer forgive her. Uryuu is treated better. Caught in Dalk's arms, Uryuu is surrounded by all the Bount living right now in this mansion when Kariya enters the living room as well. Uryuu looks at him defiantly. All the other Bount get out of the way, showing Uryuu very clearly who is in charge.

After introducing himself Kariya declares that he wishes to borrow his Quincy powers. And Uryuu adds, for becoming the ruler of Hueco Mundo. Kariya just smiles, not answering the question. Kariya adds that they are both rejected beings due to their unique abilities. He has a suggestion: What about living cooperatively together instead of acting like enemies? Not only can the Bount protect him. They may be able to revive his lost powers.

That is tempting. Uryuu reacts surprised. Kariya understands Uryuu's reasons for being suspicious. He wants to help Uryuu just because they are the same. Eventually he will understand. They have time. I can see that Uryuu does understand but he controls his anger. Kariya describes Uryuu as an important guest and this guest is being given a comfortable room he is not allowed to leave.

Ichigo and his friends have formed small groups and are starting to explore the mansion and the park around it. Soon they are discovered by small floating cameras. They are more than that. They roam around in packs like watch dolls. They can turn themselves into weapons, relatively harmless when alone but in packs they are dangerous. Ichigo and Rukia are forced to run. On the roof they meet the mod souls. The sky is filled with watch dolls in attack mode. Eventually they run back into the mansion, into the living room.

The other Bount stay hidden in the background but Kariya is facing Ichigo, Rukia and the mod souls, welcoming them. Ichigo announces that they came to get Ishida back. Kariya's answer is predictable. They keep him because they need him. And what will Ichigo do about it?

Ichigo draws his sword, challenging Kariya while Rukia and the mod souls run out of the room, looking for Uryuu so that they can free him. Utagawa is calling his doll Frieda and is ready to fight him. The other Bounts are just watching. Also Kariya is leaving it to Utagawa to deal with Ichigo. Utagawa asks Kariya to remove his crest, the individual device that allows them to summon their dolls. Without their dolls a Bount doesn't have attack powers.

Kariya leaves the small box that serves as his crest on top of the stairs that leads to the living room below. Utagawa explains that if the other Bount attack, Ichigo can attack Kariya in return without worry. (I wondered immediately, doubting that Kariya would be that stupid. Something is going on here that will be revealed later).

Ichigo and Utagawa start fighting and it is shown from early on that Utagawa is a strong opponent. At the other end of the mansion Rukia meets the rogue Shinigami Ichinose. They are also sensing the presence of a single Bount nearby. Ichinose describes her as a traitor and Rukia understands: This is the Bount who helped Ishida.

Rukia is wearing a Gigai and her powers haven't fully returned yet. She can't use her Zanpakutou and her strongest kido blast has no effect on Ichinose. Rukia tries her best to appear stronger than she really is and faces him showing confidence. Ichinose tells Rukia passionately why he left the Soul Society. He explains that Kariya gave him a reason to live again. He lost everything but thanks to him he was able to pick up a Zanpakutou again. Kariya lives forever and is searching for what lies beyond that by breaking all the restrictions. (What a fool. Just by watching the Bount story now it is obvious what kind of person Kariya is. Ichinose is condemning Zaraki but blindly following that man and his dubious cause no matter what methods Kariya uses).

Uryuu feels the presence of Ichigo nearby and is worried. He hopes Ichigo is not doing something rash. Also Yoshino feels the presence of the people who came to rescue Uryuu. She wants to get out of her cell. She wants to help but the injured Bount is barely able to move.

Ichigo managed to surprise Utagawa and is able to wound him, leaving a cut on his shoulder. Frieda is not pleased with her master and scolds him for his sloppiness. She is not prepared to help a weakling. But for now she continues to fight at his side. Ichigo is surrounded by a system of traps that allows snakes to appear all around him wherever he goes.

Ichigo was thrown against the door and has been knocked out by rubble. But not for long. Using Getsuga Tenchou he is surprising everyone in this room, destroying a lot of the snake clones and damaging the mansion severely in the process. Ichinose runs off in order to help "master" Kariya but Kariya is unharmed. He is amused. Utagawa ended up being defeated by Ichigo's raw power.

Now Utagawa makes his move: He sends Frieda to the crest Kariya left and takes it. Holding it up he declares that he is now the leader of the Bount. He is holding Kariya's power. Kariya is not impressed. Utagawa doesn't get it and Kariya eventually shows him the truth. His body starts to glow, showing his red reiatsu. Kariya's power is not located in the crest. He merged his body with his doll long ago. Ichinose attacks, protecting his master. Utagawa has lost. Frieda is turning against her master, attacking him. He falls into the abyss that opened during the fight and dies.

Ichinose knows that Ichigo fought and won against Zaraki. Ichigo doesn't need to know why he is helping Kariya. He is going to kill him and Ichigo accepts the challenge. Ichinose fights well but Kariya orders Ichinose to step aside. He wants to fight Ichigo himself. While Ichinose kneels and watches he remembers how he became Kariya's follower. Ichinose remembers what Zaraki told him before he left. He compared Ichinose with ivy. He can't live without clinging on to a tree. Ichinose has to learn to plant some roots to stand on his own. It is obvious that Zaraki considered Ichinose to be weak no matter that he is a strong fighter. I couldn't agree more.

After leaving Soul Society Ichinose ended up in the World of the Living. Entering without permission is already a serious crime. But Ichinose didn't care. He wandered through the desert and was close to collapsing when he reached a village that was under attack from a Hollow. Ichinose did the best he could in his weakened condition to fight for a group of human souls that tried to run away, saving a young boy. This is when he met Kariya. Kariya saved him using just one finger to defeat the Hollow. Then he made it possible for Ichinose to kill the Hollow after all. Having found a new master, Kariya recruited him and Ichinose joined Kariya and Koga who was with him.

Kariya is trying to recruit Ichigo but Ichigo is rejecting him passionately. Ichigo has no chance. Kariya is beating him using his bare hands. And then he immobilized Ichigo just by putting his finger on his forehead, similar to what Kariya did when fighting the huge Hollow - and Aizen when he fought Ichigo. Fortunately for Ichigo the mansion is being attacked from the outside. Jinta and Ururu are shelling the building. Yoruichi enters and takes Ichigo away after he lost his fight against Kariya. Rukia saves Uryuu and also Yoshino after Uryuu insists that she needs to be saved as well. Noba is releporting everybody with him to safety. Kariya is not pursuing them. He watches the mansion burning to the ground surrounded by Ichinose and the other Bounts. He is certain that Uryuu and Yoshino will come back to him.

Meanwhile Mayuri managed to uncover an ancient record showing Quincies and Bount. He is showing it to Shunsui, Ukitake and Hitsugaya. It is short and ends abruptly but it gives interesting information. At some time in the past, Quincies and Bount fought a battle against each other. It seems the Bount were particularly interested in one specific Quincy. The Bount started overwhelming the Quincies but also Mayuri doesn't know how the battle ended because this is all he could recover.

It is interesting to look at these scenes in hindsight. The Bount are interested in Quincies but it seems especially in a Quincy who has specific abilities they are looking for. Not every Quincy has them or some Quincies have more of this ability than others. The Bount want to expand their activities beyond he World of the Living and need a Quincy to do that among other things. We have seen that some powerful Quincies have the ability to enter what they call the Schattenbereich (shadow realm). It is not the same but it seems to be similar to a Garganta. I think it is possible that the Bount story shows a prototype of an idea that was modified in the last Bleach arc. And it might have been a first hint that Uryuu is not a typical Quincy, something I already wondered about when Uryuu took in Ichigo's energy at the very beginning.

At that time the Bount disobeyed their law of not absorbing the souls of living humans for some time - as they are doing now. What Mayuri told the Shinigami Ukitake told Yoruichi afterwards. Now she is reporting the news to Urahara and his crew as well as Ichigo and his friends. Ichigo did not take his defeat well and is depressed. Renji has enough: It seems there is a black cloud hanging over Ichigo. Renji is determined to do something about it. He is taking Ichigo down to the underground training ground, not taking no for an answer. I was amused. These two are so alike in so many ways! I am sure, Renji did not only challenge Ichigo to help him but also because he enjoys training with a skilled sparring partner. Ganju probably feels the same way and after his typical noisy and messy entrance all three are getting busy with training.

But it was obvious that Ichigo was more than depressed. He denied it when Urahara asked him but everybody could see that he was afraid. Kariya was incredibly strong and he wants even more power. The idea what Kariya could do with it frightened him. And so far all they can do is guess: Nobody knows what plans he actually has.

Uryuu and Yoshino received medical treatment and were left lying next to each other on separate futons in the next room. Tessai is looking after them. They were sleeping while the others discussed the latest news.

It is late when the noise of Jinta messing around with Kon outside wakes up Uryuu and Yoshino. Uryuu says also without his powers he is involved because he is being targeted. He is still a Quincy. Also Yoshino believes that Kariya wants to go to Hueco Mundo but she also doesn't know what he wants to do there. Yoshino reveals that Bounts only appeared for a short time among the normal human population and that they can't have children. Eventually the Bount race will disappear.

Uryuu asks Yoshino if she feels pride as a Bount. He feels pride as a Quincy. Uryuu puts it this way: The Quincies are a tribe which was given a power by God to protect people from Hollows. Even if he is the only one, he will fulfill his heavenly duty with pride as a Quincy. After this speech, Uryuu falls asleep. It was a beautiful speech that made me smile. Yoshino is touched. After saying good bye and a friendly kiss on his forehead she gets dressed and leaves.

Urahara and Yoruichi watch her go, convinced that she will die next time. Uryuu only discovers the next morning that Yoshino has gone. He intends to find her. Nobody else is around when he grabs Ririn in her stuffed animal body and leaves the shop. Ririn protests loudly (couldn't he haved grabbed a different mod soul?) but Uryuu doesn't listen. He urges Ririn to look for Yoshino's spiritual pressure.

Kariya was right: Yoshino did return to the now badly damaged mansion and Kariya who is sitting on a sofa that survived the fire. He is amused when Yoshino promises to put an end to his plan. Kariya tells her that something has changed. He needs her help. Yoshino is angry and slaps Kariya's hand away. She is calling Goethe and she asks her doll a question. He agrees that he is her alter ego. And, yes, he is willing to die here together with her.

In the meantime Ririn and Uryuu reach the damaged mansion. They can hear fighting: Goethe is firing fire balls at Kariya and he is running. But he is smiling while doing so. Yoshino is hurt and Goethe is worried about her. Kariya is amazed that she can still control her doll in her condition. He points out that they (the Bount) control this world's great power with these crests. But if the balance is lost their power goes out of control and attacks them. Kariya discovered something about her Yoshino is not aware of. She doesn't know how valuable she is to him.

Her doll, Goethe, doesn't have subserviant feelings towards her. He has feelings of love. That is because even though Bount cannot leave descendants she is the only Bount who has a maternal power. Before he explains further he wants the Quincy boy to join them and Yoshino is dismayed when he leaves his hiding place. Uryuu asks Kariya what he wants with him. He explains that a Quincy without powers is useless to him. But now that he is here, he will show him something interesting.

Goethe is no longer able to get up. The strong emotional connection between Yoshino and her doll is obvious now and Kariya smiles. Grabbing the woman from behind his hand reaches for the crest she is wearing on her finger. For reaching his goal he needs more than consuming living souls. Kariya tells Yoshino and Uryuu that Yoshino will become a mother.

Yoshino will give life to new dolls. With this announcement Kariya breaks her crest and Yoshino screams. Uryuu is calling her name but there is nothing he can do. Yoshino knows now that Kariya did nothing else but using her. Goethe and her are both dying. She reaches out to her doll, ordering him to do it but it sounds like a request: to fuse with her similar to what Kariya did with his doll long ago. This fusion looks like an embrace to me, a mother embracing her child.

Kariya knew that this would happen. Yoshino herself is now a being made of fire, attacking him. It is obvious that all Bount knew what Kariya wanted to do to Yoshino. Nobody has a problem with it. Nobody ever warned her. It is revealed that also Ichinose was aware of this plan. And he is fine with it, too. I believe Ichinose and Tosen would have been in good company. They were agreeing in a flashback about how unjust the death of Zaraki's predecessor was... My contempt for Ichinose grew considerably.

Kariya impales Yoshino with his bare hand, shattering the fiery shell and Yoshino falls to the ground, not far away from a horrified Uryuu. He is holding the dying Yoshino in his arms, begging her not to die. But Yoshino smiles at him. She wants to die and dying like this is fine with her. Yoshino is thanking her proud last Quincy while her body starts to dissolve, becoming spiritual energy. Uryuu cries and screams when her body is completely gone and he is just holding her clothes.

High above him, Kariya is attracting Yoshino's spiritual energy and he is shaping it. "Zeigt euch, neues Leben" - "Show yourself, new life". A glowing crest is showing in the sky and a swarm of new life is leaving it. They look like a swarm of insects, a deadly swarm of soulsucking monsters.

I am sure, if Yoshino knew what Kariya did at the end, she would be horrified. I am still deeply touched by her end. Life isn't fair comes to mind as well as that bad things can also happen to good people. It is one of the cruelest deaths I have seen in Bleach. Contrary to the Quincies who, as a people, did not deserve their fate I was very tempted to wish the whole group to die. At the very least, I hoped that there are some other Bount, somewhere, who did not join Kariya and who are actually good people.

Uryuu opened up to Yoshino after having lost so much already in his life. Losing her was devastating to him also in view of how this woman, who meant so much to him, was violated and used by people of her own kind.

Uryuu's friends are gathered around the round table in the dining room. Tessai has been looking after Uryuu. He reports that he is now in the back room and that he wants to be alone for now. Right now they need to get more information about the swarm of dolls. Urahara and Renji intend to go together to the Bount mansion. Ichigo returned home with the mod souls because Urahara wondered if Ichigo's family might get worried. And Chad and Orihime go back to school but will return afterwards to the shop where it is safer.

Ichigo is soon reminded that his bedroom is not only the residence of four noisy mod souls but that Rukia moved back in his closet. A lot of commotion is going on. Keigo is encountering Afro-san who is miffed that so many people in Karakura town can see him. Afro-san is kind of run over by Rukia who is busy hunting apparent Bount dolls. Keigo watched and is upset - he has been left out again and runs away.

The soul sucking doll insects are getting active. They attack their victims by stinging them like a mosquito but instead of blood they take soul energy until the person has nothing left and dies. All that is left of the person is dust. Now Soi Fon's stealth force is active as well. They try to capture at least one of the group of dolls that have just killed a man. But they have to learn that the dolls can also kill a Shinigami. One of Soi Fon's men is being stung and loses a lot of his soul energy. The group retreats to the Soul Society because the man needs urgent medical attention.

I noticed that the whole nakama group is staying together - all except Uryuu. Gathering on the school roof they are wondering about it what the Bount are planning. Right now they have no new information. Renji also didn't hear anything from the Soul Society and what the stealth force might have found out.

At least Uryuu is going to school. I smiled when I learned that Orihime tried to talk to him but without success. Uryuu withdrew into himself after what happened, something that is very much in character for him. She wonders what to do. Chad believes there is nothing they can do right now and he is probably right.

The Bount have moved into a cave system. The ruins of an underground capital are hidden inside it. Once a lot of Bount lived here and a lot of Bount died here before it was abandoned. This is where Kariya and his followers will begin their final plan. Kariya is calling one of the insect dolls, the Bitto. This Bitto returned after having harvested souls and the result is a soul cocktail of high purity and concentration. Drinking this could make everybody more than 10 times stronger.

A group of Bitto is hovering around Kariya now. Taking out a vial from one of the Bitto he is pouring the liquid into a glass and enjoys it like fine wine. Kariya feels wonderful. He wants all of the Bount to share this experience. Everybody is eager to try, everybody except a Bount called Mabashi who refuses. Nobody reacts when Kariya beats Mabashi up who has no chance against him. Kariya points out that he is the law of the Bount tribe.

Hitsugaya is sending four Shinigami to the world of the living in order to get more information and support the Shinigami who are already there. Matsumoto, Hisagi, Yumichika and Kira get ready. They will join the fight against the Bounts. Also Urahara, Tessai and Soi Fon discuss the situation while sitting around the round table in the shop. After calling the shop a run down shack which insults Tessai Soi Fon returns to Yoruichi in the Soul Society.

Uryuu returned to the shop, looking out of the window lost in thought. I thought it was sweet when Ururu asks how he is and Uryuu smiles at her, telling her that he is all right. Everybody else of the friends is out on night patrol.

Meanwhile the Bount fill themselves up with soul cocktail and Kariya uses force, making sure that Mabashi is getting his full share. Mabashi fights the effect but it is stronger than him.

After leaving Kon behind Renji is on his own. A boy is calling for help and Renji is in a hurry. The rest of the group senses that Renji is fighting and hurry to get to him. Uryuu also wants to leave but Urahara stops him. Before he can fight again he must regain his Quincy powers and that is a very difficult path. On the one hand, the Bount said that they need a Quincy. Then it was said a Quincy is no longer needed. Uryuu wants to find answers, also wondering if Yoshino might not have died if he wasn't there. Urahara understands. Uryuu leaves the shop.

Renji fights hard, slicing Zabimaru through the swarm of Bitto, cutting them to pieces. What he didn't expect is that each fragment regenerates into a complete Bitto. Soon the sky is full of them and Renji is overwhelmed. The boy can't see Renji who is fighting for him but he sees the monsters targeting him. Carrying the boy, Renji jumps into the cloud of Bitto and slashes as many as he can.

Jinta and Ururu are returning to Ichigo with a Bount sensor Urahara has built. It will only last 15 minutes but this is the best he could do while doing it in a hurry. It is a headband and it has the same password he had used before. Blushing red with embarassment Ichigo remembers and activates the "justice bandana". There is no off switch and Ichigo is being pulled away. Rukia will look for Renji while he deals with the Bounts.

Jinta is joking around. Who would worry about this good-for-nothing and freeloader? He is running off, looking for Renji while Keigo is leaving the small convenience store with a midnight snack and a shopping bag. A swarm of Bitto is after him. Keigo hides behind a door and watches the swarm moving past him. But one of them stayed behind and there is nothing Keigo can do: It starts sucking out his soul energy. Other Bitto join when Ichigo arrives. Ichigo saves his friend but serious damage has been done.

One of the Bount is nearby. Ichigo starts fighting Koga and his doll Dalk. Ririn notices that Dalk looks bigger and stronger than before. Dalk loves it. The bandana ends up being destroyed quickly and now it is his turn. Keigo can see Ichigo in his Shinigami form and he urges him to run before he loses consciousness. Ichigo's determination to save his friend is growing and it shows when he continues fighting Koga and Dalk.

The group looking for Renji is being attacked by a different Bount. It is a woman called Yoshi. The name of her doll is Nieder. It is a sword that is connected with a long chain to a fan with razor sharp edges she can use like a throwing star. Both parts of her doll seem to be separate entities who can communicate with each other and their master.

Yoshi is strong and ruthless. While Jinta runs off to find Renji, Rukia and Orihime fight Yoshi. Orihime shows that she can be an efficient fighter especially when defending someone she really cares about - Rukia is definitely one of them. Orihime is decisive and strong, defending Rukia with her shield, knowing that Rukia needs her help especially now when she only has a fraction of her usual power.

Chad, Ururu and Noba are faced with another Bount. Long ago Sawatari sucked out lots of souls from living humans but it had side effects - Sawatari looks like an old man but looks can be very deceiving. He is holding a walking stick and is sitting on a seat, smiling.

Dalk laughs while Ichigo is being stuck in her spider web, struggling but unable to get away. Ichigo is defeated, Dalk is about to impale him with his own sword when something happens Dalk didn't expect: Shirosaki makes an appearance, part of his mask appears on Ichigo's face. Also Koga wonders, asking who he is. That is not important. This doesn't concern him but it would be a problem if Ichigo ends up being crushed. Laughing and cornering Dalk he points out that they should not compare him with Ichigo. Shirosaki cuts the doll in half. Pushing his remaining energy into it, Ichigo takes back control and collapses.

Koga could have killed Ichigo easily now but he doesn't. Instead he is giving him advice. For using strong power you need strong feelings. Ichigo hasn't got enough of that. This is why he cannot control his power. Ichigo gained power imperfectly. And because of that he will destroy himself in the near future. Calling Dalk again she materializes whole. He wants Dalk to kill him but quickly so that he doesn't suffer.

Calling Renji names Jinta keeps looking. But his smug calling freezes on his face in shock when he finds him, unconscious, shielding a dying young boy with his body. Renji is covered in cuts and holding Zabimaru.

Rukia finds out very quickly that Yoshi is much stronger than her. Using a kido chant would take too much time but Noba has an idea. He is using his power of illusion, looking like Renji. Noba wants to distract Yoshi, giving Rukia time to finish her chant. Noba can also copy the fighting abilities from the original, meaning Renji, but even with those abilities, Yoshi is a difficult opponent to fight. Orihime fired Tsubaki at Yoshi's doll. I was impressed, no matter that it didn't work. Rukia finished her chant but Yoshi protected herself by using her doll as a shield. Noba ends up being incapacitated. Now Yoshi is facing Rukia and Orihime again. She wonders, what will they do next?

Ichigo lies helpless on the ground, looking up at the victor with defiance, frustration and anger. This face - it reminds Koga of another young man and his fate, a fate he has just predicted that it will be one they will share. Koga looks down, into this face and realizes that it saddens him to see lads with bright futures ahead of them die before his eyes.

Now the story moves into the past, showing a flashback about Koga and how he lived a very long time ago. It is a powerful story that reminded me in some ways of the Friend flashback in the last arc. Koga was a farmer. He lived alone, content with living a simple life. One day Kariya visited his farm. He had a young Bount with him who had just discovered what he was. Koga hesitated at first but eventually he agreed to take in Cain and teach him how to live as a Bount. Before Kariya left he gave Koga a book he wrote, a manual of how to summon a doll. Cain and Koga will need it - when Cain is ready.

At first Cain was resistant and didn't want to be there but in time he learned to value what Koga taught him and his life with him on the farm. Also Koga has to deal with violence and hostility and only few people seem to accept him. But Koga was strong. People knew better than to challenge him. Usually. Cain was safe as long as he was with him. Koga taught him not to waste time with attackers who are weak. They are not worth it.

Once, there was a group of armed troublemakers but all Koga needed to do is summoning Dalk. She broke a rifle and everyone started running away. Cain was amazed. He dreamed of having a doll of his own but Koga warned him. He should not try to summon a doll unless they do it together and Koga believes that he is ready. But he gives Cain the book to study.

Cain didn't listen. He summoned a doll and when Koga found out it was too late. The newborn doll, Waineton, looked sweet and harmless and Cain was delighted. Koga watched with worry while Cain asked her to lend him some of her power. Waineton wanted to see the power of her master and when he hesitated his doll tested him. Cain failed and the penalty is death. Begging Koga to save him because he doesn't want to die he turned to dust.

During his funeral Kariya suggested that he and Koga should live together from now on and Koga accepted. Looking at Ichigo, he explains that the Bount will rule the world after creating a new one. Ichigo is determined that Koga won't use Keigo's life for that. Koga orders Dalk to finish him but before Dalk can attack Ichigo again they notice that they are no longer alone. Kira challenges Koga for a fight.

Meanwhile Tessai insists that Hanataro accompanies him to the shop. Hanataro doesn't want to leave work and complains but when he sees the unconscious two victims of the new Bount dolls he fully understands. Renji and the boy need more spirit energy, something Hanataro can help them with after Tessai establishes a barrier to collect it.

While Yoshi is having an argument with her two dolls Orihime runs towards Kurodo. But he has already recovered.He reminds Orihime that he is basically a small pill after all and what happens to this gigai is not affecting him for long. Yoshi stopped Kurodo, Orihime and Rukia from running away but now it is Yoshi who is being challenged: Mabashi wants to take over the fight. It is obvious that Mabashi was driven insane after Kariya forced him to drink the soul cocktail. Mabashi feels as if he has become an all-powerful, all-knowing god.

Mabashi is summoning his doll, a small fox-like being called Ritz. It is attacking Yoshi. Yoshi is shocked. Rukia, Orihime and Kurodo are shocked as well, standing frozen and watching instead of doing what would be wise - getting out of there while both Bount are busy fighting each other. Ritz is a strange combination. He can change into a flower. He can fly. He can sting others and he can grow roots in the ground, using it as a place to hide. It seems Yoshi doesn't know Ritz' abilities but she is certain that this little doll is very dangerous.

Yoshi has better things to do than fighting Mabashi and leaves. Mabashi laughs when she promises that he will pay for this. To my amazement Rukia, Orihime and Kurodo are still standing around instead of being far away from this place by now. Mabashi allows Ritz to play with them for a while. The little flying fox-flower enjoys himself, chasing all three of them around.

Playtime is over. Mabashi orders Ritz to get serious. Ritz is buzzing around Orihime who screams and aimlessly waves her arms at it. I sighed. All Orihime had to do is using her shield but she absolutely panicked. Rukia comes to her aid by using a metal bar and swatting it aside. Orihime is relieved and praising Rukia. Rukia pushed Orihime to the ground who was about to hug her. Instead of impaling Orihime Ritz is not stuck halfway in Rukia's chest.

Orihime keeps calling Rukia's name while Ritz completely disappears inside Rukia. There is no blood, no trace of his entrance. Mabashi laughs and tells Orihime that she will know soon enough what has happened.

Ichigo has been weakened and Kira insists that he will deal with Dalk. Dalk is amused. Two men are fighting over her. She is so happy that she was born a woman. Soon her metallic body has been hit a few times with Wabisuke. Dalk stops laughing when her body becomes much heavier which is Wabisuke's power. But Dalk rediscovers her fighting spirit quickly.

Ichigo wants to leave with Keigo but Koga doesn't let him. He is picking up a heavy steel beam, showing his physical strength and uses it against Zangetsu. Ichigo is no match when it comes to fighting with physical power but that doesn't stop him. Ichigo keeps trying. Koga is about to kill him when Ichigo reminds him of Cain again. Koga stops fighting. He walks over to Dalk who can't move any more. It is enough. Dalk fought well and Koga reaches out his hand. She returns to her master.

Koga looks at Ichigo and Kira. He gives the "kids" the advice not to rush their lives. Then he walks away, ignoring Ichigo who tells him that they are not finished yet.

Rukia has been turned into a puppet and Mabashi is holding it on invisible strings. More Orihime panicking and wondering what is going on - it is so obvious! Also Kurodo should have been able to see it immediately. Rukia has been turned into an enemy. She is attacking Orihime and Orihime is unable to fight against her. Rukia is one of her best friends. I can understand why Orihime felt so helpless.

Rukia threw Orihime high into the sky but just before the impact her fairies came out. They were all holding her, stopping her fall. I laughed when Tsubaki told Orihime this is not the time to be happy because she is flying. Good, Orihime is now no longer panicking but dealing with the reality around her. It just took some time.

Mabashi orders Ritz to draw out more of Rukia's power. Rukia starts to glow, she is pushed out of her Gigai and also her Zanpakutou materializes. Mabashi is pleased. Kurodo recognizes that Rukia is in danger. Mabashi is pushing out Rukia's powers to the limit. At this rate her body is in danger. Rukia keeps attacking and Orihime knows that she can't summon her shield indefinitely. Her fairies urge her to make a decision. They need her command to act.

Tsubaki urges Orihime to use his powers against Rukia but Orihime can't do it. They went to the Soul Society to save Rukia. Orihime believes that she couldn't do anything. (She did a lot but I understand where she is coming from). They didn't give up and Orihime won't give up now either. Rukia Kuchiki is her friend. But attacking the Bount is not an option for Orihime either. She rejects Kurodo's plan. She can't attack a human. But eventually, Orihime pushes herself past her emotional barriers for Rukia's sake. She intends to wound the Bount, stop him and heal his injuries later. But Mabashi uses Rukia as a shield. Tsubaki is hurting Rukia instead.

Meanwhile Kira carried Keigo, helping out Ichigo who could barely walk any more. But eventually they reach Urahara's shop. Hanataro has an idea how to save Keigo: Ichigo has a lot of spirit energy and a transfer of a small portion should save Keigo's life. Renji will be fine after more rest. But the boy is still in serious condition.

Hisagi suddenly appears, stopping Rukia's blade from killing Orihime. Mabashi is ordering Rukia again but she is now fighting his mind control. Rukia is determined not to attack Orihime again. She wants Orihime to fire Tsubaki at her now, to stop her. Hisagi explains that Rukia wants to die with her mind intact. It is a matter of honour to stop her from hurting anybody else.

Rukia screams. Ritz is regaining control. Hisagi is about to strike at Rukia. Suddenly Orihime stops crying. Orihime is determined, walking slowly towards Rukia. She is ordering two of her fairies to stay close to her but Tsubaki is not among them. Rukia fires, the shield holds. The shield is big and strong, reflecting Orihime's determination. Orihime continues walking, getting closer to Rukia.

The fairies explain. They are the power of Rukia's heart. They get stronger when Orihime's feelings become stronger. Orihime sends Tsubaki after Mabashi, distracting him while Orihime keeps moving. Rukia fires continuously now but Orihime's shield stays strong. Calling three fairies now Orihime embraces Rukia and does not let go. She rejects the intruder in Rukia's body until Ritz escapes and returns to his master.

Orihime keeps embracing Rukia within the healing field. Hisagi is defending them against further attacks but when Hisagi wants to kill Mabashi, he is being saved by Ichinose who runs away with him. Rukia and Orihime smile at each other and Rukia is thanking her friend. Everybody is touched and happy. And I feel the same way.

I think this is easily the best, the most powerful and beautiful Orihime story I have seen in Bleach. There are moments when Orihime frustrates me as a character but especially this fight shows the qualities of Orihime's character and that she adds an important element to Bleach. I wish we had the chance to see more of this, defeating violence with defensive powers, including kindness.

Chad, Ururu and Noba are facing Sawatari. Matsumoto is joining them. She did not expect to meet a Bount who looks that old. Sawatari summons his doll, a being that looks a lot like a whale. Baura can dive into the ground and emerge wherever he wants, also in the sky. He can also swallow attacks. Baura was starting to swallow Haineko's ash. Sawatari praises Matsumoto for her quick reaction, meaning that she recalled her sword immediately. Baura also swallows kido energy and Chad's energy blasts.

After a lot of chasing around Baura is swallowing Ururu after she saved Chad by pushing him out of the way. Then the doll disappears. Sawatari explains that Baura's stomach itself is a gateway to another dimension. Ururu can survive for a while but not indefinitely. Noba thinks that he can save Ururu but a decoy is needed to attract Baura. Chad doubts that Matsumoto is strong enough for that job and wants to do this himself. Not only Matsumoto, I was quite annoyed at him as well. Her reaction made me smile and shut him up.

Also this time I noticed how bland Chad is as a character and without Matsumoto this fight would not interest me whatsoever although Baura is a fascinating doll. To me this battle is definitely the least interesting. Well... after Chad boxed Baura into the stomach he threw up everything inside, including Ururu. Sawatari has lost and escaped with his doll.

Mayuri is happy. Somebody hid the Bount data but he has found it. He finds it fascinating that the Bount had such a secret. If only he could get his hands on one to do some research. Mayuri thinks it would be easiest if he goes to the World of the Living but there is not time for that. Mayuri wonders what he should do while Nemu keeps watching in silence. And then Mayuri finds out why the Bount need a certain Quincy. (He actually said certain, which could confirm my theory). What the Bount need is a person with special abilities who can bind his reishi, deny their unification and force that to become power. That man could do it... Mayuri give Nemu an order: He wants her to take research material Q141 with her and to to the World of the Living immediately.

Someone broke into the Seireitei. Ikkaku is chasing the intruder and he is close. Whoever it is is invisible and doesn't leave spiritual pressure. Ikkaku managed to wound the mysterious intruder but is unable to find him.

Uryuu is visiting a place that is very special to him. It is a hidden nature spot in a forest, a waterfall flowing down a cliff and forming a stream. This is the place where his grandfather took him to train. Uryuu is alone and makes no effort to hide his feelings. He desperately tries to regain what he has lost. He remembers what Soken told him, how he guided him until he was ready to fire his first arrow. It was hard but it was a start. Soken told his grandson that a Quincy's arrow is released for those you want to protect. Eventually he will understand. There is nothing difficult outside of the basics he has just taught Uryuu. Anything beyond that depends on his heart. Quincies release arrows with their hearts to protect the ones they cherish!

(Beautiful. For a long time I forgot that this quote is from the Bount filler. I was so sure that it comes from the Soul Society arc, one of its flashbacks! Nevertheless, I believe this flashback should be considered canon).

Uryuu does understand. He wanted to protect Yoshino and he couldn't. His Quincy bracelet glows, the beginnings of bow and arrow appear and then it collapses. Silently crying he collapses onto his knees, in the middle of the stream.

Ichigo and most of his friends are gathered in Urahara's shop. Meanwhile Yumichika has discovered the hideout of the Bount, the cave with the underground ruins. Matsumoto, Kira and Hisagi find him waiting at the entrance. They are about to enter. Kariya and the Bount with him can sense that they are getting closer. Kariya is wondering what the Quincy boy is doing and watches through a surveillance system. They can see that he is struggling and so far in vain.

I was wondering about it in view of the Bleach novels: Yamamoto ordered Byakuya to his office and said this: "I have a favour I want to ask of you. I know that of the four great noble families the one in charge of compiling Soul Society's history is the Kuchiki family. Records of the Bounts - Do any exist?"

Ugaki is the scientist among the Bount. He developed the doll out of Yoshino's life force together with Kariya. But Ugaki's doll is the surveillance and attack system that protected the Bount manion before it was destroyed. Ugaki is sitting in a hidden chamber in the cave, using a set of Tarot cards to command the defense system of the cave. He uses the first card to activate Gesell, his doll.

Ugaki watches the group and is amused. He is starting to test them, using various traps. Matsumoto, Kira, Hisagi and Yumichika have been defeated. Ichigo and his friends don't know that yet when they enter the cave as well. Ugaki is certain that Ichigo and his group will not last for long but to his frustration most of the group of Shinigami who seemed to be out of action is back. They are giving everyone valuable information of how to deal with the traps.

Renji and Ichigo run ahead but soon proceed with caution. Shadows are merging and the true form of Gesell takes shape. It is a huge monster. Ichigo and Renji have to fight it but at the same time they have to protect Yumichika.

Ugaki uses Gesell to pick the injured Yumichika up but Renji catches him before he hits the cave wall. Renji is wondering if he has become soft since he came to the World of the Living. He tells Ichigo that Urahara taught him the value of team work but he feels he needs to fight this monster on his own. Otherwise he might not be able to return to the Soul Society. Calling his Bankai, Renji and Gesell start to fight.

Ichigo watches Renji fight while supporting Yumichika. Ugaki is not interested in watching a heroic fair fight and changes the rules. Gesell the monster disappears and instead random attacks emerge from the shadows. Ichigo wants to help but Yumichika stops him. And also Renji wants Ichigo to watch. He will show him how he turns this development around.

Uryuu keeps trying but suddenly he senses that he is no longer alone. To his surprise it is Nemu. Ugaki's surveillance glasses picked up the news and forwards the images to Kariya. Kariya sees that the situation has changed. He orders Ugaki to finish this fight at once.

Giselle reappears again in its original form, threatening Renji. Renji disassembles the Bankai chain and each segment is forming a deadly energy blade. Giselle is pierced several times. The monster is dying and the entrance of the chamber where Ugaki was hiding is dissolving. Ugaki has lost. Gesell is out of control, Kariya severs his contact with him, abandoning him. And then Gesell is killing its master while dying at the same time.

After a minor rockslide another entrance opens. This one leads to the heart of the cave and the ruins. Kariya is waiting for Ichigo, surrounded by the surviving Bount and Ichinose. Ichigo is making one of his morality speeches. His outrage is heartfelt and understandable but it has no more effect than talking to the wall. Ugaki mainly died right now because things are moving more quickly than anticipated. They have to prepare to leave the World of the Living. Ichigo wonders if Kariya really plans to connect the World of the Living with Hueco Mundo.

Kariya is ignoring the question. Instead Koga is starting a German chant. The German is dreadful but I am trying to put an English text together: "Other world, send a portal. Appear immediately". And indeed, a portal appears. It looks similar to the portal Urahara created in his basement. The Bount call it their Senkaimon. Within the frame a dimensional swirl appears.

Ichinose is taking the controls while Kariya announces that he wants to test his own power. Ichigo couldn't defeat Kariya before. Now that Kariya has consumed so many soul cocktails, Ichigo has even less of a chance. Kariya doesn't even need to touch him. Ichigo smashed against the wall and Kariya just gives him enough time to get up. He is playing with him and enjoys every moment of it. Stopping Zangetsu inbetween two fingers he rams his other hand into his abdomen. That is still not enough for Kariya who kicks and hits him.

Kariya is disappointed. Where is Ichigo's Bankai? On this level Kariya can't even test his powers against him. Before Ichigo dies he wants to tell him what their true goal is. No, they don't want to go to Hueco Mundo. They want to go to the Soul Society. Their goal is revenge. The Bounts were created in the Soul Society.

Kariya continues. Long ago, the Soul Society performed a certain experiment. Even today, they don't know what the purpose was but what they know is that at that time humans were nothing else but test subjects. Something went seriously wrong. There was a gigantic explosion. It triggered an unexpected phenomenon. Certain souls in the cycle of rebirth mutated. The result was the appearance of people with different abilities. It happened during a certain period of time on the World of the Living all over the world.

Normal humans called them monsters and demons. The Bount were forced to hide. When the Soul Society learned of their existance, they gave them a helping hand. But that was just part of their plan. Kariya asks Ichigo to look around. This is a big place. Once there were many of them and this was their capital. The Soul Society used dirty tricks to erase them from history. They will never forgive them. What the Bount want is the annihilation of the Soul Society and that is the truth.

Kariya is holding Zangetsu and wants to kill him with his own blade, with his partner. Ichigo walks towards him and Zangetsu, talking to the Old Man. Taking his blade and impaling himself willingly, it doesn't hurt Ichigo. What it does is sending Ichigo into his inner soul space. Old Man Zangetsu points out that Ichigo once gained power with an unwavering heart. He is asking him: What are you preparing to do? Why are you fighting? For whom do you want the power?

This is indeed an important question. Ichigo asked the Bount what they want their power for. And he never got a satisfying answer.

Ichigo asks Zangetsu to lend him his power, the power to protect everyone. Zangetsu points out that he IS his power. And that he should trust it.

Kariya suddenly notices that Ichigo is now holding his sword. Now he will show Kariya what he is prepared to do: He is calling for his Bankai and this time it works. Kariya and Ichigo are now fighting on the same level, their powers clashing against each other.

Suddenly an energy arrow is hitting the ground between them, stopping the fight. Ichigo is amazed to see Uryuu who was able to fire that arrow. He obviously used Quincy powers and he wonders, how did he get it back? Behind Uryuu the rest of the group appeared, worried about Ichigo.

Uryuu explains that he could not remain a burden to Ichigo forever. Uryuu smiled when Ichigo wondered if he regained his powers. These are his powers but he is using them with the help of a battle assessory passed down between some Quincies several hundred years ago. It has the power to control reishi.

This special bracelet allowed Uryuu to use his full range of powers again. At first Uryuu aimed his arrow at Kariya while Koga finishes the last step the Bount need to do for activation. After another German chant (that is at least recognizable) "Open the gate immediately for our Bount" the Bount crest appears on the gate.

Uryuu is now aiming at the gate and his friends are sure that he is about to destroy it. Instead Uryuu's arrow enters the gate, opening it. The Bounts smile and Kariya is thanking the Quincy boy. Now they can go. Uryuu knew that the Bount intend to to to the Soul Society. The Shinigami who gave him the bracelet told him. She also told him why the Bount were so persistently chasing him. A Bount who gains concentrated souls can open spaces to different dimensions. But one must convert their body to reishi in order to go to the Soul Society. Bount don't have that power but there are a few among the Quincies who can freely control reishi.

Kariya believes he knows the reason why. Like the Bounts, Soul Society is an enemy to the Quincies. I can see the anger on Uryuu's face when he mentioned Yoshino. And when Kariya stretches out his hand, inviting Uryuu to walk at his side Uryuu points out that Kariya should not get the wrong idea. He is letting him go to the Soul Society so that he can settle things with him there. Uryuu's anger is now obvious. He promises to defeat him on his pride as a Quincy.

That is fine with Kariya, too. They can follow them to the other side if they want to. They will be waiting. Everybody is wondering why Uryuu did open the gate and Uryuu is asking Ichigo a question instead: He kows that Ichigo regained his Bankai. But would it be possible to defeat the Bount if they continued fighting them? Yoruichi agrees that he has a point.

When Uryuu tried the bracelet he had power but not enough to defeat Kariya. Nemu explained that the World of the Living has a low density of reishi. In the Soul Society, a world consisting of reishi, he would be much more powerful.

Yoruichi is pointing out the flaws of Uryuu's thinking. Also the Bount will be more powerful in an environment made of reishi. And she asks him if he knows how his bracelet actually works. Uryuu knows that the power the bracelet draws is not stable. He doesn't know how long it will work.

Yoruichi thinks that what Uryuu did might lead to the destruction of the world. Ichigo promptly slaps Uryuu around the head. But Ichigo is smiling. There is no time to lose. They will follow the Bount to the Soul Society. Uryuu feels somewhat guilty and thanks everybody. What is done is done. They have to make the best of it.

Yoruichi also adds that the Soul Society created the Bounts and they need to take responsibility. Absolutely! This alone is reason enough to allow the Bount to return. I want to add, the Shinigami are also responsible for the fate of the Quincies. With the Quincies gone (and Fullbringers were an unknown entity at that time) the humans were unprotected and easy prey. Now the Bount can't hurt the human population any longer.

The Bount story continues in a second Bount arc taking place in the Soul Society. I will write about it at a later time.

********​

Link to part 1 [LINK]

The Bount Story Season 2 [LINK]
 
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Polgarena

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Great post one more time, B. Haddrell!

The scene in the hospital was very good in my opinion. It showed that Urahara and Tessai are the major (supporting) forces in this arc and that the friendship between main characters is strong. It is weird to find out that people criticized the scene where Uryuu thanks Rukia for the help she offered, when several factors lead to that moment. Uryuu was powerless at that moment and Rukia wanted to be proactively supportive to somebody who helped her so many times. Uryuu's brave appearance in front of Renji and Byakuya as the two were about to take Rukia to the Soul Society immediately comes to mind.

The Bounts for some reason had plans with Uryuu. I don't remember what those plans were because I didn't watch the anime circa episode 77 (because no more episodes were available at that moment).

I found it very touching that Yoshino reminded Uryuu of his mother so much. I loved the scene showing Uryuu as a child with his loving mother. In hindsight, could it be that this specific memory is from the time right after Katagiri was struck with Auswhaelen but before she fell into coma?

The scenes with Hanataro and Ganju were both funny and fun. Hanataro's amusement with the Human Realm reminded me of Rukia from the beginning of the story. Not a lot of people like let alone appreciate Ganju as a character, but I like him. (It's a bit sad that the two of them didn't have a bigger part in the final arc of the manga, but we all know what caused Kubo to end the story the way he did.)

Uryuu's relationship with Ryuuken might have been strained at that point of the story, but his annoyment at the critiques about the state his father's hospital is in were funny. As if he was silently telling them: "You've got no idea how hard it is to keep this place running". That's how I understood it at least.

But, as per Kubo's modus operandi, this comedy bit just lead to a new dangerous situation. This time the scene transforms into something fitting a horror story with the twin Bounts who have the control over water. It was no wonder that Uryuu was just barely holding while Sado was carrying him after he sustained such a serious head injury. And, Uryuu is feeling miserable that he has to be protected, that he's just a burdain to his friends. He would much rather have them leave him and save themselves instead which is a typical behavior pattern for Uryuu. Admist the chaos, Uryuu saw the opportunity to get away, but only in order to keep his friends away from the danger. [Since you mentioned it, Orihime not healing Uryuu's head injury when the situation calmed down was weird.]

I was glad that Yoshino found Uryuu and brought him to her safe haven. It was meaningful for both of them to talk to each other because they are similar. Hearing the voice of another person, even a stranger must have meant a lot to both of them. They could clear their minds and put some things into a new perspective.

There is another parallel between Bounts and Quincies from Wandenreich - they're nearly imortal and such a long life has affected their minds. This applies to some Shinigami as well - the Royal Guard being the prime examples. Living in seclusion, in a different realm affected their take on life. Some of them gained a godlike attitude, some shown that behind a goofy appearance lies not a perfect enlightened soul.

It is no wonder that after such a long life Yoshino wants to die. Her backstory and her story with Kariya were, in my opinion well-written. Yoshino is a well-written character if you ask me. She shows that her humanity couldn’t be tainted by Kariya’s ambition, she shows compassion and the strength of will. She is determined to put a stop to the man she once loved and protect the hopeful future that is represented by Uryuu.

I forgot the part where Uryuu and Yoshino fought Koga and Dalk. Uryuu got tired of being powerless and did the right thing by protecting Yoshino, even at the cost of his life. He may have been in a desperate situation in that mansion, facing Kariya for the first time, but Uryuu didn’t fall to despair and showed some teeth. In hindsight, this is very funny – another example of Uryuu’s “animal like” behavior Haschwalth talked about. Kariya suggested a Faustian deal, a tempting one for Uryuu since Kariya offers to give Uryuu his Quincy powers (identity) back.

The beginning of the rescue operation at the Bount mansion – or specifically, the beginning of Rukia’s battle against Ichinose – marks the end of episodes I watched. I forgot that Utagawa asked of Kariya to leave his crest behind. It was certainly foolish of Utagawa to think that Kariya would leave the source of his power just like that, out in the open, free for Utagawa to usurp the position of the Bount leader. By outsmarting and swiftly dealing with Utagawa while also showing where the true power lies, Kariya showed that he has similarities to both Aizen and Bach.

For a brute who often uses his sword to make a point, Kenpachi knows how to be poetic sometimes. Ichinose being like an ivy that can’t live without a tree is a very colorful description coming from somebody like Kenpachi.

Uryuu was in a difficult position when Kariya asked him to join Bounts as they can restore his powers. Since Uryuu is a complex character, an introvert, somebody prone to lock himself within his thoughts, but he would never betray his friends and himself like that no matter how tempting the deal might be. Ichigo is a more straight to the point guy, often a fighter who would rush headfirst to the battle without thinking too much about it, certainly more stubborn than Uryuu. And, through this difference in their characters, we understand why Uryuu remained silent while Ichigo loudly refused Kariya’s proposal.

I’m glad that it was Rukia who saved Uryuu and Yoshino.

It is very interesting that Mayuri found a record that connects Bounts and Quincies – especially that Bounts were looking for a Quincy unique among their kin.

That Renji pulled Ichigo and persuaded him to train in order to get rid of dark thoughts shows that a big friendship formed between the two. That Ganju joined them is very nice. Now, it remains wishful thinking that our main characters had done something similar for Uryuu in the final arc. Sure, in the end, it was Ichigo who persuaded Uryuu to give up on the Leidenshand explosion plan, but a scene where all of his friends (all those in the Royal Realm, meaning Ichigo, Orihime, Sado, Ganju, Rukia and Renji) showed how much Uryuu means to them would’ve been much better. We never got to see that group hug we talked about in Ishida’s Fan Club.

Bounts, like Quincies are a species facing its extinction. The strength of resonance between these groups is impressive, especially in hindsight. It’s almost as if Kubo accepted some ideas from this anime-only arc and incorporated them in the final arc with Wandenreich. It’s all the more remarkable when you look at Yoshino’s and Uryuu’s relationship and how despite all the hardships Uryuu takes pride in being a Quincy. Yoshino left after his touching speech – in order to protect Uryuu and the other younglings from Kariya. Uryuu did basically the same thing in the final arc by joining Wandenreich in order to protect his friends and the Human Realm.

The moment when Goethe said that he’s Yoshino’s alter ego and that he’s ready to die with her made me think about the wide array of relationships between Shinigami and their Zanpakuto Spirits. And while we haven’t seen extreme examples of Zanpakuto Spirits turning against their Shinigami, we’ve seen it from the beginning that they have their own minds and have different relationships with their Shinigami. Renji’s Zabimaru even refused to grant Renji with the actual name of his Bankai, Yumichika’s Shikai takes on a different appearance after being called by the wrong name, Komamura and his Zanpakuto share the wounds etc. This shows that regardless of the presence of intention, the writers of the Bount arc remained true to the source material.

So, Kariya’s plan for Yoshino was for her to create new crests, these insectoid dolls. Yoshino’s death was emotional. It is also horrible that Kariya transformed her soul into a living weapon. Yoshino wanted to die for a long time now, but she didn’t deserve this. At least she bonded with this young Quincy and had a meaningful relationship before she left this world. Loosing Yoshino who reminded Uryuu of Katagiri had a huge effect on him. It is no wonder that he withdrew to his own mind, isolating himself from the group. Orihime and others should give him some space, but they should also be there for him, not leaving him behind. Knowing about the parallels between Ururu and Nemu, I find it sweet that Ururu asked Uryuu how’s he doing and that he smiled at her.

It’s hilarious that Urahara’s “justice bandana” returned in this story.

Yoshi’s and the design and her doll is very good. Her battle against Rukia, Orihime and Kurodo sounds interesting from your summary, B. Haddrell. But, they really ought to have fled while Mabashi was keeping Yoshi busy. As a consequence, they had to deal with a possessed Rukia. The moment when Hisagi explained that Rukia wants to die with an intact mind is reminiscent of Kaien’s struggle against Metastacia. Once Orihime regained control over her emotions and determination, she showed how powerful she can be. Kubo should’ve given her more fights reflecting the endgame of this one against Mabashi.

Koga received a flashback that developed him outside of just being Kariya’s soldier. For somebody who lived so long, Koga gave a good advice to Ichigo, Keigo and Kira.

Uryuu’s flashback about his time with Soken was indeed beautiful. Soken had such an impact to the story through Uryuu that makes me wish Kubo showed him more, at least in Everything But the Rain mini-arc. Being a Quincy is a huge part of Uryuu’s identity so it’s no wonder that in such a private moment he broke down to tears. That Nemu came to help (?) him is very nice (also unexpected since Mayuri sent her).

Kariya, just like many other villains, gives a lengthy explanation about his motives and plans. It turned out that Bounts were created in Soul Society, an experiment gone wrong and as per tradition, the Soul Society twisted the history records to erase Bounts.

It was nice to read about the scene Ichigo had with Old Man Zangetsu in his inner world. Uryuu’s reappearance was great. He brought the battle to Soul Society, taking it away from the place that means the most to him, away from the Human Realm. Regardless of the flaws in his plan and Yoruichi’s grounded criticism, the world has a much better chance to defeat Kariya and his henchmen in Soul Society in my opinion. Bounts were Soul Society’s battle to fight in the first place since basically no Quincies were left to protect the Human Realm.
 
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Thank you, Polgarena! :) And thank you for your interesting reply.

I also welcomed it so much to see Urahara and also Tessai visiting Uryuu and seeing that they care about him in the Bount story because I would have liked it to see this in canon Bleach. For a while Uryuu and Urahara worked together as Hollow hunters after Ichigo lost his powers. I was amused that Uryuu got his first phone from him and smiled because he obviously valued it. It was also strongly hinted at it that Uryuu helped out in his shop. It would have been fun to get some insights - the lazy, messy (the anime showed that more than the manga!) Urahara and the neat, orderly Uryuu. I am sure this was an interesting partnership. And I still believe that it was Urahara who taught Uryuu unarmed combat.

Writing about the Bount story and watching it again brought back memories of reactions I discussed years ago. It was before the big crash, meaning that these conversations are gone. There were a few people who accused me that I am defending it that Uryuu has been turned into a wimp. To me, the Bount story does the opposite. Uryuu was physcially weak but what makes a person really strong is something else. I couldn't say it better than how Rukia phrased it: "In a battle, the ones who get in the way are not the ones that lack power, but the ones that lack resolve."

Looking at Uryuu and looking at Ichinose - To me it is obvious who is the strong and who is the weak person here.

It was mentioned in the EBTR story that Katagiri has always been physically weak. But what we have seen of her shows that she was a strong person when it comes to personality. Being a mixed blooded Quincy she was also an experienced fighter. In her own special way she was strong. When I look at Uryuu and his parents I see both of his parents in him. Katagiri was the balancer in the family, I am sure.

The fanfiction writer with a medical background I discussed the Bount story with pointed out that she has seen this often: Women who are physically weak and get pregnant often never fully regain their strength. I can imagine that Uryuu was not a strong baby when he was born but I am sure he was tough. He has always been a fighter like his mother.

But, yes, maybe you are right. Maybe this scene took place after Auswaehlen, shortly before Katagiri fell into a coma.

Oh, yes - I like Ganju. He is a fun character but he also has a lot of depth. I would like to think that Tite Kubo would have shown us the Shiba clan and Ichigo and friends revisiting that place towards the end of Bleach. Isshin but also Ryuuken would be part of that group as well. I can think of so much what could have happened, fun but also serious, even important scenes. This is definitely something that should be part of the anime when it comes back.

That is an interesting point - yes, what Yoshino said about the dangers that people who live extremely long lose their way and develop delusion of grandeur, is not only applying to Bounts. The Royal Guard definitely lost its way, the same as certain Shinigami especially from certain noble houses who have more power than they should have. And it also applies to some Quincies who belong to the "sub species" that has been changed by Bach. If Uryuu is indeed not or only aging very slowly now, the Bount story gains much more weight and importance. At least to me. The fate of the Bount will serve as a warning to him additionally to what he was nearly driven to do in the last arc.

Uryuu the successor - I wish we had the chance to learn what that actually means. I don't think Uryuu will one day want to follow Yoshino's example. Uryuu is a loner, as she was. But he is not alone because he has choices: He has friends and allies he can interact with if he wants and they welcome and value him. Uryuu will become an important person with growing experience and wisdom. Not only when it comes to his people who live now on the World of the Living but also in the Soul Society.

I said in the past that Uryuu and Unohana have something in common: They have a dual personality. In Uryuu's case it is definitely not as strong as it was with Unohana. In her case it was extreme. But like her, I have seen how he changes when he fights. He reminds me of a cheetah, an animal. That Haschwalth sees this animal side in him as well, I am still amused at that but also pleased that I recognized a side of Uryuu Tite Kubo intended to show us. Unfortunately the climax of it had to be cut.

Kenpachi is certainly much more than he seems - looks can be deceiving. One fanfiction writer compared Uryuu with a china doll. He looks delicate and he is beautiful but people who dismiss him because of how he looks will find out soon how strong he really is. I admit it, I made the mistake at the very beginning to look down on Kenpachi because of his looks. There is another side of him and it is partly reflected in Yachiru. She is his Zanpakutou spirit, part of his soul. What an interesting combination!

Yes, there is a lot to discover when looking at Shinigami and their Zanpakutous. As I already mentioned, I am a big fan of the Zanpakutou filler arc which has, especially by now, a lot of non-filler elements. It is a very interesting story and I am looking forward to write about it in detail, at some time in the future.

I will write more about Yoshi in my next essay about the Bount. There are not many good female fighters in Bleach and when it comes to villains, Yoshi is unique. Yoshi is a strong personality, a skilled and ruthless fighter who is definitely not being treated as a joke. Yoshi is the type of female fighter I would have loved to see among the Sternritters - not to mention the so far still unnamed Quincy Lady, Haschwalth's aide.

I am sure Nemu still cared about Uryuu. She wanted to help him but she first of all came because Mayuri sent her. Mayuri wants to get his hands on a Bount and for that purpose he needed Uryuu's powers to be intact. It was not hard to guess that Uryuu would indeed open the gate for them - and Mayuri has the opportunity then to try catching one.
 
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Very Interesting discussion regarding the Bounts. I actually liked the Bount Arc compared to some. I didn't actually care for the first few episodes when Urahara was trying to teach them a valuable lesson. It has nothing to do with him teaching them that, in fact, it was a good lesson to learn. However, those three little mod souls got on my last nerve, or should I say one-Ririn. But she grew on me later. I wont' go through the whole episodes but will comment on some points that Polgarena pointed out.

Polgarena said:
The Bounts for some reason had plans with Uryuu. I don't remember what those plans were because I didn't watch the anime circa episode 77 (because no more episodes were available at that moment).

I found it very touching that Yoshino reminded Uryuu of his mother so much. I loved the scene showing Uryuu as a child with his loving mother. In hindsight, could it be that this specific memory is from the time right after Katagiri was struck with Auswhaelen but before she fell into coma?
I think the plan with Uryu had to do something with Uryu being the only one to allow the Bounts to SS by using his arrow. I also enjoyed the scene where we first got a glance of Katagiri. I would also surmise that this was after Auswhaelean; as she looked for dejected and depressed. I could also see this as a foreshadowing of the Final Arc.

Polgarena said:
It is no wonder that after such a long life Yoshino wants to die. Her backstory and her story with Kariya were, in my opinion well-written. Yoshino is a well-written character if you ask me. She shows that her humanity couldn’t be tainted by Kariya’s ambition, she shows compassion and the strength of will. She is determined to put a stop to the man she once loved and protect the hopeful future that is represented by Uryuu.
Interesting comment about Yoshino desiring death, after living for so long. I liked how she analyze how the humans were busy going about their daily lives knowing they have only so long to accomplish their goals. The premise that the humans fear death, but they also have the courage to face death-much like Aizen's final words in Volume 72. Though, I would also say this might be paralleled to Yhwach's desire to have one world without death-the cycle continues and nothing would change. Life would become stagnant and there would be no progression.

Polgarena said:
For a brute who often uses his sword to make a point, Kenpachi knows how to be poetic sometimes. Ichinose being like an ivy that can’t live without a tree is a very colorful description coming from somebody like Kenpachi.
Kenpachi can be quite astute at times when he wants to. I agree with you about Ichinose being more of needing someone to depend on rather than making his own path to follow.
 
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Polgarena

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I enjoyed reading your new post, B. Haddrell. :)

It would be great if the anime comes back the studio shows tidbits from the time Uryuu worked with Urahara in the omakes. They have unique personalities so it would be really fun to see their antics. It’s also a very interesting suggestion that Urahara was Uryuu’s mentor in the unarmed combat. The fact that Uryuu learned a bit of martial arts should be taken as a good sign for his health.

Rukia’s quote that the ones getting in the way are not those without power, but those without resolve is powerful. And when it comes to Uryuu, while he did have some doubts in the Bount arc, he never showed the lack of resolve. What Rukia said resonated through this arc and especially at the end of this season when Uryuu shot that arrow through the portal.

Katagiri also had strong personality, strong mind and resolve. I can tell that she loved Uryuu very much. You point out that Uryuu does share traits with both his mother and his father, B. Haddrell. The theory that in hindsight Katagiri from Uryuu’s memory in this arc is just before the Auswhaelen-induced coma was just that – a theory, or better said, a stray thought.

I too would like to think that if Kubo felt healthier, that he would show us Ichigo’s and Isshin’s reunion with the Shiba family in the end. He would also show more from Ganju’s and Sado’s fight against the stone/ice golems. Within Bleach’s universe, during the war aftermath Ichigo and others probably did visit Kuukaku and Ganju.

When it comes to Uryuu and the fact that his lifespan is probably prolonged, he is not in danger of becoming mad like Bounts, some Shinigami and Quincies. He is not alone and he will become a wise man and a leader. It would be nice if he corrects Ryuuken’s mistake and be more involved with Quincies, offering them support and protection.

Thanks for sharing that comparison between Uryuu and a china doll. When it comes to characters like him, Unohana and Kenpachi, the looks can be very deceiving.

A strong Quincy like Yoshi in Sternritters – that would’ve been great.

It now occurred to me that back then, in the Bount arc, Mayuri used Uryuu as a subject to get a hold on Bounts just like he’s using other Quincies to get a hold on Fullbringers in Narita’s novels.

***

Very interesting comments, Seirei55! :h5

Yes, later down the line, through B. Haddrell’s post I found out that Kariya only needed Uryuu to open that portal. I don’t remember how old Uryuu could’ve been in that scene with Katagiri based on his appearance, but from the story perspective to me it makes sense that that memory is from the time after Auswhaelen.

Thanks for pointing out the thematic similarities between Yoshino’s thoughts and what Aizen said in the final volume. This shows that the writers of the Bount arc did manage to stay true to the basic premise, themes and symbols from the manga. I was surprised when Kubo revealed that Bleach was basically born out of his own fear of death and afterlife because those fears ended up being big parts of Bach’s character.
 
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