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POTM Hall of Fame

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Mar 19, 2013
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Think of this as BA's POTM museum. Here, we'll honor winners of the POTM and post other tidbits of POTM history. Stay tuned as our Hall of Fame grows. (Unfortunately, most of the information about POTM before the server crash has been lost, so information may be incomplete. Sorry.)

1. When and how was POTM conceived and implemented?

Belias was looking for ways to engage members and encourage them to participate. I suggested Post of the Month, but the original idea was much different from what you see now. The original idea was for forum staff to look for posts around the forum during our regular mod duties. Belias expanded on that. Members would feel more engaged if they themselves nominated posts and then voted on them. We worked together on the rules, and the finalized version was rolled out not long after (I think June or July 2012). As we started to rebuild after the crash, some of the rules changed so that members who had won in previous months could still be nominated.

2. So tell me about the signature badges.

Originally, there were no plans to reward anyone other than the first-place winner every month. I made some badges on a lark for the second- and third-place winners of the very first POTM, and the reaction was positive. So I offered to make signature badges for the top three places every month, since it seems more "official" if a mod makes the badges. Since signature badges are a reward from forum staff, we decided that those who earned any badge could wear up to two of them outside a spoiler tag, in addition to a signature graphic, for one year. Some members use their badges as their signatures, in which case we let those members wear those badges indefinitely.

I try to choose three characters with some sort of connection, such as being in the same squad or being Espada or Fullbringers. Groups are purposely spaced out for variety's sake. So you may see a Gotei 13 squad featured one month, but it will be several months before another one is featured.

Generally, I make badges several months in advance. That way, I have an idea which characters still need to be featured and can either look for renders or request colorings. Also, working on badges early gives me plenty of time to tweak them or, in some cases, overhaul them. That's also why I don't let members request particular characters or stock images for their badges.

To maintain some element of surprise, only I know who is going to be featured in any given month. On rare occasions, I'll ask one of our members to make the badges for one month. I still choose the characters because I know which ones I'm working on for future months. Other than that, the individual has free rein so far as renders, colors, fonts, and such.

Of the badges I've made, the Royal Guard badges, featured in January 2015, seem to have gotten the best response.

3. Why is voting anonymous? Will this ever change?

Voting is anonymous so that no one feels pressured to vote for a particular post. We want members to vote for the posts that they truly believe are the most deserving, without being concerned that they might offend someone. Voting will always be anonymous, meaning that only red names are able to see who voted.

Here's our list of "firsts" and "mosts." Want to know who has been nominated the most times? Or do you want to know which month had the most nominations? Here's your stop.

As of today, we have had six members win POTM more than once:

1. Polgarena won her first POTM in December 2013. She won again two months later, in February 2014. So far, that is the record for shortest time between wins. As of January 2015, she is the first person to win POTM three times.

2. Our second repeat winner was NeoPlatonist. He won his first POTM in September 2013 and his second one in May 2014. Neo holds the distinction of being the first person to win POTM for a post in the captions and edits thread.

3. Our third repeat winner was Andygoesrawr, who won his first POTM in November 2013. He won his second POTM in July 2014. Andy holds the distinction of having twice as many votes as the second-place winner.

4. Our fourth repeat winner was Herakles, whose first win was in July 2013. He then won the August 2014 POTM. Herakles holds the distinction of being the first winner chosen by administrative prerogative, when Belias voted to break a tie for first place.

5. Our fifth repeat winner is Franco, whose first win was in October 2013. He then eked out a victory in the March 2015 POTM, where he had been in second place for much of the voting. Both of Franco's wins were by one vote.

6. Our sixth repeat winner is The Outlier, whose first win was in December 2014, for a post in the Aizen fan club. His second win occurred in the May 2015 POTM voting. He is the first member to win 2 POTM's for posts written in the same fan club.

Firsts and Mosts

  • In which month(s) were the most posts nominated? For the July 2013 POTM, 29 posts were nominated.
  • In which month(s) were the fewest posts nominated? Only eight posts were nominated in September 2013 and August 2014. Seven posts were nominated in November 2014. The record for fewest posts, however, is the five posts nominated in December 2014.
  • In which month(s) did the most members vote? Forty-two people voted in the August 2013 POTM. In a close second is the 37 votes in the July 2014 POTM.
  • Which POTM winner received the most votes?
    For the August 2013 POTM, Jethro Lukarikate's friends joined together and helped him win with 21 votes. He holds the distinction of being the first person to win POTM for a post not related to anime or manga.
    Next is Andygoesrawr, who received 17 votes in the July 2014 POTM.
    In a very close third place is Herakles, who received 16 votes in the July 2013 POTM.
    The Outlier received 16 votes in the May 2015 voting for his birthday poem for Aizen.​
  • Which members have won multiple badges in the same month?
    B. Haddrell has accomplished this twice, once in the February 2014 POTM (second and third places) and once in the April 2014 POTM (first and third places). She holds the distinction of being the first person to earn two badges in the same month without tying for either one.
    NeoPlatonist has accomplished this once, in the May 2014 POTM (first and third places)​
  • Who has won the most runner-up badges (second or third place)
    Among mods: Kurogasa has earned second place twice and tied for third place once. I (Otome-san) have earned second place once and third place three times.
    Among non-mod members: B. Haddrell has earned seven runner-up badges, including tying for third place twice. NeoPlatonist, however, holds the record. He has earned eight runner-up badges, including tying for third place twice and second place once.​

These are the badges that have been made for the top three finishers. When there was more than one badge to choose from, I've posted only the badges that each winner actually chose.

2013 Badges

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

Note: Two Kaien badges are featured because there was a three-way tie for third place this month. NeoPlatonist and B. Haddrell chose the orange badge; I chose the blue one.

December 2013

Badges in 2014

January 2014

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

June 2014

July 2014

August 2014

September 2014

October 2014

November 2014
(Badges by Patapon)

December 2014

Badges in 2015

January 2015

February 2015

March 2015

April 2015

May 2015
Badges by Patapon

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Mar 19, 2013
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Winners in 2013

Only first-place posts are included here, but runners-up are listed with links to their posts.

July 2013: Herakles (16 votes)
Second place: Sariniste (11 votes)
Third place: Franco, czeliate, NeoPlatonist (tied with 10 votes)​

There was a lot to this chapter that was particularly enjoyable, considering the Vandenreich have escaped Kubo's radar for sometime now, it was welcoming to finally veer behind enemy lines and gain insight into the workings of the various Star Knights and their operations.
Political Unrest

With the Prinz Von Licht acquired, Yhwach surely had plans in store for one Uryu Ishida and upon assembling an audience with the Sternritter forces; there was definitely a story to be told.
One of the most deviceful themes introduced in the very first page, is that of the Vandenreich insignia strung high above the podium, acting as an evident historical allusion to Nazi Germany. Kubo's incorporation of modern history meets BLEACH has most definitely increased those subtle intricacies that make each chapter all the more charismatic.

Clad in white, Uryu is unmistakeably rocking that new cloak of his; a true Quincy hipster. All jokes aside, Uryu's refurbished artistic portrayal has bought an entirely new perspective for his character; dignification, reverence and glamour. He is truly of star quality wearing that white cloak and that contriving demeanour speaks a volume of austerity and prudence. Just what exactly is our Quincy boy scheming?

Upon making his grandeur entrance, most Sternritter seem to be in the unknown creating a lot of confusion for both them and fans alike. To clarify, the panels shown of both Bambietta and Bazz-B with speech bubbles expressing befuddlement are not of those two questioning Uryu's identity in particular; rather the congregation vocalising their concern. With that aside, Yhwach's decision to appointment an unknown man his successor completely stupefied even the most level headed of soldiers.

What did he say?
His Majesty's successor?
An unknown man?

Even though there is no objections against His Majesty's word, the level of political unrest fashioned amongst the crowd demonstrates the apprehension of a newcomer that is pit above every other candidate. At least nepotism isn't an applicable indictment here, but the decision made seems to tie into Uryu being this world's last surviving Quincy and him also being the object Yhwach instructed Haschlwath to acquire (Chapter 537, p15). These revelations definitely have an insidious meaning attached and with the assembly drawn to a close, Kubo again maintains that historic impact by capturing the Vandenreich insignia on the banner high above the podium; Nazi Germany does incorporate as an effective theme amongst the Sternritter.

For Namesake

Character development for the Sternritter was almost reaching critical and at long last, Kubo has put some names to some faces.

Uryu Ishida石田 雨竜
(Uryū Ishida)
JapaneseA for Arrow
Jugram Haschlwathユーグラム ハッシュヴァルト
(Yūguramu Hasshuvarudo)
Of GermanB for Bane
C for Camoflauge
Askin Nakk Le Vaarアスキン ナック ル ヴァール
(Askin Nakku Ru Vaaru)
Of FrenchD for Dimension
Bambietta Basterbineバンビエッタ バスターバイン
(Banbietta Basutābain)
-E for Electricity
As Nodtエス ノト
(Esu Noto)
Of GermanF for Fear
G for Gravity
-H for Handicap
Cang Du蒼都 (シャントゥ; Tsantu)ChineseI for Intoxication
Quilge Opieキルゲ オピー
(Kiruge Opī)
Of SpanishJ for Jail
(Bē Gē Noin)
GermanK for Knight
M for Magnetize
Driscoll Berciドリスコール ベルチ
(Dorisukōru Beruchi)
Of ItalianO for Overkill
Berenice Gabrielliベレニケ ガブリエリ
(Berunike Gaburieri)
Of ItalianQ for Question
Jerome Guizbattジェローム ギズバット
(Jerōmu Gizubatto)
-R for Roar
Masked De Masculineマスク ド マスキュリン
(Masuku Do Masukyurin)
FrenchS for Supersize
NaNaNa Najahkoopナナナ ナジャークープ
(NaNaNa Najākūpu)
-U for Usurp
V for Vice
Loyd Lloyd and Royd LloydLの ロイド ロイド/Rの ロイド ロイド
(L no Roido Roido/R no Roido Roido)
-Y for Yourself

There is an evident cultural diversity spread out amongst the Star Knights known thus far, with names stemming into various languages from around the globe. For namesake reasons, Kubo demonstrates a sense of flexibility and creativeness when it comes to constructing the names of the Quincy antagonist and they definitely seem suited to what is little known of their personalities thus far.

Next Emperor

Among the Sternritter, a few have been placed in a position of sheer bewilderment following Yhwach's announcement; particularly Bazz-B who has a lot left to be desire in regard to the previous exposition.
The mere notion of a newcomer appointed as successor outrages him, Bazz-B just can't keep quiet about this. While rushing off to express dissent towards His Majesty, even Bazz-B does not head the warnings of the other Sternritter despite how his actions will demonstrate a lack of respect. This goes to show that not all of the Star Knights express sycophantic devotion to His Majesty as once though and Kubo manages to add depth to the ones that do express confusion.

Appearing out of no where, Haschlwath attempts to discourage Bazz-B from proceeding any further. The altercations between these two has left an interesting point to consider.

Most of the Sternritter would have had no problems with Haschwalth as his successor.

Even Bazz-B agrees that Uryu's selection was an outlandish one above Haschlwath, who evidently commands more respect from the many Sterrnritter within the Vandenreich forces. That aside, Haschlwath himself believes that it is not his position to go against Yhwach's decision and this makes perfect sense.

Yhwach was the one who originally instructed Haschlwath to acquire their "object" Uryu and it seems awfully grey to think that Yhwach abruptly place a knife in his subordinate's back, despite what appears to be a close relationship. In the grand-scheme of things, it is almost as if Haschlwath is in the know of Yhwach's motives and as mentioned before, there seems to be deeper meaning here, even with Askin acknowledging him as the Next Emperor. While his words may be suggestive of a coup to usurp the throne, given that Haschlwath acted on direct orders when bringing Uryu to Vandenreich, it surely seems as if he has placed faith in Yhwach; particularly when Haschwalth even discouraged Bazz-B's initial objection during the assembly.

There has also been an attempt to consider Bazz-B and Haschlwath as the "Grimmjow" and "Ulquiorra" of the Quincy. Rest assured, this seems to be an uncouth contrast of the four, particularly when the comparisons made are mostly pre-mature, droll motifs shared between many of Kubo's characters.
Mostly cursory, lacking variety.Expressive.
Dispassionate; predominantly without emotion.Humane and with emotional variety.
Nothing but allegiance towards Aizen.Perceptive of others.
Disrespectful; his own strength mattered.Revered Haschwalth.
Disregarded Aizen and his establishment.Only demonstrated distaste for Yhwach's decision thus far.
That aside, Kubo introduces a peculiar Quincy onlooker, high above who is heavily amused by the squabble below. This fellow is quite an interesting one and is somewhat reflective of a shaman or witchdoctor with that staff of his. In speculation; those black shades might also suggest blindness, while that sounds a little outlandish, the staff protruding out from behind the pillar looking downwards almost seems to be the onlooker "viewing" the altercation through the eyeball.

Both of you should put a stop to this fight, particularly you (Haschwalth), it will be nothing but "poison".

Askin's comment also strikes another interesting point, the quotation of the word "poison" arouses the notion that fighting Haschwalth would only bring poison. This seems to be evident foreshadow of either Haschwalth's epithet ability or perhaps something more, even though it is completely vague at this point, the knowledge of this definitely leaves open for Kubo to convey something exciting in the future.


Uryu is quite camera shy in this chapter and while kneeling pensive in front of Yhwach and the ceremony now complete, a newly evoked power will soon begin to awaken. All the more while, he will be receiving the Holy Letter "A", just like Yhwach. This somewhat brings an answer to how Yhwach exactly assigns these characteristics to his Sternritter, particularly after Quilge had revealed this concept some sixty chapter back. While the power up Uryu will receive seems quite acute, it is mostly welcoming for him after some miserable advances in the past.

After many months [strike]patiently[/strike] waiting for a Vandenreich orientated chapter, Kubo has again done justice for his antagonists by furthering the character development and progression behind them. The insight from behind enemy lines was unmistakeably evocative and intricate in a way that captured not only the establishment of the Sternritter effectively, but also various intricacies that clue in and foreshadow the advancement of His Majesty Yhwach's plans and motives for the up and coming war.

10/10 :thumbs

August 2013: Jethro Lukarikate(21 votes) (retired September 11, 2014)
Second place: NeoPlatonist (10 votes)
Third place: B. Haddrell (9 votes)​

Hello and welcome to the NCIS/ NCIS: LA Fan Club. Here its anything and everything NCIS/ NCIS: LA!
Just getting this started so its a little bare at the moment. Don't be afraid to come up with topics/ideas for the FC!

Please remember, if you do post spoilers please put it in a spoiler tag as some people may be as far ahead as others.
On another note, if a discussion involving any pairing comes up, please remember to keep it friendly. No bashing on anyones choices!

Please remember to follow General Fan Club Rules

Owner: Jethro Lukarikate
Co-Owner(s): Vacant

1. Akito Kinchi
2. Polgarena

Getting to know the shows a bit:


The Plot:
Spans through 10 seasons (11th begins September 24th at 19:00 on CBS)
NCIS follows a fictional team of Naval Criminal Investigative Service Major Case Response Team (MCRT) special agents headquartered at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. It is described by the actors and producers (on special features on DVD releases in the United States) as being distinguished by its comedic elements, ensemble acting, and character-driven plots.
NCIS is the primary law enforcement and counterintelligence arm of the United States Department of the Navy, which includes the United States Marine Corps. NCIS investigates all major criminal offenses (felonies)—i.e., crimes punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice by confinement of more than one year—within the Department of the Navy. The MCRT is frequently assigned to high-profile cases such as the death of the U.S. president's military aide, a bomb situation on a U.S. Navy warship, the death of a celebrity on a reality show set on a US Marine Corps base, terrorist threats involving U.S Naval and Marine Corps weapons, personnel and/or installations, and kidnappings of Navy and Marine Corps personnel and/or their dependents.
The MCRT is led by Supervisory Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon). Gibbs’ team is composed of Special Agent and Senior Field Agent Anthony "Tony" DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), Special Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray), and Special Agent (former Mossad liaison officer) Ziva David (Cote de Pablo), who replaced Caitlin "Kate" Todd (Sasha Alexander) when she was shot and killed by rogue Mossad agent Ari Haswari (Rudolf Martin) at the end of season two. The team is assisted in their investigations by Chief Medical Examiner Donald "Ducky" Mallard (David McCallum), his assistant Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen), who replaced Gerald Jackson (Pancho Demmings), and Forensic Specialist Abigail "Abby" Sciuto (Pauley Perrette).
It is revealed, through flashbacks, that the head of the MCRT before Gibbs was Special Agent Mike Franks (Muse Watson), who led the unit when it was part of the Naval Investigative Service (NIS), the predecessor agency of the NCIS. Franks recruited Gibbs shortly after Gibbs' retirement from the Marine Corps, eventually retiring himself some years later. After Franks' departure, Gibbs recruited DiNozzo from the Baltimore Police Department's Homicide Section. The two were briefly joined by Vivian Blackadder (Robyn Lively), whom Gibbs recruited from the FBI. In the second part of the NCIS pilot, Blackadder allowed her emotions to nearly derail an anti-terror operation in Spain. Gibbs is noticeably disappointed; Blackadder is not present in the series' first regular episode, replaced by Caitlin Todd, a Secret Service agent who joins Gibbs' team after resigning from the Secret Service. Todd is eventually killed in the line of duty in the season two finale, and is ultimately replaced by Ziva David, who from season three to season seven is the Mossad liaison officer who eventually gains American citizenship and becomes a full agent. McGee first appears as a Field Agent assigned to the Norfolk Field Office. He uses his computer skills to aid the MCRT in subsequent investigations through the rest of season one, until he is officially promoted with his own desk at the Navy Yard in the beginning of season two.
NCIS is currently led by Director Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll). The first director seen in the series, Thomas Morrow (Alan Dale), left after being promoted to Deputy Director of the Department of Homeland Security. Jenny Shepard (Lauren Holly) was appointed director after Morrow in the first episode of season three, the first NCIS director to be in the regular series cast list. After Shepard was killed in a shootout at the end of season five, Vance—who was assistant director of NCIS before her death—was seen as acting director after her death and was promoted to take her place.

The Characters:

Leroy Jethro Gibbs: (Mark Harmon)
The Special Agent in Charge of the Major Case Response Team (MCRT). He was a sniper in the United States Marine Corps, achieving the rank of gunnery sergeant, until 1991 when his first wife Shannon and daughter Kelly were killed by a Mexican drug dealer. Gibbs killed the drug dealer in Mexico, after being told by Special Agent Mike Franks where to find him, and joined NIS, later renamed NCIS, initially training under Franks. After Franks' retirement, Gibbs became the agent in charge of the MCRT. He has been married four times, but is currently single, which is often referred to on the show. He also has a difficult relationship with his father. Gibbs and Director Jenny Shepard had a romantic relationship in the past, shown through the use of flashbacks, and he has had several romantic relationships with various recurring female characters throughout the show. He is seen as somewhat of a fatherly figure to Abby and later to Ziva. Due to his senior status at NCIS, he has also carried out tasks at a higher level, such as becoming a temporary acting director for the entire agency.

Anthony DiNozzo Jr. (Michael Weatherly)
The Senior Special Agent of the Major Case Response Team at NCIS. He is a former Peoria, Philadelphia, and Baltimore police officer and detective. After working on a case with Gibbs while he was a detective with Baltimore PD, he discovered his best friend and partner was a dirty cop and quit from the police and joined NCIS in 2001. Ducky considers DiNozzo to be a younger version of Gibbs, using his "gut" to solve cases (e.g., in the episode "Collateral Damage"). Considered a notorious womanizer, his behavior even irritates the females he works with, although his behavior has been shown to change as the character developed. DiNozzo is a movie enthusiast and often uses movie references when discussing a case, which annoys and irritates his co-workers.

Ziva David (Cote de Pablo):
A Junior Special Agent on the Major Case Response Team since season seven. For her first four years in the show, she was a part of the NCIS team as a Mossad Liaison Officer. David replaced Special Agent Kate Todd, who was killed by David's half-brother, Ari. She later killed Ari to save Gibbs' life; by doing so she earned Gibbs' trust. In the season seven premiere, "Truth or Consequences", David is rescued from North Africa by Gibbs, DiNozzo, and McGee, where she had been held captive during a mission for Mossad. David eventually returned to the U.S. and resigned from Mossad, subsequently becoming a probationary NCIS agent and a US citizen, and then a full-fledged agent.

Abigail "Abby" Sciuto (Pauley Perrette):
Is a forensics specialist working with the Major Case Response Team. She has an affinity for goth fashion and a passion for Caf-Pow, a fictional high caffeine beverage. She has a close friendship with McGee, and claims to be Gibbs' favorite.

Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) :
Is a Special Agent on the Major Case Response Team. He has a degree in computer forensics from MIT and a degree in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins, and, along with Abby Sciuto (with whom he was briefly intimate and remains close friends), acts as the team's technology specialist. McGee was originally assigned to the Norfolk Naval Base, but became a permanent team member at the end of the season two opening episode, "See No Evil". Often called "Probie" by DiNozzo, despite no longer being a probationary. Under the pseudonym Thom E. Gemcity he is also the author of a best-selling book using characters based on members of the team.

Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen):
Replaced Gerald Jackson as the assistant to Dr. Mallard. Originally credited in a recurring role, Dietzen has been credited as "Also Starring" since season six. He is promoted to series regular for the tenth season.

Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard (David McCallum):
Is Chief Medical Examiner assigned working at the NCIS headquarters. He spent some time as a medical examiner in Vietnam, Bosnia, and Afghanistan with the Royal Army Medical Corps before working for NCIS. One of the longest-serving members of the team, he was close friends with Jenny Shepard and is best friends with Gibbs.

Leon James Vance (Rocky Carroll):
First appears in the episode "Internal Affairs" as assistant director in season five. He is named director after the death of Jenny Shepard. It has been revealed in the episode "Knockout" that he was originally from Ohio, but grew up in Chicago where he trained to be a boxer. In this episode, his wife stated that Vance attended the United States Naval Academy and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, but was forced to take a medical discharge before ever serving due to having undergone surgery to repair a detached retina suffered during his boxing career. However, at the end of the episode, Ducky reveals to Gibbs that Vance's close, childhood friend who had died just prior to the start of the episode also suffered a detached retina. In the course of this episode, Vance also revealed that it was this friend who decided that Vance should leave Chicago while the friend stayed behind. Vance said this despite his insistence to Gibbs that his friend was a Marine though there was no record of his friend's service in the military.

In 1991, just prior to joining NCIS, Vance was a student at the United States Naval War College in Rhode Island. His coursework at this time included Combat Philosophy and Advanced Cryptography. It was during his time at the War College that he began to take an interest in black operations and even imagined one himself: Operation Frankenstein, which would later play a big part in the season eight finale. NIS took an interest in him and he was hired for an operation by Special Agent Whitney Sharp for an operation in Amsterdam codenamed Trident. Vance was trained by Sharp and left after a six-week training course for Amsterdam where he met his handler, Riley McAllister. McAllister told him that the target of the operation was a Russian intelligence operative who was known to Vance only as the Russian. NIS believed that he was bribing sailors in return for intelligence. Vance later met Eli David, a promising agent of the Mossad, who told him that he knew of the operation and that the Russian would kill him. Later, Eli betrayed Vance to the Russian but it was revealed that it was so that he would try to kill Vance sooner so that he could kill him himself. Eli also told Vance that he had been chosen because he was expendable and that he was not someone who would be missed. Eli and Vance kill the Russian's hit team but the Russian manages to escape and Eli is unable to find him or who he was for that matter. Vance was credited for the elimination of the hit team and he started to rise swiftly through the ranks at NCIS. He kept believing along with Eli, that Amsterdam was not what it had seemed and they came to the conclusion that there was a dirty agent in NCIS, the one who had really tipped off the Russian of Vance's mission. It was later revealed that McAllister had masterminded the entire operation: being an expert in Russia, he had seen that the Soviet Union's collapse had laid attention away from Russia and onto the Middle East. Knowing that new attention to a potential Russian threat would throw him in the spotlight for Director of NIS, he had planned to have Vance killed by a Russian operative so as to show that Russia still posed a threat and so that he could satisfy his ambitions.

Notably, Vance took over for Jenny Shepard during her leave of absence between "Internal Affairs" and "Judgment Day," establishing himself as a formidable presence with Gibbs and his team. He and Gibbs clash during this span, prompting a cold war between them which ends with a détente between the two of them in "Agent Afloat" at the start of season six; however, the two of them clash later on, as Gibbs feels he cannot fully trust Vance, though he cannot identify a specific reason why. Vance spearheads the investigation into Jenny Shepard's death, and is angered greatly when he is not kept in the loop by Gibbs and Mike Franks, who ultimately manipulate the situation to exonerate Shepard from her past failure, not what Vance had in mind. After Shepard's death, and possibly before, he lobbies the Secretary of the Navy hard to take over NCIS, as told in "Cloak", but in "Semper Fidelis" the Secretary of the Navy informs Gibbs of a major operation which will require Vance to serve as its head, and that NCIS and the Navy will need Gibbs and Vance to get along, to which Gibbs is not comfortable but appreciates the situation. Things come to a head in "Aliyah," when Gibbs accuses Vance of selling out his team to Mossad Director Eli David, to which Vance responds that Ziva was a plant, used to get Mossad a foothold in NCIS through Gibbs. Worse, Vance also reveals that he knew about the true story of the death of Ari Haswari. After this, the two of them realize that circumstances will prove one of them right.

At the start of season seven, Vance approves Ziva's transfer to NCIS, proving that Gibbs was right, and Ziva was loyal to NCIS. Despite his professional attitude towards Gibbs' team, he shows that he does care about them at least once when Alejandro Rivera threatens Abby in "Spider and The Fly". He tells Alejandro to leave before he gets hurt and when Alejandro asks by who, he replies angrily: "By me."
Even after the events of "Aliyah," Vance has been shown to still be in official contact with Eli David in David's capacity as Director of Mossad. This is shown when he receives a text message on his phone from Eli which says only: "I found him". Vance also refuses to discuss an phone call from Eli with Gibbs, despite knowing how dangerous Eli is, and his precarious relationship with Gibbs and his team.
Upon being promoted to the director's position at the end of season five, Vance immediately goes to former Director Shepard's office, and is seen to shred a single mysterious document from his own personnel file. It is later revealed in season six ("Semper Fidelis") that the document was written by his supervising agent at the time. The Secretary of the Navy tells Gibbs that the file is a fabrication and that he thought all copies had been destroyed. It is further revealed in the season eight episode, "Enemies Domestic", that the head of the San Diego field office, when Vance was assigned there, had begun creating a legend for Vance that incorporated fictitious information about Vance in order to backstop a deep cover assignment, including the false information that Vance had been a pilot and director of a field office.
Leon Vance had a wife, Jackie, who was killed in the season ten episode Shabbat Shalom, and has two children; a daughter, Kayla, and a son, Jared. He met his wife while attending a University of Maryland basketball game while Len Bias was playing.

Vance is also a recurring character on the NCIS spin-off, NCIS Los Angeles.

In the season nine finale, "Till Death Do Us Part", the bomb blast at NCIS headquarters occurs with Vance's whereabouts unknown. In the season 10 premiere, "Extreme Prejudice", it is revealed that he had survived, relatively unscathed along with Gibbs and Abby. In the season 10 episode "Shabbat Shalom" Jackie is shot and dies in surgery. Eli David, the head of Mossad and Vance's good friend, also dies in the episode.

Caitlin "Kate" Todd (Sasha Alexander)
Was a Junior Special Agent of the Major Case Response Team for seasons one and two. Initially working as a United States Secret Service agent, she resigned and was offered a job at NCIS by Gibbs. She was killed in the season two finale, "Twilight", after being shot in the head by double agent Ari Haswari (Ziva David's half-brother).

Jenny Shepard (Lauren Holly):
Was director of NCIS for seasons three to five and formerly Gibbs' partner (and lover). She was killed in the season five finale, "Judgment Day", at a deserted restaurant in the middle of a desert.

Tobias C. Fornell (Joe Spano):
Is a senior FBI Special Agent. He has a daughter with his ex-wife, who was previously married to Gibbs. Gibbs and Fornell have a spiky camaraderie and frequently have meetings in a stopped elevator while pretending to their respective staffs they are furiously arguing. In fact, after sharing a somewhat adversarial relationship early on, the two now share a close friendship.

Thomas Morrow (Alan Dale):
Is director of NCIS for the first two seasons. He resigns as Director of NCIS in "Kill Ari (Part I)", after being offered a job at the Department of Homeland Security and is succeeded by Jenny Shepard. Morrow later returns in season 10, beginning with the episode "Chasing Ghosts," still employed with Homeland Security.

Mike Franks (Muse Watson):
Was a retired special agent with NIS and long-time mentor to Gibbs, whom he still calls Probie. He is also close friends with DiNozzo and Jenny Shepard. He loses his trigger finger in "Rule Fifty-one" but claims that he "can still pull the trigger with [his] thumb." In the season eight episode "Swan Song," he is murdered with a scalpel by Lt. Jonas Cobb, the "Port to Port Killer", though he appears in the episode as a ghost-like figure who interacts with Gibbs in Gibbs' memories as he recalls the events leading up to Franks' murder. In the season nine episode "Life Before His Eyes" and season ten episode "Damned If You Do" Franks appears in Gibbs' hallucination.

NCIS: Los Angeles:

The Plot:
Spans through 4 seasons (5th season begins September 24th at 20:00 on CBS)The series follows the exploits of the Los Angeles–based Office of Special Projects, an elite division of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service that specializes in undercover assignments.

The Characters:

G. Callen (Chris O'Donnell):
Is an NCIS Special Agent in charge of the Office of Special Projects Team stationed in Los Angeles, reporting directly to the OSP Operations Manager Hetty Lange. He was introduced in the series' backdoor pilot, "Legend" from NCIS. He and Lange first met three years prior to the start of the series, as revealed in the Season 1 episode "Identity".

While his friends address him as "G", Lange refuses to do so, saying, "It's not a name, it's a letter." She instead addresses him as "Mr. Callen" ("Identity"). Callen once served with his good friend Leroy Jethro Gibbs, who now works at the NCIS Headquarters located in the Washington Navy Yard. Callen specializes in deep undercover work.

Callen had a troubled past. In the episode "Pushback", it is revealed that Callen had lived in 37 foster homes starting from the age of five. He sometimes moved every few days, and the longest he ever stayed in one place was for three months at fourteen, when he lived with the family of a Russian girl named Alina Rostoff (who he called "little sister"). It is revealed through flashbacks in the season two finale that Callen spent at least part of his childhood on the Romanian coast of the Black Sea. It is revealed in "Identity" that he is called "G" not because he dislikes his first name, but because he does not actually know what it stands for, as the system never told him.

Kensi Blye (Daniela Ruah):
Is a Junior Field agent on the NCIS Office of Special Projects Team stationed in Los Angeles. (Not much on her that was needed to know aside from this)

Marty Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen):
Is a member of the Los Angeles Police Department who has been to law school and passed the California State Bar Examination. He accepts the position of NCIS/LAPD Liaison Officer at the end of the episode "Hand-to-Hand", in which he co-operated with the team when their investigation overlapped with his undercover operation. However, his position as Liaison Officer is not always effective given his less-than-friendly relationship with other LAPD officers, getting brushed off on multiple occasions and stating in the episode "Fame": "you know how it is with undercover cops. I've pissed off more than my fair share of shields".

At the end of his second appearance, "Fame", he tells Kensi that he will be going on a long-term undercover assignment and Kensi seemed disappointed by this. In the same episode, it is revealed through conversations between Hetty and Callen that they do not actually need a liaison officer, but that Hetty has been watching Deeks for some time and her true intention is for him to eventually become an NCIS agent. This is eventually revealed to him in the season two episode "Imposters" when Hetty presents him with a set of completed and signed NCIS application forms. In the same episode it is revealed that Marty's given name is Martin A. and that he was born January 8, 1979.

Samuel (Sam) Hanna (LL Cool J):
is a former U.S. Navy SEAL (retired with the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer (E-8) from SEAL Team Five out of Coronado, CA) working as a Senior NCIS agent. He is tough and great friends with G. Callen, and very curious about Callen's past. He speaks and reads Arabic, using it to assist the team with translation and conversation when dealing with Arabic intelligence, and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the Qur'an, although it is not shown what particular religion—if any—he espouses. He still lives by the Navy SEAL code of conduct, and has a strong sense of honor. In several episodes, including "The Gold Standard", Sam is suffering from coulrophobia (fear of clowns).

Sam is an extremely determined individual. It was revealed that Sam's dream as a child was to become a SEAL team operator, and that prior to enlisting in the Navy he did not even know how to swim.

It was revealed that Sam has at least two children, including one daughter. He is highly protective, even going so far as to tail his daughter for a month when she first started riding the school bus. Callen is aware of their existence and is even called "Uncle Callen" by Sam's children.

Eric Beale (Barrett Foa):
Is a NCIS technical operator and intelligence analyst stationed in Los Angeles with the Office of Special Projects. He often takes calls from Director Leon Vance from NCIS Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
He is very geeky, and like Detective Marty Deeks, enjoys surfing (twice standing his surfboard too closely to Hetty's car) and internet social networks. He, like Nate, often fails at attempts at humor. Hetty also disapproves of his attire (typically shorts and flip-flops and, on occasion, pajamas) but tolerates it due to his skills.
In the episode "Absolution", he is revealed to be German American, and takes at least partial offense from the team's remarks regarding Germans in the episode. Other than Hetty, he is the only team member shown to wear corrective eye-wear.
He is the main connection between agents in the field and OSP headquarters, often manipulating traffic cameras and hacking into networks and satellites in order to gain an advantage for the agents.

Nell Jones (Renée Felice Smith):
Is Eric's partner as an NCIS analyst. She has a red pixie cut hairstyle and is of small-medium stature (being able to wear a Hetty-sized sweater—just barely—in the episode "Disorder"). In the episode "Harm's Way" she demonstrates at least a functional knowledge of written Arabic when she is called upon to translate the contents of a terrorist laptop.

Henrietta "Hetty" Lange (Linda Hunt):
Is the Operations Manager at NCIS in Los Angeles. She was introduced in "Identity", the first episode of NCIS: Los Angeles as a stand-alone series.
In spite of her small stature, the other characters find her intimidating, not least of all because of her colorful past; she has had many encounters, liaisons, and relationships with past agents (referenced in "Missing") and Hollywood greats such as George Hamilton and Frank Sinatra. She is a fan of Lady Gaga, stating that she "will always love the Gaga." Hetty's favorite beverage is tea, to such an extent that in "Bounty" she approved a mission in Afghanistan after Callen and Sam promised to bring her back a bag of tea leaves. It was revealed in the episode "Disorder" that she had been assigned to the Los Angeles office since before December 2008.
According to Hetty's NCIS personnel file, which is accessed by Nell and appears onscreen in the second season finale, "Familia" Hetty:
~currently holds the position of OSP Operations Manager;
attended the Defense Language Institute and is fluent in Russian, German, Mandarin, Spanish, Czech, Romanian, Hebrew, Arabic, Hungarian, and Pashto;
~earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Sorbonne;
is a graduate of the Ecole de la chambre syndicale de la couture parisienne;
~is skilled in Hapkido, Wushu, and Eskrima;
~won a bronze medal competing in the small-bore rifle event at the 1964 Summer Olympics, held in Tokyo, Japan
~is a recipient of the Defense Intelligence Agency Award of Merit and a CIA Intelligence Star;
~is a member of the Order of Orange Nassau;
~had a prior career in motion picture and stage costuming;
~is a published novelist;
~is a pilot;
~holds the women's senior division record for the ascent of K2; and was born on February 29, 1948.

One of the last surviving Cold Warriors, Hetty has unparalleled access to contacts throughout the intelligence and defense communities, which she does not hesitate to exploit when required for the success of a mission or to protect the lives of her agents. Her reputation has taken on an almost legendary aspect; it is such that the mere mention of her name is often enough to strike fear into those who have heard of, but never met her. She has an extensive list of aliases, as evidenced by multiple driver's licenses seen in a locked drawer of her desk, as well as several others hidden in a private safe deposit box.
She also subscribes to an older unwritten code of conduct, evidenced by her disgust at the new generation of Russian agents who have "broken all the rules" by killing innocents (Season 2 episode "Deliverance").
Hetty sometimes exhibits a maternal instinct towards her agents. When her agents were in serious danger in the episodes "Ambush" and "Found", she used her considerable political capital and her aforementioned contacts to pull out all the stops in rescuing them (such as convincing SECAF to authorize a F-22 Raptor fly-over of the militia camp).
Like Eric Beale, she is fond of Abby Sciuto, and when the latter visited the OSP operations center, Hetty points out to the other agents Abby's ability to "be functional and stylish at the same time". When Deeks was shot and there was no one to call, Hetty told him to put her down as his next of kin in the future.
Hetty is deeply affected by the line-of-duty death of an agent, and has twice resigned (albeit unsuccessfully) from NCIS. The first was in 1999, when a promising young NCIS Agent (Sullivan) she had personally recruited was later killed when attempting to infiltrate a militia group.The second time was following the death of Agent Dominic Vail in the Season One episode "Found". Although she delivers her resignation letter to Director Vance personally, it is later returned to her by Callen, who had picked the Director's pocket to recover the letter. Hetty does eventually resign in the penultimate episode of season two, and is replaced by Senior Agent Lauren Hunter as the new Operations Manager.

Owen Granger (Miguel Ferrer):
The new Assistant Director of NCIS, previously fulfiling the position that was held by Leon Vance before he became the new NCIS Director.

Fan Club Questions:
1. Why do you like NCIS/ NCIS: Los Angeles?

2. Who is your favorite Character from each show?

3. What would you say your favorite episode is from each show?

4. Thoughts on any episodes from the past?

5. Thoughts on future seasons?

September 2013: NeoPlatonist (8 votes)
Second place: Otome-san (7 votes)
Third place: Nick (6 votes)​

Following the huge uproar over Marechiyo Ōmaeda's recent return to manga prominence, I felt it only fitting that we explore his many positive attributes and hidden assets. Few know of the true nature of his Zanpakutō...

October 2013: Franco (7 votes)(retired on November 11, 2014)
Second place: NeoPlatonist, Saiyan5ninetail (tied with 6 votes)
Third place: Kurogasa, Gohara, FlareglooM (tied with 5 votes)​

I agree with B. Haddrell.

Everything's got a lot to do with the history, since at first, the Gotei was made up of hired killers roaming the landscape ala the Seven Samurai - only without the village to protect. Or maybe they protected villages sometimes on the side too, I dunno.

Just like our history, it's not hard to imagine that the shinigamis also started out as a primitive society - meaning it had to take a lot of bloodshed and general roughhousing to make the rules that they have today. We know that the first group of the Gotei 13 started out as a bunch of cold-blooded killers. We also know that most of Seireitei is dirt poor, with bandits everywhere. So, it's possible the Gotei began as a protection system against these guys before evolving into the military force we know today.

I mean, with all kinds of souls coming into Soul Society, someone's bound to be a colossal douchebag. And likewise, someone's bound to try and stop him. And so, the informal shinigami police force was born.

And then, when the Hollows came in and started attacking these Rukongai people, the task of taking care of them had to fall to the early Gotei 13. So, they trained butts off, and after a lot of trial and error ("How do we kill these things anyway? Stab them? Blast energy explosions at them? Throw stones at them? AAAAH DON'T EAT ME PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE AHHHH"), they got better at killing the Hollows and the random pickpocket. Then, when they saw that Hollows liked human meat too, they got it into their heads to protect the humans too. So, they did - and they got better at it too.

Another thing that may have happened was the civil wars, as B. Haddrell already mentioned. Someone had to take control of the place after all - and just like how it always is in human society, it's not always just one guy who wants to do that. So, bam, civil wars.

Then, somewhere along the way, some guy named Nimaiya was born (or rather, died and went to Soul Society) and figured out a way to imprint your spirit onto your sword. So, the zanpaktou was born.

When that happened, shikai and bankai were the next power-ups on the list, since we all know how much these zan spirits just love saying random gibberish like "Oh, you're actually getting better at this thing. Want to get stronger? I can show you how" and then putting you through a lot of hell before saying anything even remotely useful. I can imagine that it must have been such a shock for whoever was the first shinigami to hear the sword talking back to him/her.

But yeah, that's basically how I think things started for them. They might have had good intentions at first - you know, saving the world and all that hero crap - but of course, with great power comes great hired killers. In their attempt to protect everything and assert themselves to everyone, maybe the lines between survival and control got way, way blurred for the shinigami. They may have started out as the Justice League, but look at where they are now - killing off entire races all for what? Control? Protection? Who knows, really.

But in the end, who can blame them, eh? They're still human souls. It happens.

November 2013: Andygoesrawr (10 votes)
Second place: Minerva (9 votes)
Third place: NeoPlatonist, B. Haddrell, Otome-san (tied with 8 votes)​

So with this latest chapter, it was pretty much confirmed that the races of Bleach fit the realms of reincarnation in Buddhism. They would fit like this:

HumanHumans (no surprises there)

But, I'm continuously finding myself having trouble figuring out where Zanpakutou fit anywhere. To me, they must be their own race since they have their own mind, body, and spirit which are separate from the Shinigami's. Kubo does often just refer to Zanpakutou spirits as "Shinigami powers," but there must be more to it. As we learned from the Quincies stealing the Shinigami's Bankai, even without their inner Zanpakutou they can still use the rest of their powers.

This is where the crack comes in. I think that Zanpakutou are actually sinners from Hell. I believe that Hell is actually similar to the Dangai, being an intermediate area where souls are kept to be fused with incoming good souls to become their inner Zanpakutou spirits, serving them until death as their weapon. As such, the diagram would be this:

HumanHumans (no surprises there)

This would explain why only some souls have the ability to manifest Zanpakutou (because there was a sinner waiting to be fused to them). Of course, the sinners would also forget their past like the Shinigami, which is why they don't still act like insane criminals.

The main reason I thought of this was because of the amount of Zanpakutou which reference hell and other mythological beings associated with suffering, etc. Of the 14 Bankai we've seen, 2 of them directly reference Hell (in name alone, there are more in terms of ability names and appearance), and 4 more reference wrathful beings. Zanpakutou also fit very nicely in the diagram of the six realms, explaining why Zanpakutou and Hollows seem to be so easily compatible, whereas once a Shinigami gets Hollowfied (as in, once a hole opens in their chest) they explode from Soul Suicide.

Also, most Zanpakutou have an animal to represent them. That doesn't really fit with Shinigami, since they're first and foremost entirely human. However, both beasts and Hollows are animalistic, so it would follow that Hell beings should also be animalistic. Of course, not all Hollows are animals, so it would be the same for Zanpakutou. They're just animalistic in appearance but (unlike Hollows) not in nature.

Ultimately, this would mean that there are 5 types of being. Humans and animals are the same, living in the same realm and such. I mean, humans are animals after all. Y'know how Kubo is with the number 5 these days.

December 2013: Polgarena (9 votes)
Second place: Kurogasa, Franco (tied with 7 votes)
Third place: Belias (4 votes)​

I know that Kubo most likely doesn’t know almost anything about Slavic mythology, but since there are some common elements between Bleach and Slav lore, I decided to type something about it. Since Quincies are associated with vampirism, due to the blood element, I’ve thought about it and tried to put it in the structure of Slavic mythology. There are some other, I hope, interesting elements I tried to think about too, based on my, (not so big), knowledge about “my own” Slavic folklore, and based on the one book/encyclopedia I have. I’ll be writing about vampires, wolves and angels.

But, before I start, I’d like to say my thanks to those who made this possible - NeoPlatonist, who was so kind to make crucial structural and linguistic changes to this post, and Minerva who has assured me that it would be good to post this, and sent me a link to this interesting color spread that many of you know, with Ishida Uryuu as a vampire:

First of all, it’s widely known that vampires are beings that originated from Slavic folklore, out of which they spread mostly to the Western Europe. Today’s picture of vampires, although it has some key elements from the original one, was pretty much changed due to the sensationalism of the press from 18th and 19th century.

I’ll start with Quincies, (but I have another theory too). These are the facts: a vampire is a corpse revived due to favorable circumstances, one of them being a shadow. If a shadow of a walking man has passed over a corpse, it’s very likely that the dead shall raise once again, entering the state of vampirism.

There is a critical period of 40 days after the death. If the “to become” vampire drinks enough blood in that period, he won’t be obliged to return to his grave, to which he/it always returns.

A vampire does not separate from his coffin shroud, otherwise he/it will loose its powers and in the end – disappear. During the day, he/it is pretty much harmless, and the only way to completely get rid of him is to completely burn him down, reducing him to ash, because impaling him isn’t the perfect solution.

One thing to note too, is the fact that the “spread of vampirism through bites” does not come from Slavic mythology, and therefore isn’t true, since vampires originated from it.

I haven’t found other ways of becoming a vampire, but it is said that a vampire will be “born” from a corpse of a dishonest (crooked, devious), dissatisfied (displeased) and those people who died from a violent death.

You must be asking yourself – how the hell does this connect to Bleach and Quincies?

Here is how. Vampires are bound by the world of shadows, much like Wandenreich Quincies who profit in a shadowy terrain are, and I don’t remember any member following this thread of connection between the two beings. But, the other few connections I see are far more interesting, as they are related to the Quincy King, Juha Bach (Yhwach).

“The Shadow only hides the chosen ones.” Quincies and vampires.

Bach, and especially him, is bound by his grave spot, his coffin, the Ice Palace in the Shadow Territory, which he can’t leave for a longer period of time. Sure, Sternritter and Soldats can’t do this either, but it’s Bach who especially can’t stay away from his grave spot for a long time. The very best connection is a dead man’s shroud, which Bach never separates from. Although he has been seen without it (in the scene where he and Uryuu look over the battle from the Ice Palace), most of the times, Bach is clad in blackness of his cloak.

- His throne, his grave spot.

- Out in the open, in the fight.

That’s it for the Quincy and vampire connection, because, while writing and thinking about this, I’ve thought of something else too.

What if Hollows can be thought of as vampires too?

The connections are pretty weak in this case, but there’s the critical period of 40 days I’ve mentioned above. By this criterion only, I could say that there’s a scent of vampirism when it comes to Hollows, who live in their own realm, living differently then the rest of people in Bleach universe. Some could, upon dying, immediately pass away to the Soul Society, but some stay and linger in the Human World, being unable to leave their life behind. Those souls stay human for a safe period of time, but in the end, if they do not get Konsoed by a Shinigami, they end up being devoured buy a Hollow, or – when “the safe period” ends, they become Hollows, beings of the night, themselves.

Hollows aren’t human, and neither are vampires. They are the dead, left to roam around the world in an unending search for blood, power, food and what not.

But, Minerva’s theory of Hollows being Zombies holds much more water. :)

Many have already spoken of the wolf lore in Japanese and overall Eastern culture, connecting some dots to the western image of werewolves. I’m not sure if they originated from Slavic mythology, but there sure are some interesting facts on wolves that can be related to the Komamura clan.

As cited in my encyclopedia, a werewolf is a man who has a wolf form, a being turned into a terrifying blend of a man and a wolf, which is actually a demon with bloody eyes covered with wolf fur.

The main difference with the vampires is that it is primarily a werewolf man alive, and they will remain as this transformation has ended , which sort of contradicts with what we have in Bleach, where Quincies (vampires) are alive and Komamura’s clan is dead.

It is thought that a werewolf can be recognized even in human form at some characteristic signs, such as the hairy palms, connected eyebrows or the same length of the index finger and middle finger, and the demons in the human form can be recovered if you touch some metal, such as iron, steel or silver. This is pretty much known.

The important thing here is that werewolves are older (demonic) mythological beings than vampires. Komamura’s great-grandfather spoke of how they had outlived numerous world holders remaining the same in nature.

And, I don’t know what kind of relevance it may have, but I’ve found a quote about a picture that werewolves are beings that eat the Moon (another important symbol in Bleach).

On the matter of wolves.
The wolf in Slavic mythology is a being full of contradictions. He is the totem in which force and protective power Slavs trusted, and also a taboo demonic creature that should not be mentioned, especially during wolf holidays in the fall (Autumn) and certainly never at night.

According to Čajkanović (an author who wrote about Slavic mythology), the wolf is the embodiment of the supreme god of Serbs (the protector god), whom he considers to be Dajbog, sometimes personified as a lame wolf or a lame Daba; latter name may be derived from just Dajbog's names, because later, under the influence of Christianity, the name was attributed to the devil.

There is also a very long time ago written belief that is both interesting and scary. The Slavic neighbors were convinced that all Slavs sometimes turn into wolves! [Even Herodot wrote about a tribe called Neuri/Nervi and it’s members turning into wolves during the wolf holidays, believing that it’s a tribe in the region of Russia, but it’s more likely that it was a tribe down the river Neretva on Balkans.]

Are Komamura of Slavic origin? – now that’s pure crack!

The most important thing here, connected to Komamura Sajin is this – wolf is both chthonic (demonic, lunar) and solar creature. There are many beliefs that equate dogs and wolfs, saying that they are just two sides of the same coin. Can antropomorphic Komamura be thought of as a dog, because of his kind nature, seeing that his fully human form is the one driven by the revenge, thus being the demonic side of the coin? Is Bambietta not that far off calling Komamura “a doggie”?

For the end, I have left the Shinigami. The angels. Even though you can say that they cannot possibly be related to Slavic mythology (since they’re based on Yokai, of purely Japanese origin), I have found some very interesting characteristics that connect Slav angels and Shinigami in Bleach.

First of all, Angels shine with bright beauty, they are eternally young and ordinary people and sinners cannot see them. Shinigami have the visible and the invisible Reiatsu, the spiritual pressure; they age at a slower rate; and they cannot be seen by the ordinary people, except for those with higher spiritual ability. The basic task of Angels is protecting humans, and to do so, they always, without an exception, carry a sword - a Zanpakuto for Shinigami.

The interesting stuff comes with terminology.

I don’t know the special names for ancestors in other cultures, but in my (Slavic based) culture, there is a name for a male ancestor of the seventh knee (wording?!), called Askurđel (Askurdjel). When this name is separated, it’s elements AZ and KURDJEL have a meaning of “the ancient, divinely ancestor”, and we all know that Shinigami souls were once in the Human World, so they are the ancestors which protect their generations of offsprings. (Askurdjel from Slavic mythology can be related to a very well known Angel of Death, Azrael.)

And, in the end, here is one of the old Serbian/Slavic sayings, which meaning you can all interpret very well:
The cross guards me to the midnight, all the Angels from the midnight.

Congrats if you managed to find your way through this wall of text and thank you so much for reading! :D

Winners in 2014

January 2014: Minerva(9 votes) (Retired February 2015)
Second place: bliz (8 votes)
Third place: NeoPlatonist (7 votes)​

Since we're all still waiting for Kubo to share the goods on what Mayuri is poking on, I thought I would take another look at the censored interview.

For reference, here is the panel in question:

Also for reference, here is the censored interview in both the original Japanese and Viz's translation:
Please note that the censored XXXs are the same on both versions. What we're looking for is something with the correct number of Japanese characters (i.e. we need three-character words or phrases to determine what Kubo said he drew).

For background:

We know that these bodies came from Szayelaporro's specimen vault, which is the thing he wants to protect -- in essence, his heart.
That means that these bodies are very important to his research.

We also know that he was a weapons researcher.
His most important ability was Gabriel, a means by which he can revive himself if killed. It entails fusing himself to his target's body, draining the target's life force, and rebirthing himself; it will normally kill the target.

Knowing that his most important ability requires the participation of another soul, we might make an educated guess that our two bodies here are the specimens that inspired his work on this most important ability.

Please note that the arms of both figures are not visible even though they should be hanging down; the figures are dangling by their wrists. We are dealing with gigai, modsouls, or similar artificial creations, not actual corpses.

Q: What was that thing hanging in Szayelaporro`s lab?
Kubo: Oh. XXX. I drew a XXX and a XXX.

Q: (While looking back through the book) Oh! Huh?! It is! I can tell it`s a XXXX!! (LOL)
Kubo: I appreciate that reaction. (LOL)
Now, since we know the interviewer can tell exactly what it is once told, we shall start with the obvious.

To our left is a tall figure wearing what appears to be close-fitting body armor (something similar to what Yoruichi wears) and boots. To our right is a shorter figure wearing what appears to be hakama and a loose cape or haori.

We need something three-characters long for each figure. If we know that one is wearing hakama, that greatly reduces the options for that figure. Except for the Arrancar, all souls we have seen who wear hakama are Shinigami variants. At their most basic level, what are they? A Plus (プラス), which does fit for XXX.

But what of the other figure? If one figure is a Plus, then the other figure must be a being most unlike itself: a Minus. For our purposes with this interview this might be a Hollow (ホロウ) or the more powerful version written by Kubo as Menos (メノス). To be specific, what we see when we look at the bodies is the extremes of power for each kind. A powerful Plus will become a Shinigami; the most powerful of them will become captains, even join the Royal Guard. A powerful Hollow will evolve to become a VL.

This then is consistent with what we see: a haori-wearing Shinigami (a Plus) and a VL in their usual body armor (a Minus).

Thus, we have:
Q: What was that thing hanging in Szayelaporro`s lab?
Kubo: Oh. XXX (研究室, "the laboratory"). I drew a XXX (プラス, "Plus") and a XXX (メノス, "Menos").

Q: (While looking back through the book) Oh! Huh?! It is! I can tell it`s a XXXX!! (LOL)
Kubo: I appreciate that reaction. (LOL)

I would like to thank HolyDestroyer for discussing this with me at great length, and NeoPlatonist for proof-reading and making suggestions. :thumbs

February 2014: Polgarena(6 votes)
Second place: B. Haddrell (5 votes)
Third place: B. Haddrell (4 votes)​

Beautifull postings, everyone! :victorious

I agree with you, mikeezoua. Opie did resemble a proudful Quincy more than some others. Also, we have Bach’s words, that Uryuu would soon prove he’s more than worthy on the battlefield.

We know now that Bach came from what his people called him. We do not know if that is his real name. It’s a common belief that to know someone’s true name is to have power over them. Perhaps Souken passed that knowledge on to Uryuu? If he did, what use would that information be?
Recently I proposed that if no one else, Ichibei should know Bach’s real name; maybe not from the beginning, but if he would ever have the chance to meet him, Ichibei would be able to read Bach as an open book.

* * *

I have finally finished the mini-comic. The idea about it popped in my mind when David.J reminded us that the Valentine's Day is to come soon. It grew from a simple drawing into a 3 page comic-book. It's all hand drawn and coloured. I've been working on it for 5 days, and I'm exhausted! I'll never again complain about chapters, now I completely understand the amount of effort mangakas put in their mangas.

Here it is, it reads from left to right:

The decyphering:
The title... Well, lets just say I didn't know how to name it.

1. I'm very proud of this one, as I really like how I managed to draw Ishida's eye here.
2. I pictured this one as Ishida looking at a sunrise peacefully, as a parallel to how Ryuuken watched the moon near the end of EBtR mini-saga.
3. I'm particularly proud of the one with Uryuu's legs, I think it's very Kubo-like. :XD
4. If you don't know what this one means, it's sunlit Uryuu, matching the words about Sun being the spotlight.
5. Initially, I wanted to draw dolls, but it turned out to be a bunch of different people. Only then I relised it might be that Uryuu designed their clothes. I very much like the gentleman in a suit, with a hat.
6. and 7. That's Ishida sewing - I just had to incorporate that somehow! :XD
8. The Sun mentioned here should be read according to Isshin's definition of the Sun. :XD
9. You can't imagine what amount of problems I had drawing Katagiri!!! At one moment I was so mad, that I stopped working on it. :mad But, I hope it turned out good. I'm usually terrible at drawing hands, but I can screw things like this too...
10. That's Uryuu battling what should be a representation of Yhwach, with a traditional bow and arrow, even if the arrow looks like a Christmas tree. :XD
11. Nakama power!!! That's enough said. :D
12. I just wanted to draw Uryuu as a beautiful, peaceful man. He holds the heart in his arms, it being his power, and the thing he wants to protect. (Heart-shaped wings are just a detail, since it's Valentine's Day. :loveheart )

That's it, I hope you like it.
This one is for Bleach Asylum!

March 2014: Senbonzakura (8 votes)
Second place: B. Haddrell (7 votes)
Third place: Zeta42 (5 votes)​


Lets list what we have learnt from this chapter:

1. Yachiru's Abilities: Is it really her shikai?

Kubo showed her powers in two different ways in this chapter.

First, Isane's reflection of Yachiru's shikai; she found it to be something quite different from anything she has ever seen. In yachiru's case her sword itself did not transform and instead seems to have created two separate beings. Isane feels that such a shikai should not exist. So, what can we make out of it?
The most obvious answer is that she has a constant release shikai and her normal zanpakuto has a different look, or it may be something Kubo has not yet revealed. But how could she create completely separate beings without her katana changing at all? this is a question that we need to ponder on ( and even the constant shikai does not explain this )

Secondly, The new SR seems to be completely mocking Yachiru's abilities and has made them look pretty average. Now, after all this hype in the first few pages whats up with this sudden change of mind? Is this another one of those Kubo specials?
or does Yachiru's power has something very secretive behind them which has not yet been revealed.

2. Cloaked Boy: Can he Manifest his Imaginations?

So, we again have a new SR ( or do we? ).
This one seems to be a little boy, close to Yachiru's age but has a very distinctively unlikable personality. He seems to be able to make his fantasies become reality. He seems to have killed both Kensei and Rose with just imagining that they are dead. But if that is true, then why doesn't he imagine every shinigami to be dead and end this bloody war. Why does he need to take orders from Yhwach, if he is so powerful. That means his powers have some major weakness. Is it because if he somehow dies, then all his imaginations that had become reality would disappear. So then we seem to be having a chance of getting back Kensei and Rose.

But even so this is not a weakness, it is simply a lacking of his powers, he could simply imagine them dead and then he could actually kill them with something real. If this is another Kubo Troll
then it will be dissapointing but if its not then I will be really interested in seeing what can counter such an ability.

There is a possibility that his imagining powers are limited to only the products of his imagination. That is he can create thing or beings with his imagination and then control them according to his will. But again, if that is what it is then it would be safe to assume that both Kensei and Rose are dead and will remain dead.

3. Guenael Lee: What is he?

I mean literally what is he?
Is he even a sternritter, or is he as the cloaked boy said a product of his fantasy. If that is so, then the true SR 'V' could be the boy and must have been using him to fight others. We saw that Guenael actually turned against that boy, suggesting that the boy doesn't have full control over his actions and feelings. This does seem to be the only solution ( to me ) from what we learned in this chapter.

4. Kenpachi Zaraki: What can be his new power?

Finally, kenpachi arrives to save the day.
But we learned quite a bit from the two panels that included him.

First, we saw that Kenpachi could SENSE yachiru's reiatsu which he actually was very poor at. So, his new power buffs have suddenly taught him to sense reiatsu? Interesting, I want to see how Kubo pulls this off. :aha

Secondly, he seems to have got his eyepatch back. Why? Does he think the SRs are worms compared to Unohana, and can take them on without a bother? Well, if he does then we can safely assume that he has got an ENORMOUS power buff.

Finally, Kubo is facing him off against someone who abilities are a sharp contrast to his. Is this new guy a fodder to him, i wouldn't like to see that because that would be a complete waste of such an interesting ability. If he is not a fodder, I think we can say that Kenpachi's new power will be something that could counter the boy.

Either way the next chapter should be 'A BLAST'!!!

April 2014: B. Haddrell (11 votes)
Second place: NeoPlatonist (9 votes)
Third place: B. Haddrell, timmyjingoro (tied with 8 votes)​

The underlying topic of Bleach is the conflict between Shinigami and Quincies. We discovered together with Ichigo and his friends step by step how deep, how serious this conflict really is. This includes how little any of them knew - about the Soul Society, about the Quincies, about the Hollow world but also about each other and sometimes themselves.

With each conflict in Bleach`s history, more was at stake and people got deeper involved. The on the surface straight forward "rescue Rukia" story was about much more than that. People like Ichigo, like Uryuu learned about the Soul Society first hand, the good, the bad and the ugly. Especially Ichigo started the process of awakening this stagnant, ancient society and that includes the revelations around Aizen.

When I look at the Espada and compare them with the Stern Ritters, I also see people who have been used and manipulated. Some of them got good background stories in the form of flashbacks but not all of them. Some were short lived and were killed when they were no longer needed in the story. A few survived, being put on hold in Bleach until they can be useful in the story again. Nevertheless, who are the good and bad guys in spite of a lot of grey areas was obvious.

The Fullbringer arc is a stepping stone into this latest one. I don`t consider it to be a real arc of its own.

I think a lot of people are missing the point when looking at the last arc. This is not a war of good vs. evil, one side deserves to win and the other one should - what? Die? To me it is obvious that there is no way this war can be won with battles alone. The choice is, stop fighting or both sides will die. Mutual Assured Destruction. Or, maybe, drastic measures will be used eventually, as it has already been hinted at with the arrival of the hollow pills. There is the possibility of using weapons of mass destruction on a scientific basis, something that could wipe out all Quincies, something that would lead to the death of all infected Shinigami too. Is that desirable? And what would that do to the balance of the worlds?

Tite Kubo is giving us mixed messages on purpose, in order to manipulate our emotions. At the beginning we have seen how powerful, how inhumane, monstrous Quincies are. Shinigami were shown as noble warriors or helpless victims of a ruthless force. But at the same time Tite Kubo already pointed out certain developments that disturbed that image, like the secret mass execution of Rukongai citizens.

We learned a lot about the true nature of Bach. I think it is very likely that we still don`t know the whole story but it shows very clearly that the true villain here is Bach and that he is a much darker character than even Aizen. These ruthless, monstrous Quincies are revealed as villains but also as victims. What Aizen did to the Espadas was bad. What Bach does to the Quincies is much worse.

I agree, I also think Stern Ritters like Mask and Aes Noedt were examples showing us that Stern Ritters are strong but can also become dangerously unstable. And when that happens, when they lose control of themselves, they become weak and vulnerable when faced with a strong oppponent.

Tite Kubo needed time to build this cruel world of the Quincies, giving us an idea, a feeling of how these Stern Ritters, these people live together. With that knowledge we can try to understand how both sides will react to whatever developments Tite Kubo has in mind. After Tite Kubo de-humanized the Quincies in the past I hope we will indeed be left with a handful of Stern Ritters who will be part of the cast that will somehow end this war, bringing both sides together.

Therefore, yes, I think we should "give a damn" about these guys. I am not only saying that because, eventually, we might get more flashback scenes. It is important to be aware of it of what might have been. Knowing about their fate could help to save others to end in a similar way.

May 2014: NeoPlatonist(7 votes)
Second place: Kurogasa (6 votes)
Third place: Suharu, NeoPlatonist (tied with 5 votes)​

Thanks to wowzers & chapin for the Spoilers, and to Belias for posting them so quickly. Thank you luneth22 & Andygoesrawr for the translations. Thank you DraMas26 for posting the Chapter link, and a special thanks to all who moderate and contribute to the Forum. :thumbs

Full of surprises, this Chapter had so many different elements that I enjoyed. There was Ichigo. Then fun banter with Kenpachi. Then Ichigo. Then the Femritters using Heilig Pfeil. Then Ichigo again. Ywhach subterfuge with Haschwalth and Uryū talking about Ichigo. Intrigue with Askin which might or might not have been about Ichigo. And then... did I mention...

Ichigo! :love

I very much enjoyed the opening banter. Zaraki SMILED??? Yes, I do believe he smiled. I've modified his response here just a wee bit...
Now, Ichigo's TV Medical Show question of "Can you stand?" made me smile. What is he now, a Paramedic? I think Captain Clueless really should have received a more seriously sarcastic response...
Alas, it was not to be, as Kenpachi rightfully pointed out there were much bigger fish to fry. The Fab Femmes Four!

My first surprise of this Chapter was that Ichigo actually fought them. There was a lot of speculation last week that he would not. I thought he might give them a punch, like he did in Chapter 152 with Sasakibe, Ōmaeda and Isane. And that he did indeed do. Wow, did he ever! His speed at grabbing Candice's wrist was stunning. He flung her like a rag doll. Then bam, the other three were introduced to concrete.

As Willster328 points out - it looks like Giselle has snapped her neck. It also appeared to me to be love at first sight!
The way Giselle adjusts it back in place reminds me a great deal of Quilge Opie, and made me wonder if Blut Vene/Arterie strength was involved.
After tanking Candy's [STRIKE]silliest name ever[/STRIKE] "Galvano Blast" we get an admirable closeup of Ichigo's foot... What is it with Kubo and shoes???
Ah, but along with that came a much needed explanation of how it is he can now fight women. Sort of. With all the hoopla surrounding his previous distaste for battling with women, I guess we needed something before he started wailing on Liltoto...

But that was just a set-up! My second Surprise of the Chapter was Ichigo's new duds. :wha
Now as Andy, and many others have pointed out - he appears to be wearing wristbands which later disappear. They may be nothing at all, of course, but call me Mr. Crack, because they reminded me a bit of this image from Chapter 402:
So, I am still wondering if Senjumaru outfitted the Royal Trainees with some sort of protective membrane that shields them from things like Yhwach Contamination and Zombie infection too! :zomg

I am slowly, [STRIKE]don't quote me,[/STRIKE] beginning to enjoy these ladies. I like that, so far, they have not had a mental breadown. I like that they utilize teamwork. I like that they make fun of each other. And I like that they have gadgets! :wha

Surprise number three was when they punched their hearts, which then flipped up into the air and transformed into bows. Heilig Pfeil! What a fun trick. Each bow resembling their signature abilities. Lightning Bolt for Candi, Bones for Gigi, Teeth for Lil... and umm.... stylized somethings for Meni-Me.
There was additional character development here, as we now see a pattern with Liltoto being the sensible one who reads the Daten, Giselle is just a ditz, Candice is a totally vain hothead, and Meninas is.... uh.... TBA.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Girls this week, and what they revealed not only about each other, but also about Ichigo. And the Battle continues, it is not yet over. As Andygoesrawr first pointed out in his post here, it is most likely that this week's Chapter Title "The Headless Star" is in reference to Bambietta. So my best guess is she will be arriving to complete the Star-Squad, and possibly soon.

As if Ichigo were not enough for my enjoyment, there was the Fourth Surprise of seeing Yhwach step onto the high tower of Silbern. His flowing hair and the view from above were excellent IMO. And, even though it's only from the back, something about him seemed revitalized. I could almost see a quickening spring in his step.

The Fifth surprise was the biggest of them all. Askin. Decision time. So many possible theories here: "Aizen in disguise," "Son of Aizen," "I Was a Teenage Aizen," and the list goes on. D for Dimension, Decision, Deception, and Disguise. Your guess is as good as mine, but the added Palace Intrigue was the topper for me. Does the Chalice from the Palace hold the Brew that is True? :jk

It is fascinating that Askin is hiding right by the gates of Silbern. He is the Spy-er near the Spire. Just for fun I created this perspective on his vantage point:
If you couldn't tell, I had a good time this week. :D I look forward to the possible return of Bambietta, the reveal of Uryū, the continued maneuvering of Askin, and so much more. It was great to see the Hero, fun to be surprised, and the art, as always, was stellar.

June 2014: Sariniste(7 votes)
Second place: NeoPlatonist (6 votes)
Third place: Gohara (5 votes)​

This was such an amazing chapter that I am breaking my year-long silence to review. Apologies for the super-long post, but this chapter is so rich and complex there was a lot to say... :)

It is a spectacular example of what makes Bleach so special. The artwork was top-notch and once again Kubo excels at depicting emotions in only a few strokes of the pen. Additionally, the parallels to earlier chapters are striking. There are a lot of details in this chapter that I have a feeling we will be returning to again and again. I suspect some strong foreshadowing here. This chapter was clearly very carefully thought out and drawn.

First, this wonderful opening panel:
All of their expressions are extremely in-character. Ikkaku is grouchy, Yumichika striking a beauteous pose, Byakuya aloof, Hisagi intent and focused, Renji brash and defiant, and Rukia serious like a vengeful goddess. I continue to be impressed with how much personality Kubo imbues all his characters’ expressions.

Notice also that these are the first six shinigami that Ichigo faced in the very first arc of Bleach. Kubo is bringing everything full circle.

Facing them and representing the Sternritter, a solo panel of Bazz-B. Look at that expression! :wtf

Then again we get one of Kubo's famous finger panels, but this time instead of burner finger we simply get a count. A nice visual gag, followed by Bazz-B’s “not even enough to fight 1 vs 1” line that is hilarious because it echoes fan comments that have occurred and reoccurred as Kubo sets up his fights. He's breaking the fourth wall very subtly here, and I really appreciated it. :rotflmao He also uses this to give us a clue in his ongoing guessing game “Who are the SWP?”: Now we know none of the six shinigami here are either of the remaining two SWP. :) I think most of us knew that, but it's good to have it confirmed.

Ikkaku makes the first move on Bazz-B with the destruction of a few more buildings. But then Bazz-B lifts up a new weapon – a crossbow! – and we get a great shot of his facial expressions, first one filled with battle lust and then shock at being trapped in a block of ice. Loved seeing Rukia taking the lead on this one. Her cocky phrase is a familiar one in this manga, but I don't think I've ever heard her saying it before. A great combination of novelty and familiarity.

Then the familiar banter between comedy duo Ikkaku and Yumichika. Another flashback to the early days of Bleach that made me lol. :lmao

Bazz-B shakes off the ice, but his hand is again featured at the center of the page, but this time his fingers look oddly foreshortened, as though cut off at the tips. A nice counterpoint to the earlier panel of his fingers, visually demonstrating how he has been weakened.

But then Liltotto is the voice of reason and she brings them all back to their main purpose. There is a rhythm to this battle; Kubo is building it up like music, point and counterpoint. Just as in the earlier panel Rukia stated the primary defensive goal of the group, here Liltotto is taking on the same role and stating the primary attack role of the Sternritter.

Then we get the crescendo and that fantastic title page. Look at how carefully it is drawn, and notice the similarities between the groupings of figures.
They remind me of chess pieces here. The white figures of the Sternritter taking on the attacking role above, echoed by the black figures of the shinigami in the defensive role. Look at how similar the shape of Bazz-B’s face is to Renji’s, the shape of the eyes, the nose, the arm positions. Bazz-B is showing berserker attack frenzy, and Renji the grim determination of the defender who gives his life to protect his world. Then we have Rukia backing Renji on his right just as the unnamed Sternritter backs Bazz-B on his right. Nice parallel there too.

Then we shift to the climactic scene of the chapter, Ichigo taking on Yhwach. Ichigo faces the Quincy tower with the tiny figure at the top. Could it be Uryuu? Note the inverted cross is in strong focus here (NeoPlatonist has got me thinking about Kubo’s use of cross symbology lately). Echoes of satanic symbology? :hm

Then we get the next page where we see that no, it's Yhwach who stands at the top of the tower of evil. (Note again the chess metaphor of the castle or rook.) Haschwalth moves forward in his dragon role, echoing that of Tousen’s (“I’ll kill them”). But instead we see a foot, marked again with a cross (but one where we can't tell whether it is inverted or not)… then a dark figure who surprises Haschwalth.

The sudden arrow fired at Ichigo, who deflects it easily.

Now we come to my favorite page, the emotional center of the chapter.
We see again the tower, but now the tiny figure is in the center of the tower, directly above the inverted cross. Note the parallel and echo with the earlier shot of the tower, where we saw Yhwach on the left-hand side, therefore indicating he was not the primary focus of this chapter. But Uryuu stands in the center, indicating that this is Ichigo's true battle: to face his friend who is now the enemy.

Then the brilliant drawing of Uryuu’s face. Look at all the emotions in his expression. Determination, grimness, sorrow, despair, fire, killing intent. Wow. The ambiguous cross is displayed at his throat: one can't tell whether it is inverted or upright, just like we can't tell Uryuu’s true allegiance yet. His heart is shrouded by the Quincy cloak he wears.

The next page focuses on the close-up of the conflict between the two friends. This is heartwrenching for Ichigo. It's not surprising that it's so emotionally wrenching, but it's still painful to watch. You can imagine the depth of his despair and anguish. His guiding principle is to protect his friends, but here we see potentially the deepest and most emotional conflict of the story. What will he do if to protect some of his friends he must attack others?

Uryuu tells Ichigo twice to "go home." An odd statement, considering that he must know that Ichigo can never go home, and would certainly never back down from the battle. Then he says, "You… can't stop His Majesty." Others have said that the phrasing of this is interesting, almost as though it's implying that “you” can't stop him… “but I can.”

And we have the echo with Gin and his certainty that he was the only one who could stop Aizen. Just as Gin warned Ichigo away when he stood at the top of another tower in the FKT arc, so does Uryuu caution Ichigo in his own cryptic fashion not to stand against Yhwach.

Then he raises his (old!) bow and fires Licht Regen at Ichigo. This is fascinating for many reasons. Tekken13 and Willster328 made some very insightful posts on this topic already:
I noticed that Uryu can use Licht Regen with his most basic bow now. It signifies his power has grown a lot, though I'm not sure if it's from the time-skip or after receiving a schrift. Also, the scene is symbolic in a way that he is using the very same bow back when he considered Ichigo an enemy/rival. Licht Regen (Rain of Light) is also a befitting technique for this particular scene due to Ichigo's ignorance (contrast to light/knowledge) of Uryu defection and Uryu's sadness, spamming a bunch of scattered arrows with few of them will actually hit Ichigo. Rain=sadness/despair in Bleach.
I still think one of the biggest underrated aspects to this chapter was Uryu's new (old) bow. It's just reinforcement of what I think makes him special, something Ryuuken gave him.

When Uryu got his powers back, he also changed his Quincy cross from the 4-pointed cross to Ryuuken's 5-pointed cross. His bow ALSO changed. And it was at this point that he discovered Gintou and Seele Schneider.

Some images for comparison:

Uryu's Fullbring Battle Bow:

Ryuuken's Bow in the Uryu Battle:

Uryu's Bow Firing at Ichigo this chapter:

Ryuuken's bow when firing at Uryu's heart:

I dont know what it means. But the resemblance is uncanny. And it's worth noting that not all Quincy Bows look the same, yet Uryu's and Ryuuken's do.
I agree that the choice of Uryuu’s bow is very significant here. As Tekken13 points out, and as Willster elaborates, he is able to use Licht Regen with his base bow. This indicates a significant power-up. And he is firing it at his old friend. That indicates that he has said goodbye, that whatever he is doing, he feels it is worth destroying his friendship, threatening the life of his friend, and probably giving up his own.

We see the anguish on Ichigo's face, not at the power that has been unleashed on him but the tremendous sorrow that he feels. But even as he raises his sword to defend himself, WHAM! A huge, unexpected shield appears from nowhere to protect him.

Uryuu turns his head to see who has entered the battle.

And wow, completely unexpected and incredibly epic, it is Orihime, the character who has often been sidelined as weak and ineffective, achieving her resolution to protect her friends in battle with a mighty power-up, strong enough to stop the new Licht Regen, complete with new [strike] and ahem! more mature[/strike] costume, and no incantation or loss of petals on her hairpins when she creates her shield. What a change! Even her hairpins are bigger… :)

Chad is standing beside her in new duds as well, silent support as always.

Then we have another emotional moment between Orihime and Uryuu. Others have said that it was unlikely that Orihime knew who was attacking Ichigo when she stepped through the garganta. She is surprised, and sad. The sorrow and burden expressed in Uryuu’s body language is indescribable.

It is truly farewell to all his friends. What does he know that could cause him to take this irrevocable step? Notice that his figure is always bent over from here on in, even when Yhwach and Haschwalth and Uryuu begin their ascent, so reminiscent of the scene at the end of the Soul Society arc as Polgarena and others have mentioned.

~ I know many have already mentioned how this scene is similar to the end of the Soul Society arc. I can only say that I saw all kinds of reactions from Captains to Aizen, Gin and Tousen, in Ichigo’s eyes. There was Komamura, there was Ukitake, there was Rangiku...
Notice, however, that Uryuu is still in the center of the group of three, thus breaking the parallel in the SS arc where Aizen was in the center, and indicating that Uryuu is the central character opposing Ichigo here. Kubo shows us Uryuu’s bent figure three times, and I am struck by the similarity to the Ten of Wands from the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, depicting “a person overburdened by his enterprise, nevertheless active and on the move, but not seeing past his wands (or obligations).” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_of_Wands)

See the image here:

Uryuu is overburdened by his task, is actively working toward it, but he is not seeing past what he thinks are his obligations. What will happen next? This chapter has a feeling of inevitability, a slow, ponderous trek towards some unavoidable but intolerable conclusion.

When will we find out: what is the meaning of the "headless star"? Does it indicate Uryuu will assassinate Yhwach? Does it refer to the nakama losing Uryuu and his calm, intellectual presence? Or something completely unexpected...?

All in all, this was a chapter rich in action, emotion, and symbolism: Bleach at its best.

July 2014: Andygoesrawr (17 votes)
Second place: Elementalist (8 votes)
Third place: Otome-san, Willster328 (tied with 7 votes)​

I'm not going to get into it much further because it's going to get ridiculously off-topic, but that's a really ignorant way of thinking. Giselle uses a female name and refers to herself as a woman. It's common courtesy to refer to her as a woman. How would you like it if everyone started calling you the opposite gender? It might not bother some people, but for those who spend their life struggling with the fact that their gender and sex don't match it's extremely insulting.

It's called gender identity. The key word here being gender, not sex which is what you're thinking of. Yes, it would be incorrect to say "Giselle is female," but it's not incorrect to say "Giselle is a 'she'." Sex and gender are not the same thing. There's a "third gender" - which is what you're referring to by saying Giselle is a "transsexual" and not a woman - but it's pretty clear that Giselle does not belong to that gender.

But what it comes down to has nothing to do with whether or not it's "correct" or "factual" to refer to a trans person as the gender with which they prefer to be identified. It comes down to treating someone with respect. Some people might think the idea of a man wanting to be referred to as a woman is wrong, but at the end of the day the people who choose to disrespect that because of their own selfish views are the people who are wrong.

I feel really sorry for any trans Bleach fans. This is why we can't have nice things.

Sorry if this is way too off-topic. I like to think that it's still on topic since it's something that people really need to understand as they discuss this week's and last week's chapters. I understand that it's a bit of an overreacting considering Giselle is a fictitious character, but this is a topic that a lot of people don't understand and I feel the need to help educate people about it. Of course, there are still those who just don't care at all, but a lot of people genuinely have no idea whether they should be calling Giselle "he" or "she."

(BTW, this isn't really specifically targeted at you or anyone here - I've been wanting to talk about this since last week's chapter and have been avoiding it because of how contentious a topic it is, but Mangastream's little comment was the straw that broke the camel's back.)

August 2014: Herakles(9 votes)
Second place: GypsyDanger (8 votes)
Third place: hasanalshaikh767 (5 votes)​

Before I even begin with my explanation of this chapter, I would like to point out that this week MangaStream has made their most accurate translation of a Bleach chapter in years. Forgoing all pointless, unnecessary and unintelligible liberties and idioms - their translation was not only accurate, but the dialogue was also comprehensible

After reading through the Japanese scans of 593, I really only noticed one miscue in translation which I only discovered by accident.

To digress, below will by my transliteration of the last four pages of 593, and below that will be some clarifications of particular grammatical functions of the Japanese etc. which is all to my knowledge and understanding of their language.

Into which all of that will be followed by an explanation and summary of the events in the chapter.

Mayuri: How do you do, Captain Hitsugaya?

Mayuri: So how many times has it been now?

私の”薬”は皆 使用者に新しく素晴らしい体験を与えるものばかり
Mayuri: All of my "drugs" are the kind that bestow the consumer with nothing but marvellous new experiences.

Mayuri: Such as supernatural powers; perception; reflexes; courage etc.

Mayuri: As for you, Captain Hitsugaya, you have been given "the power to see the past".

Mayuri: Each time you pass a certain point in this fight...
Mayuri: You return to a particular place in the past.
Mayuri: And that "particular point" is killing me.

Mayuri: What I mean is: if you don't kill me your future will continue on forever, but....

Mayuri: If you do kill me your future will consequently come to a stop.

Mayuri: That's such a dilemma, right?

Mayuri: You wont progress if you don't kill your enemy...

Mayuri: But if you kill your enemy, you go backwards.

Mayuri: It's just that this drug is incomplete, as it only acts on the Hippocampus, part of the brain which controls "short-term memory". Hence why users are unable to recall how many times they have returned to the past.

Mayuri: So travel to the past more than ten times...

Mayuri: And some serious side effects occur.

脳の平衡感覚を司る部位が 三十秒程完全に麻痺する
Mayuri: The area of the brain responsible for your sense of balance will be completely paralysed for about thirty seconds.

三十秒程の麻痺など大した事では無いと心優しい日番谷隊長は思ってくれるだろうが 戦闘中に起きては一大事だ
Mayuri: The kind hearted Captain Hitsugaya probably thinks that thirty seconds of paralysis is no big deal, but it is a big deal for this to occur during battle.

Mayuri: It can be said that side effects are present in any new drug.

Mayuri: This just means that they can't be put out on the market...

さて ここで問題だ
Mayuri: So now, the only question that remains is...

Mayuri: At which point in time do you think I prescribed the drug to you??

Mayuri: You'll receive your answer in the past!

Mayuri: Such as supernatural powers; perception; reflexes; courage etc.​

人知を超えた力 (jichi wo koeta chikara); power beyond human intellect is the most literal translation of this phrase. I have construed this as supernatural powers meaning a power beyond human understanding or a power that goes beyond normal human knowledge.

It does not exactly mean, supernatural powers such as telepathy or telekinesis - just something that regular humans are unable to comprehend.

I think that if Kubo actually wanted to say the drug bestowed actual supernatural abilities upon its consumer, he would use something like: 神技 (shingi) or 神通力 (shinzuriki); which both mean supernatural or magical ability.

Mayuri: As for you, Captain Hitsugaya, you have been given "the power to see the past".​

This particular dialogue has seemingly created a large conundrum in the discussion thread. The first thing that needs to be understood with Japanese is that a lot of their vocabulary is largely homophonic. In this case of 見通す (toosu), there are quite a few meanings associated with this verb.

Denshi Jisho said:
1: to see without obstruction; to see through;
2: to forecast; to predict; to anticipate
Now obviously, the second set of meanings are incorrect based on the context of Mayuri's dialogue. One can not, in anyway forecast, predict or anticipate the past (for the love of god do not argue this with me or I will strangle you).

So if the sentence were to be translated as: as for you, Captain Hitsugaya, you have been given the ability to predict the past... that is just plain wrong and essentially ungrammatical.

In effect this means that the first set of meanings to see without obstruction; to see through are the intended meaning. That explanation is quite vague, so in order to understand this a little better, I consulted a Japanese dictionary for all of you so I can clarify what 'toosu' can mean:

From start to finish, I know that I wont have a break. I see this continually - in other words: I know that my entire day, from morning to night, will be without a break and I can see this clearly.
Meaning, you know for a fact that you will be busy all day.​

A look into the distance wont be obstructed by anything - pretty self explanatory: one's vision wont be blocked when looking out in to the distance.​

To see into things that are unseen to both the human mind and eyes - in other words, to see something or experience something that goes beyond regular sight or perception.​

Now, the first two meanings of 'toosu' do not fit the context of Mayuri's dialogue, meaning that the third listed meaning of 'toosu' is the one that is correct: to see into something that goes unseen by the human mind and eyes.[hr][/hr]
Moving on from that, I will start with my explanation of this chapter. Or rather, rehash it since it was a bit messy and I did not have all the details.

Now, some of you are arguing the Hitsugaya is actually time travelling, and some of you are arguing otherwise. I want to say that you are both right, but I believe that some of you are missing a few key points.

Yes Kubo has thrown around words such as: return back to... and the past, your future etc. But it is important to analyse the context in which these words occur in.

So firstly, we know that Captain Hitsugaya has been stuck in a time loop of sorts. Where similar events have repeated themselves over and over again and this is all because of a wonder drug Mayuri has administered to Hitsugaya.

As explained by Mayuri, this drug affects the Hippocampus in the brain and he even goes on to say that the Hippocampus is responsible for the brain's short-term memory function.

If any one is still unsure of the function of the Hippocampus in the brain, here is an extract from Wikipedia:

Wikipedia said:
Psychologists and neuroscientists generally agree that the hippocampus plays an important role in the formation of new memories about experienced events (episodic or autobiographical memory).[17][21] Part of this function is hippocampal involvement in the detection of novel events, places and stimuli.[22] Some researchers regard the hippocampus as part of a larger medial temporal lobe memory system responsible for general declarative memory (memories that can be explicitly verbalized—these would include, for example, memory for facts in addition to episodic memory).[16]
Due to bilateral symmetry the brain has a hippocampus in each cerebral hemisphere, so every normal brain has two of them. If damage to the hippocampus occurs in only one hemisphere, leaving the structure intact in the other hemisphere, the brain can retain near-normal memory functioning.[23] Severe damage to the hippocampi in both hemispheres results in profound difficulties in forming new memories (anterograde amnesia) and often also affects memories formed before the damage occurred (retrograde amnesia). Although the retrograde effect normally extends many years back before the brain damage, in some cases older memories remain. This retention of older memories leads to the idea that consolidation over time involves the transfer of memories out of the hippocampus to other parts of the brain.[24]
Damage to the hippocampus does not affect some types of memory, such as the ability to learn new skills (playing a musical instrument or solving certain types of puzzles, for example). This fact suggests that such abilities depend on different types of memory (procedural memory) and different brain regions. Furthermore, amnesic patients frequently show "implicit" memory for experiences even in the absence of conscious knowledge. For example, patients asked to guess which of two faces they have seen most recently may give the correct answer most of the time in spite of stating that they have never seen either of the faces before. Some researchers distinguish between conscious recollection, which depends on the hippocampus, and familiarity, which depends on portions of the medial temporal cortex.[25]

One of the "key points" that I had mentioned earlier, is the fact that this is a drug that we are dealing with here. A synthetic medication that affects the body, not something the manipulates space time itself.

So sometime before Hitsugaya's battle with Mayuri repeated itself over and over and over and over and over again, Mayuri prescribed this wonder drug to him and it immediately took affect on his brain, as well as Hitsugaya's short-term memory function.

Then we learn that every time Mayuri is killed by Hitsugaya, time, or rather, Hitsugaya's perception of time returns to a certain reference point. We know this point to be moments before he initially engaged in battle with Mayuri.

Then, the confusion sets in...

When Hitsugaya's brain finally becomes aware of the fact that he is reliving the same events over and over again, Mayuri explains that:

You have been given "the power to see the past". Each time you pass a certain point in this fight... You return to a particular place in the past and that "particular point" is killing me.

So, of all the drugs that Mayuri has created, the drug he has administered to Hitsugaya enables him to "see the past". Now, he is not predicting the past, nor is he actually seeing his past play out as a bystander, Hitsugaya is literally reliving the past in a temporal loop - in this case, I guess you could call this time travel.

But of course it is not actual time travel based on the conditions of the drug:

What I mean is: if you don't kill me your future will continue on forever, but... If you do kill me your future will consequently come to a stop. You wont progress if you don't kill your enemy, but if you kill your enemy, you go backwards.

So here, Mayuri goes on to elucidate that, by not killing him, Hitsugaya's future (and ergo his true perception of time) will continue on as normal. However, if Hitsugaya kills Mayuri, his future stops: meaning that he is subjected to relive the same moments over and over again.

By not killing Mayuri, time continues on for Hitsugaya but he will not advance in battle (meaning he makes no progress), but if he attempts to make progress by killing Mayuri time simply repeats itself for Hitsugaya.

We need to keep in mind that Hitsugaya is under the influence of a drug, a drug that Mayuri created that affects the Hippocampus and the short-term memory function of Hitsugaya's brain. Kubo even drew an entire panel of the brain and hippocampus as well as including the explanation of how the drug works in the very same panel:

So unless this drug somehow enabled Hitsugaya to literally reset time when he kills Mayuri, what Hitsugaya is actually dealing with is a cognitive temporal loop that makes him "relive" event(s) that have already occurred. Again, Hitsugaya's brain has been affected and alongside that, his short term memory (everything that is currently occurring and everything Hitsugaya is currently experiencing at the very moment) is being warped and deluded by this drug.

Everything is occurring in his mind so to speak, or at least, that is what I understand of it.

Hitsugaya is subjected to relieve his initial conversation with Mayuri and then their battle over again when he triggers the effect of the drug after killing Mayuri. This would mean he would have actually had to fight Mayuri for this temporal loop to take places ten times over.

However, the ten times Hitsugaya has relived are simply a construct of his faulty Hippocampus and short-term memory, and ergo, he is able to alter his actions time and time again in order to kill Mayuri in different ways.

So simply, all of it would apparently be a sensory illusion. His Hippocampus is being antagonised by the drug and it simply makes him forget.

Also, if none of you are aware, to my knowledge the brain is actually capable of creating false memories and in Hitsugaya's case: the trigger of killing Mayuri enables him to "relive the past" in a figurative sense where he simply recreates his fight over and over again.

This is until Hitsugaya's brain becomes conscious of what is actually happening and he becomes paralysed and all the more while, it would seem that during this time Mayuri (being the scientist he is) was simply just observing his experiment from afar.

Now, my explanation may not be the best and the wording is more than likely messy with tons of reiterations, and Kubo may even proceed to prove me wrong. But we need to keep in mind that we are dealing with a drug, something that affects the body and not space time itself. And more importantly this is all affecting Hitsugaya's brain and Hippocampus (the part of the brain responsible for short term memory).

Mayuri administers a drug to Hitsugaya and fights him -> Hitsugaya is lead to believe he killed Mayuri -> the effects of the drug are triggered and his memory lapses and returns to a particular point in the past (a time that was probably only a few minutes ago) Hitsugaya proceeds to fight and kill Mayuri ten times over and each time his perception of time has been warped by the drug and put him in something like a temporal loop that occurs inside of his head.

Hitsugaya has been deluded by this drug. He is recreating false events based on one actual event that occurred moments before he thought he had killed Mayuri - which he is now, essentially tasked in finding out when Mayuri actually administered the drug to him.

In short, no I do not believe for a second that Hitsugaya is actually travelling through time, his brain and memory have simply become warped by this drug. It can be said he is time travelling in a figurative sense, but his entire sensory perception has been tricked into thinking he has gone back in time, but really, his Hippocampus is just lapsing.

Sort of like an extreme case of deja vu where he can "see the past" and interact with it.

Thank you.

September 2014: Otome-san (10 votes)
Second place: Franco (7 votes)
Third place: Saiyan5ninetail (5 votes)​

The first post of this thread was the winner, so it is not included in a spoiler. :D

October 2014: Patapon (11 votes)
Second place: Lortastic, Polgarena (Tied with 7 votes)
Third place: Seraphina, Willster328 (Tied with 6 votes)​

Bleach 601 Translation notes - dedicated to all of you who enjoy reading through these long paragraphs of nonsensical tidbits I try to explain. : ) Drop me a VM if there's anything else you want to know.

Couple of things to cover this week. Maybe I should wait till the chapter is actually up on MS but ah well, I can come back and do some edits. Just while all of this is fresh in my mind.

Nimaiya's speech style/Quirks

[General comments]
I have made the concious decision not to make Nimaiya sound like he's from the ghetto or something because besides his quirks I explained above, I feel like his Japanese manner of speech is flippant and witty but neither is it accented or heavily rendered different from standard Japanese.

I had a quick glance through the MP translation just now, and I will suggest that people who enjoy this kind of thing, do enjoy the way Nimaiya's speech pattern is portrayed there because they probably spent a lot of time and effort making him sound like that, but at the same time if you want to read a version that is more standard and sticks closely to the raws, then give the MS one a read through - because I made as close of a translation I could this week and this chapter was slightly challenging but the accurate details should all be there.

The Mangastream chapter hasn't actually been released yet, [STRIKE]and I'm deathly scared that my translation will be changed by the editor to make Nimaiya sound like he's from the Ghetto. [/STRIKE] >_>" I think Nimaiya actually talks reasonably prim and proper (as much as a flippant guy like him can get) , besides his few quirks.

[A lot of the panels of Nimaiya's dialogue have his sentence ending particles written with the english alphabet instead of a Japanese kana.]
Sa (Masculine sentence end particle used for emphasis)
The battle of squad zero officially starts now.
Da Ro(u) (Right? - Rhetorical/Inquisitive)
My turn, am I right?
Dai (Questioning)
What's that s'pposed to mean?
Ne (Interjection/Tag question)
Not Bad!

[He ends a lot of his statement sentences with Sa.]
The battle of squad zero officially starts now.

My sword is // one swing, one kill, y'know?

...and split themselves cleanly in half.

"Sayabuse" is a failed creation.

The ending particle "Sa" functions as a masculine sentence/phrase indicating explanation of obvious facts / to add emphasis.
[Wikipedia] (To read more about particles like Sa and the other ones I have listed above.)

I have translated this as Y'know, but eventually made it y'dig after some opinions from an ms buddy suggesting that Nimaiya is supposed to be more "hip" in character : / What do you guys think? That aside, I have made it a rhetorical "Y'know?/Y'dig' sort of sentence ending in English because I feel that fulfils the equal purpose of emphasizing a point/statement.

[Nimaiya refers to himself as "Chan-Boku (ちゃん僕)"]
.. Which effectively means "Boku-Chan." (Something along the lines of "the cute me" - it's to make himself small and cute) Japanese TV personalities used to use this term a lot back in the day and it had popularity while it lasted.

Who do you guys even think I (Chan boku) am?
My (Chan boku) sword is one swing, one kill.

Use of the -Chan suffix according to Wikipedia
"In general, it expresses that it finds a person endearing."
"Used for Babies, young children, grandparents and Teenagers."
"May also be used towards cute Animals, lovers, any youthful woman."
Nimaiya may find himself endearing sure, but last time I checked he wasn't any of the things described above ie. a baby or a youthful woman.

He is a troll.

Nimaiya's countdown Pun
I think Nimaiya loves his pun far too much, he used it again this week in Chapter 601 so those of you who want a refresher on how his pun works, refer to this explanation [Here] and Andy's one [Here].

Nimaiya called Yhwach by a nickname/his initials
I freaking died laughing. Looool omg. That disrespect.
I'm really grateful to you yo, Y.H
Note that Yhwach is called/read as "Yuuhaa Bahha" in Japanese, so Nimaiya called Yhwach "Yuuhaa".

Nimaiya's sword is called Sayabuse (鞘伏)
鞘 (Saya) - Scabbard
伏 (buse) - To turn over/down a flat thing/card , to conceal/hide (Prevent from being seen or discovered.) [Weblio]

"Put the blade smiths out of business"
The Japanese for the noun "blade-smith" is actually Togi-ya (砥屋) , with Togi meaning Whetstone , a stone used to sharpen/hone steel tools and weapons. (the "Ya" part just means Shop.) So in Japan, they have stores that focus on blade maintenance and keeping them sharp and shiny.

Keyword - 斬れ味 (Kireaji)

Nimaiya says this word a lot, and it refers to the sharpness of a blade / it's cutting ability.
In Edo Japan the cutting ability of a sword was a big deal, and they had "Tameshigiri" to test how well it would cut through various materials.

You couldn't have done something like that without fully understanding the true cutting ability of this blade, y'know?

The cutting ability is so overly high that the blade is too sleek.


Wow I think Nimaiya has got to be my favourite squad Zero member. His overall attitude and demeanor kind of vaguely reminds me of Shinji and the way he talks is so goading and just downright hilarious. Not to mention, he just shut down those sternritter with one slice of his sword and split reishi bullets clean in half. I love those panels. I'm not going to take the sternritters for dead just yet but what he did sure was impressive and clean-cut. The part where he called Yhwach "Y.H" just sealed the deal for me, Nimaiya is a pretty unforgettable guy. He has made one badass sword that is apparently so good it's not even a sword anymore. -.-

We still haven't seen what Pernidas can do. I would like to see that, and his/her face, if possible. (She went on saying "Ru... Rua" in Katakana this chapter but I'm not quite sure what that points to exactly.) In this light, I feel it is yet uncertain whether they are down for good or there is another twist coming up.

I also find Askin's ability very unique, and the way I interpreted his final line this chapter along the lines of, he (Askin) is so embarassed/hateful of his ability that every time he thinks of the reason for Yhwach taking him in, he could just die. A part of him wants to die, out of self-loathing and I'm guessing it may make him slightly manical and reckless (perhaps). An interesting idea to explore, because Askin' could be strong for real and he should see that there is more to himself. He's a sternritter though, and I wonder if that spells anything good for his future prospects :x . He's a really lively character, that's for sure and I like all the un-serious and lively ones.

Askin reminds me of a Lvl.1 F.E.A.R aron, hahahaha. Endure and Sweep!

The colour page is simple and eye-catching, with the Nimaiya's vermillion coloured interior clothing standing out against the darkness and the black button trench he appears to be wearing. Not my favourite colour page of all time, but I like it.

I think that's it from me for now unless something else comes in to my head. I'm so hungry...

Peace everyone. : )

November 2014: Kurogasa (12 votes)
Second place: BlitzKriegKing (11 votes)
Third place: Willster328 (9 votes)​
Silence. Darkness. Solitude. Each has its rightful place in this world. Woe to the man that finds them as his habitual companions, however, as the hand of time will gradually twist them into fiends that will sink into him with barbed fangs, gnawing at his mind with practiced, deliberate malevolence until his sanity has been eroded entirely.

Such was true for normal men, at least, but Aizen Sosuke was no normal man. Indeed, normalcy for him was a bit like the horizon. He was aware of its existence, out there at the furthest reaches of his perception, but there it would forever remain. Even if he were to feel compelled to journey towards it, it would always be a vague, poorly-defined ideal that he could most certainly see in the distance, but would most certainly never reach. That was how it had always been, and that was how it would continue to be.

He couldn't say that it bothered him terribly, not even as he sat bound to his chair with thick, black fabric in the dimly-lit cell in Muken that had become his home. How long had it been since they had placed him down here for treachery, undermining the spirit of the Gotei 13, attempted murder of several officers, successful murder of several more, and conspiracy to murder the “Soul King,” among a litany of other charges? The novelty of keeping time had faded at 183 days, 16 hours, and between 30 and 40 minutes, but if he were to venture a guess now, he’d approximate that it would soon be approaching a year and a half. That left him with a mere 7,304,296 days – give or take – until the end of his sentence, assuming that he served it in full.

They do say that time flies when you’re having fun, he thought wryly to himself.

He was always a patient man, even more so now that he had been granted immortality by his bond with the Hogyoku, but in spite of that he did have to admit - if to no one but himself - that he became rather bored at times. After all, there were only so many schemes he could concoct for his own amusement before the urge to get up and actually do something inevitably crept into him. Truthfully, a part of him – a small part of him – ached with a yearning for stimulation.

His thoughts were interrupted as the stimulation he subconsciously craved was suddenly forced upon him in the form of a distant sound: the grinding of metal upon metal, followed by a languid creak that sent a reverberating echo into the vast expanse of Muken.

Has someone opened the door?

His attention now fully under the command of the person or thing responsible for this sound, he listened intently for anything that might follow. In only moments he was rewarded with a persistent, soft shuffling that gradually drew closer over the course of the ensuing minutes.

Footsteps, he concluded.

Once the shuffling had reached an indeterminate (but significantly closer) point relative to his location, it halted, leaving a vacuum of silence in its wake. He had very nearly wondered why when he became acutely aware of an enormous presence. The air around him became thick, almost charged with it, and he realized that whoever had come was strong. Very strong. Was it Yamamoto Genryuusai? No, it was certainly powerful enough, but it felt somehow different. It wasn’t him. In fact, it didn't even feel like a Shinigami to begin with.

Who, then?

He could neither see nor speak to his visitor, as his eyes and mouth had been bound thanks to a particularly thin-skinned member of Central 46, and so he could do nothing but listen and wait to see whether or not the owner of this aura would reveal himself to him.

Suddenly, his ears were assaulted with an explosive pop and the screech of tearing metal. No sooner had he recognized the cacophony, he felt a disturbance in the air to his right as a large chunk of…something...seemed to sail past him and skid along the floor to a halt a distance away. The soft shuffling promptly continued, creeping closer and closer until it came to a rest right in front of him, causing the curiosity to intensify in the pit of his stomach. Without fanfare, he felt his head jerk forward slightly as the fabric covering his face was ripped off, leaving it naked to the world once more. His eyes had adjusted to neither the poor lighting of his cell, nor the light of the torch held by the figure before him before he heard his voice - a harsh, grating thing that pierced the air just as well as any blade could.

“Hello, Aizen Sosuke.”

“Greetings,” he ground out, surprised at the rasp that had seeped into his own voice from many months of disuse. “I must ask you to wait a moment and allow me collect myself…I should like to converse with you properly.”

“There’s no hurry,” the voice replied. “Take your time.”

Over the next few moments, his vision regained its focus, and he beheld a tall, apparently well-muscled man with a long, flowing cloak of black draped about his shoulders that made no pretense at hiding the bleached white collar of a shirt of some kind poking out from beneath. Studying him in the light of the torch he held aloft, he could see a bold chin, well-defined cheekbones, and a prominent nose perched above a thick black mustache that extended from the surprisingly well-kept muttonchops framing his broad face. Flames danced in eyes of reddish brown - notably lacking any eyebrows to speak of - that peered at him from beneath a mane of wild black hair that hung down most of the length of his back. Aizen was loathe to admit it, but he was an imposing figure.

“...Clearly you already know who I am, but I have not yet had the pleasure. Who might you be, if I may ask?” Aizen began conversationally.

“My name is Yhwach,” the man replied.

Aizen’s eyebrows rose slightly at that.

“Yhwach…? You must hold yourself in rather high regard to take the name of the god worshiped by so many humans,” he noted with an amused smile.

“I’ve been called that for as long as I can remember...I’ve never known another name.” Yhwach admitted. “The people of my village gave it to me when they saw the miracles I wrought.”

“’Miracle’ is simply a word that small minds ascribe to things beyond their comprehension,” Aizen declared with a shrug. “The acts of the strong viewed in the eyes of the weak, nothing more.”

“Hah,” Yhwach barked a short laugh. “You’re right. Making the blind to see, the lame to walk, the weak and sickly to become healthy…even the wondrous powers I carved into their souls…they couldn't possibly have known.”

Aizen studied him for a moment. His expression was inscrutable, but Yhwach imagined that the wheels of his mind were turning tirelessly. From what he understood, this man was quite the intellectual, so it was hardly surprising.

“Then…you are a Quincy.”

It was a statement, not a question. The man’s lips curved in a grin, apparently pleased.

“I had volunteered only a little information…impressive. How did you figure it out?” Yhwach inquired.

“It was simple enough,” Aizen replied with closed eyes. “You aren’t a Shinigami, nor are you a Hollow; I can tell that by a mere glance at your reiatsu. No...you are human, and the only major groups of humans possessing extraordinary abilities are those wielding the hollow-touched power of soul manipulation…and the Quincy. There was a small probability that you were neither, but when you spoke of an entire village possessing wonderful abilities that originated from you, I knew that you had to be a Quincy. In fact…it would be more accurate to say you were likely the first. That is the case, yes?”

Yhwach’s grin widened as he waved his hand casually toward the hunk of shattered iron prison bars that had come to a rest near Aizen earlier. Reishi separated from it and flew toward him, the gleaming particles forming a small platform suspended in the air behind him. He sat down with an audible grunt and made himself comfortable, crossing one leg over the other.

“Very astute of you…the Daten I had collected suggested that you were shrewd man. I see that I was correct. Indeed, I am the Father of the Quincy – my blood flows in the veins of all who bear the name.”

Aizen spent a few seconds watching as the remnants of the reishi particles took their place in his makeshift chair before he acknowledged that Yhwach had said anything.

“Then you are the first human I have encountered that is older than I am,” he observed with some interest. “Older than many Shinigami, in point of fact. When I was perusing the archives during my time as a captain of the Gotei 13, I found records of the Quincy waging war against the Shinigami over a thousand years ago…I assume the leader described therein was you?”

“I was the one that led them, yes.” Yhwach answered, shifting slightly in his seat and crossing his arms before looking past the imprisoned man in front of him and into the darkness beyond. “But…I underestimated the power of Yamamoto Shigekuni and his Gotei 13.”

“A mistake you came to soon regret, I imagine,” Aizen surmised.

“Hmph,” he snorted disdainfully.

“Well, I presume that you and whatever army you’re leading have returned to settle that score, then. By the way, speaking of Yamamoto,” Aizen began, as though just remembering. “Where is he? This place is beneath the 1st division, and I somehow doubt that he would have been inclined allow you past him as anything more than a corpse charred beyond recognition…and I don’t suppose your intention of speaking with me would have made him any more receptive to the idea either. Did you defeat him?”

“Soon enough. The old man is preoccupied with my clone at the moment,” Yhwach chuckled, the grin reappearing. “One of my underlings can perfectly replicate my appearance, personality, and memories. He should keep him entertained, if only for a short while.”

“I see…so then, we've arrived at the question of the hour. What business do you have with me?” Aizen asked.

The Quincy uncrossed his legs and rested his palms upon his knees as he leaned forward slightly, the smile slipping away. The time for small-talk was over; it was time to get down to business.

“I would like you to ally with the Vandenreich,” he stated without preamble.

“The Vandenreich…” Aizen repeated thoughtfully, the word feeling rather foreign on his tongue. “And what is that, exactly?”

“It is my empire, the empire which will lay waste to Soul Society and conquer the so-called 'Spirit Palace.' We could use a man of your abilities; you've already been placed on my list of five Special War Potentials, alongside Kurosaki Ichigo and a few select others.”

The brunette’s right eyebrow rose almost reflexively.

“Kurosaki Ichigo lost his Shinigami powers.”

“You've been in this hole for some time, so it’s understandable that you wouldn't know. He regained them,” Yhwach replied casually.

“If you aren't concerned about that, then you should be,” Aizen answered.

“Doubtful,” the older man spoke with a dismissive wave of his hand. “As of this moment, he’s engaged in battle with my Executive Hunting Captain in Hueco Mundo. If Opie has managed to stall him for this long, then he won’t be a threat until he’s already in the palm of my hands.”

“That way of thinking is exactly why I’m here now,” Aizen remarked, glancing idly at the black wrappings that bound the rest of his body to the chair.

Yhwach declined to argue that point further and chose instead to guide the conversation back to the matter at hand.

“That’s all well and good, but I’m not here to talk about Ichigo. Will you join me?”

The younger man paused, regarding him in silence for several long moments before finally speaking.

“And…why…would I do that?”

“The Shinigami imprisoned you. Surely you want freedom. Surely you want revenge – seeing Seireitei crumble beneath our boot heels and the Soul King lying dead at our feet.”

The smile that had been on Aizen’s lips for nearly their entire conversation slipped away. He no longer seemed amused, but neither did he seem angry. He simply stared at Yhwach wordlessly.

“What’s with that face? You look like you have something to say.” the Quincy prompted.

“You honestly think that I would bend the knee to you,” Aizen intoned.

He spoke as though the thought of it were completely incomprehensible to him. Yhwach’s brow furrowed and he rested his chin upon one hand.

“Why not? You’ll achieve your objective, and you’ll have your freedom from this pitiful cell. I would even grant you Quincy powers to replace the Shinigami powers you lost. It seems like a good deal for you, doesn't it?”

“If that is what you believe, then I’m afraid that you don’t understand the first thing about me. You are wasting both my time and your own,” Aizen said simply.

Yhwach grasped at one of the thick shocks of hair that adorned his face and stroked it thoughtfully.

“What do you mean? Explain yourself.”

“Isn’t it obvious? Your desire is to destroy Soul Society.”

“Yours isn't?” the Quincy questioned, now somewhat befuddled.

Aizen wore a look that flirted with confusion, but didn't wholly commit to it.

“When did I give you the impression that it was?”

“What is it, then?" Yhwach urged, now growing impatient.

“To rule.”

“I’m afraid that’s going to be impossible,” Yhwach informed him with a shake of his head. “Once I’m done, nothing will remain of the system set up by Shinigami…only the Vandenreich will be left standing, and I will stand at its head as I usher in a new age. But, I know that you hate the Soul King as much as I do, so I can offer you the consolation that you will at least see him perish. You will have to abide by my rule, however.”

“You truly are a thing deserving of pity,” the detained man lamented with a sigh.

Yhawch glanced at him questioningly, waiting for him to elaborate.

“I failed to reach my objective, and so you thought I’d settle for becoming your puppet,” Aizen sneered. “Truthfully, I had wanted to laugh at such an absurd notion…but I realize now that the severity of your delusion is really no laughing matter. It’s quite serious, actually. My condolences.”

Yhwach’s eyes narrowed as he glared at the man, not altogether appreciating the obvious mocking undertone in his words.

“I don’t think you understand. I’m offering you the chance for vindication.”

“I don’t think you understand, and so I will explain it to you in a way that you can comprehend,” Aizen spoke curtly, his smooth voice not rising a single decibel over normal speaking volume or holding even a speck of anger therein. “I bow to no one. Not to the abomination currently inhabiting the Spirit Palace, and certainly not to you. I will see the old order overthrown, but only when I – and I alone - am left to take the seat being defiled by that filth. I will not join your army. In fact, if the opportunity ever presents itself, and you somehow manage to escape both Yamamoto Genryuusai and Kurosaki Ichigo, then I will see to your downfall myself. And that, Yhwach, is a promise, not a threat.”

Silence followed, leaving the dying echo of his words to fade into the darkness around them. Yhwach studied him wordlessly for several seconds before sighing and rising from his seat, causing the slab of reishi to vanish as though it had never existed at all.

“You truly think that you can, don’t you…” the Quincy king finally murmured.

With this, he stood once again to his full height before Aizen. The latter said nothing, gazing at him placidly with eyes that seemed to ask “Do I look like one to speak idly?”

“Well, that’s fine. You’ll have an eternity to reconsider your decision,” he said as he turned to leave.

Aizen simply watched his figure retreat into the darkness beyond the dim torchlight of his cell until he faded from sight. Yhwach was indeed powerful, like the old man, and every bit as myopic. Did he think brute strength alone could make him a god? How naive. He probably hadn't even realized just how much time had passed during their conversation.

"The extent to which you underestimated me might have been insulting, were it not so utterly laughable," Aizen muttered to himself with a smirk. Wonderful as the Hogyoku was, he had to concede that the artifacts of his old Shinigami powers did have their uses at times.

Yamamoto Genryuusai, Kurosaki Ichigo…don’t get the wrong idea. A day will come when that thing will perish…but that will do me little good with no kingdom to rule. Fortunately for you, I am in a generous mood and have managed to buy you a few precious minutes. Do not waste them.

December 2014: The Outlier (13 votes)
Second Place: vine (5 votes)
Third Place: Caelestis, Oreramar, hasanalshaikh767 (Tied with 4 votes)​

The Marriage---A Speculation

Background: It's evident that Aizen changed Yhwach's perception of time and Yhwach couldn't distinguish it unless at that specific moment and it's also evident that Yhwach even didn't know what technique or trick Aizen exactly applied. Plus, Yhwach was going to use his power at that moment but due to Aizen's trick, he couldn't...In the latest chapter 610, we have seen that Yhwach is able to see anything in the future based on knowledge of the things he's able to see and negate it, but he(and us fans too) still didn't know what exact technique Aizen applied...

Before I get straight to my speculation which I'm going to build in the end, I want to discuss some important attributes related to Kyoka Suigetsu before it disintegrated. Every Zanpakuto has some unique characteristics because every Zanpakuto is unique and so is Kyoka Suigetsu.

Kyoka Suigetsu before Disintegration

Attribute 1: Manifestation of Aizen's soul---Loneliness
In my opinion, the most important attribute which can be associated with Kyoka Suigetsu is the manifestation of Aizen's soul. After all the incidents and events comprising of about 400+ chapters, the most important information which was revealed pertaining to Aizen's soul was loneliness. Wernarr has said that Aizen didn't fear anyone.

But what's more important than Wernarr's view is Aizen himself proving during his 400+ chapters tenure that he indeed didn't fear anyone. This fearlessness attribute can also be associated with Kyoka Suigetsu in some odd way but what's the point of it since most of the people now know that Aizen doesn't fear. But why this fearlessness played so much role?

It's because the removal of fear was necessary to hide loneliness and Aizen succeeded very well in it. It's not a trivial information which Ichigo extracted from the depths of Aizen's soul reflecting through his sword. None of others whom Aizen's sword penetrated could extract this information i.e. Not Yamamoto, Urahara, Harribel, Hinamori and Gin, but Ichigo. A Zanpakuto is an image, a reflection of owner's soul and Aizen's Zanpakuto possessed loneliness only which Ichigo felt.

Attribute No. 2: Controlling Senses---Encapsulation
Before Kyoka Suigetsu disintegrated, its basic ability was the controlling of five senses. By manipulating these physical senses, it causes person to fool by the illusions and has nothing to do with the desires of the person that how they are going to be effected by the external factors intermingling.

In a broader sense, Aizen was trying to hide, encapsulate or escape his loneliness deliberately or otherwise using illusions by controlling the senses so that one might not get an iota of hunch about the feeling Aizen possessed which of course was exposed by Ichigo in the end. Now, one can't say that Aizen deliberately exposed this to Ichigo or Ichigo himself was smart enough to judge it, because Ichigo also judged Gin's intention too...So my guess is it was Ichigo who did it and was not Aizen's giveaway, because Ichigo also felt loneliness in Tensa Zangetsu/Hichigo's blade before he was able to deduce it from Aizen.

On a side note, Starrk escaped his loneliness by splitting his soul in two whereas Aizen's sword reflected loneliness encapsulated by illusions. Also, this encapsulation factor isn't just related to Kyoka Suigetsu, but also can be observed throughout Aizen's personality.

Shinji exposing the encapsulation:
Unohana questioning encapsulation:


Artwork on these these pages depict a very similar expression. Compare the Aizen's expressions with the other ones and see how they are very similar.
See the second last panel:

Attribute No. 3: Perfect Hypnosis---Ending the Ritual
The third most import attribute is taking "Attribute no. 2: Controlling Senses" up to a point where a person comes under the umbrella of perfect hypnosis. One could make a dragon out of fly and a field of flowers out of a swap during the ritual. Now the only way to get out from this perfect ritual is to touch the blade before it can take place...But what was the main lesson learnt when Gin exposed the secret of Kyoka Suigetsu? It was this stated clearly by Mayuri i.e.

Nothing is perfect in this world and so is perfect hypnosis. Aizen himself have said that if one looks closer deeply, one is able to note the difference. It could mean that there is a way to escape from it, but to do so, one has to understand more and look closer. Have Soul Society members who fought Aizen before now understood enough and matured that they will escape from the ritual if it happens once again? or they will still be affected by it because once a person sees, it will constantly be under the influence of it and there is no escaping from it. If this was the case, Aizen chose those targets which were not very close to him who didn't bother to understand him at all.

I remembered a great quote of Prince T'ai from a great story when he returned to the temple and said to his master:

“When I listened most closely, I could hear the unheard—the sound of flowers opening, the sound of the sun warming the earth, and the sound of the grass drinking the morning dew...”

Aizen commended Unohana for noticing something odd during the hypnosis. Still, no one in the whole series was able to escape from the perfect hypnosis though. But how to make this more tending towards perfection if not absolutely perfect? What does these three attributes suggest? Before answering this, I want to discuss resurrection of Kyoka Suigetsu.

Resurrection of Kyoka Suigetsu

Only Gin and fans know the secret behind the Kyoka Suigetsu. Since Gin has already died, only we, the fans, know the secret. If Kyoka Suigetsu will be resurrected in its previous form, its captivating factor would look slightly pale in my opinion. It needs a new mode of operation and a new secret. But the important question is how Kyoka Suigetsu is going to be resurrected?

In my opinion, it's perhaps resurrecting slowly due to Aizen's will. Why Kubo chose to put Aizen in Muken? Why we are waiting so much long for Aizen to return? It's because Aizen is alone in Muken which constitutes a deep darkness... It's more logical for Aizen himself becoming the agent for the healing of it...The darkness might be spurring the loneliness of Aizen and is same loneliness which was reflected in Aizen's sword and this could be the loneliness that may slowly regenerate the Kyoka Suigetsu inside the darkness of Muken. But what caused the Kyoka Suigetsu to disintegrate in the first place? To answer this, I want to discuss some key attributes of Hogyoku.

Key attributes of Hogyoku

In my opinion, the biggest attribute of the Hogyoku is its 'will' understanding its master's 'heart'.

Two things are important...The will of the Hogyoku itself and the heart of its master. Yes, Hogyoku also guides the desires of those around it and makes the desires real with subjects who have the inherent power to fulfill their desires, but the case of master is slightly different which I will explain more in the next section.

Aizen's heart at that time was grasping for power. A power transcending the boundaries between Shinigami and Hollow and for this, Hogyoku finally understood Aizen's desire for a superfluous power and granted it, because he had the inherent power to fulfill it. It's very interesting to note that when Aizen was explaining the properties of Hogyoku to Isshin, he named the people who were affected by the Hogyoku's will i.e. Urahara, Rukia, Visoreds, Orihimme and Chad, but he didn't name Uryu or Ichigo.

The Marriage of Kyoka Suigetsu and Hogyoku

Of all the questions that I left, I will answer here hopefully. The first important question that I left was why Kyoka Suigetsu disintegrated? In the previous section, I said that perhaps the biggest attribute of Hogyoku is its 'will' understanding its 'master' heart. Aizen was the master of the Hogyoku throughout the battle just before the Kyoka Suigetsu disintegrated.

"HG no longer recognize you as its master!" vs "I no longer need KS!"

What's the common thing occurring in both the sayings of Urahara and Aizen? The common thing is the decision of Hogyoku. Both are saying true i.e. Urahara saying that Hogyoku doesn't recognize Aizen its master and Aizen saying that he no longer requires the Kyoka Suigetsu because Hogyoku has decided.

Now there could be many options but in my opinion, Hogyoku chose Kyoka Suigetsu as its new master! That's why Kyoka Suigetsu couldn't bear this new weight of mastership completely and disintegrated because it was lacking the essential reiatsu for it (Remember when Aizen penetrated Yamamoto, he said that he can't mistake the reiatsu of the Aizen's Zanpakuto inside his gut. Reaitsu of Kyoka Suigetsu, a Zanpakuto, exists. This could mean that KS was losing its reiatsu after so many battles). This is a very separate case because when Aizen was taking efforts in awakening the Hogyoku, he said that it could exert the same level of the power that Hogyoku has when it is fully awaken by temporarily fusing the one who has double the reaitsu of captain level. But that was the case when Hogyoku was in dormant state. So this case doesn't apply here as Hogyoku was already in awakening state during and after the battle; that's why it was functioning and fulfilling Aizen's desires. Aizen wished to become one with Kyoka Suigetsu after he saw his Kyoka Suigetsu disintegrating, because Ichigo has undergone that process before and lost his powers and Aizen thought that by doing so, he would gain a power much greater than that of Ichigo. What could this mean? This could mean that 'master' of the Hogyoku wasn't Aizen at the time when Kyoka Suigetsu was disintegrating because Hogyoku had determined that ownership before of KS and was in the process of it and even the seal of Urahara didn't trigger at that time.

Now, I already stated that the important attribute of Hogyoku is its 'will' understanding its master 'heart'. The will of Hogyoku chose the new master Kyoka Suigetsu, but what about the heart? Take a look at what Pepe is saying:

Yes, Zanpakutos have hearts and Pepe is saying absolutely right. Now take a look at what Ichigo is saying to Tensa Zangetsu:

"Can you hear what goes on outside?" was what Ichigo said to him. What this suggests? Was Kyoka Suigetsu listening the talks between Aizen and Ichigo? Why would Hogyoku select Kyoka Suigetsu? It would because in my opinion, Hogyoko was granting Aizen's desire of tremendous powers constantly through various transformations for a reason and this reason was for Aizen to see that no matter what higher level power he would get, it would serve him no purpose. That remarkable stages of superfluous powers were just corrupting the intelligence and the decision making capabilities of Aizen which he was so excellent in it.

That intelligence was the reason his plans successfully unfolded before he got these tremendous powers in transformations. From - sending Rukia to Ichigo, 'white' experimentation, 'hollowfication' experiments, becoming the captain, assassinating Central 46, gaining Hogyoku, Kidnapping Orhime, taking control over the Hueco Mundo, observing battles, assembling Espada under his control, trapping captains in Hueco Mundo, defeating the Captains + Visored, sealing RyujinJakka, growth of Ichigo - to the point he got these superfluous powers. For instance, Aizen thought that it was his attack which caused the mountains to shatter into pieces, but it was later proven incorrect by Ichigo.

Another instance is Urahara also said that the Aizen he knew would not let him attack twice without some sort of a plan.

It was also said by Aizen that the location of the Hogyoku doesn't matter to its master.

The Hogyoku was still inside the Aizen when the seal of Urahara triggered before it chose the Kyoka Suigetsu its master holding true to the above saying of Aizen. Now why Hogyoku still decided to stay inside the Aizen? In my opinion, when Hogyoku saw that Kyoka Suigetsu couldn't bear the weight of its mastership fully and disintegrated, it decided to remain inside the Aizen so that the immortality of Aizen could be protected. If Hogyoku have come outside of Aizen, Central 46 decision would be straight for the execution and they would have killed Aizen at any cost. This decision of Hogyoku not only saved Aizen, but also saved Kyoka Suigetsu because Zanpakutos also die when Shinigami die. The Muken is the perfect location for the healing of the Kyoka Suigetsu and Hogyoku is waiting for the resurrection of Kyoka Suigetsu so that the compete merger or marriage could take place as it was initially intended. Aizen can pour his desired reiatsu needed for the completion of merger. Remember this scene:

Meanwhile, Aizen could ponder upon the whole past scenario and can observe where the things might have gone wrong when he relied too much on the tremendous powers his heart was wanting. He now could see and observe that Hogyoku was doing the right thing for him.

Another question that arises that when the true merger of Hogyoku and Kyoka Suigetsu would take place inside the Muken, Aizen might lose his immortality. Remember this great quote which Aizen said to Yamamoto:

"By discarding everything else and concentrating on on just one aspect, even the strongest can be defeated!"

I think Aizen didn't know or planned to get the immortality when he got himself fused with the Hogyoku. This occurred unknowingly and I think he wouldn't mind it if it were to lose by Hogyoku's will because it was also Hogyoku who granted him the immortality after the fusion and it could take it back.

Ichigo also said, "Was Aizen really rejected by the Hogyoku?" I think the merger of Kyoka Suigetsu and Hogyoku also partially answers this question besides answering "Hoyoku no longer recognize you as its master" and "I no longer need Kyoka Suigetsu" which I've already given above hopefully. Zanpakutos are the actualities of a Shinigami soul and Shinigami pours their essence into an Asauchi to develop and enhance their Zanpakutos by constantly training to strengthen the souls. Take a look at what Urahara said about his conception of Hogyoku research:

Urahara said that Hogyoku was the substance he created in the process when he was doing research on how to strengthen the souls. Isn't this 'strengthening of souls' is what pluses do after a Konso to become a Shinigami and Isn't this 'strengthening of souls' is what Shinigamis do to train themselves and polish their Zanpakuto? The core essence of Hogyoku and Zanpakuto is the same and their union is possible in my opinion and Zanpakatos also have heart as I mentioned before and Kyoka Suigetsu need the proper reiatsu for the merger which Aizen can do in the Muken. So coming back to Ichigo's question of 'Was Hogyoku really rejected Aizen?' As Kyoka Suigetsu is a sword in which Aizen have poured an essence of his soul and if Hogyoku has chosen Kyoka Suigetsu its master, it gives the answer that Aizen wasn't really rejected by Hogyoku because the new master Kyoka Suigetsu is the part of his soul which reflects his essence and is linked to him in a way.

Now what the merger of Kyoka Suigetsu and Hogyoku will serve? I think the overall control of Aizen's sanity will greatly develop and will balance his character. We fans will get to see a unique merger of one of the greatest fighting weapons in Bleach, and since we already know the secret of Kyoka Suigetsu, this merger will be new to the fans and its secret will not be the same as previous. This will also cover the potential weakness of the ritual which I discussed in the first section. Think of all the capabilities and potentialities of Hogyoku merging along with Kyoka Suigetsu making it one hell of a weapon plus Aizen will also remain sane and will use his intelligence for utilizing this weapon of insanity! This will make Aizen one hell of an SWP even though Aizen already is one hell an SWP.

Now, the last question is, "Who will finally undo the seal?" :)

Winners in 2015

January 2015: Polgarena (12 votes)
Second place: The Outlier (8 votes)
Third place: Otome-san (6 votes)​

results page

Hello everybody!

Since it’s Christmas for the great majority of you guys and girls here, I thought about giving you a small present. I’ve been working on a comic one shot project for the past two months, and it’s not done yet. So, I’ve decided to share character designs with you instead.

1. Before I even started working on the comic, I made sure to collect all the approvals necessary, be it from wonderful staff of Bleach Asylum, be it from members who are the cast of the comic.

2. I like to draw, but I don’t think I’m good enough at it. So, first of all, forgive me if I got your gender wrong. Then, forgive me if I haven’t drew you as you’d like it, because it’s hard for me to put on paper certain characteristics expressed with words only. I did my best.

3. Horses are my favorite animals, and I couldn't draw them properly even if somebody threatened me. :fpalm Unicorns are special, but they count in this category too. So, my special apologies go to Unicorn.

4. Can’t think of any other note right now. :XD

Here are the drawings:

February 2015: Suharu (12 votes)
Second place: B. Haddrell (10 votes)
Third place: PSEUDO-AIZEN (8 votes)​

Well, there's this thing about Japanese that's hard to translate... the way some people speak... there are many innuendos and connotations to it that if you just translated it literally, the nuances would be lost.

Like MangaHead's spoilers (containing almost complete quotes) were out earlier than MangaPanda, and I thought of translating it for you all... but I gave up because I couldn't think of English slang that would accurately capture Hiyori and Shinji's conversation. Like "shinigami guys" is too neutral... "shinigami bums" which MS used was awesome and solved the dilemma I had in conveying Hiyori's tone.

So yes, "Kumba-fucking-ya" was not a literal translation, but it really conveyed what Zaraki's tone and mood was - condescension of the quibbling over the rationales. (For those who know Japanese, it's the grammar form ~dano, ~dano.) "Baldy McBalderson" also hit the nail on its head in pinpointing the mood. Hiyori DID use "bald" related words twice in the same sentence. ("hageta" and "hage") So having "bald" in the sentence twice was a really good translation trick.

Also, MangaStream translated the mechanics of the extra energy more accurately than MangaPanda. If I'm not wrong, MP said something about Urahara giving Yoruichi a bit of the energy, but that's completely inaccurate. It's exactly as the MS version translated... Yoruichi came with a small amount and Urahara used that first due to the urgency of the situation, then Hiyori has now brought the remainder which the Visoreds (not Urahara as MP said) had continued to purify. I know this because the MangaHead spoilers type word for word. Netabare too.

Translation work isn't easy, especially for Japanese to English, which are really two of the most opposite languages in the *world*. The sentence syntax is literally opposite. Like if you say, "Please do this," in Japanese, it would be, "This do please." Also, English is a lot more clinical and technical in meanings, whereas Japanese is so rich with emotions. For one English word, there can be 3-5 Japanese words, each used in a different situation and conveying different feelings. And each one speaks a different accent too... Hiyori, Shinji and Lisa all speak in Kansai accent, an accent or dialect associated with teasing comedy (exactly what Shinji and Hiyori do), but also thought of as more bourgeouis. Yoruichi speaks like royalty. Kenpachi, Ikkaku, Renji and Ichigo speak like punks. Urahara speaks like a refined but sometimes casual servant (well, not exactly servant, but he's almost always very proper). It's impossible to translate all these nuances if you just do it literally... everyone will come out sounding educated or square.

March 2015: Franco (8 votes)
Second place: PSEUDO-AIZEN, Willster328 (tied with 7 votes)
Third place: Metallic Archer, Seri55 (tied with 5 votes)​

Voting screenshot:

Winning post:
No fights with Ichigo in it? Cool, that just means I'll have an easier time making my lists.

Franco's Top Five Fights:
1. Renji vs. Byakuya
The emotion! The passion! The heartbreak! There's so much to take away from this fight and I love it for the sole reason that it made me a Renji believer. Oh, sure, I already liked him before he met Byakuya on the battlefield. Check out that bandana and those tattoos - Renji just oozes character. What's not to love about him, amirite?

But then this fight comes along, shows us so much of Renji's backstory and inner heart burns, then slowly builds up to a moment of redemption, where we believe that the underdog is going to win this time. But nope, Byakuya is still unfortunately too strong and beats Renji so hard, he has to throw his scarf.

I love that. I love how Kubo makes Renji the most lovable underdog of the series who never gets his due, but friggin' deserves it anyway. If he was slightly more arrogant and a much bigger A-hole, then he'd be the Vegeta of this series, no doubt about it.

2. Ikkaku vs. Edorad
Hey, remember the time when everyone thought the Fraccion were such hot shit and tough fighters, only to get completely surprised that the Espadas existed? Remember when the shinigami had to take off their ultra-convenient power limiters just to get rid of the Fraccions? Good times, man. Good times.

But this right here is what I feel should be the highlight of the shinigamis' little field trip to our home planet. This should be the only fight you should remember and the only fight you should revere. You wanna know why? It's because this is where Ikkaku Madarame really gets to show off, that's why.

Besides him being geared to get the inevitable popular side character power upgrade, who else knew that this Third Seat was one heck of a fighter? What also sold this fight for me was Yumichika playing commentator to a confused Keigo on the sidelines, giving us a little speech on how Ikkaku wasn't just the Third Seat in the premier Fighting Division of the Gotei 13. No, Ikkaku was the second strongest man in the strongest Division in Soul Society. Think about that.

Of course, overlooking Yachiru is disrespectful, but if we're talking strict Male/Female divides here, then Ikkaku being the second strongest man in the army is definite hot stuff. What makes this even better is that we're hearing this from Yumichika, Ikkaku's heterosexual life partner. It speaks volumes of their relationship, and man, did I ever tell you how much I absolutely love it when these two are being such bros?

If Renji is the epitome of the underdog, then Ikkaku is the personification of raw power, second only to his Captain, Zaraki Kenpachi. I love that. We need more bruisers in this series. Not that namby-pamby stuff like kidou and flash steps and whatever.

3. Soifon and Co. vs. Barragan
A bit overlong, but still memorable on its own. What stands out is not just how Soifon is forced to work with a team instead of being her usual solitary self, but how the fight ended. The only thing that killed Barragan was Barragan himself. Sounds like a cop-out at first, but it makes sense. Who else can kill time other than time itself?

Did that make sense? I don't know. But then again, there's really nothing sensible about reducing a skull-headed King of Demons to dust.

This also marks one of the earlier instances we see Soifon and Omaeda actually working together for once - even if it was just to use him as bait. For Soifon to give orders and interact with the lieutenant she couldn't stand before is a big step, even if she still looks like a bit of a jerk.

4. Hisagi/Komamura vs. Tousen
Poetic justice at its finest. Just like the fight with Barragan before it, it's the ending of this fight that really makes it memorable. Seeing Hisagi plunge the killing blow straight throw his former Captain's neck is definitely in contention for best panel of the series - period.

There was also the angst riding heavily from the first minute to the last, with Komamura trying and failing to convince Tousen to pack up and go home. It was jarring seeing Tousen flip personalities, going from completely calm and collected and blind, to a raving lunatic with eyesight later on. Plus, that weird flashback in the middle still remains one of the series' biggest mysteries with no answer in sight.

It sucks that there's no more to be said about Tousen besides his vague flashback, that woman, and his zanpaktou, but I still can't deny that this was one of the good fights of the FKT arc.

5. Ichibei vs. Bach
Of course we have to have a representative from the latest arc. And trust me, it don't get any better than this one. Weird-ass kidou and spell work aside, this was a pretty cool watch. Not to mention watching Ichibei and Back trade verbal blows at each other was also very entertaining. Besides fighting for control over the Soul King's fate, it seemed like these two were competing for Best Snark and it was a great thing to see. Trash talk never gets old.

Stuff that doesn't quite fit the "Best of" list, but are still favorites:
1. Renji/Uryuu vs. Szayel
Only the first half, because seeing two of Bleach's underdogs teaming up can never be a bad thing. Plus, it was a pretty good mash-up of brains and brawn joining forces to bring down the bad guy. Too bad the fight dragged itself out and needed Mayuri to step in to help out. It made sense that only a Captain could take down an Espada convincingly, but it kind of invalidated the team-up, you know?

2. Vice-Captains/Yamamoto vs. Tres Bestias/Allon
Because Yama-jii's a hardass and Allon is an absolute beast. Watching the VCs try to bumrush Allon and failing was, on one hand, kind of sad, because the VCs are still very weak fighters. But on the other hand, it helped establish what ever helpless vibe Kubo wanted to set.

That, and Yamamoto stepping in because he was tired of seeing his officers getting their asses handed to them is such a Gran Torino thing to do. The aging badass talking down to the youngsters and teaching/insulting them while showing them a thing or two. What's not to love?

3. Iba vs. Ikkaku
I love it whenever old Division-mates interact. I love it even more when said Division-mates are Iba and Ikkaku. On one side, you have the old dog who isn't as ballsy as he used to be, and on the other, you have the stubborn upstart who insists on doing things his own way even if it kills him. Now make the two clash and watch the sparks fly.

What's memorable about this is that whole speech on manliness Iba gives Ikkaku after giving him a good bonk on the head. It's a speech that resonates and should be written down and sold as a book to be read by young lads everywhere. And of course, there's your usual male bonding, where the two guys show affection and respect by hitting each other, and the cool authority figure who pretends to not have seen anything.

It only happened for one chapter, but this short fistfight is what I think made Iba's character for me. I'm used to seeing him as Komamura's loyal second-in-command, but for him to transcend to the level of a mentor for Ikkaku is something else entirely. Really cements the pair's relationship too, from a pair of drinking buddies to two comrades who actually respect each other. I love that.

And that panel showing Iba with his back turned to us and saying: "That's what it means to be a man"?


4. Kira vs. Avirama
Kira doesn't get much love, which is why it was pretty awesome having him make his comeback in his fight with Avirama. Prior to this, Kira wasn't having a pretty good year, what with his Captain taking a dump on his emotions, then leaving him hanging out to dry. It was also pretty stressful for him, as he had to assume Captain duties for only the unluckiest Division in the Gotei 13.

But then, he gets this little shining moment of cool, where the Kira that's been shaped by all his misfortunes in life makes an appearance and schools his rowdy opponent on the aesthetics and benefits of angst. There's a huge disconnect between the Kira that Renji met in the Academy and the Kira that's been left behind by Gin, and the effect is chilling.

It's a poignant moment when he holds Wabisuke under Avirama's head and just says goodbye without any semblance of pity. He's cold, cool, and professional in the way he does it, which says so much about how jaded he's become.

And of course, there's also the fact that Avirama is my favorite Fraccion of all time.

Recalling this fight makes me wish Kira didn't get the undignified death he was given and that he was shown more love from Kubo and the fans.

5. Ikkaku vs. Moe
In a bizarre twist of fate, it's Ikkaku who's doing the mentoring this time, instead of him getting the lesson himself. Sure, he's mentored Renji once before, but I believe that that mentoring was just a strictly fighting kind of mentoring, where the only lessons taught were the basic mechanics of fighting, but without any of the life lessons Iba tries so very hard to knock into that bald head.

But here, in his fight with Shishigawara Moe, Ikkaku the Warrior Philosopher shows up for work and dishes out life lessons along with his mean jabs. With his bald look, you just know Ikkaku was born to play the role of Warrior Monk. Too bad he isn't as serene as those monks usually are. A shame too. I bet he'd look pretty fierce with prayer beads around his neck.

But in what could be considered a deconstruction of the blind loyalty yakuza goons always seems to display, Ikkaku tears all of that down and says to Shishigawara that loyalty ain't worth shit if your boss doesn't feel the same. There's a weird parallel going on here, where you have two of the most loyal sidekicks in Bleach history not named Iba or Renji, who are almost the same, but follow different men.

What's also fun about this fight is the underlying theme of luck going on here. Both men use luck when they fight, but because there is only one Lady Luck, both men cannot hope to find the same result at the same time. On a deeper level, however, Ikkaku is also lucky he found Zaraki instead of someone else, while it was just Shishigawara's bad luck to follow a guy who doesn't really care about anything.

In what I feel was a lackluster Fullbring arc, this was one of the definite bright spots for me - and yes, I'm saying that, partly because these two are just some of my favorite characters in the series.

Franco's Top Ten Favorite Characters:
1. Abarai Renji
2. Kotetsu Isane
3. Madarame Ikkaku
4. Iba Tetsuzaemon
5. Muguruma Kensei
6. Ise Nanao
7. Kotsubaki Sentaro
8. Avirama Redder
9. Shishigawara Moe
10. Bazz-B

Franco's Top Five Favorite Zanpaktou:
1. Zabimaru
2. Hozukimaru
3. Wabisuke
4. Kazeshini
5. Suzumebachi (shikai only)

April 2015: PSEUDO-AIZEN (13 votes)
Second place: 29th.spirit
Third place: Patapon, The Outlier (10 votes)

I wrote a fanfic for BG9 real purpose and why he would be still alive and hidden for future needs of the Wanderreight. There is also a parallel with chess rules and strategy to war. It starts with some introspection of the character and his memories of the recent events. I did not know where to post it at first, then I realized it became a crack theory, so I have posted it here:

BG9 is thinking: "Who am I......and where am I? I am bit confused now."

- Bankai ! Jakuhō Raikōben ! (Sui Feng’s voice)

What is that ? It is coming fast…it will hit me…Err damn.

"That woman…no that damn Shinigami. I was defeated, I remember now, I am the Sternritter K, the one that was defeated, and here it is indeed Silbern, it is my home. "

- Let’s make it now ! The judgement of the losers. (Yhwach’s voice)

"Wait please his majesty! I beg your clemency, I can do it better! PLEASE !!! I can be of much use."


"It is dark here where is this room? It looked like a restrict area, maybe it is in the surroundings of the Grandmaster’s room. Let me stand up and check around. Errhh, I am locked. I have a lot of strings on me."


- You must be proud of yourself, his majesty has shown mercy, he saw potential in you, only sleep for now …. After you manage to free yourself, things will be different……(Hashwald’s voice)

- This voice, it is definitively Hashwald-dono, What his words are supposed to mean???


"What is this scene? Ahh! I remember that day….Why these memories are coming back right now???"

Gerard: So Cang Du got the Iron, Bazz–bee got the Heat and Kirgie got the Jail, hahaha, not bad kids I wish I could use my Miracle against you all hahaha.

Bazz bee: What you said? You bastard!

Kirgie: I would stay freeze if I were you Bazz-bee, you know who he is, right? He got promoted and he is in another level.

Gerard: Hahaha I was only joking Mohican kid, you should listen to kirgie’s recommendation, will you ? Hahaha.

Gerard: Ohhh you in the corner…

BG9: Uhm me?

Gerard: Yeah, it is you, are you seeing another robot around ? hahahaha….. Tell us what you got.

BG9: I am the Sternritter K
Gerard: Uhm…and that is….?

BG9: As I said, I am the Sternritter K.

Gerard: What? You do not know what your shcrift is….Are you serious? Hahaha you are the strangest fellow Quincy that I ever met hahaha, whatever your ability is, you are really funny my dear “Iron man” hahaha.


"He was right what is this K about? His majesty never told me and somehow I accepted it in silence, me?? The one with the greatest intellect of the entire Wanderreight, I do not remember my previous life, but this current one is indeed extremely smart. Why have I not made such a simple question??? Wow….shame on me……."

The Game

Student - Ohh, professor! Can you check my rehearsal please?

Professor - Well, I have some minutes, you are lucky. Let me see it, Uhm… I think you should rewrite your first paragraph, that’s not how I would describe the general rules.

Student – Really? I used your own arguments.

Professor – The idea was to make you to put some of your view as well, you should go and see some of my matches, anyway, here it goes:

“White always moves first and the players alternate turns
A piece captures an opponent's piece by moving to its square and taking its place.
The captured piece is removed from the board.
A player cannot capture his own pieces.
Capturing is never mandatory: if a piece can capture it does not mean that it has to, and the player can also move any other piece.”

The real objective of the game is to capture the opponent's King. The only piece able to jump over other pieces is the Knight. But as the other pieces, it only captures the piece on its destination square (if it is not empty).


"Now I see, I remember the time I lectured that Kid. To think that after death I would face the concept of that game here at Wanderreight."

The Territory

It is the battlefield itself, it can be wherever the leader orders his soldiers to go, no matter if its around home or in a faraway place. Any kind of land must be under full control, that’s a rule. The army will fight for their king no matter where they are, so the game will be played everywhere. The eighth area is only the beginning!

Note: The eighth area or Area 8 is a place where the ordinary battle occurs, it is the way they run to cross the chessboard and evolve.

The Army

Sacrificing in order to defeat the enemies, to protect the king or to help the king with his intentions, that’s a duty and an honor, no questions needed.

The real pawns

The first time our group met the Soldats many of us thought they were pretty much like pawns, by the way they look and considering their power level. It is fortunate that my comprehension was far above ordinary people. The Soldats needed to strengthen themselves a lot to be called pawns, they were not even close of that. Yhwach-sama is very selective when choosing his army, so he made most of us: The Sternritters, his pawns.

The Quincy army – “Piece by Piece”

The Rook
The rook moves in a straight line horizontally or vertically. The archetype of this piece is someone strong enough to tank their enemies and forcing their way no matter what. If it can reach a square where an opponent's piece sits, it can capture it:

Gerard hitting Shutara’s clone and Pernida forcing through the cage and defeating Yoruichi

The Bishop
The bishop moves in straight diagonal lines. The archetype of this piece is someone broken and hax enough to surprise their enemies by attacking using the most unpredictable means. Naturally, If it can reach a square where an opponent's piece sits, it can capture it:

Oetsu being defeated by Lille’s bullets and Askin using his ability in Oetsu.

The Queen
The Queen is the most powerful piece. She combines the power of both the rook and the bishop and thus can move in any straight line, horizontally, vertically or diagonally. As with the rook and bishop, if she can reach a square where an opponent's piece sits, she can capture it.

Hashwald saying he is the ruler of the Wanderreight.

She is the King’s strongest protection.

Hashwald breaking Ichigo’s bankai

Important to note that capturing is not mandatory: when a capture is possible a piece still has the choice of declining it and can go somewhere else or the player can simply decide to move another piece.

Hashwald saying he would come back to Silbern.

The archetype of this piece is someone strong enough to tank their enemies and forcing his way no matter what, they are also someone broken and hax enough to surprise their enemies by attacking using the most unpredictable means.

One promoted pawn and the worst Queen ever: Gremmy

Gremmy saying he is the strongest Sternritter

Note: More details at conditions for promotion below in the post

The King

The archetype of this piece reunites all the traces of Yhwach himself, except for power level. Yhwach doesn’t like fighting while the “King of the game” rarely is used to attack. He is the most important piece. You win the game by putting your opponent in a position where he cannot avoid losing his King.

Ichigo killing the Soul king by being controlled by his Quincy’s blood.

The King moves in any direction, like the Queen, but only one square at a time. He hasn’t much mobility, so you should generally leave him behind your other pieces. You are not allowed to put your King on a square that is attacked by your opponent. If your opponent threatens to capture your King you are "in check".

Shuutara saying she will defeat Yhwach and The EG making their first appearance.

You must stop the threat. If you can't, you lose the game (you are "checkmated"). The King can also capture any piece by moving to its square.

The Knight

The archetype of this piece can surprise the enemy by using high level strategy. The knight takes a step like a rook and another one like a bishop (moving away from where it was). This picture will greatly help here:

Note: Besides all the pieces can move individually in their own way as far as they want, they can be blocked by another piece of the same army some times.

Uryu interrupting Lille’s move.

The Knight is an exception, It is the only piece that is not blocked by a piece (ally or not) sitting between it and its destination square: it "jumps". It does not capture the piece it jumps over, only the piece on its landing square if there is one.

The Pawn

The archetype of this piece can be found everywhere, they are ladders to the others, they can show same value and get mercy sometimes even when they fail. Their job is the front line occupation in order to take down the most enemies they can, by using their own lives if it is the case.

The destruction made by average Sternritters at the first invasion.

The pawn moves one square in the direction of the enemy camp. However any piece (ally or not) in front of it blocks it and it cannot even capture if it is an enemy. It can capture by making one step forward diagonally, It can move this way only to capture. Pawns can never move backwards, no matter what.

Bazz-bee, Nana and As Nodt attacking Yamamoto

Unfortunately in the end of day the pawns can be discarded.

Royd being destroyed by Yhwach and the Ashwallen.

Conditions for Promotions

When a pawn is able to advance to the last rank of the board it can be turned into any other piece. Generally the player chooses to turn it into a Queen (it is the most powerful piece), but it could also be turned into a knight, a bishop or a rook. Promotion allows a player to have for example two Queens on the board.

Analogy with Yhwach’s system.

Yhwach has a weird love to war and its consequences, after all, the sacrifices and losses only make him stronger, also he indirectly foments the discord between his own subordinates, then people try to show they are valuable to him, they want to run through hell to get his majesty recognition, Yhwach is pretty much like Hitler at some aspects.
Gremmy ran his own way and got his promotion, he did it without stepping on the battlefield during the first invasion, he did it by mere latent and undeniable talent, such a talent that scared most of his companions, such a talent made him think that he was already ready to be promoted, however it is safe saying he was not ready, he had no maturity to handle his magnificent’s abilities. Pretty sure Gremmy knew what Yhwach expected of him, so he himself used his powers indiscriminately, it may seem like he could kill the King, but Gremmy knew that there were another Queen around that could still protected the King.

The meteor

Gremmy was promoted to the Queen’s level, by sinister and secrets reasons, a sample of what a Queen should really do. Unfortunately that was the worst way for a pawn to be promoted, a real promoted pawn needs to get experienced and wise by the war itself. Wanderreight expected more of their second Queen, much more, but Gremmy in the end of the day was only a special pawn, far away from a real Queen.

Hashwald looking at the meteor

Now all the Quincys know that in their view of the game, there can be only one at this position.

The sign on the sky

"It shines, the sky is shining. So this is it! His majesty’s Ashwallen. Farewell ! Congratulations and Good luck to the chosen ones!"



His majesty spared me one more time? If Ashwallen did not reach me here at Silbern, so it was Yhwach-sama keeping my life protected, I am not a fodder that was left behind and ……..I am not strange at all Mr. Gerard.

One more time I remember of my previous life, besides I was a professor I was also a champion, I rule over a certain game and I knew all the openings and counter-measures. I was the best gamer the living world ever seen, I am nostalgic about Сиби́рь, my previous home, thanks Yhwach-sama for replicating my homeland at Silbern. There would be no better guardian to Silbern than me, my duty is very clear now, I will protect this place with my life willpower and with my Schrift, of course, I am the recent promoted Knight."

Note: Сиби́рь = Siberia



BG9 is the knight because of his similarity with the rook and the bishop, he evolves after a certain time by analyzing a lot of information on the battlefield.

Before evolving, he uses his knowledge to find a weak point and a blind spot of his enemies abilities:

After evolving as the knight, he can also replicate and upgrade what he analyses. He can tank people and surprise them by hax methods.

He rules the pawn eighth area, he is the Quincy among pawns that better adapted himself to the battlefield. The last one that has transcendent to the ninth area or area 9.

Note: Area 9 is the place where the promoted pawns are located.

Ishida Uryu will be the new king, Hashwald is the unique Queen and Yhwach now is transcending to another board, ie, another [STRIKE]chessboard [/STRIKE]realm.


"Well it seems I can finally cross these strings by myself, different than Gremmy that never could leave that Glass prison by himself."

BG9 is walking in the shadows, then he finds a small room.......

- BG9: Uhm….Gremmy is still alive, but one more time he is locked. I will replicate and upgrade all the powers of yours by analyzing your very existence, ie, your brain.
- BG9: You know, I am pretty satisfied by standing as the Knight, our army doesn’t need another Queen, that was your mistake….and different than you I have no strings on me.
-BG9: I am the best one who got promoted to the Area 9…..I am the Best Gamer 9, BG9: The Knight.

May 2015: The Outlier (16 votes)
Second place: CrayonsToChaos (13 votes)
Third place: BlackSoul (11 votes)

Blow the Candles Out on the Pendulum Clock Cake!

Happy Birthday to the man wearing shihakushō black
Master planner of events which turn pendulum back

A shinigami becoming god for taking over the throne
Starting from the scratch to change the world alone

With spark from the soul and reason not well known
Becoming a vice captain to show his side well grown

Illusions are in the eyes of those who fall into trap
Bogus body following his Captain with an ideal gap

Depicting an embodiment of trails of lacking a trust
Is one plan in action as others settle down the crust

Core is Hōgyoku, a creation of his remarkable sage
With the offering of souls and their wishes in cage

Happy Birthday to the man whose sword fools view
Crossroad of truth and falsehood for mind to screw

Signifying the tale of 'mirror, flower, water, moon'
Calling 'shatter' starts or ends the ritual very soon

Seeing its release once makes you fool for forever
Even realizing is futile for the escape to endeavour

Some stuck in loop like links in an entangled chain
Who suffered through that can only feel the pain

Shattered bonds, relations, aspirations and dreams
Permanent scars are left due to one man's schemes

Illusory entities look real than ever just as planned
Influencing reality and perception go hand in hand

Happy Birthday to the man who saw the bold snake
Impressed by the child's act and his smile so fake

Hope dwindles, angst kindles because of one man
Inducing the fuss of missing souls with super plan

One's betrayal is an ugly face of the loyalty dice
Rolls at the eleventh hour for showcasing the vice

Seeing the unseen along with understanding heart
The key to get out from hypnosis lies in that part

Control of choice is in his hand to pull the string
For the kite of vigilance to fly in sky and swing

Left and right like a pendulum of ancient clock
Unseen betrayal is truly fearsome adding shock

Happy Birthday to the man who blocked Hado88
Without turning back while walking at that rate

Whisper of wind always tells the truth to mind
Distorted truth by him is the deceiving defined

Allowing event to unfold than making it unfold
Crucial to make a sculpture of outcome in gold

Using it to gain advantage at every single turn
Makes him the sun broadening its rays to burn

Melting that gold to reshape into another form
Boundless ways of doing his evil things as norm

Life is not a toy to be played for causes so sick
Holding true to the personality he got very slick

Happy Birthday to the man wearing shihakushō black
Master planner of events which turn pendulum back

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Jun 2, 2013
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Otome-san, I think Aizen never looked better than on that banner, with a chalk board eraser. :XD Thanks for making this thread, I always like those walks down the memory lane.

When it comes to the first FAQ, I may be wrong, but it's probably NeoPlatonist who has been nominated the most times.

Is there a way we could have the winning posts (all three places) to read here or somewhere else?


Mar 19, 2013
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Otome-san, I think Aizen never looked better than on that banner, with a chalk board eraser. :XD Thanks for making this thread, I always like those walks down the memory lane.

When it comes to the first FAQ, I may be wrong, but it's probably NeoPlatonist who has been nominated the most times.
That's what I was thinking. I've been trying to count the posts from the screen caps, but we don't have January 2014. I think either Neo or B. Haddrell has been nominated the most times. Among mods, it's either Kurogasa or I.

Is there a way we could have the winning posts (all three places) to read here or somewhere else?
That's a good idea. That will take some time, though.

Thanks for the suggestions. :elmo


Jun 2, 2013
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That's what I was thinking. I've been trying to count the posts from the screen caps, but we don't have January 2014. I think either Neo or B. Haddrell has been nominated the most times. Among mods, it's either Kurogasa or I.

That's a good idea. That will take some time, though.

Thanks for the suggestions. :elmo
Yes, I was thinking along those lines too.

I knew it would take time, so I never meant for it to be implemented quickly. Since this is a Hall of Fame, something like a museum, I thought those posts would be nice exhibits. Thanks for considering it.


Mar 19, 2013
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I've tried to make the HOF thread more organized, with banners and everything. :yay

What else should be added to the FAQ or the Hall of Records? Is there anything else you want to know that hasn't been included here?


Jun 2, 2013
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hasanalshaikh767, I think we already have all the badges at the POTM Voting thread, since Otome-san always posts them there.

Otome-san, you made a wonderful museum; I'm amazed by your effort! :wtf I love it!
Mar 24, 2013
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Wow, I love this thread, Otome! :love Thanks so much for collecting and posting. :thumbs It was great to read some of my fave posts as well as see the overall statistics.

And thanks again for conceiving, implementing, and promoting this contest on a monthly basis. Your badges are amazing! :D
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