Right! Now letís get this thing started properly, shall we? Since I donít plan to go over the SS arc in detail, right now Iím just going to focus in on several things many people donít know about the first ~180 chapters.
1.Colour spread in chapter one. Anyone familiar with the series is probably cringing because of the Art Evolution, now. I know I am. But what I want to focus on is this: second portrait from the right is clearly Shinji, whoís not due to show up for another 180 chapters. Thatís right, Shinjiís character design, at least, was planned for 180 chapters before he appeared. And, I may be reaching a bit here, but the woman on the far left just might be Matsumoto, if you take into account the fact that Kubo used to draw her hair lighter. She showed a long time before Shinji did, but itís still notable.
2.Arrancar back before the SS arc. Yeah, after Grand fisher retreated away from Ichigo, we got this little scene, where Grand Fisherís mask is torn off be two strange figures, who as weíll see later are in fact named Di Roy and
Iceringer Aisslinger. Iíll go into the full significance of this scene once they reappear, but of now all Iíll say is that itís clear from this scene that the Arrancar were planned a good deal in advance.
3.Tousenís backstory. Iím a little surprised that the anime cut this one out. Itís kind of important to his character. While he was living in Roukongai, he fell in love with a woman. Then one day, she tells him sheís getting married to a shinigami, and will soon become one herself. she promises to come and speak with him whenever she can, but never does. He later finds out that she was killed by her husband over a fairly petty argument. He then takes her Zanpakutou and swears he will find justice. Now, letís take a moment and consider what, exactly, justice you mean in this context? Why, getting rid of the womanís husband, of course. Weíll see later how exactly that train of thought led to him joining up with Aizen later on, but Iíll leave it there for now.
4.Something behind the menos. Another little bit of foreshadowing that wouldnít come to fruition for a while later. Heck, itís one that Ďístillíí hasnít been fully explained.
5.Hints that Orihimeís healing might actually be something special. Pretty self-explanatory, I think.
Okay, enough of that, letís look at our first in-detail chapter, shall we? Weíll be starting with chapter 182, Get back from the storm (Trigger for a new Concerto). We open to our heroes running through the Dangai with Yoruichi as their guide. They make it through to the real world, only to realise that theyíve run out into midair, and plummet towards the ground. Not to worry, though; Urahara and co. pull a weird combo attack and our heroes end up on a flying carpet with Urahara there as well. Contrary to what we know about Uraharaís character, he actually takes this moment to apologize for acting under his Omniscient Morality Licence and using Rukia as a Hogyoku hiding place, fucking up her life and nearly getting her killed, as well as not warning our heros about Aizen. He apparently did the latter because he didnít think our heroes would stick with it if they knew the stakes. Ichigo mostly brushes him off because heís the forgiving sort, but makes it clear that Urahara should talk to Rukia as well. Then Ichigo shows us the badge he got from Ukitake, which means he wonít have to worry about SS people moving against him anymore, Ishida is a grouch, Chad and Orihime are dropped off at their houses and Kon masturbates in Ichigoís body to the idea of himself in a threesome with Rukia and Orihime Yah, seriously. IímÖ just going to move on from that. Ichigo tells us that Rukia decided to stay in SS and uses his badge to kick Kon out of his body. Our Chapter ends with Ichigo and his dad beating the crap out of each other.
Now, what can I say about this chapter? The titleís straightforward enough, they get back from SS at the beginning, and itís the start of a new arc. The only thing of real interest in this particular chapter is that it shows that Uraharaís willing to admit it and apologize when heís done something, showing that for all his Trickster Mentor tendencies, for all his schemes and moral greyness, he isnít, at heart, an actual bad person. Makes him a lot more sympathetic and effectively gives him the moral high ground over Aizen ĎYeah, I stabbed my devoted lieutenant just because Iím an asshole, so what?í Sousuke.