Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Episode 7 began with a dramatic black-and-white flashback to 1,000 years ago, when Yhwach and the Quincy Empire were battling Genryusai and the 13 Court Guard Squad Captains.
It depicted Yhwach’s “final” moments immediately before a shinigami stabbed him from behind, and Genryusai finished him out with a blazing downward slash. Then, we saw a flashback of Genryusai speaking to a young shinigami about a picture depicting Yhwach’s dying moments and warning that if the “monster” ever returned to Soul Society, it would be his death.
The captains fear upon sensing the reduction of Genryusai’s spiritual pressure following his defeat. Yhwach speaks to Genryusai’s corpse as he observes that his hand is still wrapped around his ankle in death. Yhwach speculates that he was no longer considered a “top five threat” because he had become weak. He should have commanded Orihime to repair his arm but did not wish to exploit humanity.
Yhwach reflects aloud that the original 13 Court Guard Squads he established were “Court Guards” only in name. They were a group of brutal killers, but that changed once they slaughtered the Quincies. After the shinigami achieved world peace, they had more to love and protect. Their newly discovered sense of fairness and pride weakened them. Yhwach stated that Genryusai and the 13 Court Guard Squads perished a thousand years ago despite Soul Society’s imminent destruction.
The members of Stern Ritter summon “Soldat” – foot soldiers of the rebel army – to eradicate the last shinigami in Soul Society. Ichigo ultimately escapes the passageway and encounters his first Stern Ritter, Shaz Domino, whom he dispatches in a single flash.
Ichigo discovers Rukia and Renji and proves their continued existence. Then, Ichigo meets the dying Byakuya, who requests that he defend Soul Society. (Note: he asked for Ichigo to save Soul Society in the manga.)
Ichigo eventually locates Yhwach and engages him in combat. At one point, Yhwach stabs Ichigo in the neck and believes he has hindered him, only to learn that Ichigo now knows how to use Blut Vene. Yhwach cryptically informs Ichigo that he is extracting memories from his spiritual core and that Quincies could not have been held in that prison.
Yhwach also asserts that Ichigo is unaware of this mother. Yhwach desired to take Ichigo “back” and reeducate him gradually. This implies that Ichigo’s mother was a Quincy, correct? If this is true… Will Ichigo suddenly switch sides in this conflict to avenge the loss of his mother? Was Ichigo’s mother’s murder an assassination and not an “accident” all along? Furthermore, by whom? Is the individual responsible for her death still alive?
It is intriguing that Yhwach and the other members of Stern Ritter abruptly decide their time is up and that they must return to the Quincy Empire. Do they all suffer from a curse? Ghosts of vengeance that can only emerge for a little length of time? Consequently, Ishida’s mother may now be a member of Stern Ritter as a “walking ghost.”
If any of these riddles are resolved, we’ll have to wait until the next episode!
Who are the members of the production team?
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War production team members include:
- Director – Tomohisa Taguchi (Twin Star Exorcists, Kino’s Journey – The Beautiful World, Akudama Drive)
- Script overseers – Masaki Hiramatsu and Tomohisa Taguchi
- Character designer – Masashi Kudo
- Music composer – Shiro Sagisu
- Chief Animation Directors – Michio Hasegawa, Sei Komatsubara, Kumiko Takayanagi
- Action Effects Animation Directors – Satoshi Sakai, Yoshihiro Kanno, Yong Hoon Chong
- Art Director – Yoshio Tanioka
- Art Design – Toshiki Amada
- Color Design – Saori Goda
- Editing – Akinori Mishima
- Director of Photography – Kazuhiro Yamada
- CG Directors – Toshihiro Sasaki, Kazushi Goto
- Sound Director – Yukio Nagasaki
- Sound Production – Zack Promotion
Who are the cast members?
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War cast members include:
- Masakazu Morita – Ichigo Kurosaki
- Fumiko Orikasa – Rukia Kuchiki
- Noriaki Sugiyama – Uryu Ishida
- Yuki Matsuoka – Orihime Inoue
- Hiroki Yasumoto – Yasutora Sado
- Kentaro Ito – Renji Abarai
- Shinichiro Miki – Kisuke Urahara
- Satsuki Yukino – Yoruichi Shihoin
- Binbin Takaoka – Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto
- Houko Kuwashima – Sui-Feng
- Shouto Kashii – Rojuro Otoribashi
- Aya Hisakawa – Retsu Unohana
- Masaya Onosaka – Shinji Hirako
- Ryotaro Okiayu – Byakuya Kuchiki
- Tetsu Inada – Sajin Komamura
- Akio Ohtsuka – Shunsui Kyoraku
- Tomokazu Sugita – Kensei Muguruma
- Romi Park – Toshiro Hitsugaya
- Fumiko Tachiki – Kenpachi Zaraki
- Ryusei Nakao – Mayuri Kurotsuchi
- Hideo Ishikawa – Jushiro Ukitake
- Naomi Kusumi – Ichibe Hyosube
- Yoji Ueda – Oetsu Mimaiya
- Tomoyuki Shimura – Tenjiro Kirinji
- Rina Satou – Senjumaru Shutara
- Ayumi Tsunematsu – Kirio Hikifune
- Takayuki Sugo – Yhwach
- Yuichiro Umehara – Jugram Haschwalth
- Shunsuke Takeuchi – Askin Nakk Le Vaar
- Ayana Taketatsu – Bambietta Basterbine
- Yuki Ono – Bazz-B
- Yumi Uchiyama – Candice Catnipp
- Natsuki Hanae – Gremmy Thoumeaux
- Satoshi Hino – Lille Barro
Why does Episode 7 have a unique conclusion?
Episode 7 is a turning moment in Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War since it represents the conclusion of the first significant combat between the Soul Reapers and Sternritter. It has been evident that the Quincies will be a much more formidable foe than the fan-favorite fighters have ever encountered. This is simply the first battle of a much longer war. They may need to take the lead from the captains of years past, who were significantly more brutal and decisive.
As a unique addition to the anime, fans finally saw Yamamoto’s famed inaugural line-up of 13 Court Guard Squad leaders. They are precisely as wicked as Yhwach implied, and it turns out they are so fantastic that the anime had to celebrate these previous captains with a new closing song that displayed each of their distinctive designs once more.
Whether or not we will see them in action again in the future has yet to be disclosed, but the anime has already gone the extra mile.