Bleach 686 and The End – A Fandom’s Disappointment

8 years ago when I was 16 years old I was a Bleach fanatic. My entire teenage fandom was Bleach and it changed my life in a lot of positive ways. For instance, I met a very dear friend of mine through Bleach. My art and writing all grew because of Bleach. I am a member of this blog because Eva and I met through Bleach. In a lot of ways Bleach is my origin story: my first genuine fandom and my first love. For years I followed it religiously, though when I picked it up it was about midway through the Arrancar Arc. I loved Bleach in the arc post-golden age. I was willing to forgive the inadequate pacing and unhappy direction that it began because I loved everything it had done. The first thing I ever bought with my own money was two plush dolls of Nnoitra and Nel, and so now you know exactly what Bleach means to me.

So I wish I could say this was good. Really, I wish I could say that Bleach had been genuinely good in a long time. There was an entire year I stopped reading Bleach because it stopped being what I remembered. Soul Society was an arc where we were learning about new things and being introduced into a blind zone, an inequitable area where Ichigo could not compete and was unable to go after anyone without it nearly ending his life. Once Soul Society arc ended a new enemy with mysterious unheard of powers was introduced, and then after that another group and then another. Eventually the series ended with the ultimate ‘other group’, the third one we ever learn about comes back as the Quincy reach for their revenge. What was established as a three party story ended up in. . .5…6? The Shinigami, the Quincy, the Hollows, the Vizard, the Fullbrings, the Arrancar and eventually the Quincy resurfacing. Humans were also a group as Orihime and Chad were never quite as powerful but never quite as weak. What was once deep interest and an amazing world of mystery was, well, Ichigo is 5 things now so what is he going to be next? Well, Chad and Orihime and Uryu are unimportant so when is Ichigo getting a new powerup? Complaints we had from the Soul Society arc ended up being complaints to the end, and every new piece of information was like WELL OKAY!!!

Bleach stopped being good when we could expect the same concept from the show. Many people thought it should end at the Fullbring arc and indeed what would have been different about that ending than this one? If we were to cut out the knowledge that Ywach killed Uryu and Ichigo’s mothers or even the Quincy in general then what would be different? If Ichigo was fine just running his dad’s clinic and chilling with everyone else then why was it really so imperitive that we go through so many arcs? Bleach 686 features Ichigo doing exactly what his dad does (even though he has never seemed to show any desire to be a doctor or to do anything in the human world) with a wife (Orihime) and a son. Now, here is the thing. At one time I really cared about Ichigo ending up with the ‘right’ girl or something, but every ounce of my shipping fight died when he stopped really doing much with anyone. The last time I felt a genuine connection between Ichigo and someone else was with Ishida, and the last time I felt a connection between he and a girl was even longer. I preferred him with Rukia but by the very end I was going ‘Well now he is CLEARLY setting up RenRuki endgame’ an endgame I don’t feel is developed much. Now for Orihime, that girl has been in the game for years. Despite shipping Ichiruki I always kind of felt she was showing her love and support even though I only ever once felt Ichigo return that (in his fight with Grimmjow) whereas with Rukia he had that heartbreaking scene where he could no longer see her and it seemed to cement it for me. So the ship I was vying for didn’t win, but that’s not really why I’m let down. If anything I’m mad because it feels like every loose end was given the same treatment. Sure, Ichigo and Orihime can get married! Why didn’t they get an ending scene where he looks at her fondly and declared his love?! Seriously, Renji gave more of a serenade and I actually think his child with Rukia is adorable enough I’m willing to give it a shot.

But what the hell is, HEY ORIHIME WHERE IS OUR KID? Why didn’t the IchiHime fans get the solid, groundbreaking, absolutely happy ending they deserve? If the 5 lifetimes 5 love speech was genuine and absolutely true then why didn’t Ichigo get his chance to reciprocate those feelings? Why are we left seeing the aftermath and not the true ending? Orihime never confessed to Ichigo while he was conscious and so everything we have from them is conjecture and one sided. Hell, where is Rukia and Renji’s heartwarming ‘I wanted to belong to YOUR family back then’?! I’m angry because Kubo Tite started Bleach as a man with a plan. He ended the rain, he made poems, he showed the importance of bonds and trust- but the only person who got some closure seemed to be Uryu and Ishida’s relationship. Not even with their mom’s, they didn’t get a flashback there, but they both got to work together to kill Ywach. No one in this manga got the ending they deserved, not even the protagonist. I’m not the only one who feels this way, one of the main thoughts is that Kubo had to end Bleach before the ten years he wanted because he had such horrible ratings in the end. Fans wanted something different than they got, and Bleach suffered even more for it. Yet after the Arrancar Arc the true villains seemed to be more and more boring. Tsukushima rewrote the past repeatedly and Ywach could alter the present to reflect the future: we didn’t even see all the bankais. We don’t know who ended up where, what life is really like in soul society. What even happened to Nel? I ship NnoiNel but she couldn’t end up interacting with anyone, Grimmjow, Halibel, or anyone else even one more time?

People are fighting over ships, disregarding each other, or even thanking Kubo for what Bleach did. But can I give it any of those things? Yes, Kubo Tite wrote an amazing manga that changed my life. But he screwed it up. He wrote half of a great manga and he wrecked the other half. He didn’t even do the winning sides justice: he didn’t even give my sweet baby Ichigo the proper closure. Where are Isshin and Ryuken’s smoking and crying over their wives? Where is Ichigo crying for his mother and Orihime comforting him, telling him she loved him and will be by his side for good? Where is Uryu’s happiness and his finality “This was for you, Mother.” and RYUUKEN BEING PROUD OVER IT! So yes, I am grateful to Kubo for creating Bleach. But I am not happy he made the ending of his amazing manga into what it is. I’m happy some people get to be excited over it: I’m sure if IchiRuki was canon even in the watered out way it is I might be somewhat happier. But . . . really? Would I be? Never hearing Ichigo say he loves his wife, kiss her, or hold her? Never knowing just how perfectly happy things are without exposition, not expression, to show it? I don’t know. I mean, the only thing that I can say would’ve changed my opinion of the ending is if Noitra came back to life and made out with Nel. Look, some people never change and I’m that person. I’m not shouting my crazy conspiracy theories anymore I’m just saying the ending of this manga needed more kissing. Or at least a real movie! What the hell, Naruto got a movie to fall back in love with Hinata and she already confessed to him in person! Everyone got an awful ending.

I have to say this and it pains me: Naruto ended better than Bleach. I had a lot of issues with Naruto and it was definitely my least favorite of the big three. Why don’t women do more, I don’t like the art style, I like Bleach’s powers more. But.. . well, Kishimoto ended up making a better manga. Bleach ended in a very unsatisfying way. Kubo Tite let me down. If he had written the manga the way he did until the end of the Karakura Town arc that would have been fine. . .but what is Keigo even doing?! And don’t get me started on fucking.. . Rukia. . . WHERE WAS HER AMAZING FINAL BANKAI BATTLE? WHY WAS SHE MARGINALIZED? SHE WAS THE DEATHBERRY AND NOW HER VAGINA SOMEHOW PRODUCES THE MAGIC OF DEATHBERRY? Where was the ultimate show of their friendship? Dead, apparently. Even if you don’t ship Ichiruki those two are connected at the hip and to see them kind of. ..talk to each other more than anyone but get a virtually meaningless ending sucks too. Everything sucks. Everything!

That being said, I will now talk about what I liked. What a fucking precious button cupcake this little shit Ichigo has is. I seriously want to smother him with love and kisses. And what happened to Karin, oh my GOD! And Renji and Rukia’s kid, wow. If they get together when they’re older. . .does…does that mean EVERY ship won? Well no, but Chad. Chad is the real star.

hiimchad

hi i am chad and i got as far away from this ending as possible while still winning

HOLY FUCKING SHIT. CHAD. CAN I BE YOUR WIFE NOW? plz. Chad. HE IS OLD ENOUGH TO MARRY ME AND I AM INTERESTED CHAD PLEASE RSVP IMMEDIATELY. Uryu is a doctor but I demand he have a sexy wife. I’m serious. I want an update to this chapter where he has literally the hottest wife in the series. GO. THERE IS NO TIME TO WASTE KUBO, IT WILL ALL BE FIXED WITH A HOT WIFE AND CHAD MARRYING ME. And sadly, that’s about it. There is so much more to discuss with the series and my feelings but honestly, I can only do it by answering questions. Feel free to comment and further discuss this topic. Even though I am happy to expand the truth is pretty much this: I don’t think Bleach 686 is the ending any fan deserved.

But guys there is one last thing. The true loser of this comic, the true loser of the entire story. I am sorry, but the ultimate loser is. . .

ichigos hairline

Ichigo’s fucking hairline.

ichigos hairline2

Bleach Ending: Disappointment

Oki

[Manga Mondays] Saiunkoku Monogatari

saiunkoku english manga vol. 1Title: Saiunkoku Monogatari (The Story of Saiunkoku; The Tale of the Kingdom of Colored Clouds)
Author: Sai Yukino (story); Kairi Yura (art)
Genres: Romance, Drama, Historical, Political, Comedy, Reverse Harem
Published: 2003 – 2011 (LN); 2005 – 2012 (manga)
Volumes: 18 (LN – complete); 9 (manga – defunct)
Japanese Publisher: Monthly Asuka (magazine); Kadokawa Shoten (tankobon format)
English Publisher: Viz Media (albeit rights have now been transferred to Yen Press)
Available to Purchase in English?: Yes (Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Indigo)

[Note: This post contains mild spoilers]

Finally, for those of you who’ve been wondering about my repeated references to this series, I’m going to explain to you why I love SaiMono so much.

But first a quick explanation for all the parentheses in the summary. Saiunkoku Monogatari is something of an incomplete series. In Japan, there are the light novels (x 18, plus four volumes of side stories), two seasons of anime, and nine manga. However in North America, fans have access to… one season of anime and the manga. -_- Furthermore assuming that it was due to declining sales and interest in the series, only the nine volumes of manga were ever created, leaving the equivalent of the second half of the first season and all of the second of the anime untold in manga format. So basically if you can’t read Japanese fluently and aren’t able to import the light novels, as a fan you’re hooped when it comes to reading the full story yourself.

Also in my review of A Bride’s Story, I mentioned that it narrowly beat out Saiunkoku Monogatari as my favourite series, but in retrospect I think I meant that more in terms of the artwork. Both series are gorgeous, however overall I think I prefer the story of SaiMono. It’s very close though!

Alright, onward to the meat of my review.

ryuuki seiran shuurei bg


Saiunkoku Monogatari
centers around a sixteen year old girl named Shuurei Kou (as in the original Japanese media). She is from one of the eight noble families of Saiukoku, but her immediate family has little money and so she and her family’s retainer, Seiran Shi, have to work assorted odd jobs in order to help her father make ends meet. Shuurei’s father found Seiran abandoned one night when he was young and Shuurei was still small, so he works for Shuurei’s father in an effort to repay the kindness shown to him. Shuurei’s father Shouka works in the Imperial Archives but makes little money, and Shuurei’s mother passed away when Shuurei was little, so her family has few options left when it comes to surviving short of begging their relatives for money.

At the beginning of the series, Shuurei is approached by one of the Emperor’s Grand Advisors who has a proposition for her. The current Emperor, Ryuuki Shi (different kanji, but…), wants nothing to do with royal duties and has been shirking his responsibilities. If Shuurei is willing to enter the imperial household and spend six months as the emperor’s consort teaching the emperor how to be a strong ruler, with Seiran going as her bodyguard, Advisor Sho will give Shuurei’s family a very large sum of money. Shuurei is desperate and agrees to the deal, realizing only later that she might be in over her head.saiunkoku_manga_artbook_0009-copy

However the arrangement is bittersweet. From the time when the country of Saiunkoku was struck by extreme poverty and hardship, Shuurei’s dream has been to become an official in the Imperial Court so she can help others. But there’s a catch – women are forbidden from taking the exams. So being in the Inner Court is a little like rubbing salt in a wound for Shuurei, but she is still determined to teach Ryuuki to be a good emperor. Ryuuki is of course attracted to Shuurei, but she is unbelievably sheltered and naive when it comes to the opposite sex, and she rebuffs his advances.

After Shuurei finishes her time with Ryuuki and leaves the Imperial Palace, Ryuuki decides that he will change the laws so that women are able to take the entrance exams. With the door to her dream now accessible for the first time in her life, Shuurei takes up the challenge.

There’s so much more I could say but don’t want to get into because I don’t want to spoil this amazing series for anyone, so all I can say is to GO READ IT and GO WATCH IT because it’s a one-of-a-kind series you won’t forget.

So, pros? Fantastic characters, tons of bishounen in a reverse harem, a unique story, and gorgeous artwork elevate this series above others for me. And as I’ve said before, as much as I hate the term “strong female character”, this series has several. Shuurei herself is a fantastic role model, for reasons I’d be happy to get into if anyone wants to have that discussion.

What elseseiran and shuurei? There’s romance but the series doesn’t revolve around it; in fact because of Shuurei’s aversion to men, what romance there is ranks a little lower on SaiMono’s scale of important factors, a nice change in an industry where many series are near carbon copies of the same damn thing because creators know that that’s what sells. And it’s a historical title, so there is little nudity or over-the-top innuendo, something I consider to be a breath of fresh air. Politics are front and center in SaiMono too.

I’d like to take a moment to comment on the depth of Saiunkoku. There are so many layers, so many hidden things and plays on words which are expertly woven together to create a detailed story. Names, character relationships, ulterior motives – ugh. I don’t even know how to put it into words because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but I’m honestly hard-pressed to think of a series which has the richness and complexity of Saiunkoku. There’s just so much to it; it’s not just some straightforward historical romance.

Cons? The series is extremely slow-paced. How slow? Both seasons of anime have 38 episodes. Each. Whew! So there’s lots of plot, but there’s also lots of filler. Plus towards the end of the second season I found the story got a little convoluted and farfetched, though overall I feel it still stands strong. In terms of the manga (since this is a manga review, not an anime review >>; ), only the first two or three story arcs are covered, enough to get the reader interested but then left wanting more.

If you’re reading or watching SaiMono for lots of romance, you might be disappointed. Don’t get me wrong there’s definitely romance in SaiMono, but it’s often subtle, and the obvious moments are infrequent. Plus you know, there’s the whole reverse harem factor to contend with if that’s not your thing.

Lastly as I already mentioned, the series is incomplete. If you finish the second season of the anime, you can see how it was left open for a continuation, but due to decreased popularity I don’t think we will ever see a third season, or more of the manga. o(?_?)o

My Score: 9/10
Do I Recommend This Title?: If you can tolerate slow-paced series, then YES, if only for the artwork and the characters. There are so many layers to Saiunkoku, much of which is not revealed until much later, and though the manga is incomplete I still feel like it’s a title worth reading. It’s like a beautiful onion – pretty to look at as a whole, but as you get further down through the layers it’s going to make you cry.

And if you ever want to talk about this series AT ALL, please feel free to ask me about it! I literally will never tire of talking about Saiunkoku Monogatari. (????)?*:???

Tokyo Ghoul:re Chapter 74: EF

“645 times. 645 times I could have fatally wounded you. 645. 645 times I decided not to.”

_re 74 Img007

Impression

Why is Hairu so cute? Why did Hairu have to die?

_re 74 Img001

It’s been about half a year and I still haven’t forgiven Ishida. Anyway. The start of the chapter had me hoping that we’d finally learn more about Arima and how the world looked through his eyes. We never got the latter, but I think we know a bit more about him now – or at least we can confirm that no-one understands him, from his colleagues at the CCG to Haise himself. I absolutely love how Hirako just responds with silence when asked about Arima. If Arima ever dies and has a funeral, Hirako’s going to be the first to arrive and the last to leave. Arima dying will cleanse Hirako’s soul. It’ll be a major turning point in his life. He’ll take a break from the CCG to find himself, maybe find someone special to share his life with and go out to see the world. He’ll reach the top of a mountain somewhere and feel at one with nature. As he stares at the beautiful sunset he’ll start to feel that maybe, just maybe, everything will be okay.

_re 74 Img003

Sorry. Got a bit distracted there. I do think that Arima is definitely not like what the CCG thinks he is, if that makes sense. They seem to look up to him as some sort of genius investigator who embodies righteousness, strength and is the epitome of perfection. I don’t think that’s it. If anything, the comment about him going as far as ‘being cruel towards ghouls’ is the most accurate of the lot. He embodies the CCG, sure, but what you’re supposed to gather from that is that, like the CCG, he’s not what he appears to be on the surface. These recent chapters he’s actually come across a lot like Hairu is in battle – someone sadistic who takes pleasure in battle and in killing ghouls, and leaves a gory mess behind when doing so. In fact, it might even be the other way round in that we know that Hairu looked up to, admired and imitated Arima as much as possible. And not insignificantly, they’re both (along with Furuta) from the Sunlit Garden, and all of them (as well as Rize, come to think of it) have shown a lot of in-battle sadism.

_re 74 Img005

Arima even smiled while watching Kaneki crawl across the ground in an attempt to pick up his severed legs. He talks about killing the Rabbits and Hinami after he’s done with Kaneki. He talks about how he could have killed him 645 times but just decided not to. If we assume he enjoys doing this sort of stuff, then maybe we start to see a justification in why he left Kaneki alive and raised him as Haise – was he raising a CCG member, or a future opponent? He admired Kaneki’s battle skills at V14 – did he want to make Kaneki stronger so he could enjoy a death match with him in the future? Is that what he meant this chapter by his efforts ‘going to waste’? That even though he’s spent time on Kaneki, Kaneki’s still too weak for him to enjoy a battle with? And does Arima know that Kaneki is suicidal – is that what he meant by ‘your eyes are that of a dead man’?

_re 74 Img004

I have a feeling that V is watching very closely, by the way. And I mean Kaiko and the other higher-ups, not members like Arima and Furuta. How else could Arima have gotten Owl (the SSS-rate ukaku quinque most likely made out of Yoshimura’s kakuhou) so conveniently after Ixa broke? Ixa breaks, and Arima says to someone, ‘The quinque. I’m underground.’ and all of a sudden a briefcase randomly shoots towards him. At least on Kaneki’s side, it looks like Eto is watching (and will hopefully start helping, he might really need it). I’m not sure if his talking kakuja (or is it still his normal kagune) is actually Eto talking to him or just him or just his confused mental state. The mouth tells him ‘protectt…’ and he goes ‘I will… you idiot!’ but for some reason I initially thought it was the mouth saying ‘you idiot’.

It’s also not looking good for the Kirishimas, Hinami and Banjou. I hope Banjou didn’t die there by the way, by the way, it looked like he was fairly close to one of the compactors before Furuta turned it on. I doubt they can stand up to Furuta and a bunch of V members at the same time, so we really need either a successfuly escape or for someone to intervene, else rabbit stew appears on the menu tonight at the Cochlea canteen.

[Manga Mondays] Otoyomegatari

BRIDESSTORY_2Title: Otoyomegatari (A Bride’s Story)
Author: Kaoru Mori (Story & Art)
Genres: Drama, Romance, Historical
Published: 2008 – Present (Ongoing)
Volumes: 7 (so far)
Japanese Publisher: Enterbrain – both Harta magazine (original run) & tankobon format
English Publisher: Yen Press
Available to Purchase in English?: Yes (Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Indigo)

I’m back this week to introduce an incredible title by the name of Otoyomegatari, known most commonly as A Bride’s Story in English. This manga is in my list of top three favourite titles, and I hope to convince anyone reading this why it’s worthy of such praise.

A Bride’s Story takes place in the late 19th century, in a Turkic Central Asia near the Caspian Sea. The series focuses on several nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes, but initially focuses on the arranged marriage of Amir and Karluk. Their union is unique in that Amir is twenty, but Karluk is eight years younger than she is; typically the bride is several years younger than her husband. They care for each other, but struggle to find ways to relate to each other because of the age gap between them. In addition, Amir comes from a tribe more nomadic than Karluk’s and is very outspoken and adventurous, whereas the women of Karluk’s family are usually more reserved. Amir also has skills like riding a horse and shooting a bow, things Karluk’s family find fascinating bebride's storycause their way of living doesn’t require their women to learn those skills.

The story begins as a quiet one, focusing on the family life of Karluk’s family’s tribe and their day-to-day activities, and because this is a series focused on women and women’s activities, much of the first volume or two is about things like making bread, creating clothes and textiles, and cooking meals. Then one day their peaceful existence is disturbed when some of Amir’s male relatives come to take her back to their tribe, and they will use force if they have to.

What’s a little unusual about this series is that after volume two, the story starts to branch off with other characters and their adventures. However while I’m only up to volume three myself, I’ve read that the series keeps circling back to Amir and Karluk to provides updates about their married life. I’m not normally a fan of series which do this (Kareshi to Kanojo no Jijou, or His & Her Circumstances in English, is the only other series offhand I can think of which uses this storytelling tactic), but I’ve enjoyed A Bride’s Story enough that I don’t feel like this will bother me once I get further into the series.

Wikipedia also has this series listed as being targeted towards a seinen (adolescent boy) demographic, and while there is a little nudity (though not gratuitous) and perhaps that is the reason for its use, the seinen label honestly surprised me a little. Reading this series didn’t give me a seinen vibe; if anything it struck me as a series that perhaps everyone could enjoy. So regardless of how it’s supposedly marketed, I feel that this series has a strong appeal to readers of all demographics regardless of their gender.

What elevates A Bride’s Story to perfection for me is the sheer amount of DETAIL which goes into each and every panel. I won’t spam your screen with images, but you caotoyomegatari-1016768n see how the author works here, and view some other examples from the manga here and here. A Bride’s Story even beats out my other favourite gorgeous series, Saiunkoku Monogatari, and that is very hard to do in my book.

Going back to the arranged marriage between Amir and Karluk, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t originally a bit of an ick factor in reading about a twenty year old woman marrying a twelve year old boy. I personally found that framing it in a historical context helped me be more accepting of the concept, because during this time period there were (and probably still are) cultures which practice ultimogeniture inheritance, which means that the youngest child is the one who gets everything, not the eldest. I suppose the author could have made Karluk a little older. but then perhaps the age gap might not have the same relevance that it does.

If you want to check an awesome article which takes a closer look at this series, and Amir as a character in particular, I recommend reading this (minor spoiler alert for later events in the series). I differ from the author’s opinion of Amir’s character (that she is too silent and never really displays much of an opinion on her circumstances), but otherwise agree with what she says, and the article’s author mentions a lot of the story’s cultural details which I haven’t covered here.

My Score: 10/10
Do I Recommend This Title?: YES! If only to read about a part of the world which gets little media attention in Western society. However I’d also encourage people to read it for the gorgeous artwork and the compelling story. It might seem boring, initially being about topics like arranged marriage, breadmaking and sewing, but I promise you it’s so much more.

Tokyo Ghoul:re Chapter 73: Flower

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Tokyo Ghoul:re Chapter 72: Syncope and Transmission

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Tokyo Ghoul:re Chapter 71: Hope and Suffering

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Tokyo Ghoul:re Chapter 70: Thunder Rabbit

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Tokyo Ghoul:re Chapter 69: Administer the Cleanse

The last smile they wanted to see.

_re 69 Img002

Impression

Ahh, I want to be slapped by Hinami~!

_re 69 Img005

…Sorry. I want to first address a quick issue that should have been mentioned as part of last week’s post. Depending on which scanlation group’s translation you chose to read, when exactly you read it, and whether you’ve been keeping up with :re-related updates and spoilers over the week, you may or may not already know this. It’s to do with the last page of Chapter 68 – MS offered the full (and correct) translation of that page, while Helvetica missed it completely in their initial release (but later corrected their mistake). It should look like this.

18

It’s done in a style similar to the way Urie talks, in that what Kaneki is telling himself about his own motives is different from what he really means or intends deep down. Taken together with the penultimate few pages, Kaneki’s lines are therefore: “…Hide. I… just like you, I want to die in style.”

Which is just… well, holy shit. In other words, he’s still suicidal. I remember questioning last week whether he admired Hide’s selflessness or just thought it was a good way to die in style, and it looks like I’ve got my answer. Kaneki has confirmed the nature of his ‘last job’ this week as well – he wants to rescue Hinami, then be killed by Arima. He seems so certain that no-one or nothing can stop Arima at all – I know he knows a lot about his abilities having seen them up close many times, but it feels like he’s underestimating his own strength especially in the wake of his victory against Eto. It’s like he has zero self-confidence. Regardless of his strength I guess his objective is to die, but I doubt he’d accept a death where he isn’t going all-out against an opponent he truly can’t defeat – that might not be ‘dying in style’ from his point of view. Also, if he’s saying that Hide died in style, does that mean it’s confirmed that Hide is kill?

At least, we know one scenario which would have satisfied the conditions Kaneki wants to die in – his fight with Arima in V14 as Centipede. I still think we’re going to get Centipede crawling around in Cochlea, whether that’s as a result of Hinami’s death (Ishida don’t you dare) prompting him to go insane or otherwise. Haisaki seems to be suggesting as such – he’s talking about Cochlea being part of his body and vermin running amok while he’s clutching his ears. If that isn’t a subtle reference to Kaneki having gotten a centipede put inside his ear then I don’t know what is.

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In other news, Touka is finally doing something! I guess her and Yomo being the gas masks means the theory that Hide was one of them is now debunked. Yomo being around is reassuring, because he’s one of the few ghouls in the series to have faced Arima before and lived – on the other hand, Touka appearing might not be such a great thing. Think about it. It’s both Kirishima siblings in Cochlea, and their father has been exploited by the CCG as a kakuja farm for god knows how many years now. And they’re heading deeper and deeper into Cochlea, where there’s supposedly some sort of exit – I’m pretty sure they’ll be served a dose of Ishida’s brand of suffering at its very best. Speaking of that exit, does it really exist? Given that it’s a prison for ghouls, and that the more dangerous the ghoul, the lower underground they’re held captive, it wouldn’t really make sense for there to be an alternative exit somewhere lower down. Does it have any connection to V? At any rate, Kaneki, Banjou and Ayato all seem convinced that there’s a way of getting out – and I’m sure Banjou and the rest of them aren’t suicidal like Kaneki is, no matter how much they want to rescue Hinami.

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I sure hope we’ll be staying at Cochlea instead of moving to Rue Island next week. It was one of my biggest worries for the chapter – that Ishida would try to cover a bit of both every week instead of concentrating on the more interesting one (which is Cochlea for now, at least until Amon, Takizawa, Akira, Houji and Tatara have their high school reunion). Not least of all because Furuta has appeared in front of Hinami and Kaneki, and I’m terrified to say that I have absolutely no idea what Furuta will do. It’s honestly unpredictable. Will there even be a fight? What does V want the outcome of this incident to be? Is he acting on orders of V? If so, will Furuta go along with V’s wishes, or will his personal grudges (against Eto and possibly Rize) be put first, since hurting Kaneki is a sure-fire way to get back at Eto? Was he the one who gave the key card to Ayato, and if so does he want a breakout to happen? If a fight does begin, what’s his true power level? Will they get anywhere before being interrupted by Arima? I can’t tell anything from that creepy Clown smile of his, and all my instincts are telling me is that something very, very bad might happen to Hinami next chapter.

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Tokyo Ghoul:re Chapter 68: Custody of the S Class

“For someone else’s sake… I would lay down my life.”

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Impression

ONII-CHAN KEPT BEST GIRL SAFE

THANK YOU ISHIDA

EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL AND NOTHING HURTS (EXCEPT AYATO)

HINAMI IS FINALLY FREE

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I’m so happy. I’ve been waiting for this moment for such a long time. At one point I was even starting to doubt whether Hinami would be saved at all. I think some were even afraid that Arima would covertly move up her execution date so that Kaneki wouldn’t get any funny ideas. But it’s all okay now. Onii-chan will protect her smile! In retrospect, I can kind of understand why Kaneki stopped visiting. For one, it wouldn’t make much of a difference. It’s not like he goes to her cell every time he visits her – he had no idea where it was, meaning she was probably brought out to some sort of interrogation room instead whenever he questioned her. He also no longer has any excuse for visiting her, since being scheduled for disposal is tantamount to the CCG saying she has no more useful information left keeping her alive for. As a non-employee of Cochlea, the only opportunity he had left to get anywhere near it was during this mission – and so he simply waited until he had the best chance of successfully breaking her out.

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The key issue now is whether and how Kaneki and Hinami will make it out alive. Ishida is cruel to cute girls, after all. I feel really sorry for Ayato, having gone to all this trouble to break into Cochlea only to have Kaneki make it to Hinami first – and now while they make their getaway Rabbit is stuck fighting Arima.

_re 68 Img005

If even Shachi couldn’t scratch him I doubt Ayato and Banjou will be able to do much – their survival will probably depend on whether Kaneki or maybe Amon come to their rescue. It’s also a little disappointing that Kaneki doesn’t seem to be intent on releasing any more ghouls from their cells – he’s only done all the A-rate ghouls, and even then only as a distraction to keep the guards busy while he heads down to the SS-rate floor to look for Hinami. It would have been good if he released Donato and Eto at the same time, but it’s nice that he’s giving priority to best girl. It’s quite clear that at least someone will die, and I’m sorry to say that (although I like them both) I’d trade Eto’s life for Hinami’s in a heartbeat. I think Kaneki would do the same.

Come to think of it, Eto can probably break out on her own if she eats the slabs of Shiono that Furuta made for her. Furuta is definitely really really bitter about the Washuu comment. It seems like he’s doing everything he can to get back at her short of actually physically harming her – which includes revealing that he knew about the wiretapping as well as killing Shiono and making her eat him. Poor Eto. I remember wondering a couple of months ago whether Eto actually cared for Shiono, and I think I have my answer – she does. Or did, anyway. Furuta may have still been very clever this chapter, but I don’t think his actions were as effective as some of the stuff he’s done in the past – because those seemed like it was effortless control of the situation on this part. Now that he’s been unsettled once by Eto, it just feels like he’s having to try especially hard to hurt her, and it comes off as a little forced. He’s still good at acting and lying, though.

_re 68 Img001

As for Hide – Kaneki really is an unreliable narrator, especially when he’s Centipede. If you look back at Chapter 136, which was the chapter in which Hide appeared in the sewers (incidentally, as as a number that would be a double of this week’s Chapter 68) you’ll notice that he in fact says absolutely nothing about Kaneki eating him or Arima being dangerous and Kaneki having to prove to Arima that he’s worth keeping alive. If Kaneki was told to eat him, and Kaneki woke up and tasted blood in his mouth before the V14 fight, I think Hide really is dead – as much as I don’t want to believe it, because I do think Hide has an important role to play in the series. I’m an advocate of the ‘Hide is a Washuu’ theory, after all – and it’s suspicious to me that he knows so much about how dangerous Arima is and the possibility that Arima will want to keep Kaneki and turn him into an investigator instead of killing him outright. Now that we know there are disowned Washuus like Furuta, it’s looking more likely that Hide had or has something to do with either the Washuus or V. Of course, Kaneki could have just eaten a bit of Hide, and like with Amon and Takizawa we haven’t seen a body – so hope still remains. He could have just sacrificed his arm.

_re 68 Img002

Lastly, I also wonder whether Kaneki really wants to be just like Hide. I’m really happy he thinks Hinami is someone worth risking his life for, but is he doing it because he thinks Hide is admirable? Or is he ultimately just doing it because doing something for someone else’s sake is a way to die in style?