“Marching Out the Zombies 2” begins the process of tying up the second cour of Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War by putting a bow on the final fights in the Seireitei. It’s mostly perfunctory despite being so close to the end of this block of episodes, as there is a bit of wheel spinning similar to the beginning of the cour when all of our characters were waiting for the battle to begin properly. The end result is a bit less hype than previous episodes and it’s hard to not put that issue at the feet of the narrative itself.
The cliffhanger from the previous episode revealing that Captain Hitsuguya had become enthralled to Giselle’s “The Zombie” catches even Kurosutchi off guard and he’s forced to get directly involved in the fight for the first time. That doesn’t stop Kurotsuchi from being his classic creep self as he talks about using his comrade’s still-warm corpse as a test subject. Kurotsuchi has always been a right old bastard but he’s particularly maniacal throughout “Marching Out the Zombies 2” with the glee he shows in having more pl. That glee gets a bit grating the longer the episode goes long – true to a Kurotsuchi fight, things are a combination of specifically weird and hyper explained. Thankfully, the episode doesn’t dwell on this remotely as much as the original Bleach series would have.
Meanwhile, the Quincy ranks begin to break down as they realize their king has up and abandoned them for higher pastures. This leaves an opening for Byakuya to show off and take on three of the hanger ons from two episodes ago; before being assaulted by a very twisted version of Cupid using “The Love.” The cold Byakuya struggles due to yet another Quincy with a sort of control power despite not being able to be controlled himself but is saved by Kurotsuchi, who just shows up with bonus Captain zombies in tow. True to the rest of what makes his fights somewhat frustrating, a flashback fills in the gaps as he reveals that he of course already had blood samples of every member of the Soul Society to replace Gisele’s blood and makes quick work of her with her own zombies. It’s an anticlimactic end to a battle of sadists.
Before Gisele is sent off on her way, a quick note: in the original manga, Gisele’s introduction scene with Ikkaku and Yumichika has a strange exchange that features a bit of unsubtle misgendering of Gisele based on, of all things, the “smell of semen.” It’s a bizarre line that doesn’t exactly say anything about the character and anything one would want to extrapolate isn’t exactly great. The anime didn’t include this line, but it wasn’t until after last week’s review ran that it came to my attention that this was a specific Hulu cut and the line and all related grossness did in fact make it into other regions. The TYBW arc of Bleach was written itself over a decade ago so dwelling on this beyond this mention is probably not needed, but give that Kubo has had no issue presented gender non-conforming characters (the involved Yumichika is a great example) in the past, this whole sequence is just weird and it would have been best to leave on the cutting room floor.
Besides an interesting conversation between the two surviving captains about Kurotsuchi’s ethics juxtaposed by Quincy turning on Quincy, there isn’t much else to say about “Marching Out the Zombies 2.” The episode serves as a clean-up step that didn’t fully earn its two-parter status and it still would have been much better to grant this to another part of the story previously. In any case, the action should pick back up next week as the post credits scene teases Ywhach’s arrival in the Royal Palace.
Featured image ©Tite Kubo/Shueisha, TV TOKYO, dentsu, Pierrot
‘Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War’ - “Marching Out the Zombies 2” - 4/10