Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War Ep 8: The Shooting Star Project (Zero Mix) Old faces leave, forever?
Bleach: The Thousand Year Blood War Episode 8: The Shooting Star Project
Animated by Studio Pierrot.
Created by Kubo "God of Character Design" Tite.
Last week, on the greatest Shonen series, things went... really badly. Kubo teased us with 5 minutes of awesome lore, to soften the blow before delivering 20 of the most brutal minutes in the series. As Yama-ji was cut down by Yhwach, sending the Gotei 13 into disarray, and basically causing any remaining defense to crumble, before the seemingly unstoppable Wandenreich.
But it's okay! Ichigo finally broke out of his jail, because plot, and arrived to save the day! Only to face defeat and UTTER disrespect at the hands of Jugram Haschwalth.
It was NOT a good day. And now, the survivors must clean up, because they've got some important visitors on the way.
After the brutality of the last few episode, this episode is an almost welcome relief. There's no fighting, we don't lose any fan favourite characters, and no one gets hurt. That's about the best we can hope for, these days.
It's not a happy episode, though. The few captains that remain gather to bid farewell to Yama-ji, and their grief isn't bringing them together.
In the Squad 4 Barracks, Isane questions why she and Captain Unohana weren't more involved in the battle.
And in the hospital, many fan favourite character are still struggling to survive. Many might never regain consciousness...
And after all that: A visit from the mysterious Squad 0. A squad of ultra powerful Shinigami, whose job it is to guard the Soul King!
The price paid by the Gotei 13 was pretty high... but it could have been SO much higher.
Should it, in fact, have been higher?
I can't help but think that the Shinigami got off pretty lightly. Let's be real, here; We lost Izuru Kira, who no one gives a shit about, and Captain Commander Yamamoto, who was basically a living cheat code and HAD to be removed now, or there rest of the arc would be "And then Yama-ji killed everyone, episode over!"
But when you consider who was fighting, in that battle, and who took the hardest losses, it REALLY could have been worse.
Byakuya? ABSOLUTELY wrecked by As Nodt. In a rough state, but alive.
Zaraki? Utterly ruined by Fake Yhwach. In a rough state, but should pull through.
Hitsugaya? Lost his Bankai, but he's relatively unhurt.
What do those three names have in common? Easy: They're the three captains who have been a huge part in basically every arc since the very first.
I'm not even joking. Byakuya and Zaraki were both huge roadblocks for Ichigo in the Rescue Rukia arc, both took out Espada in the Hueco Mundo arc AND faced off against a Fullbringer in the Lost Agent Arc. And Hitsugaya is right behind them, when it comes to screen time...
So you have to wonder, seeing as this is the FINAL arc (for now *crosses fingers*), wouldn't it have really shown that Kubo wasn't playing around... if he'd actually killed them off?
I mean, it's not like they're REQUIRED for the events to come.
As Nodt killing Byakuya would have given Rukia a real push to get revenge on him.
Killing off Zaraki would have potentially spurred on [NAME REDACTED] to really cut loose and possibly reclaim their former title.
Hitsugaya dying... well, would anyone have actually noticed? Probably not.
It's not like there aren't plenty of other captains left, many of whom haven't had some quality screen time in a while. Some, haven't had any EVER.
I mean, let's be honest, here. If you knew this was the final arc, who would you rather see get a moment in the spotlight?
Zaraki, Byakuya and Hitsugaya, who have had fights in every major arc, OR:
The three "Senior Captains": Ukitake, Unohana, and Shunsui.
It's been referenced time and again, that these three are the oldest currently serving captains, and as of yet, we've only really seen Shunsui fight! Even then, his battle against Starrk was HILARIOUSLY short (but awesome, to be fair). We've not even seen any of them release their Bankai!
It just feels like Kubo really missed a trick, here. Killing off some fan favourite Captains this early in the arc, and giving some of the less popular characters a chance to shine would have really started this arc off in a strong way, and would have given us something we've really not seen before, in this series.
That said, Episode 8 was another strong entry into this cour. The animation, voice acting, and music continued to shine, even in a more sombre episode. Some old faces left for good, some new faces arrived to tease us... and some very interesting questions were asked. But will we ever get any answers?
If you want some questions to dwell on, check out Bleach: The Thousand Year Blood War on Hulu/Disney+ streaming NOW!
Or, if you want to start the journey from its very beginning, you can now watch the series in its entirety, also on Hulu/Disney+!
Or, if you want to cheat and read ahead, check out Chapter 480 onwards, of the Bleach Manga, on the Shonen Jump App!
Taheg Gloder is a Freelance Copywriter from England. Obsessed with comics and Manga since his teens, he now splits his time between writing comic reviews and retrospectives for POP, and doing reactions on his YouTube Channel, The Dragon & The Hound. He lives alone, because he’s a hermit.