The thirty-seventh volume of the Bleach manga concludes the Turn Back the Pendulum flashback arc. The action returns to the present day afterwards, with the Thirteen Court Guard Companies confronting the Espada.
There are ten chapters in this volume. Chapters minus ninety-nine to minus ninety-seven are the conclusion of Turn Back the Pendulum. After that, the main story resumes with chapters three hundred and sixteen through to three hundred and twenty-two.
Soul Reaper captain Shinji Hirako has uncovered Aizen’s betrayal, but it may be too late. As some of the Soul Society’s greatest Soul Reapers transform into Hollows, it will be up to Kisuke Urahara to save them. And back in the present time, the grand battle between the Thirteen Court Guard Companies and the remaining Espada finally begins!
Aizen reveals the true power of his zanpaku-tô, Kyoka Suigetsu, to Shinji in chapter -99, ‘Turn Back the Pendulum 10’. Aizen agitates Shinji, speeding up the Hollowfication process. With his experiment successful, Aizen tries to cut down the Hollowfied Soul Reaper. However, Kisuke arrives.
Kisuke reveals that he knows about Hollowfication in chapter -98, ‘Turn Back the Pendulum 11’. Aizen, Kaname and Gin retreat, leaving Kisuke and Tessai to deal with the Hollowfied Soul Reapers. Tessai uses two forbidden spells to relocate Shinji and the others to Twelfth Company’s barracks. Once there, Kisuke treats them with the Hôgyoku.
Kisuke’s efforts to save Shinji and the others seems to be fruitless in chapter -97, ‘Let Stop the Pendulum’. To make matters worse, he and Tessai get arrested. Tessai is sentenced to prison for use of forbidden spells, whilst Kisuke is to be banished for conducting Hollowfication experiments.
Yoruichi helps Kisuke and Tessai to escape, and then they come up with a plan to undo the Hollowficiation whilst remaining hidden from the Soul Society.
In the present day, the Visoreds leave their hideout.
Chapter 316, ‘Swang the Edge Down’, takes us back to the present day. The Captain-General wastes no time in using his zanpaku-tô to cut Aizen, Gin and Kaname off from the battle with an inferno.
In Hueco Mundo, Ulquiorra asks Orihime if she is afraid now that Aizen doesn’t need her any more. She is not.
Ichigo makes his way through Hueco Mundo in chapter 317, ‘Six Hearts Will Beat As One’. He ends up encountering Rudobôn and the Exequias. Renji, Chad and Rukia arrive to deal with them so Ichigo can continue moving forward. He does so, and arrives at the room where Orihime and Ulquiorra are.
Ulquiorra announces his intention to kill Ichigo to protect Las Noches in chapter 318, ‘Five Towers/Four Pillars’.
In the fake Karakura Town, Barragan realises that they can uncover the real Karakura Town by destroying four pillars. He gets Findor to send Arrancars to attack the pillars, but they are guarded by some of the Soul Society’s finest warriors.
Barragan sends his Fracciónes to take care of the Soul Reapers guarding the pillars in chapter 319, ‘Ants and Dragons’. Poww, Chuhlhourne, Abirama and Findor confront Ikkaku, Yumichika, Izuru and Shuhei respectively.
After angering Izuru, Abirama uses his Resurreción, Aguila, in chapter 320, ‘Beauty is So Solitary’.
The battle between Yumichika and Charlotte Chuhlhourne pretty much just devolves into them calling each other ugly. When Charlotte starts fighting seriously, he uses techniques that have ridiculously long names. Yumichika pushes Charlotte into using his Resurreción, Reina de Roses. It is not a pretty sight.
Charlotte overpowers Yumichika in chapter 321, ‘Black Briars and Brambles’, and uses a technique which cuts the pair of them off from the outside world. Taking advantage of that, Yumichika reveals his zanpaku-tô’s true name and abilities. Ruri Iro Kujaku is able to drain an opponent’s spiritual pressure.
Yumichika reveals that he hid the true nature of his zanpaku-tô in chapter 322, ‘Oath Under the Rose’. The reason for that is due to it being a kidô-based weapon, whereas the Eleventh Company is about direct attacks.
As Shuhei continues to fight against Findor, he discovers that Findor can increase his strength by breaking his mask.
Elsewhere, Izuru struggles to fight against Abirama’s released form.
That brings volume 37 to an end. The conclusion of the Turn Back the Pendulum arc proves some interesting insight into why Kisuke ended up in the world of the living, as well as showing that Aizen has pretty much always been a scheming villain.
The action picks up when it goes back to the present day, with Barragan’s Fracciónes get the focus alongside Ikkaku, Yumichika, Shuhei and Izuru. Yumichika’s zanpaku-tô’s true power was hinted at way back during the Soul Society arc – in fact, it was Shuhei who experienced it.
Whilst Ikkaku is fine with Yumichika knowing that he knows bankai, Yumichika has kept the true nature of his zanpaku-tô under wraps from even him. I guess that shows what being in the Eleventh Company truly means to Yumichika.
This volume is pretty good, though the fights against the Fracciónes are pretty much just the prelude to the Soul Reapers fighting the actual Espadas. I suppose it does give some of the more minor characters a chance to do something.
The fights against Barragan’s remaining Fracciónes continue in the next volume.