At the start of this arc there were a few mysteries thrown at us.
One was the Vandenreich and what/who they were. This was settled in the last chapter.
Another, which has yet to be explained, is what this was:
Lastly, there was the disappearing villagers from soul society:
This one was kindly explained to us this chapter. I must say, I should have realized. At the start what confused me was that although Quincies could eradicate Hollows souls and all, could they do the same to souls in SS? I mentioned this back on March 1st:
NOW the question is whether they can eradicate Shinigami as they do Hollows, ie. soul and all, as the chapter continues and takes us to Soul Society where the 11th squad are investigating vanishing souls in Rukongai's 64th District. The footprints give evidence that it was not the work of Hollow, but people of the village. ~I did not understand the pairs of a barefoot and a sandal. I get it shows they weren't Hollow, but why of the same village?~
But of course the Quincies are not the only ones who do evil for their vision of justice.
489. March of the Starcross
Vice Captain, Kira, takes the opportunity to question the collected Vice Captains about the vanishing souls, as they await their Captains in the meeting.
He asks whether anyone has investigated outside the 50th District, to which Yachiru pipes up to say that Yumichika and Ikkaku were sent to the 64th District. She explains their findings, and explains the footprints, upon Kira questioning, as "barefoot footprints and sandal footprints".
What originally confused the hell out of me was that in Ch482 it was described as, "pairs of a barefoot and a sandal", as if each person only wore one sandal. Yumichika then deduces it was from people of the "same village". Now, I can only brush off the last two statements as lost in translation, otherwise it wouldn't make sense, as we find out in this chapter, the somewhat obvious, answer to the disappearing souls:
"To correct the balance of souls" after the Quincies killing Hollows, Captain Mayuri ordered the killing of 28,000 Rukongai villagers.
The Commander, a centre in this arc it seems, questions Mayuri as to why he hasn't asked for permission, stating that he would have obtained it considering the gravity of the situation.
SS have proven to me in more instances than a dozen, e.g. the Fullbring arc, that they are truly heartless. Although I do understand this instance is necessary.
Mayuri explains that the situation could've got worse. The commander try to shove blame onto the Research and Development Institute, which Mayuri rejects: "The one who invited all this was you, Commander, 1000 years ago. You failed to kill that man!"
'That man' refers to the Empire King, and if I weren't uneasy before, I AM now. Does this mean, Empire King > Commander??
Also, 1000 years comes as a bit of a shock, as I thought Quincies were eradicated approximately 200 years ago. Did it take 800 years??
This Empire King, by the way, has decided to invade SS, now rather than in 5days, ~maybe 4 by now~, due to the fact that it had reached his ears that a foolish-somehow-always-doing-things-like-this Ichigo is in HM and currently preoccupied with Kirge of the Hunting group.
What these Vandenreich have made incredibly clear to this point is that Ichigo serves as a major trump card for SS. They seriously want him out of the picture.
The only factor we know, so far, that Ichigo has going for him, is that his Bankai cannot be absorbed/rendered useless by their medallions, as Ivan tried and failed.
Anywho, our dear protagonist is fighting Kirge, who has confirmed to Ichigo that they are in fact Quincy, and that they know of Ichigo, who is apparently classed as a 'special war weapon'. With or against them, I don't know. Translations of the statement varied.
All in all,
and he's bringing with him the Stern Ritter, aka Star Knights, aka his equivalent of the Espada.
The plot thickens, and faster and faster we roll into invasions and battles.
Will Soul Society make it? Are they basically the lesser of two evils? Will previous mysteries be solved? Where is Ishida?!
Let me know what you think!