WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the Bleach one-shot chapter by Tite Kubo, Jan Cash and Vanessa Satone, available now in English via Viz Media.
The highly-anticipated Bleach one-shot is out and, despite its short length, is packed with twists on the classic franchise, including the increasing overlap between the tradition-bound Soul Society and the mundane world of the living. The 21st century has come to the Soul Society.
Some Soul Reapers like this change more than others, with Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi and Lieutenant Renji Abarai making the most of modern technology to make their lives and work that much easier. In a way it's a reverse-isekai scenario, only with objects instead of people.
Renji Learns The Value Of Face-Time
It soon becomes abundantly clear that the border between the Soul Society and the living world is fuzzier than ever, and in more than one way. Ichigo helped bridge the two realms with his isekai adventures in the original Bleach, while Rukia's reverse-isekai adventure in Karakura Town helped as well. Now Renji is blurring the line even more via his use of modern technology.
In the one-shot, Renji is seen using a specialized soul pager -- modeled after modern iPhones -- that can connect easily to Ichigo's own smartphone to make a Face-Time call. Unprecedented for Soul Reapers, this makes it much easier for Renji and his friends to contact Ichigo without having to personally visit Karakura Town via a senkaimon gate.
The Soul Society did have some semi-modern tech already, such as Squad 12's lab equipment and the flip phone-style soul pagers use in the original Bleach, but those fittingly reflected the early 2000s. Now it's 2021, and Tite Kubo's characters are keeping pace with the world their creator lives in. Some characters mention the debut of television in the Soul Society, cathode ray models that allow Soul Reapers to relax and have fun in a whole new way. This can rapidly accelerate each Soul Reaper's understanding of modern human society and pop culture, making it easier for them to blend into human society in a physical gigai body if needed.
Captain Kurotsuchi Embraces The Future With Holograms
Modern tech seeps into the Soul Society in more serious ways too, such as hologram projectors and flying robotic drones. The curious and analytical Mayuri Kurotsuchi always seeks the newest breakthroughs and is delighted to borrow humanity's gadgets to further his goals. In the Bleach one-shot, Captain Kurotsuchi makes good use of flying drones to project his image all over the place, thus communicating with other Soul Reaper officers without needing to visit them in person, or even use a hell butterfly. It's just like Mayuri to eagerly embrace cutting-edge tech, regardless of tradition.
Mayuri isn't the Soul Society's only scientist, however. Kisuke Urahara is on friendly terms with the Gotei 13 again, and has even better mind for science than Mayuri. In fact, in his Captain days, Kisuke had recruited Mayuri as a lab assistant. So Mayuri's competitive side emerges as he embraces modern tech to get the edge on his one-sided rival. 21st century Bleach is here.