Hah, I was expecting this from Kubo-sensei, but I was hoping so badly that he wouldn’t pull here what he did in Fullbring Arc in regards to the mysterious Shinigami (which ended up being Rukia), but alas such a thing happened. Hopefully Kubo-sensei doesn’t leave that cliff-hanger hanging too long otherwise it will lose all tension and deteriorate into something quite lack-luster.
Anyway, so the Stern Ritter member, Äs Nödt, who represents the letter “F” utilises the emotion “Fear”. Enjoyed the explanation he gave about his take and philosophy on “fear”, especially the contrast between the fear which has a “reason” and “true fear”. It was interesting and fascinating to see a side of Byakuya which we have never had the pleasure of seeing, him being consumed by desperation.
Now it is sad to see a fan-favourite character like him be completely overwhelmed and seemingly done in by his own Bankai – it does seem like that halo above Äs Nödt’s head is made up of Byakuya’s Senbonzakura Kageyoshi – but seeing the Gotei 13 on the back-foot for a change and getting completely demolished is quite a sight to witness, especially when this doesn’t happen often, it’s some nice tension build-up for when Ichigo saves them. Now it was expected that Byakuya would lose since he can’t use his Bankai, but I am now interested in seeing how long the Soul Society Shinigami can last when they are up against their own Bankai’s, pretty cheap that the Stern Ritter members can use Bankai’s just like that, I wonder how this will be explained by Kubo-sensei.
That panel with “zombie Rukia” was seriously freaky, wow, how disturbing and jarring. No wonder Byakuya’s composure got thrown off so much, it had quite the impact on the nerves. So the one thing Byakuya fears the most is Rukia being harmed? Wow, he certainly has changed from the start of the series, pretty awesome how he holds Rukia’s so dearly and importantly in his heart and life. Curious to see if Byakuya can overcome this level and extent of fear, or as Äs Nödt describes, “true fear” (yeah I don’t think Byakuya is done for yet).
Hmmmm, I’m still caught up in the desire of wanting to know who the mysterious character is that appeared before Kisuke and Co., still hoping Kubo-sensei reveals him/her/them soon. Possibly it could be like what happened with the Shinigami in the Fullbring Arc – rather than just one character, several are revealed (several Arrancar being revealed who desire to help Ichigo/stop the Vandenreich would be awesome).