Well now, I had a feeling that Byakuya wasn’t finished at the end of the previous chapter, but did he just die in this chapter? I was expecting him to utilise some high level kidou first before he really lost, but wow, he just got demolished by his Senbonzakura Kageyoshi…still did he just die? If so, wow, I was not expecting Kubo-sensei to be so bold, it was sure impacting but I was expecting something more emotionally gripping for a character’s death. But if Byakuya really did die, then well, no character besides Ichigo is really safe…now I’m really looking forward to what else Kubo-sensei has in store for the readers for this “final arc”.
Renji, hmmmm, I was expecting him to be the character in the spotlight for this battle, but he just got smashed! And not even by Äs Nödt, but by that less impressive unnamed Stern Ritter guy cosplaying as some wrestler. So much for those 17 months of training to fight Aizen-level opponents, ah how unexpected. And poor Rukia, once again she gets victimised and left knocked out and bleeding…(she didn’t even get to do anything beside scream “nii-sama”…).
These battles make you wonder, just what training did the Shinigami do during the 17 month time skip? Sure these battle have been filled with tons of emotions for the characters, but they should really be aware by now that staying calm and being composed results in better performance than blindly charging forward filled with rage or some equal level of emotion.
I was thinking that the medallions the Stern Ritter members have can only hold one Bankai, but it does seem from the way Äs Nödt was speaking about stealing Renji’s Bankai that the medallions are capable of storing more then one Bankai. Now to wait for the explanation(s) behind these mystery medallions.
The Vandenreich boss has me interested, he seems crazy villainous but at times he seems strangely deep and concerned. That solemn looking expression he has on is so unlike the character he was introduced as. It’s almost like he is remembering something from the past when he expresses the naivete of the Stern Ritter. How curious I am about the past of his and the Quincy and how he ended up becoming so twisted.
Anyway all that aside, the real party is just about the begin; the big bad badass, Zaraki Kenpachi is just about to unleash on these jokers and show them a taste of a real battle. And hahah, he doesn’t go for any random chump, he goes straight for the boss. I wonder, if Kenpachi is one of the five special weapons that the Vandenreich mentioned? I believe so due to the fact that the Vandenreich’s biggest advantage, stealing Bankai’s, doesn’t work on him. Kenpachi is just raw power and I doubt the Stern Ritter members have the same power to match his, as seen by the two Stern Ritter members which Kenpachi already slaughtered.
It was obvious that the Gotei 13 wouldn’t be able to handle the Vandenreich especially if the Zero Division is going to show up, but I’m really surprised at how bold and unrelenting Kubo-sensei is in how he is handling the destruction of Soul Society. I don’t mind Shinigami dying or fan-favourite characters dying, it actually makes things more refreshing and interesting and allows for other less focused on characters and even new characters to shine and develop.
Looking forward to the next chapter and seeing just how Kenpachi fares against the Vandenreich leader.