The intro to the chapter completely shifted the feel I had with the last chapter in making the fight extend longer then I initially wanted and having Byakuya save Rukia before leaving Äs Nödt to her. I was of the opinion that the way Äs Nödt was seemingly defeated at the end of chapter 568 should have been left as that, but with some back story of Äs Nödt’s being covered this chapter, I totally love how his character was able to get some fleshing out thanks to the previous chapter and the way in which Rukia defeated Äs Nödt. The irony in having a fearful man wield fear. But in another way it makes complete sense for a person so associated with fear to be the one handling it as a “tool”. With the end of one Sternritter and the appearance of another one, who seems to also have a tricky and dangerous ability, the chapter managed to portray itself as a solid and successful one.
Beyond Äs Nödt being someone completely overcome with fear during the time before he met Yhwach, it was interesting to see that there was a part of him which craved death yet at the same time feared it with the knowledge that “Hell” could exist. The very vulnerabilities he spoke of which fear exploits, he was subject to them i.e. not enjoying the pain of living yet fearing death because of “Hell”.
The beautiful thing about Äs Nödt meeting his end at Rukia’s hands or more accurately by her Bankai which represents “Bleach” so intimately, was that while Äs Nödt was contemplating about his sins and the fear he feels he was able to be cleansed by Rukia’s bankai and avoid that which he fears so desperately.
Rukia’s Sode no Shirayuki Bankai functions quite differently from Hyorinmaru. Rather than utilising ice in a direct attacking form, Rukia utilises the power of ice in its characterictic form and freezes everything she hits and touches. It may not be the most efficient and relying power, but my goodness is it powerful and beautiful. The untainted and lifeless form of ice can be so dangerous.
I enjoyed seeing Byakuya praise Rukia’s Bankai and even pass on some words of advice for his younger sister. Byakuya is finally acting like the older brother Rukia always saw him as. And the way he urges Rukia to walk beside him not behind him (“Soul Society needs us“) illustrates how much he recognises and acknowledges Rukia’s growth and strength. It would be cool if the two of them can get a battle where they have to work together to overcome the opponent or opponents.
Yachiru, so she was followed by a Sternritter member and ended up finding out where Isane has been holding up to tend to the wounded. This Sternritter’s ability is quite the peculiar one, “V”, Vanishing Point Gwenhael, the ability to vanish his essence right before others eyes and slip right out of their mind.
From the description which “V” gave Yachiru and Isane, it seems that he utilises a person senses to create the effect of disappearing from their sight and mind =/. What has me curious is how he was able to take Yachiru’s punch and seemingly mirror it back onto Yachiru, what did he do their? And how exactly did he do it? Ah, looking forward to the next chapter and learning more about this “V” (the appearance we seen of him sure does suggest that “V” is incredibly strange and dangerous…).