Now that was wild, just for the illustrations of Zaraki unleashing makes the chapter worth it completely. That double page spread revealing Zaraki’s Bankai released form was/is amazing – the contrasting black and white coupled with the chaotic rawness was just…beautiful. Finally, with Gerard’s demise about to result we will finally see the end of the Schutzstaffel (well except for the fragments on Lille in Soul Society). The focus can shift back to Ichigo and other important elements of the story.
I am so glad to have Gerard finally overwhelmed, his ‘holier-than-thou’ arrogant attitude was beginning to grind my patience. Why must villains act smart when they need to showcase their power and moments later throw caution to the wind resulting in them grossly underestimating their opponent, ultimately leading to their defeat. Gerard grew overconfident in his abilities and lulled himself into a delusion with his perception that no Shinigami was stronger than he. What a fool. I sincerely hope the whole of the next chapter isn’t dedicated to Gerard’s defeat. Zaraki has already turned the table on Gerard and has brutally shown him that he can overpower him. The only miracle Gerard has left to bless us with is a quick and conclusive defeat (and some silence).
Regarding Yachiru, I am beginning to wonder if she is actually Zaraki’s Bankai or whether his zanpakutou chose to take a form of Zaraki’s closest friend to help him out of the situation he was in i.e. dying and unable to defeat Gerard. Will be interesting to find out what exactly the relationship between Zaraki and Yachiru is.
Besides Askin, I can’t say the other three Schutzstaffel members impressed me much, sure they were powerful and managed to cause significant damage, but looking at their characters alone, they just weren’t interesting enough. Unlike many of the Arrancar and some of the normal Sternritter members, I can’t bring myself to care about Lille, Pernida and Gerard. The personalities were so generic and one-dimensional that it makes it hard to find something engaging in them to care about. The dialog for Lille and Gerard didn’t help at all. Pernida’s design as the hand of the Spirit King was cool though and a nice twist.
The only real threats left now are Jugram and Yhwach, who share the “Almighty” power. Uryuu is currently with Jugram holding him back to buy Ichigo sufficient time to take out Yhwach. The plan won’t succeed as Ichigo needs to face off against a fully powered Yhwach, but I doubt that will matter as Ichigo has already accrued enough power and types of power to stand against Yhwach. I really do hope we get to see Hollow Ichigo one last time, he was a ridiculously awesome. Looking forward to the next chapter.