So we’ve finally made it to the climatic battle; Ichigo in all his glory, growth and experiences has challenged the conceited King of the Quincy, Yhwach, to prevent the Human World and Soul Society from falling into non-existence. With himself as the last shield against the end of two worlds, Ichigo perseveres, he struggles, he despairs and inevitably he will evolve. Yhwach with his All his Might and philosophical taunting of hope, future and grains of sand has ultimately manifested a blind spot within his own abilities by believing himself to be unchallengeable. Regardless of Ichigo’s current state, he will prevail and Yhwach will have a hand in his own defeat.
I was naive, I thought Kenpachi’s Bankai meant the end of Gerard, I prematurely let out a sigh of relief believing we were free of his righteous blather, but regrettably Gerard’s miracles continue to curse the pages of Bleach. How foolish of me to hope for such a miracle in the first place when I should have known better. Gerard continues to escape death and consequently each time he is brought back, the more potent his prattle about being the hand of God’s divine judgement becomes. We get it Gerard,
you are the light sent to erase the sinners and darkness you are an idiot. At first it was amusing, but that enjoyment has long been consumed and now it is just grating. The only reason I can see for Gerard still being alive is so he can serve the purpose of highlighting the characters who haven’t gotten much focus in the arc yet. With Toushirou revealing his Bankai version 2.0, I suspect we may get Byakuya taking center stage now and unleashing his Bankai or Bankai version 2.0 on Gerard. Personally, I would have preferred each of the characters currently being highlighted against Gerard to have had their own individual opponent to battle against. There is only so far a character doomed to be defeated can be stretched before the reader loses interest in them. In Gerard’s case it doesn’t help that he is incredibly one-dimensional and a painfully annoying character. It would have been great to have had a much more compelling or likeable character as the final Schutzstaffel member to defeat. Whatever the case, with the climatic battle underway I am getting a massive Yammy-vibe going on with Gerard. Gerard may just end up being defeated off-screen with only his defeated body shown on-screen at the end of the arc. Which is a pity as it would have been fitting to have had Gerard defeated when Kenpachi (one of the Five Exceptional Threats) released his Bankai.
Good to see Ichigo wielding his Hollow powers again and this time with them under control. Smart of Ichigo to use Yhwach’s attacks and arrogance to throw his Shinigami/Hollow/Quincy powers into imbalance in order to release his Hollow side. Sad it wasn’t Shirosaki who appeared, but a Hollow-powered Ichigo was cool as well. It is interesting that Ichigo hasn’t donned a Hollow mask but his rise in strength with this new form is substantial. Still I wonder if donning a Hollow mask would actually empower Ichigo more. Seeing as his Bankai release in his current form isn’t enough to take on Yhwach, possibly drawing onto more of his Hollow powers, which is the Quincy’s weakness, will see him gain an upper hand in this battle. Would also like to see more of Ichigo’s revised Bankai as it currently appears to be somewhat overwhelming. Was the sword all that changed with Ichigo’s Bankai release? When Ichigo released his Bankai for the first time against Bykauya, he at least had both a sword and outfit change. Ichigo is not completely out of options yet, I believe he can merge further with his Hollow side (like he did against Ulquiorra) and similar to how Ichigo merged with Getsuga to defeat Aizen, he may end up having to become Hollow Ichigo (again) to defeat Yhwach. Or if possible, merging together with both Getsuga and his Hollow side.
At the moment Ichigo is completely overwhelmed by Yhwach but with appearances from Ginjou, Tsukishima, Isshin and Ryuuken (and Aizen?) yet to happen, he is not at the point where he truly needs to despair. There is definitely going to be a major weakness in Yhwach’s “The Almighty” ability. Yhwach was defeated once before a thousand years ago when he wielded the same power, so the “The Almighty” ability isn’t void of weakness. At the moment “The Almighty” ability exist outside the realms of perceived reason, so all Ichigo needs to do is understand how the ability works and act accordingly. Very much looking forward to the next chapter.