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.
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.
Effectively the battle between the Shinigami and Quincy has come down to a battle of Bankai vs Vollständig, where one power ends ups effectively countering the others strength to ultimately defeat the opponent. Against the multiple of characters battling against Yhwach’s Schutzstaffel (Pernida, Askin, Gerard, Lille), the Quincy are initially overwhelmed by one characters abilities but with the release of their Vollständig, they are able to nullify its danger yet are overcome by the release of another characters Bankai (which serves to counter their ability). Formulaic, yes, but not necessarily bad thanks to the stylized and creative approach of Kubo-sensei. Yet unfortunately its use in these four battles have become repetitive and have ultimately diminished the intrigue this battle against the final Schutzstaffel member has.
After over a decade in waiting, it has finally come. That echoing moment that any Bleach fan had resounding in their minds the instance its existence was made known. With the hush of silence and the embrace of darkness signalling it, the hearts of every Bleach fan stopped the moment that one word was uttered. A word so powerful that it shattered open the flood gates of patience and let loose years of contained excitement. A cornered Urahara Kisuke has finally revealed his most powerful trump card. A power that materializes his zanpakutou’s spirit and unleashes it. Bankai. Urahara Kisuke has finally unleashed Benihime!
Colour me surprised, I did not expect this battle to be the foundation of a revelation concerning Nanao, especially one that links back deeply to her very past. A past that deals with Nanao’s mother (and his older brother), a promise Shunsui made with her and why he has two zanpakutous. At the brink of hopelessness Shunsui finds through his memories and Nanao, a reason to carry on and to continue challenging the seemingly undefeatable “God”. Nanao recognised her mother’s desire, but just as her mother exercised her own will, Nanao chose to accept the curse of the Ise and embrace it wholeheartedly in order to attain the power necessary to protect that which she loves. The Shinken Hakkyouken, the blade which reflects the abilities of the Gods.
The wait was worth it. Oh, how satisfying it is to see Shunsui’s Bankai and what it is capable of and despite seeing a good portion of what it can do, Shunsui is still not done revealing exactly what it is capable of. Even with the ability to pierce anything and to distort injuries to himself, Lille is currently overwhelmed by the mysterious and intense nature of Shunsui’s Bankai. With every action of Lille’s having a shadowed consequence, can he even do anything to escape the madness he has found himself submerged in?
I have been waiting for this moment, this epic, soul-shattering moment that unleashes a Bankai that couldn’t be released in fear of dragging fellow allies into its enigmatic effects. For Shunsui to consider his Bankai his last resort, what exactly is the nature of it and how severe are its exact effects on those caught up in its rules? The reluctance of Shunsui wanting to unleash it and instead opting to try any tactic not his Bankai has me incredibly intrigued in what happens now with it unleashed. Lille may perceive himself some holy entity, but that smug arrogance he has deluding his sensibilities has him destined for a dramatically intense defeat.
Wow, I am stunned, I am honestly struggling to find words to comprehend exactly what happened. Did Pernida just snap off a finger to mutate another hand? Did Mayuri’s Bankai just give birth to another Bankai? Did Mayuri really redesign his Bankai into THAT? I knew Mayuri was twisted and psychotic but the guy seriously takes experimentation to a level even I wasn’t expecting from him. Just how far hasn’t he gone yet? And yeah, I don’t believe the fight is over just yet.
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.
That was quite a surprise, for Kubo-sensei to actually let Byakuya take the back-seat in the fight and let Rukia deal the finishing blow. I am still of the opinion that the fight would have been concluded better when Rukia used her absolute zero attack on Äs Nödt, it would have saved Rukia from appearing so weak for one chapter as well as her bankai for another battle. Still, finally, FINALLY, we get to see the main female character’s bankai…after so many years of hoping and wishing, Kubo-sensei finally rewards the patience of his readers. Hopefully with Byakuya breaking Äs Nödt and inspiring Rukia, and Rukia unleashing her bankai on Äs Nödt, he will be down for the count for good this time. Quite a cool chapter with some nice brother and sister development between Byakuya and Rukia.