Sextuple Bleach Breakdown 500-505: The Weight of Fear, the Blaze of the Soul and the Crushing of the Body
I know you’re wonder who this schmuck writing your Bleach Breakdown is, but worry not! I will not fail
too hard. Pein0avenue has been busy for quite a bit, so stepping in for him is the former pink-haired, bespectacled writer you all loathe to hate, Kisuzachi! Now without further adieu…
And now your AMV is one that I enjoy quite a bit:
On the surface this chapter seems largely pointless in the grand scheme of things, and you’re right, it is. However, it was a necessity to create the feeling of “desperation” and “dread” Kubo wanted. This chapter emphasized the Vandenreich’s threat level, which in turn emphasized Ichigo’s importance to Soul Society’s counterattack. Him being trapped was Kubo’s way of saying “their last hope is dead.”. The following page is easily the best one of the chapter: that is, the pleas Ichigo has to endure as he is powerless to help while having the power to help.
Another thing of note from this chapter was the Quincy attack on the 12th Division. What is interesting is Rin lost control of his body while still being conscious, which suggests someone is controlling their limbs like a puppeteer does his puppets. There’s only one Quincy technique we know of that can do that: Ransotengai. So far, all of the Sternritter have been ranked for their special abilities (Sternritter J Kirge, for his Jail ability, for example), so this may very well be Sternritter R, Ransotengai. The normal version of this technique allows a crippled Quincy to fight, but it isn’t a stretch to imagine it could be used to control others.
Another thing of note is the Division being attacked. Least we forget, Mayuri has experimented on quite a bit of Quincy; so many so that he considers his research on them “complete”. It only makes sense that the Quincy would target the building with all the data on their techniques and abilities. Heck, it could be something as simple as revenge.
Renji and Byakuya continue their fight against As Nodt. As the fight progresses, Byakuya gets hit by As Nodt’s fear-inducing arrows. His ability is explained as one that triggers fear in his opponents, clouding their thoughts and judgment for the powerful, while the weak die from the fear (perhaps through the heart giving out from the shock).
Byakuya affirms that the notion of that is ridiculous. Fear is something that is weakened by experience: the more you do something, the less threatened you are by it, essentially. However, this is only conquering the rational fear: the fear that makes enough sense that you can suppress it. As Nodt’s arrows awaken your primal fear: the fear you have no control over because it’s been wired into your brain by evolution. This fear overwhelms Byakuya, causing him to actually stop and stand still in the middle of a battle. This opened him up for As Nodt to strike, leaving a hand-sized hole in his chest.
Uncharacteristically, Byakuya relied on instincts, as he had done against Tsukishima, but this time his mind was not clear. His attack was easily dodged and countered. Senobonzakura stood above its master
and initiated some hot, flowery sex as the petals tore him to shreds.
What many said here is Byakuya forgot he could use Kido and Shunpo, but those people fail to see the big picture. Byakuya isn’t thinking rationally because of the fear. He isn’t 100% because of his Bankai being taken and a gaping hole being left in his chest. As Nodt was already confirmed as an enemy Byakuya couldn’t defeat without Bankai, and in this state, it is only natural for Byakuya to lose. Add to the fact that Kido has never been Byakuya’s main form of combat; it has always been Senbonzakura, with Kido as his supplementary tool.
This chapter sparked quite a reaction from the fans, to say the least
YOUR TEARS ARE DELICIOUS!. The chapter continues where 501 left off, with Byakuya on the ground. We then cut to Rukia’s fight, as she is worried and is about to rush off to Byakuya’s side, she gets incapacitated by her enemy for letting her guard down. When we return to Byakuya’s battlefield, we see Renji enraged at witnessing Senbonzakura being used to strike down its master, Renji attacks As Nodt. Adding insult to injury, Senbonzakura is used to block the attack and then to overwhelm him. Byakuya attacks As Nodt from behind, but is quickly blocked by his Bankai.
As Nodt then ordered Senbonzakura to attack Byakuya over and over again until he finally fell. Rage overcame Renji, but as he is about to use Bankai he is attacked from a blindspot by Captain Mexico (hey, he doesn’t have a name!). As he leaned against the wall, he felt his eyelids become heavier as his zanpakuto crumbled. With the last of his strength, he silently apologizes to Renji and Rukia for falling in battle.
Kubo did a marvelous job of inflicting despair on the readers and the Shinigami.
We cut to Juha Bach and Blond Quincy. Juha is informed of Byakuya’s death, and remarks that the only flaw with his Sternritter are their permissiveness/naivete/lenience. Essentially, they allow things to happen that shouldn’t, likely out of cockiness or, well, naivete. He and Blonde Quincy are interrupted by none other than Kenpachi, who carries three Sternritter corpses on his shoulders. Kenpachi, with a sadistic grin, asks if Juha is the boss of the weaklings he carries.
This chapter is very much a transitory chapter. The chapters after the invasion commenced were meant to instill despair, but this chapter is the beginning of the Shinigami’s counterattack. This is where hope is the feeling Kubo tried to create.
Indeed, Kenpachi goes into detail about the Sternritter he killed. One was so loud he drowned out what the other was saying. Now, the talkative Sternritter was called Q the Question (Berenice Gabrielli), whose ability is presumably asking questions. Now, why on earth would you ever pair up someone that needs to be heard with someone, R the Roar (Jerome Guizbat), that completely makes it impossible for his teammate to be heard? Juha, that was bad planning on your part lol. Anyway, Kenpachi ripped out Q’s throat and stabbed Jerome to death. The third Sternritter, Y the Yourself (Loyd Lloyd), had the power to shapeshift into whoever he was fighting. Kenpachi simply overpowered him by adjusting his Reiatsu. After telling how he killed them, he attacked Juha, who blocked the strike with a single arm.
Then we cut to Shuhei fighting another Sternritter, Driscoll Berci (O the Overkill). Driscoll has killed hundreds of Shinigami in this battle, and was the one that killed Sasakibe and stole his Bankai. Just as he is about to kill Hisagi, Yamamoto intervenes. Driscoll says he will kill Yamamoto with Sasakibe’s Bankai.
Really, this chapter was just a transition. It paired up Kenpachi against the Quincy leader and Driscoll against the Shinigami leader. Driscoll has much in common with Kenpachi, like the large stature, the bloodlust and the ability to make himself stronger (through killing). These are meant to mirror each other; both leaders on the battlefield at the same time.
504 begins with Driscoll fulfilling his promise, that of using Choujirou’s Bankai to kill Genryusai. He called forth Kōkō Konryō Rikyū, which called forth a circle of lightning that connected with, and controlled the very heavens. Hisagi remarked that he had never seen a Zanpakuto other than Hyorinmaru control the weather. Hyorinmaru is considered to be the most powerful Ice-type Zanpakuto because of that ability, so it is likely that Gonryomaru is the strongest Lightning-type. Driscol strikes Yamamoto with the lightning repeatedly. Yamamoto doesn’t react.
He recalls 2000 years ago, when he was called Eijisai because of the one scar on his forehead. He recalls a young Choujirou Sasakibe that insisted on calling him that and constantly showing up at his dojo. Choujiou told him he wished to be his right hand, but Yamamoto told Sasakibe to join the dojo and become a teacher someday if he wanted to stand by him, but Sasakibe refused and said he would prefer to be Yamamoto’s right hand. One that becomes a teacher would only be emulating Yamamoto, while he wishes to be Yamamoto’s hand, to do things for Yamamoto that he cannot do for himself.
Choujirou tells him that he had learned Bankai, just as Yamamoto had ordered. Hearing this, Yamamoto tells him to try and defeat him with that Bankai. Of course, he fails, but he failed spectacularly: he planted a second scar upon Yamamoto. Though it managed that, Yamamoto told him his Bankai was that of a child. Surprisingly, Choujirou readily agreed. This is only natural since Bankai took at least 10 years to master. It was that day that Choujirou swore to spend the rest of his life developing a Bankai that would be useful to Yamamoto. The scar Yamamoto received made people start calling him a different name, one Choujirou refused to call him since it would be disrespectful to change Yamamoto’s name based on a wound he himself has inflicted. Out of respect for Choujirou, Yamamoto changed his title to “Genryusai”.
Driscoll kept attacking Yamamoto, thinking that he had knocked the old man out since he didn’t react to any of the blows. Hisagi charges in to try and help Yamamoto, but is ordered by him to stop. Driscoll arrogantly says he will end it and attacks with the Bankai again, but Yamamoto lashes out, saying Sasakibe’s Bankai was not this weak. In one strike he incinerates Driscoll.
The lightning striking Yamamoto over and over again is pointless and is filler… without the flashback. With each hit he remembered his past with Chojiro and remembered how strong he was. He took the lightning over and over to feel the connection to his Lieutenant before realizing it was nothing like his Lieutenant’s, which is why he declared Chojiro’s Bankai was not this weak and then oneshot Driscol. At that moment, it felt like a mockery to him. Chojiro became his Lieutenant with that Bankai and taking it head on was a sign of that bond between them.
Now I know you may be asking yourself how Chojirou lost to Ichigo in one hit if he was this strong, but the truth is, he wasn’t. He spent 2000 years perfecting his Bankai, a Bankai he never used against Ichigo. One Captain level fighter losing to another is nothing new. Now you’re wondering why he didn’t participate in the Fake Karakura Town battles. Well, he was guarding the barrier. Think about that for a second: 1 man was charged with guarding the entire radius of Karakura Town. Sasakibe allowed the Shinigami to fight without worry; he was doing something Yamamoto couldn’t be doing, just like he wanted.
I also know you may be thinking he’s just a repeat of Ikkaku, but he’s not. You’re probably also wondering why Sasakibe is praised while Ikkaku was berated for not using his. Well, Tetsuzaemon answered your question hundreds of chapters ago. Ikkaku only thinks he’s strong enough to become a Captain, but… yeah. The difference between Ikkaku and Choujiro is Ikkaku would’ve let the Vandenreich kill him without fighting at his best. Choujiro used his Bankai to try and kill the enemy. This chapter elaborated upon Choujiro not using his Bankai. He didn’t use it because he was still working on making it good enough for Yamamoto.
RIP, Brojibro Sasakibro.
After Yamamoto burns Driscoll alive (O the Overkill, more like O the
Overcooked Overdone Overburnt Oven Overkilled), he sets after Juha Bach. Yamamoto likely deliberately made a spectacle of his flight there, to reinvigorate his soldiers, and by God did it work. This chapter was Kubo once again giving us hope that the heroes may stand a chance here. The chapter saw all the Captains rising to their feet and getting their fighting spirits reignited… uh no pun intended PUN FUCKING INTENDED!
We head back to Juha Bach vs Kenpachi to see…
Lol, I wish that happened. Well, that may not have been the result, but Juha has squarely won. He holds Kenpachi by the neck and reveals him to be one of the “war potentials” (another being confirmed to be Ichigo), but is disappointed by how weak he is. The way things are turning out, these “war potentials” seem to be individuals that can turn the tide to the Shinigami’s side. Ichigo is immune to Bankai stealing (likely because his Shinigami powers fused with his Fullbring), while Kenpachi doesn’t even know Bankai. Of note here is Kenpachi’s eyepatch is off, which means he gave it all he had but still lost without leaving a scratch on Juha.
Before Juha can kill him, however, Yamamoto arrives and says he will eradicate Juha and his forces.
Now, let’s take a poll on how much you’re enjoying Bleach at the moment.
And with that being said, Kisu bids you wacky kids adieu.