Bleach 554 – Old Dog, New Tricks
The way this chapter put it, the whole bankai-stealing medallion trick just met an abrupt end. From Yhwach’s words, it seems like that was just a distraction and a way to toy around with the captains, and now it’s been discarded for other shock and awe powers. The Sternritter’s grand plan is obviously very long and complex, and so far everything is still going as expected for them. Hitsugaya (and I’m assuming Soifon as well) has finally collapsed from his wounds, but no doubt they aren’t dead yet. All their training and abilities seem to have been for naught, as Cang Du and BG9 are alive still and ready to use their “real power”, Vollstandig, along with the other quincy. This has been shown to a minimal degree previously, but I assume it’s something similar to shikai. The Sternritter seem to have abandoned all the old quincy techniques that Uryuu used in the past, so we’ll probably be seeing a lot of new ones. These guys are extremely strong, and to be honest I’m not sure even Zero Squad or Ichigo will be able to faze them too much, as Yhwach is probably aware of what they are truly capable of and what they will do. Kenpachi is a bit of wildcard though; after all, he did slaughter three Sternritter singlehandedly, with his eye-patch on and no power-ups whatsoever. If anyone can put a dent into quincy ranks right off the bat, it would be him.
Right now though, some of the other captains have joined the fight. Shinji and Komamura confront Bambietta, who makes a tongue-in-cheek point about how they showed up to the battle a little early. Since the strongest characters and abilities always show up late (once a trump card is needed for either side), this sort of confirms that Shinji and Komamura are still a little low on the tier-list. This is despite them gaining new skills: the ability for Shinji to reverse his own words, and some shiny new armor for Komamura. I sure hope they have some other tricks they haven’t revealed yet, since that alone is unlikely to beat Bambietta, who seems to be one of the stronger Sternritter. Shinji should have tried to do some damage while she was confused from his shikai, but instead he spent all of his initial advantage explaining what his ability does. Hopefully the effect from his shikai is still working; else he will be forced into using bankai and hollow form very soon. Even with Komamura’s power up however, it would be surprising if the two of them achieved much more than a temporary upper hand before getting overpowered by something new. At this point, they just don’t have the potential to actually kill one of the Sternritter.