Bleach 560 – I Live for the Applause
The star of this week’s show is the Sternritter S, “The Superstar” Mask de Masculine, and he is quite the flamboyant one. He defeated Ikkaku, Yumichika and Shuuhei completely off-screen last week, in what seemed like a one hit knockout, much to the disgust of Kensei. I suppose not all of the shinigami were able to gain significant power-ups by training, and they are quickly relegated to insignificance. For whatever reason, Mask leaves them alive but incapacitated (seems like the quincy prefer to kill their own people), and heads off to investigate Rukia and Renji’s arrival instead. Kensei and Rose intercept them and Kensei immediately goes ham on Mask with his bankai “Tekken Tachikaze”. After Komamura, his ability seems less visually impressive, but is still quite powerful. His bankai takes the form of gauntlets and some sort of armor, and boosts the attack damage of his punches significantly and dealing hits continuously with just one strike. At first I actually thought that this battle would be a one-sided stomp and Mask would be defeated quickly, but I forgot it was Bleach and Kensei had only just finished explaining his ability.
It turns out that James, Mask’s hype man and side kick, was the true source of Mask’s power. The bigger the hype, the stronger he becomes. It’s actually an extremely creative power, but I’m not sure how Shuuhei figured it out since it was implied he was defeated almost instantly. Superstar’s ability is very strange for a quincy too – then again, Kubo has been making a lot of the character abilities wackier since the arrancars. I have no idea how cheers or cries make you more powerful, but Orihime also did accomplish the same thing for Ichigo. I wonder if Kensei could make Mask weaker by heckling him; after all, Mask just wants to put on a good show. Right now though, Kensei and Rose just got pummeled into the wall. It’s far from over yet as they haven’t shown their hollow masks or other powers, and I have a feeling one of the vice-captains (Shuuhei most likely) will eventually be able to get up and attempt to redeem themselves.