I have long anticipated seeing more of Gin’s powers. Luckily for me, he released his bankai right off the bat, though I was slightly disappointed due to the fact it seems to be just a longer version of his shikai. Of course, there’s the possibility it has some hidden powers that will be revealed later on. There was also quite a bit of dialogue throughout the chapter; I wish Bleach characters wouldn’t spend so much time talking about their powers, but unfortunately even Gin (whom I always regarded as the creepy yet composed character) spent quite a few panels explaining his zanpakuto powers. Given Shinso’s purported 13km range, I seriously can’t think of a reason why Aizen didn’t just have Gin destroy the four pillars of Karakura Town rather than send sub-par underlings who couldn’t complete the task. From what we’ve seen so far, it would be a simple matter for Shinso to cut down all of the pillars with just a few swings. I’m starting to wonder if Aizen really is as strong as he portrays himself to be, since he often seems to waste time and resources for his Rube Golberg-esque plan. Hopefully future chapters will tie up loose ends.
I was a bit irked at how Gin and Ichigo spent the first part of the chapter continuing to chat about Gin’s sword. From a tactical viewpoint, it is quite foolish to explain one’s abilities to the opponent before the fight; a quick attack combined with switching among one’s powers to surprise the opponent is far more effective. Seeing Gin’s rather arrogant attitude, I cannot help but think of the old superhero cartoons in which the villain enlightens the hero about his plan for taking over the world. I had hoped that Gin would be a break in the continuous chain of villains yapping about their abilities, but unfortunately this was not so.
Regarding Isshin and Aizen’s fight, it was surprising to see Aizen admit that he had reached the limit of what he could do as a shinigami. Keeping in mind what he said a while ago about mastering all three aspects of being a shinigami, this again confirms my previous suspicions that Aizen is not as strong as he seems. On the other hand, it could turn out to be that Isshin is also extremely powerful, which is supported by the fact that it seems he was able to exhaust Aizen without using any special abilities, possibly putting his power level above most of the captains. Of course, Aizen is far from being defeated, and with the cliffhanger at the end, we can look forward to seeing some new abilities and more action in the next chapter.
Note: The impressions above were written on chapters before reading the next one. Post on Chapter 401 coming soon.