It looks like Hitsugaya and Matsumoto will take the honors of the first round of fights shown as they face off against Bazz-B, Sternritter “H”. Bazz-B’s flames counter Hyourinmaru quite well, especially with the lack of ice produced without bankai. Luckily, like the other shinigami, Hitsugaya and his vice-captain have not been sitting idle during the interlude between the battles, and have developed some new tricks by combining their shikai abilities. Matsumoto interlaces the ash from Haineko into the ice of Hyourinmaru, creating a wall of “multi-layer vacuum ice” that successfully blocks the fire from harming them. The lattice of ice is apparently many times stronger than before, and can also be used offensively. I’m not entirely sure the science behind this tactic is sound; then again, discussing physics in a shounen manga is perhaps a lost cause.
Realism aside, it is a clever idea, but the time Hitsugaya spent explaining the mechanics behind the strategy to his opponent was really unnecessary and counterproductive. Talking too much during battle and getting baited for it is one of Hitsugaya’s flaws, and one of the reasons he’s one of the less impressive captains. It makes zero sense to reveal one’s strategies to opponents and reeks of either arrogance on the character’s part or a convenient way to explain tactics to the audience on the author’s part. Regardless, the 10th squad has demonstrated a strong start to the battle, and Bazz-B is now on the back foot. I don’t think he’s out of the fight yet, but he doesn’t seem particularly strong and Hitsugaya is probably not going down just yet. The chapter overall was quite short on content due to the fact that the battles are still setting up. Understandably, there needs to be some build-up before the more highly anticipated fights are shown, but I’m honestly hoping that Omaeda will get as little screen time as possible. He has had his moments to shine in the past, and has generally ended up blowing it.