A lot of what I enjoyed from the last chapter was kind of ruined here as most of the battle is spent with both Rukia and As Nodt explaining their powers in detail. I feel there are many ways to reveal a characters abilities without having him or her straight up talking about them – showing is always better than telling, though admittedly sometimes that is more difficult. As usual though, As Nodt continues blabbing about how his fear works and how true fear is irrational, based on death and utterly unavoidable by all living things. Rukia follows up by explaining that the “true form” of her zanpakutou Sode no Shirayuki (not quite a bankai) takes her body as part of the sword itself, thus requiring Rukia to keep herself in a suspended state. She is technically not alive, and is therefore immune to fear. Since Rukia has always been very sensitive to and skilled with spirit particles, it sort of makes sense that she would be capable of this sort of physics-defying manipulation. What doesn’t make sense is how shinigami are technically dead already, and they don’t actually have physical bodies comprised of atoms besides the gigai. I doubt that Rukia is invincible in this form despite being “dead”, but what happens if she is killed while being “dead”?
Regardless, Rukia has successfully nullified As Nodt’s fear ability, and he turns out to be a one-trick pony. She lowers her core temperature all the way to absolute zero and quickly cuts her opponent down. Though this battle seems to have concluded more quickly than I expected, I fear that Rukia’s success will also be coming to an end. She has revealed and explained her trump card already, and only has a four second limit at her lowest possible temperature. Following the usual Bleach pattern she might not be able to overcome the upcoming opponents that will almost certainly be much more powerful; the same tricks rarely work twice. I really hope that she is hiding more advanced powers so that she can continue to kick ass and not have to rely on Byakuya or Ichigo to come save her.