As it turns out, nothing that happened this week aligned with my predictions. Weizol goes down inside a suit of thorns, but Yhwach has brought plenty of backup from small fry to elite, probably inside the giant cube that travelled to the Palace. The three new Sternritter are “The Miracle”, “X-Axis” and “The Compulsory”. Askin Nakk Le Vaar is also there as “The Death Dealer”, and did not sneak in covertly as I had guessed before. He claims to be of a lower rank than the other three, but I don’t doubt that he’s actually quite powerful. Still, Askin seems to be sort of a wildcard player, and the focus on him seems to imply he may play a bigger role in the battle than just another one of Yhwach’s goons. He doesn’t join the initial attack on Shutara either, and actually isn’t seen at all after the introduction.
The others make quick work of Shutara unfortunately, as it looks like she completely underestimates their power. She can’t even block a basic attack from “The Marvel”, a guy who looks like a 300 Spartan in a Thor/Captain America/Hawkman costume. The Royal Guard grunts form up into a massive armored creature, a la Komamura, and they are promptly defeated by Pernida Parnkajas, a faceless Sternritter whose power is apparently to knock people off their “X-Axis”. To complete the combo, a reincarnated Kaname Tousen with white hair and less pretentiousness produces a massive gun from within his cloak and puts a massive hole in Shutara’s skull. I have to admit, it was disappointing seeing a member of the Zero Squad get trashed like that before even using shikai or bankai. Hell, I was even starting to like her character. These guys are supposed to be the most elite of all the death gods, stronger than the entire Gotei 13 combined, and yet she dies with a single shot to the face from a human, without even a real battle. Unless the Sternritter that Yhwach brought with him are a hundred times more powerful than the ones fighting back in Soul Society (or Weizol), the power levels don’t make sense at all. That said, perhaps I’m getting upset too early; knowing Kubo, she could very well turn out to hiding behind a clone or illusion, and the next chapter she will reveal the trick and proceed to her “true form”. I have my fingers crossed.