As I saw Shutara’s lifeless body and blood pouring out of her skull, for a moment I actually thought she was done for and the Sternritter would steamroll through the palace, destroying each of the captain’s cities. Shounen tropes prevail once again though as Shutara reveals it all to be an illusion, as we suspected. She uses the same veil technique used against Weizol, and reveals that they are not actually in the Palace, but rather on a platform encased in a massive cage created by Hikifune. Hikifune describes it as a “cage of life” formed with reiatsu-eating tree branches, so strong that not even Lille Barro’s massive sniper rifle can penetrate it. Like the Gotei 13 did with Karakura Town against Aizen, the real Royal Palace has been hidden somewhere else. All of the five members of the Royal Guard are now gathered, and the real party is about to begin. Oetsu is the first to jump in for the attack, after pulling out his zanpakutou from a giant tank of water or some other liquid he was carrying on his back. I have no idea what the significance of that is, but given that he was the creator of the zanpakutou, I can only imagine what he will be able to do with them. Strong as these three Sternritter may be, I don’t think they can stand against the full might of the Zero Squad. Yhwach, Ishida, and Haschwald probably won’t raise a finger against them for now until their minions are defeated, as Kubo always likes having the lower level villains duke it out first. Like in a video game, enemies only get stronger with time, and Yhwach wouldn’t be the final boss if he was fighting actively in every battle. Hopefully though, it’ll be entertaining to see what the five strongest captains can do when everything is on the line.
Congratulations! We have been here for 600 chapters.