Shunsui’s shadow games.

The Game Continues:

I was rather harsh with last week’s chapter, but only because I love this series and when I feel we’re not getting what we deserve or what we’ve come to expect, I won’t hold back. I was prepared to continue not liking this fight, but thankfully this chapter turned that around and proved that even if this battle isn’t going to be as long as Mayuri’s, it may be just as enjoyable. First off, there was actually some action! Last week was all talk, but this week had a nice balance of dialogue and flashy panels. Some of them were drawn from peculiar angles (like the panel above, adding to the creepiness and danger of Shunsui’s shadow abilities. Good stuff, Kubo.

Not only that, but we actually learned a few interesting details, saw several characters interacting again, and the story seems to be moving along – we’re not trapped in a bubble where nothing else seems to be happening, and for that I’m grateful. There weren’t any plot-changing revelations, but what we did learn has me more interested in Shunsui, Lille, and where this fight could go.

Off to another battle.

Shinji & Co:

I’ve gotta admit when the chapter started with Shinji’s unimpressed face, I didn’t know where we were going now – I thought perhaps they’d run into The Miracle and we’d have two fights running at the same time. That could still happen, but for now we’re shown that Shinji, Momo, Rukia, Renji, and any one else who didn’t get sniped down are going on ahead. Now that Shunsui’s the Captain Commander, it’s his duty to prove his own strength and win his battle without assistance. As I said last week, I think that’s a given, but it will be interesting to see how it gets to that point. Nanao said she was going to go back, but it almost seemed like Shinji was dragging her along, so I’m not sure what role she’ll play in this battle. I have a bad feeling that she may act as a necessary sacrifice in order to earn victory…

This fight is escalating rather quickly, which isn’t a bad thing.

Learning About Lille:

Lille has always been the least interesting of the Elite Sternritter, for me at least. Thankfully, we’re now learning some details his past and understanding his powers some more. He’s still got a desert-dry personality, but seeing him open his eye and revealing the power to not be damaged by anything was not what I was expecting. For one thing, it’s a ridiculously powerful ability, though I suspect there must be a way to counter it. He also tells Shunsui that he was the very last Sternritter, which is an interesting (if unnecessary) fact that he interprets as him being the ‘closest’ the Juha. I don’t know what I’d make of that, but his Vollstandig is probably the most interesting one we’ve seen so far. I’m a fan of the cocoon design (Kubo likes his butterfly motifs) and I’m keen to see how it works in a battle. From the looks of it he appears to be trapped within the outer shell, but his wings seems to be doing the shooting now, which could prove deadly for Shunsui.

You’ve got to admit that’s a pretty cool design.

Overview – What’s Next?:

Overall, much better than last time. There was a nice balance of action, dialogue, and details revealed. Shinji & co are likely to run into The Miracle after this fight is wrapped up, and Shunsui now has to deal with Lille’s newly upgraded ability by himself. I would say he’s in a bit of a pickle – especially after being shot down at the end of the chapter – but there’s a 100% chance he’ll be back up next chapter. Shunsui has plenty of tricks and games still to use, and I’m sure within a few chapters he’ll be saying that fabled word: “Bankai”.


  1. I would pay more attention to the last sternritter thing. Lille was always talking about how he already met and defeated countless enemies before and in general talks more like a war veteran. If he were the last sternritter, then it means he was recruited like Giselle and Liltotto nine years ago and should have zero war experience. Lille doesn’t really sound like a newbie. Either there is more to his statement or Kubo fucked-up. Let’s hope it’s the former.

    Also Shinji and co. won’t be meeting Gerard. Their destination is the castle in the center. Gerard’s platform lies beyond that and the Shinigami had to go out of their way and deliberately miss their goal to fight Gerard. He doesn’t strike me as someone, who would ditch orders. So the main force will either fight Uryuu, who is more likely to ditch orders or Haschwalth in the castle itself and loose horribly.

    Lille’s Vollständig looks really how angels are described in the bible. He surely wouldn’t look out of place in NGE. Yeah, there are some death flags for Nanao.

  2. I suspect that this match is going to end rather quickly. Considering that he immediately used his release, it pretty much means he’s on his last parlor trick, meaning game over. The formula for side characters’ fights in Bleach is pretty much if one side uses their release first, then they’re most likely to lose. I mean really. Look at almost every fight in Bleach and I guarantee that’s how the fights go. I love Bleach, but it can be way too predictable at times, except in the cases of Aizen and Mayuri.

    1. I agree that this fight will probably be more typical than what we got in the Mayuri fight (as you say, his are usually quite unpredictable and there’s always a twist or two along the way). I suspect Shunsui will pull out something next week, Lille will raise his power again, and then Shunsui will resort to Bankai. The only thing is Ukitake made it seem like Shunsui’s bankai would be dangerous to anyone that’s around, so I have a feeling Nanao might come back at the worst possible time.

  3. I keep seeing everyone talking about butterflies, but to me that design looks more like multi-winged angels. It also reminds me of the end-game enemies from Xenogears, and that made me instantly love it. Where else can you find designs like this one? This is what makes Bleach unique, at least in my eyes. The angels motifs in quincies’ character designs ties well into the “spiritual” ambience/style of Bleach, along with the death and demonic designs of some Arrancars (Barragan and Ulquiorra).
    Anyway, more fleshing out for Lille is welcome.

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