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Good day everyone. I keep up to date with the regular reviews posted here by good fellows like Xilinoc, but I've never decided to write one myself. So here goes.
Shadow's Masquerade by Shiro Sagisu, from the Bleach soundtrack, is a good song to accompany this particular chapter, I think, particularly if you read slowly like I do.
Anyway: Shinji is shown to have been hit by Bambietta's attack, as expected, and engulfed in an explosion. Bambietta, by her own admission, has not so much overcome Sakanade's ability as she has blindly launched explosions all around her to bypass her confused senses. But now that Shinji is (it would appear) significantly injured, Sakanade's effect has likely worn off, at least for now.
Bambietta's epithet is confirmed to be 'The Explode', again as expected. All of a sudden Hinamori is getting in on the action, or trying to at least. Komamura steps in to prevent her obliteration, chastising her impulsiveness. The purpose of Komamura's new armour is made clear as he thinks of a strategy for surviving the blasts involving his armour and his brute strength. But as a 'bomb' descends upon him, his "animal instincts" lead him to adjust his position, the implication being he would have been grievously injured had he maintained his original strategy.
Bambietta provides some explanation of her ability, which is quite helpful. She makes the claim that her blasts cannot be neutralised by any means, and goes on to explain what I think is even more interesting: she is not in fact launching bombs, but launching reishi which converts whatever it is imbued with into the bomb, which explains why there was a delay between the reishi globule coming into contact with Shinji and the actual detonation. He became the bomb, if Bambietta's words are to be understood in this way.
As Bambietta unleashes a salvo upon the seemingly hapless trio, Komamura protects Momo and Shinji and the trained eye may notice that Komamura's arm looks slightly unfamiliar. This of course leads to the big reveal we've all been waiting for. As the explosion clears, Komamura's armour is almost completely blown away, revealing a human body with patches of fur. As Bambietta expressed her disbelief, we return to Komamura's meeting with his old man and it is revealed that the forbidden ritual of his clan is the 'human metamorphosis technique'. Some slightly confusing dialogue explains that his clan were once werewolves, or 'wolf-men', and for their sins were sent to the beast realm in the afterlife. But since they did not die, they eventually returned to Soul Society. "By temporarily casting aside those chains of sin" his clan are able to revert to their true forms, and in doing so achieve immeasurable power. Komamura's old man tells him he must gouge out his own heart and offer it if he is to achieve this metamorphosis. While shocked, Komamura resolves to avenge Yamamoto and clear away the shame of having left his clan.
And with that, back in the present, Komamura activates his bankai, which takes on a new form called "Dangai Joue", presumably because of he himself taking on his true(?) form. What effect the hollowfying pill has had, if any, remains to be explicitly asserted or revealed.
All in all, very good chapter. It's the Komamura show now, and we've all got that elusive answer at last about what he really is. We look to have quite a battle on our hands soon.
I hope I've written this effectively, though I expect to be told I went on for quite a while. Apologies in advance. Can't wait for next week!