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Kubo Lost Count

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With one of the more recent chapters finally revealing onto us the identity of Sternritteer 'N' Robert Accutrone, It has come to my attention, as I'm sure it has to many others before I got there, that Kubo has clearly lost count.

The Sternritter naming designation is based on their letter recieved from Yhwach, these letters are taken from the Latin Alphabet used in many languages throughout Western Europe and the Americas, so thaat makes a sum total of twenty-six. The only problem is, that we have more than that.

Excluding the Lloyd brothers, who each represented the 'Y' and Uryuu who shares the 'A' as Yhwach's successor, every letter is currently accounted for, literally, from A to Z.

The problem then arises of, who the hell is Shaz Domino? I'll happily enlighten those who have forgotten this relatively minor presence.

Shaz was a Sternritter Ichigo encountered when he returned to Seireitei in the midst of the Wandenreich's assault. He has a rather unique leopard spotted face and big glasses and seems to use throwing knives as his weapons of choice. He appears briefly in chapter 512 and even introduces himself as a Sternritter, so there can be no confusion that he might just be another Arrancar soldier or something like that.

The possible solutions for why he might still be on the list are few, and none are very satisfying, and they are as follows.

He's dead - That one shot from Ichigo, who has never willingly finished a human looking opponent this entire series, decided now was the time to straight up execute a guy off screen, and the world grows a little colder with the passing of this near nameless sack of crap called Shaz.

He's not a letter - Probably the least likely is that Shaz represents some other symbol or icon, like a question mark, much like his presence in general. This seems highly unlikely as he has been very minor so far, and such a unique trait would likely be given to someone more important.

He shares a letter - Also highly unlikely, is that Shaz, like the Lloyd siblings and Uryuu, shares a letter with someone else. This also seems improbable, as the two cases of this happening are very unique, one being the king's successor, the other being a pair of twins and thematically, Shaz doesn't seem to have much in common with any of the other Sternritter.

He isn't real - That much like Guenael Lee, Shaz Domino was a figment of Gremmy Thoumeaux's imagination, and after Ichigo dealt with him, wasn't interested in maintaining him and with Gremmy's death, will never grace our presence again.

He got fired - The most likely option, is that given we stopped seeing Shaz after the initial invasion of Seireitei where he was presumably one shotted by Ichigo, that much like BG9 and Cang Du later, he was 'let go'. Given that there is no vacant slot, this could mean that someone else got promoted, and we do in fact know that Askin Nakk Le Vaar is a new addition to the Sternritter Royal Guard. This however would imply Ichigo rofl-stomped a member of the Royal Guard in two seconds flat, which is, as always, extremely unsatisfying.

Admittedly, in the course of writing this article, I started with three possible outcomes for Shaz that have actually grown into five, so I'm sure possibilities that I haven't thought of exist. The problem is, this still leaves us a Sternritter spare, and with nothing to explain this, and quite frankly I'm doubtful it ever will be, it draws a sad amount of attention to just how rushed this final arc is in places. That in setting up an enemy force of 26 unique characters and then some, Kubo has taxed himself too much, too quickly and we're just not getting the same level of development or interest out of them. I don't know about the rest of you, but there were certain fights in the past that I revelled in seeing. The reason there's so much fanart about things like Ichigo vs. Byakuya, or Ichigo vs Ulquiorra, is cause those rivalries and characters were well developed before hand, with this group, I'm struggling to care about any of them because we're either wasting time on bit players, or shafting the truly interesting ones. BG9 and Cang Du had chances to be big fights this arc, and they were some of the first taken out. Bazz-B had a good run, but right now he's just sort of waiting for Yhwach's power to kill him. Robert Accutrone, the one who shot Shunsui in the face! He was only just given a name to die immediately after. This is to say nothing of how this arc opened, with two new Shinigami and a pair of mysterious Arrancar, all of whom were either killed or shafted to the backrow almost instantly.

This isn't some great dramatic declaration of my dissatisfaction to end with me saying I'm never reading it again. I'm going to keep reading Bleach, but in my humble opinion, the series has been in a downward spiral of quality for quite some time, and while there are highlights and things that keep me reading, I'm afraid the end result probably won't have me reading Kubo's next work at any rate, and that is partly in thanks now, to Shaz Domino, the most pointless Sternritter.

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