Song of the Blog: [Metamorphosis] by Grandfather
Okay, y'all, it is finally time to wrap up the collection of Sternritter alphabet-style miniblogs. There will be ten 'ritters discussed herein, so buckle up. I'm going to try to keep this one as concise as I possibly can.
First on deck today is Quilge Opie, bearer of the epithet J - The Jail. Quilge is notably the first Sternritter that we ever see, and is the leader of the Jagdarmee, Yhwach's personal hunting division. He's also the only named member, so there's that. His Schrift allows him to create Reishi prisons that are impenetrable to all who are not Quincy. Quilge was the one who told us, hey, the enemy this time are Quincy. He introduced all the cool Sternritter powers like Quincy: Vollständig, as well as those one-shots like Sklaverei that we kept asking for but never got ever again. As the prototypical Sternritter, Quilge established many thematic elements that kept popping up, like the massive superiority complex and remarkable understanding of psychology that many of his comrades displayed. His only downfall is the unpredictable Ichigo, and we can't really fault him for that. Quilge was a bit boring, but overall a B- intro to the group.
Speaking of psychology, our next 'ritter is Äs Nödt, whose Schrift is F - The Fear. True to his name, Äs could compel his opponent to feel fear to a pathological extent, to the point that even stone cold Byakuya became a gibbering wreck. His Vollständig amplified this ability to the point where mere eye contact set off a panic, AND it gave him a bazillion eyes to boot. Dude was definitely creepy, and is one of the more popular Sternritter for sure. He also helped legitimately drive the plot by almost murdering Byakuya, leading to his training with the Royal Guard as well as Rukia's acquisition of Bankai to counter his powers. The emotionless cold cut him down, but he definitely stayed 'cool' until the end.
Distinctly uncool are two words that best describe the next topic of discussion, PePe Waccabrada, bearer of L - The Love. Dude's whole thing was that he was a creepy pervy stalker man. That, coupled with his ability to force infatuation on anyone he fought, and even on objects, made him an unholy pile of disconcerting. I hated him, mostly because he legit felt rape-y the entire time he existed. Dude fought Byakuya, using love-controlled allies to compensate for his own lack of combat ability, but ended up defeated by Mayuri's zombie combo. Good riddance, creepy little creep.
Up next is NaNaNa Najahkoop, or Sternritter U - The Underbelly. NaNaNa's power was that he could perceive weak points and strike them to incapacitate or kill his foes. This does actually fit with his characterization as an observer; NaNaNa could be seen on the sidelines of many early fights analyzing the Shinigami. It's a real shame that when his time to shine came, he became a Yhwach Fanatic out of nowhere. Dude did manage to stun Aizen, no small feat to be sure, but got iced by Bazz-B's flames when the latter jumped ship. Get it, it's ironic because I juxtaposed 'ice' and 'flames. Next!
Let's talk Schutzstaffel for a minute. Gerard Valkyrie is the bearer of M - The Miracle, allowing him to channel hope and fear into powerups, much the same way as a miracle on a real battlefield drastically affects the morale of both sides of the fight. As a result of his power, he became functionally invincible so long as anyone believed in him, to rage-inducing levels. Seriously, this dude survived a Visored Cero combo, Zaraki's Bankai, Hitsugaya's upgraded Bankai, and like a million team attacks from basically everyone. It took an Auswählen from Yhwach to bring him down, and even now I'm not sure he's really dead because SUPER GERARD NEVER DIE!
Lille Barro, the Schutzstaffel leader and Sternritter X - The X-Axis is probably the most hated Sternritter ever. Lille was the team sniper, and the first part of his Schrift, the ability to penetrate anything in the line of fire without fail, definitely lined up with this. It's the second part that makes people squirm: after a point, Lille gains the ability to phase through everything, and maintain a point of perfect intangibility. He was literally untouchable. Worse, as his battle with Captain Commander Shunsui Kyōraku progressed, he attained newer and more ridiculous forms, culminating in a state dubbed Chicken Lille by fans and modeled after biblical depictions of Seraphim. With a deity complex that grew to match his power, Lille became insufferable by the time of his defeat, which was only possible because of a Macguffin Shikai reveal by Nanao that didn't even really work. I hate Lille, and so should you. #WasteOfABankai.
Mask de Masculine, by comparison, is an awesome Sternritter. Bearing the epithet S - The Superpower, Mask gains strength and healing as long as he has someone cheering for him, like a limited version of The Miracle. He also had the ability to spawn a little buddy named James who existed solely to cheer him on. He possessed a bravado that remains unmatched in the series, as well as a tactical sense that amazes me. For example, when faced with Rose's sound based Bankai, he tore out his eardrums, confident that he could heal them later, in order to nullify the effects. His Hero-Villain interactions with Renji are some of the best writing the series ever got, and Mask is a freaking amazing character. Please, more Mask. Always Mask.
Our coverage is starting to wind down, so it's time to talk about Nianzol Weizol, or Sternritter W- The Wind. With the ability to bend space around him to evade attacks, he was Yhwach's shield as the emperor waited for The Almighty to kick in. That's about it, honestly. He got dealt with pretty fast relative to his cohorts, but hey, his power is neat so there's that.
Last up are Berenice Gabrielli (Q - The Question) Jerome Guizbatt (R - The Roar). These two were cannon fodder for Zaraki, and that's it. Jerome could yell really loud and I am not even sure what Berenice could do. Honestly, this little bit is longer than their panel time so I'm gonna stop here. Yay for no characterization!
And with that, my Sternritter coverage is complete. I hope you liked this little miniseries, which has taken its sweet time coming out. It has been an eventful year of writing, that's for sure. Next time, I'm gonna go back to arc dissections. See y'all then, and don't forget to comment on the Sternritter discussed and vote in the poll! See ya next installment!