Song to listen to while reading this chapter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN1DxGcqT7A&list=PLFB4B8FACC881FB7E&index=80
So, as expected, we start off with Rukia returning things to normal temperature. Makes sense that she has to do so slowly, since rapid temperature changes are bad, m'kay. Then, we get what I predicted in last chapter's review, namely Äs proclaiming he doesn't fear this battle, and instead only fears Yhwach's punishment and losing his body. Fair enough. Then his mask crumbles, and...uh...he has a decaying mouth, and then OH MY GOD
WHAT IN THE NAME OF GOD IS THAT UNHOLY ABOMINATION
So yeah, apparently Äs can turn into that one dead girl from "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark". You know which one I'm talking about. Now, I was expecting bat wings or something, but literally bleeding from the eyes while rolling his eyes back, gaining a halo, and revealing he's pretty much a goddamn decaying corpse at this point? Jesus Christ, Kubo, you've actually managed to scare me. Holy mother of god.
And then, it turns out Äs's fear ability is incredibly amplified in this form, meaning an opponent just has to look at him in order to feel fear. Y'know, I can't blame them: this ability is so legit it extends to the reader. Take that, Bazz-B. Also, creating a wall of eyes like that is scary. Really scary. Gaht DAMN, Äs, you went from creepy to downright terrifying in ONE CHAPTER. Also, dat chapter name. And then Byakuya shows up, like a lot of you guys thought he would, reinforcing the notion that only Bankais can defeat Sternritter. Should be interesting, now that's he's undergone such a major wardrobe change (still fashionable as hell, though).
Anyhow, great chapter. Kubo managed to legitimately freak me out for the first time, well, ever; Byakuya's back now and ready to kick some ass with the fashion police; AND we got a nice little callback to Ulquiorra's Segunda Etapa (at least, I THINK it was intentional). Well done, Kubo, you've probably scarred Lemurs for life.