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So first off, we've got Lille and Gerard bickering over Lille leaving Senjumaru's corpse in Yhwach's path...because, y'know, sociopaths. The following page seems to indicate that Pernida's The Compulsory allows it to compress objects, which explains what happened last chapter. Lille then DESTROYS ALL FIVE CITIES OF THE ROYAL GUARD with a single bullet EACH. Holy crap, it's been a while since we've seen Heilig Pfeil that damn powerful. However, it turns out that the whole thing was a charade by Senjumaru, who had actually created a fake version of the palace for Yhwach and his forces. Which is hilarious.
Then, Senjumaru reveals that Ichibei had hidden the real palace, and we see Ichibei with a large brush and a seal in front of the palace that reads "Hidden". Apparently, this ties into his naming power. Lille tries to shoot the real palace, but Hikifune makes a cage of Reishi-absorbing trees around them, which she created with the same process that she uses to make her food. Interesting way of going on the defensive. Last, but most CERTAINLY not least, Nimaiya shows up with his Zanpakutō in water (for some reason) and tells the Sternritter to bring it. *cocks fingers*
Okay, this was one hell of a chapter. I think we all knew that Senjumaru was gonna survive that hit somehow (I was thinking it would be a thread clone or something), but I'll be damned if the way Kubo went wasn't completely awesome. Creating a fake palace, hiding the real one, making a cage to contain the invaders, and sending in the creator of the Zanpakutō to throw down - this was indicative of some good teamwork on the part of the Royal Guard (with the exception of Kirinji, dunno what's going on there). Oh, and Lille having such a powerful weapon was also pretty cool. I'm definitely hyped for what Nimaiya's gonna do in the following chapters.
Oh, and happy 600th chapter, Kubo. Don't worry, I won't congratulate him on Twitter about it.
For this week's review, I'm gonna be talking about Yhwach because 6 + 0 + 0 = 6 and 6 upside-down is 9 and that's Yhwach's favorite number. Pure logic on my part, you see.
Anywho, let's start off with the biggest aspect of his character - his role as a villain. Yhwach is, in my opinion, the most sensible villain I've ever seen in a work of fiction, and I don't mean that he's the most pragmatic (although there's plenty of that too). What I mean is that he's one of the few bad guys whose villainy makes complete sense. Since he was afflicted with this soul-sharing business from the minute he was born, he has to ensure that people die or else he'll go back to being a vegetable; and since the people around him hailed him as a god from the moment he could hear, it's only natural that he would be arrogant and whatnot, and that his followers would believe him to be a god walking the earth. As such, his villainy was basically guaranteed by these circumstances, if only because no one ever taught him the difference between right and wrong, and because he's been doing this for his survival, whereas so many other bad guys are motivated by greed, hatred, etc. etc. That's one of the reasons why I like him as the main antagonist.
Moving on, I'd like to cover how combat-savvy and sensible (this time in terms of common sense) he seems to be in comparison to other villains in this series, another aspect of his character which I particularly like. This was first demonstrated during the very first chapters of the arc, when he decided to invade Soul Society while he had a guarantee that Ichigo would be occupied in Hueco Mundo. Then, he had his ELITES, not his cannon fodder, sweep through the Seireitei, take out tons of regular Shinigami, and weaken several lieutenants and captains before sending in his own ground troops to clean up. That's the kind of military tactic I never thought I'd see in a shōnen, especially not Bleach. There's also the fact that he completely obliterated Yamamoto's body, very likely so that Orihime couldn't revive him, and tried to kill/incapacitate Ichigo instead of just letting him go so that he could become stronger (well, at least he did before he was forced to leave and stuff). Later on, there's the business with him putting Uryū in the spotlight so he can't carry out a rebellion or betrayal...and, of course, replacing the entire Seireitei with his own city so that he doesn't have to leave in the middle of combat again, as well as removing any defenses which the Gotei 13 may have prepared. Again, pretty damn smart. The stuff with Bankai and Vollständig is interesting, but not really worth discussing; the latest and greatest of these feats, however, has to be his plan to let Ichigo return to Soul Society, freshly powered up...only to go to the Soul King Palace while the barriers protecting it are still smashed open. Now, like many others, I'm confused by how he knew how long those barriers would be open after Ichigo smashed through them like the Kool-Aid man, but that aside, this is a prime example of how not to be Aizen - rather than face Ichigo after he just went through training with the entire Royal Guard and gained his true Shikai, Yhwach instead opted to use his arrival as a means of getting to the palace, which was apparently his intention all along, while leaving Ichigo in the dust. THAT'S how one becomes a magnificent bastard while being pragmatic about it. Oh, and the Elite Guard stuff is cool, although only time will tell how effective that is.
Those are basically the only two things I want to cover. His personality is easily observable and we all know about his hypocrisy with peace and stuff, and his powers are pretty straightforward so far, aside from the soul-sharing thing which I've never seen in another work of fiction. However, for the above two reasons, I'm really enjoying having Yhwach as the main villain because he's such a refreshing departure from Aizen and his crap.
Attention everyone! Starting with this week's chapter, members of the Policy & Standards Committee on the wiki will be doing group podcasts about their opinions on the chapter of the week. Feedback would be greatly appreciated. This week, it's myself, Schiffy, and SunXia. Enjoy.