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Song to listen to while reading this chapter: "Roundtable Rival" by Lindsey Stirling
Dear god, that was way more packed of a chapter than I think anyone was expecting.
So we start off with Yhwach telling Ichibei that he can just give himself whatever Ichibei takes away (must've had some interesting Christmas days) and that everything in the world is his for the taking. Given his conqueror nature, this isn't surprising. Yhwach proceeds to send the Reishi constructs from the end of last chapter at Ichibei, who stops them
with the power of Buddhism by slamming his palms together around them in front of his face, which actually leads to his hands being slightly injured. Of course, this wouldn't be Ichibei if he didn't speak in a weird passive-aggressive manner to Yhwach, and he tells him that he was actually trying to preserve Yhwach's reputation by defeating him when he's weak before using Hyapporankan. Oh look, a Kidō spell in this arc. However, it turns out Kubo is full of even MORE surprise, because Yhwach responds with Blut Anhaben, an extension of Blut Vene that creates a defensive barrier around the user for blocking attacks. That's right, folks, Kubo remembers what a Blut is. Let there be rejoicing.
Ichibei isn't one to let this stop him, though, so he uses Urahadō Sannodō Tetsufūsatsu to apparently break through. That's a really fat dragon, by the way, not to mention an apparently higher ranking of Hadō spells exists if that first word is anything to go by. Anywho, Ichibei manages to grab Yhwach by the throat, but it turns out the barrier isn't gone: it absorbs everything around it as part of sustaining itself, which causes Ichibei to gain black lines along his arm approaching his face. Deciding that flashiness is overrated at this point, Ichibei RIPS OUT YHWACH'S THROAT, calls him out for being so arrogant as to invade his body, and releases his Zanpakutō, the brush - Ichimonji. Good God almighty, it's happening.
More so than the last few chapters, this was solid. Focusing only on Ichibei and Yhwach was nice for a change, and it was refreshing to see Blut being used in any capacity after it was hyped up so early in the arc. It was also cool seeing these Kidō spells getting tossed out like nothing, and lord knows Yhwach's impressing me with his ability to keep standing up and coming at Ichibei after everything that happens to him. Can't help but wonder how he's gonna get past this torn throat business, but of course I'm more interested in what Ichimonji could possibly do. It makes Ichibei the third Shinigami to have a Zanpakutō with abilities and special properties in its sealed form (the others being Hanatarō and Rose), and those abilities were very powerful as is, so if the Shikai is one step above that...we're in for one hell of a ride, folks.
Oh, and apparently Kubo wants our lasting image of Ichibei to be rapeface.jpg, judging by that color page.