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Song to listen to while reading this chapter: "Imperfect Cell Theme" from the Dragon Ball Z OST
No one saw this coming.
NO ONE PREDICTED THIS.
So we start off with Mayuri being, of course, an amazing troll. Turns out, he quite purposely sent Kenpachi to fight Pernida so he could analyze The Compulsory, knowing full well that Kenpachi would get rekt super hard. On top of that, he got an excuse to upgrade his Zanpakutō's poison because apparently Kenpachi can still move his eyes after being stabbed, which is apparently too much freedom of movement for Mayuri's victims. While Ikkaku gets all pissy about this, Yumichika's all "Mayuri's always been like that", prompting Nemu to intensify her crypticity by saying she hopes he's still like this. Or something. Words. Moving on, Mayuri turns to Pernida and, with quite possibly the most trolling face I've ever seen on the man, claims that because Kenpachi sacrificed himself to let Mayuri learn all this information about Pernida's ability and because noble sacrifices always come before noble victories, Pernida should "donate" its body to him for experimentation. Wow. I know Mayuri's just fucking around at this point because he never asks for consent anyway, but damn that was funny. Actually, before we go any further, I think we all need a reminder of the power of make-up, because while Mayuri is undeniably awesome and creepy and creepawesome while saying all this shit with his face looking the way it does, he normally looks like this:
Would you expect a man as sexy as that to be pulling shit like this? I sure wouldn't.
Anyway, Pernida promptly loses it at this provocation and shreds its hood to reveal something that shocks even Mayuri: a giant left hand with an eye in the center. Yep, folks, this is the left arm of the Soul King - a plot thread I thought Kubo had long since abandoned. After Pernida snaps the chains on its fingers and grows the rest of its body so it can properly loom over the Shinigami, Mayuri reveals that its Reiatsu is pretty much the same as ol' Mimihagi's and that it makes sense for the left arm to have gone off and done its own thing if the right arm did...though Ikkaku and Yumichika aren't quite convinced. Oh, and the eye has The Almighty thing going on because, well, I dunno, Soul King-Yhwach father-son stuff?
So Pernida starts attacking Mayuri, who proceeds to block the tendrils with a weird face shield that starts...screaming? Christ, man, that's scary. Mayuri proceeds to claim that even though he doesn't understand why the left arm of the Soul King is working for Yhwach, it doesn't matter because he's just so damn happy about having a completely new research subject - which, to be honest, I can sorta understand, since the Soul King is apparently another race entirely and so on. Oh, and Pernida can apparently speak now, albeit in Hulk-like fragments, and it identifies not as the left arm of the Soul King, but as Pernida. So for all you who were wondering what gender it was, there you go: it's Pernida.
But seriously, this was a great chapter. The twist was one of the rare ones where no one predicted it, yet it explained all the crazy crap that had been occurring prior; the strange shape of the "head", how Pernida grabbed that ledge in 626 to keep itself from falling, and even why it wasn't speaking until now. It's also interesting to see one of the Soul King's limbs being on Yhwach's side rather than a neutral figure, as we assumed they all were after the explanation of what Mimihagi was doing after falling from the sky. Oh, and it's quite refreshing to have a mysterious hooded figure not actually be either gender, if only for the sheer trolling nature of that situation.
Also, can I just say that I find it hilarious how both Bleach and One Piece had major character reveals this week, but all Naruto did was put out an 8-page movie tie-in chapter that added nothing new to the series and contained nothing exciting or funny to read, yet had the balls to say "get hyped for the movie wooo"? The sheer gap in quality is astounding, honestly.