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Song to listen to while reading this chapter: "Inside The Fire" by Disturbed
DAMN KUBO BACK AT IT AGAIN WITH THE AWESOME CHAPTERS
So we start off with a bit of elaboration on last week's reveal: apparently, Hitsugaya was previously only able to use his Bankai for 12 minutes before it became unusable due to being too powerful, so he circumvented this by...aging himself up so he could control said power. Hey, works for me. Naturally, Gerard initially doesn't know who he is, but upon learning is glad that Hitsugaya is now an adult because he's more fit to fight him. Hitsugaya dodges a ground stab before freezing Gerard's
Captain America maneuver thrown shield in midair widda flick of da wrist, once again repeating his "don't drop things on Soul Society" mantra. Gerard goes for him with Hoffnung, but Hitsugaya straight-up cuts it in half and doesn't suffer any ill effects because, as it turns out, freezing the sword made its functions cease.
Hearing this, Gerard actually summons a Heilig Bogen (so much for the theory about him and Pernida using exclusively separate Quincy stuff) and decides to attack with something that cannot have its power nullified by ice...only for Hitsugaya to inform him that he is literally a second late as he is encased completely in ice, along with his bow, by Shikai Hyōketsu. Apparently, after four seconds, the complete form of Daiguren Hyōrinmaru can freeze literally anything in front of it, which feels a bit like Hakka no Togame but with more control. This doesn't slow down Gerard, though, who breaks free and grabs Hitsugaya, intending to crush him with brute force, only for based Kenpachi to topple him with one arm left. Of course, touching Hitsugaya leaves Gerard's arm frozen once more, and then out of nowhere, Byakuya comes in with his Bankai, uses Senkei, and then uses the secret technique Ikkasen Jinka to skewer Gerard's head with all the swords. Wow.
That was a really awesome chapter. First off, I'm glad Hitsugaya doesn't look quite so much like Ichigo anymore - Kubo clearly tweaked his face a bit to make him look more like, y'know, an older version of his usual self, and my god is he sexy now. Plus, his completed Bankai really does feel more powerful than the one he's been using up until now, what with him flash-freezing anything that gets in his way and stuff. The sudden aid from Kenpachi is much appreciated, since him being out of the fight completely would've been a little silly after apparently going Bankai, and man oh man was that attack from Byakuya epic. I remember seeing a thread the other day wondering why Byakuya hadn't used Senkei or the wing technique in a long time, and this was a great way to bring it back, especially with the concept of this being a secret technique (side note: does anyone else remember Byakuya claiming that he wasn't gonna use the Senkei swords to attack Ichigo from all sides because that's not what the technique was meant for? Either he was a filthy liar or he's developed a bit into being more pragmatic, which I like).