Even Byakuya isn’t strong enough to last against the Stern Ritter… Who will die next?
The Stern Ritter has proven to be stronger than I initially imagined. At first, those on the front lines seemed to be the typical fodder: mid-level bosses to overcome before the main attraction arrives. However, this isn’t the case. Kira’s death didn’t accurately convey the true strength of the group, as he was really only taken out by a surprise attack amidst the chaos. However, Byakuya’s defeat shows that even when concentrating wholly on the opponent, the captains are just not on the same level as the Stern Ritter.
This essentially means that there is little to no hope for any member of the court squad. Or rather, those that focus extensively on the offensive with their bankai and nothing else, may be extremely disadvantaged. Kubo paints a bleak picture on the horizon. The only characters that can possibly stand up to them may be Captain Commander, who hasn’t used bankai but still gives the impression of being strong; Ichigo Kurosaki, whose bankai can’t be sealed; and Kenpachi who has never used bankai.
Byakuya’s confrontation and fall make the efforts of the other captains and liuetenants seem in vain. For fans of Hitsugaya and others on the battlefield, one can only hope that the Stern Ritter is stopped before those characters die. I would be rather depressed if Hitsugaya died for example, even Renji and Rukia (even if they aren’t captains). But, Byakuya’s sacrifice temporarily puts both characters out of harm’s way.
The war is starting to hit close to home and it is making me feel quite emotional. If Kubo continues to evoke these feelings from me, then this will undoubtly turn out to be one of the better Bleach arcs.
GO Rating: 4/5