Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Bleach Chapter 603 Review

The Mysteries of His Majesty
As the chapter begins with those lights around Yhwach's arms again, we hear Nimaiya thinking about what Yhwach might do, pointing out that they have little info about Yhwach's power outside of the battle with Genryuusai he had 1000 years ago, and in the current war with his copy (Royd), and he concludes that the first thing to do is cut off one of Yhwach's arms as a light envelops the area.

Now this was very interesting to see. Even the Royal Guard, for all of the knowledge they possess of the Soul Society, know next to nothing about Yhwach. They do not seem to know about the nature of his powers, so even Nimaiya - the guy who just bull-dozed through the Elite Guard of Stern Ritter - has to ponder what to do against Yhwach first.

It is clear that the Quincy were secretive in regards to all levels of their society. The fact that Isshin knew about the Auswahlen means that he must have needed to hear it from Ryuuken, most likely after what happened on June 17th.

If the Royal Guard do not know what Yhwach is about to do, then it doesn't bode well at all.

Desecration of the Undead

But before that happens, we cut down to a most disturbing scene indeed: Giselle is feeding off of the undead Bambietta, because it seems she...I mean he...Never mind, I don't care anymore...needs to take back her blood in order to heal her wounds this time around. This is topped off by more disturbing treatment of Bambietta, as Giselle beats her down for worrying about dying (again), and just as quickly goes about how "how much cuter" she is when she is dead, a scene interrupted by Liltotto. We also get a glimpse of Giselle's Vollstandig wings - wings shaped like bone.

Liltotto confirms that Pepe was indeed eaten (and he tasted disgusting), that Candice was taken down by Byakuya (no full confirmation of her death), and that she "dealt with" Meninas, who she thinks shouldn't be dead, and comments on how things will be a little rougher for them with the other guys gone (including Pepe).

But to be blunt, the entire exchange still reminds me of why I don't like the group. I mean, Giselle's feeding off of the zombified Bambietta's blood, and Liltotto doesn't even flinch at the sight, not to mention her callous dismissal of her cannibalism of Pepe, regardless of how much of a bastard he himself was.

Gunpoint of Despair

At this point, we see the gun of and FINALLY get the name and letter of a certain Quincy people were waiting a long time to see:

Stern Ritter "N" Robert Accutrone

However, like two other Schrift - "K" and "U" - we still do not know what the Schrift stands for at the current point in time.

As for the reason why he has Liltotto at gunpoint, he then asks Liltotto if she is aware that Yhwach has gone up to the Royal Realm. As Liltotto asks Robert to explain himself, he then mentions that the Stern Ritter down below were not taken up to the Royal Realm with him, with Liltotto simply assuming that it means they should just keep fighting until Yhwach returns.

Then Robert snaps and points out why the he has fallen past the point of despair: the Stern Ritter left behind by Yhwach were deemed useless by him. As Liltotto asks what Robert means, he refers to Liltotto and Giselle (presumably others as well who are younger than him) as newcomers who have no understanding of what terrors Yhwach is capable of.

This is a marked departure from the calm, collected supporter of Yhwach we saw in the first invasion. However, his explicit mention of "terror" most likely means that his loyalty to Yhwach is not out of blind devotion, but soul-gripping fear of him - the same thing that As Nodt claimed was the only thing he feared.

As for his comment on Giselle and Liltotto being newcomers, it leads me to think that Robert was one of the Quincy who lived in the Vandenreich itself, rather than being recruited from the Living World Echt Quincy.

Then we get to the main cause for his despair.

Hell Has Come

He states that the Stern Ritter exist for His Majesty, and delivers this wham line that confirms what a number of people were speculating about at the end of last week's chapter: "Stern Ritter who are deemed unnecessary are cut down by the Auswahlen!"

Just as he finishes saying this, the light from the Auswahlen comes crashing down upon him, and seemingly reduces him down to a skeleton. While this could be what actually happened to him, a part of me suspects it is for dramatic effect, just as how being struck by lighting shows the skeleton underneath the skin for a brief moment.

As Liltotto witnesses this, she pushes herself and Giselle out of the way of more Auswahlen lights, even though that her powers are still being stolen regardless. Liltotto is completely caught off guard by this display. As the scene cuts away to show NaNaNa, Bazz-B, and at least two other (unseen) Stern Ritter struck by the Auswahlen, Liltotto pleadingly asks what were the Stern Ritter to him.

While I did state my distaste for the FemRitters earlier, this scene did earn me sympathy for Liltotto. At the end of the day, she is still just a child, and her devastated response to what is happening shows that she was loyal to Yhwach and his cause. The Stern Ritter looked upon Yhwach like he was their God, and he rewarded their loyalty by striking them down when he deemed them useless for upcoming battles. Truly, this would be Hell for the Stern Ritter. The only question remaining now is whether or not those struck by the Auswahlen will only have their powers stolen, or their lives ripped out of them completely.

More importantly, now we know the full scope of what Askin's words meant. In at least some translations, Askin comments on whether or not he'll be "lucky" enough to be chosen or not. In chapter 599, we learnt he meant whether or not he'd be chosen to accompany Yhwach as part of the Elite Guard, but now we know why he asked if he'd be "lucky" - not being chosen meant getting targeted by Auswahlen.

I'll digress from the chapter for a moment to make a comment about the "upcoming battles". Although the invasion of the Royal Realm would seem like the final battle in this war, Robert's words seem to imply that there are more battles to come in the future. It makes one wonder: after the Royal Realm, what was supposed to be next?

As the Auswahlen is in full effect, we cut back to the Royal Realm. As Yhwach talks about how he and the Elite Guard are "Comrades", we see Gerard and Lille rise up from the ground behind him with what appears to be the beginnings of their Vollstandig, Askin rising up from the ground once more, and Nimaiya looks on with an expression that reflects the chapter title perfectly as Yhwach states simply: "Squad Zero...Shall we?"

Well, we were expecting a "Miracle" for the past two weeks to revive the Elite Guard members, and we got one - it just wasn't from Gerard. We probably should have been careful what we wished for.

I had suspected that Yhwach would use Auswahlen in this chapter in last week's discussion, but I was thinking along the lines of him using it on the Shinigami who were infected with his soul fragments, not the Stern Ritter themselves. I guess I was mistaken, and it is entirely possible that the Auswahlen can only target the Quincy, but I still have a nagging feeling about all of this, especially since Kubo made certain to point out that the Shinigami were also infected with pieces of Yhwach's soul.

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