All right, go! Go get it!
I haven’t yet been to Tumblr, but I suspect that its halls are verily ringing with all the fan squee. Not only are we treated to some classic Grimmjow, but we also get a very beautiful, extremely Kubo-sensei confrontation between Hashwaldt and Bazz-B…
Look at that! That’s just pretty.
There’s an element in Bleach fandom that likes to bash Kubo-sensei for his art style. Apparently, they think he’s lazy because he leaves his action so clean, eschewing background busy-ness for a sharp focus on the combatants. For myself, this is what I signed on to Bleach FOR. I never have what I call the “SnK problem” with Bleach. I can often identify characters at distance thanks to not only the clean lines, but also the uniqueness of each individual.
But, milage may vary. For me, this is gold.
Chapter 630 starts off with a teaser that Grimmjow might have one-shotted Asken Nacht LaVarr. Ichigo and crew banter with Grimmkitty about how he’s gone off script. At that point, LaVarr pops up and runs away, kitty in hot pursuit.
MangaStream, in my opinion, has the best rendition of the banter that happens during the chase, but regardless, by far the most interesting moment is at the very end. Grimmjow loses patience (big surprise) and implies he’s going in for the kill. We see this:
Actually, Kubo wastes TWO panels to show Grimmjow’s hand, first on the ground, and then the above shot where’s he’s clearly bloodied his fingers. Given how few panels Kubo has in any given chapter to use, I think we’re supposed to really notice this moment. Especially when it seems that Grimmjow’s hands have gone at least partly “Pantera” in the next shot.
The speculation is, of course, does this mean that Grimmjow now has a second release? We know from the rules of zanpakutō that, once you have bankai/second release, you no longer have to call out shikai/first release. Arrancar behave very similarly to shinigami in this regard, so there’s a very strong possibility that this is a big ol’ yes.
That would be pretty cool, IMHO.
The next question is, of course, did Uncle Kisuke artificially upgrade Grimmjow? Grimmjow was certainly kicking around in the shadows with the Scooby Gang that stayed with Urahara in Hueco Mundo long enough for that to be possible.
But, it looks like we’ll find that out next chapter, because then the action switches to Hashwaldt. He’s standing around in the Quincy castle getting battle reports from a spontaneously generated guard. (Seriously, where did this guy come from? Such a big deal has been made about how difficult it is to get to the Royal Realm, and here’s this random foot soldier all of a sudden? Did Ywach spontaneously manifest extra servants when he pulled the castle up out of reishi? Also if he has the ability to make PEOPLE, why did he not just overrun the SS with them?)
Anyway, the Ywach Doombot tells Hashwaldt that everyone has been dispersed to the battlefield. Hashwaldt instantly freaks out and says, “Even Uyuu Ishida?” When Doombot confirms that, Hashwaldt tells him to tail him, because this is Ishida, the guy who used to be besties with the Scooby Gang.
Doombot hops to do Hashwaldt’s bidding and is instantly shot through the eye by…
Then we get this great fight (in the MangaStream version Bazz-B is a bit more flirt-y towards Hashwaldt, so if that’s your ship, you get some wind in your sails with B’s whole “You’re mine!”)
When the two of them break apart, Bazz-B wants to know if Hashwaldt knew that the people Ywach left behind in the Soul Society were going to be betrayed. He’s clearly hurt because a lot of their talk is about how close the two of them used to be. Hashwaldt is all, ‘does it really matter? Would you believe me?’ Bazz-B says, ‘yeah, he would.’ Then Hashwaldt says they can’t talk about it any more anyway. He points to the window and says, it’s nearly nighttime.
Nighttime, if you recall is when Hashwaldt takes over Ywach’s… power/position (?) It’s really not entirely clear, but we had a whole explanation of several chapters ago when Ishida tried to sneak into Ywach’s chambers late a night. Something happens to Ywach that seems to make him inert (?), but certainly more vulnerable. Mr. Balance takes over at this point.
Then Bazz-B says something that implies that either that will be the time that the will both strike Ywach down, or that Bazz-B will strike Haschwaldt down (as a traitor?) Here’s MangaPanda:
Weirdly, it’s less clear in MangaStream, which is problematic because they’re often the site that has the best sense of cat-and-mouse dialogues.
I’ve long suspected that Haschwaldt has had ulterior motives. He plays the part of the perfect servant to Ywach, but there’s a lot that seems to go on behind his eyes. Also, way back, when Bazz-B was angry that Ishida took the spot that should have belongs to Hashwaldt, there were interaction that led me to think that maybe Hashwaldt had a plan. Similarly, Hashwaldt is the one who “forgot” to mention to Ywach that Aizen was clearly messing with their sense of time (which was critical because they only had x-hours of shadow time inside the Seireitei at that point.) Also, as my fellow Tea Conspirators know, Hashwaldt and Kyouraku spent a LONG time discussing tea and not fighting.
Looks like we’re going to get a Hashwaldt flashback next time and I’m super-ready for it.
I’m so hoping that Hashwaldt will turncoat and be on our side.