In case we had thought that Mayuri had just randomly stabbed Kenpachi in the back for no good reason, Kubo-sensei takes up a full page to remind us that Mayuri is mostly on our side and was sort of, kind of protecting Kenpachi from the Quincy cloak, Pernida.
The ‘sort of, kind of’ bit is underscored by an interaction between Yumichika and Nemu about how similar their captains are. Yumichika insists that Mayuri took out Kenpachi because he wanted to face the enemy one-on-one. Nemu gives the battlefield a long, meaningful look, and basically says, “Sure, if you say so.”
Again, because Kubo has a limited number of pages to tell his story weekly, I find it interesting that we linger here as long as we do. I’m not sure what the significance of this interchange is (even though it reads very differently in both translations.)
Mayuri then goes on a typical mad scientist/evil genius rant in which he praises Kenpachi for being the noble sacrifice before the victory. He tells the little cloak guy that he should be happy, too, because he’s going to get to be a test subject.
Little cloak Quincy is clearly has horrified as any normal person would be at the idea of being experimented on by Mayuri, and decides now is the perfect time to reveal his true nature….
… as the Left Hand of the Soul King.
Mayuri suggests that this ‘hand’ and the one that Ukitake had have similar… I dunno, spirit signatures or [insert techno-babble that confirms identity.] Plus, they both have eye(s) in their palms.
Then, Mayuri asks the question (or makes an observation, depending on which version you read), “Why would the Soul King’s Left Hand work for the Quincy?” (or he suggests that Ywach would look down on such a thing.)
The chapter ends with the Quincy Cloak insisting that it’s name is not Left Hand of the Soul King, but Pernida. Which Pernida repeats… so again, seems significant.
A sidebar promises that the storytelling is about to begin….
I’m hoping that that final teaser means that we’re finally going to get some information about what the actual hell the Soul King is and why so many of his body parts have mutinied.
Because, when we first see him he looks like this:
But, when Ichigo slices him in half, ostensibly killing him, he looked like this:
Clearly still in his protective cocoon, but missing both arms.
One would assume that Ukitake should have been in possession of the Right Arm several thousand years ago, but, perhaps, it only disappeared from the Soul King’s person once Ukitake went to take his bath (although the timing might still be off, since I think Ukitake disappears to go activate his pact almost as soon as the Quincies invaded the first time, when Kyouraku looses his eye, Byakuya appears dead, etc.)
Similarly, you’d think that Ywach being in possession/allegiance with the Left Arm would have also been obvious at the start, but Ywach seems to materialize these special forces when they enter the Soul Realm for the first time, so… perhaps that coordinates with the change in the Soul King’s outward appearance..?
I linked above to what little I could find about ‘eyes in palms’ out on the internet. But, there has got to be more about the significance of this kind of creature in anime out there somewhere. The first time I, personally, came across it was in the 1985 film version of Vampire Hunter D. Our hero, D, has a symbiotic Left Hand, though this Left Hand presents as a whole face. (You can read the plot summary that includes a huge section on Left Hand here and Vampire Hunter D‘s Left Hand wiki entry, here.)
Among the others I know about, I learned from my fellow WordPress blogger, Otaku Judge: http://theotakujudge.com/2015/07/27/review-of-parasyte-the-maxim/
Again, this isn’t quite the same, but there we have a Right Hand which is possessed by a creature who goes by the name Migi (naturally, as it means right).
So what the hell is up with hands and possession/sentience?
Anyone out there know??