I’m sorry I delayed reviewing this chapter. I’d give you and excuse, but the truth was I wasn’t all that terribly excited by this installment, despite the bankai reveal. You’ve probably already read it, but if not, head on over to MangaStream and check it out: Bleach 669
And… that pretty much sums up the entire chapter. From Wikipedia’s article on oni, there’s this bit: “They are often depicted wearing tiger-skin loincloths and carrying iron clubs called kanabō (金棒?). This image leads to the expression ‘oni with an iron club (鬼に金棒oni-ni-kanabō?), that is, to be invincible or undefeatable.” Nozarashi does seem to become more club-like in this form, so it seems like a very 1-to-1 match.
Turning into an undefeatable monster/ogre/oni as bankai fits well enough for someone whose only name is his title ‘kenpachi’ (the first/strongest sword) and his district, ‘Zaraki.’
And… I’m not disappointed. I mean, in this chapter Kenpachi is in full-on beast mode when he tears
Thor Miracle’s arm off with his f*cking TEETH. I cheered through the whole fight because I’m a shounen fan and watching Kenpachi kick-a$$ is one of my life’s greatest pleasures.
…But, as you know, if you’ve been following this review site for any amount of time, I had been secretly hoping that Kenpachi Zaraki’s bankai would turn out to be at least in part Kidō based. My hope had been entirely hinged on the fact that Yachiru (whom we now know is Zaraki’s zanpakutō manifestation) has been shown using what appears to be Kidō on several occasions, most notably when she gets angry that Kenny’s fight is being interrupted by the communique delivering the news of Aizen’s death:
I’m also weirdly disappointed that neither of Yachiru’s fluffy/scary imaginary friend/playmates came out in bankai, nor did Kenpachi seem to utilize their ability to match steps with whomever they were fighting.
Maybe some of that is still coming.
Thing is, the final scene is of Kenpachi ripping Thor in half…
…which, given what we’ve seen of Thor’s powers of regeneration, means we’ll have two Thors in the next chapter.
My FERVENT hope is that there is a reason Kubo-sensei keeps giving us flashes to Ikkaku and Yumichika:
Because we all know that Yumichika is the only Shinigami with the perfect shikai to take down this giant Norse God rip-off. One of the reasons I had been hoping for a Kidō-type bankai from Kenpachi is that it would give Yumichika an opportunity to finally come out of the closet completely (and yes, I know what I just said, and it’s entirely intended because if Yumichika isn’t gay, I f*cking give up.)
Yumichika has already in this arc demonstrated an out-of-character willingness to fire off Kidō spells to lay down cover for impulsive Ikkaku, but so far as we know, he has not yet used his true shikai on anyone other than Charolette, and then only under complete cover of darkness/cone of silence.
Even though it seems unlikely that Kubo-sensei will give Kenpachi bankai only to let him be defeated by Thor, I kind of hope that’s exactly what happens, so that Yumichika will be forced to show off Ruri’iro Kujaku’s reiatsu sucking true powers.
In my ideal world, Kenpachi would actually mostly defeat one of the two Thors, send one of the bodies hurtling down towards the Seireitei (where Kubo has already gone to great pains to say the sheer mass of it would crush the Soul Society) and let Aizen pulverize it form his chair (because PLEASE KUBO PLEASE let Aizen continue to have a role in this fight, particularly as defender of the Seireitei because that makes me so happy I could CRY.)