Bleach 568 Review – “Hear. Fear. Here. 2”
Written by: ClayDragon
Told you it was too quick.
After freezing As Nodt solid, Rukia begins to slowly raise her body temperature up to a normal amount. She notes that the change has to be done gradually or else her body tissue will be damaged – a fact that becomes apparent when a small cut opens on her thumb. As she looks at it, she hears a small noise coming from As Nodt, which turns out to be him asking himself if he’s feeling fear.
As it turns out, he’s not feeling fear, as the only thing that he fears is being scolded by Yhwach and having his body and power taken from him. To avoid this, he breaks himself out of the ice, losing his mask in the process. At this point, he decides that compared to that fear, the current fight isn’t painful or scary in the slightest. We also get to see what he looks like under the mask, and let’s just say he should have kept it on…
Like many other Sternritter before him, As Nodt decides to activate his Vollständig, but it’s a tad different this time. For a start, his Vandenreich symbol is engraved on the back of his eyes, and in order to activate it he rolls his eyes up so far that they start to leak blood. The scary imagery isn’t done there, though. He appears to be wearing skin sown over his own body, which gives the impression of him being extremely emaciated, and the lower half of his arms have turned completely black. Needless to say, it isn’t a pretty sight.
After seeing him activate his Vollständig, Rukia moves forward to attack him, but before she gets near him he suddenly appears behind her. She tries to slash him but her blade just misses her target, who is confident that her attacks won’t reach him. She tries again, only for As Nodt to jump out of reach again, and point out that her feet are paralysed. Rukia begins to ask how she can feel fear when her body is still at a temperature below zero, but As Nodt interrupts her.
Because Rukia is looking at him, it doesn’t matter if her body is below freezing, as her nerves are still working. Tatar Foras (As Nodt’s Vollständig) works by attacking the enemy from within their optic nerves. As long as an opponent is looking at him, As Nodt can still instil fear into them. He creates a massive sphere around himself and Rukia, which then opens up to create hundreds of eyes. No matter where Rukia looks, she’ll always be facing one of As Nodt’s eyes, and so Tatar Foras will still affect her.
Even closing her eyes proves useless, as any fear that she has ever experienced will be brought up again in her mind. Just as As Nodt tells her that her heart will burn out from all the accumulated fear, the sphere of eyes is torn open by someone from the outside. As he turns around to see what happened, As Nodt finds himself staring right at Byakuya.
On one hand, I am pleased that this fight isn’t over yet. As Nodt is quickly becoming one of the more interesting Sternritter, and I’m glad to see that his screentime isn’t over yet. I’m not enamoured with him to the degree that I’d like to see his backstory (although it would maybe answer some questions about him), but it’s good that he’s probably going to get roughly the same amount of screentime as Mask De Masculine did.
That being said, there was one aspect of this chapter that really annoyed me, and that was Byakuya’s appearance. Don’t get me wrong, I do like Byakuya, and I would have been more than happy to see him fight against some Sternritter by himself. But the fact of the matter is that Rukia always needs to have someone fight alongside her, be it Ichigo, Chad, or her brother. She’s only won two fights on her own, and even after she defeated Aaroneiro, she was about to be killed by Zommari until Byakuya stepped in to save her.
To make matters worse, Rukia’s the secondary character - she’s arguably the most important character behind Ichigo. I don’t understand how Kubo can have Renji win his fight without too much trouble, but have Rukia put in a position where she needs rescued again, despite them both having about the same amount of training with Squad Zero.
On the bright side, Byakuya will probably have some awesome new power, so that’s something to look forward to.
Good Things: As Nodt turning the nightmare fuel up to eleven.
The fact that Byakuya likely has a new power.
Bad Things: Rukia needed saving again.
Manga Rating: 2.5/5
ClayDragon is currently studying Physics at university, and is constantly bewildered by it. The main method of contacting him is his Gmail account at firstname.lastname@example.org. The alternative is his Skype account at kyleroulston1993. When not playing games or reading, he can be found with his head in his hands whilst trying in vain to understand quantum physics. He is a purveyor of fine webcomics.