I just needed to get it out, so the thoughts aren’t really organized. Beware: Lots of rambling below.
I was a little upset that Yachirou got taken out so quickly, her zanpakutou has a lot of potential. And what the … Seriously, Rose and Kensei? I feel cheated. Kira and Hisagi are crying their hearts out somewhere.
Regardless of what Gremmy’s currently doing to them, Isane and Yachirou essentially become non-issues when Zaraki steps on the scene.
Kubo tends to emphasize obvious parallels when he pits characters against each other.
So, Gremmy’s the imagination station; whatever he imagines, is or can be depending on his will. Zaraki slices him and he goes into to WTF mode. Understandable. He’s never been touched by an opponent and shortly we learn that everyone just backs off from the beginning because somehow they know. So he’s livin’ la vida de fantasía, you know “anything thing you can dream, I can dream better…”
Zaraki’s all fight. For him, there really is very little else in existence other than him and the fight; the fight in him.
So, why these two? Why Gremmy vs. Zaraki, The Kenpachi?
Gremmy could have gone against Kyouraku since his power’s core is something that’s often associated with youth/kids and Kyouraku has a twisted zanpakutou that has its foundation in the games of youth. It would have been an interesting battle. Gremmy is like Yukio 2.0 or even more like a destruction-centric convergence of most of the Xcution members, but heavy on the Yukio. I’m going to assume that, until he came up against Zaraki, he was content with thinking something out of existence and then taking a nap. He doesn’t really seem motivated. He pretty much confirms this in c576.
So again, why? Well, I think, rather than going for strict parallels, Kubo’s going for opposites; for a cancellation of sorts.
You’ve got the dream machine vs nothing but the fight. Zaraki is simply a realist. He lives, bleeds, and breathes the fight. To him, whose only interest is (usually) to fight the strongest and defeat the strongest or die by its hand, there is no hesitation, there is no alternative, there literally is no such thing as contemplation. While kidou-based zanpakutous may be a source of shame for the 11th, I don’t think it’s so much a “Zaraki hates kidou, kidou is for the wuss set” kind of thing. I see it as an “if it’s not now it will be never” sort of thing.
The 11th’s captain has beastly instincts. Strike or die. Anything that requires preparation or forethought (beyond approaching the enemy) is too slow. If it’s not now it will be never means, if your actions are not timed in attoseconds—so ingrained, the core of instinct—you will die if your opponent is worth their salt.
So Zaraki is all about the “now” or more appropriately the “.” which is the only way I can illustrate the concept of attoseconds; there isn’t enough time to get the full sound of the letter n out. Acting in that attomoment also makes him limitless. He does not consider the cannots or the maybes. Things just are for him. It’s his limitlessness that makes him a perfect match for Gremmy.
Gremmy imagined steel, but was still cut by Zaraki’s blade because Zaraki does not imagine, he’s a realist. He did not think, “I have to swing hard enough to incise xyz. He knows he will slice through and without any regard for what his blade is coming in contact with. He only sees the end.
So up to c576, Gremmy is imagining all sorts of things. Of course Zaraki foresees none of it, but he is not caught off guard, he just reacts. Gremmy can’t fathom how Zaraki remains relentless in his defense. Zaraki is amazing. He doesn’t do strategy and while he may be hit with something he didn’t expect, he’s really not one for making mistakes. While others will need time to process what they’ve learned, his integration of new knowledge is instantaneous, like osmosis. The moment something happens is the moment it becomes a part of him, so it goes beyond just understanding—this takes me back to the core of instinct. Every experience becomes such a part of him as if it was always there. He may not fully understand his opponent until the end, but he will understand enough to infuse the next swing with everything he’s understood up to the very attosecond before contact. This is how and why his actions are limitless. Zaraki loves a good fight and like most, he savors his accomplishments, but unlike most, he’s not one to step back and admire his handiwork; he does his savoring as his blade swings.
The third cap is kind of a summary of their personalities. They’re both speaking in simple tense, however, Gremmy is speaking in future and Zaraki is speaking in present. As I mentioned, Zaraki is all about “now.” From Gremmy’s statement, we can infer, that he has come to realize something, processed it, and is now making use of the information—and it’s all about what’s going to happen. He may be creative, but he’s already too slow for Zaraki.
I want to say that Zaraki gives his all in every fight and if he doesn’t feel the need to give it, then the fight isn’t even worth the effort of saying it’s not worth it. While the latter holds, the first is simply not true. He does give his all, but only the all of level one Zaraki. Not Zakari and his shikai or bankai, not even Zaraki sans the eye patch, just Zaraki (and his snaggletooth katana). And even level one has sub levels. He levels out to match his opponent. It’s nothing he thinks about; it just happens; he’s nothing if not fair. Then when he realizes his opponent is holding back, he usually tells them to stop playing around or tells them if they’re going to continue playing, he’s leaving. It’s rare that we see anything more than that.
Back to vs. Gremmy’s a kid who, until now, never thought to erase the possibility of his death. Zaraki’s been around the block. I think the fight is going to come down to Gremmy’s lack of experience. Even though Zaraki’s making his blood boil and there’s two of him now, if something as simple as erasing the possibility of his death only occurred to him now, his imagination will ultimately fall short of all of the everything that courses through Zaraki’s veins and allows him to live in the “now.”
HOWEVER! Because Zaraki’s still at level one, doing his thing and he’s yet to reach a point where he thinks or we as readers think he needs a boost, I have concerns about how communing with his zanpakutou is going to impact his sense of “now.” Then again, I want to believe that once he hears its voice, it too will be at the mercy of the Zaraki instamatic processing.
I don’t know how invested I am in this line of thought, but it is something that’s been lingering since lingering c573. Now I’m going to read c577.