You know at first I questioned the direction this fight was going as it seemed like this was going to be Renji ans Rukia vs this Mask De Masculine guy. But no he's about to go looking for them only to get held up long enough for Kensei and Rose to catch up and for Kensei to pummel him. Which made me feel like "oh so this is just a case of Kensei being there to stomp this guy and show again just how pointless and sucky vice captains are" with even Kensei being ticked that apparently Shuhui's supposed training didn't really amount to nothing but an offscreen pummeling from a guy ranked S out of Z. In other words not even in the halfway mark of the strongest quincies. But no turns out that Mask is far from finished as his ability is as long as he has someone cheering for him, he can't be beat and in facts becomes stronger because of the power of his fans.
,.... This may be one of the most incredibly stupid yet incredibly awesome powers a shonen has ever hand.
And actually let's stop and pause for a second and talk about the power of fame and how someone's popularity actually does make them stronger. Because that's actually been a thing in Bleach before, albeit not actually said. It's just been well the only reason for certain characters to not only constantly show up but also to have so much of the spot light. It's because of how popular the soul reapers became that so much of the story started falling on them and why they seem to make more strides in terms of importance and even characterization then a lot of the supposed main characters in this series. The ones who have benefited the most out of this have probably been Shuhei and Hitsuguya. Obviously the later is a huge fan favorite which not only led to him getting solo chapters on his origin and a movie starring him and appearing in the Fullbringer arc for no reason (yeah wasn't the soul reapers who showed up ones who had a connection with Ichigo? This guy's only connection was that he talked to him... twice about expositional stuff on Aizen putting together a hollow army in the Arrancar arc. The two literally had no other canon interaction besides that) but also in terms of his strength. Since despite appearing at only a certain level he keeps having bullcrap power ups come from nowhere to make him appear much stronger then he really should be. Same though to a lesser extent with Shuhei. Giving him a bit more backstory, making the reveal of his shiki such an event, and giving him bullcrap power moments by having him of all people being the one to take out Tosen. To be fair it sort of made sense at least compared to Hitsguya but still felt like he only did it because he was popular not because he should of been able to. And those are only some of the characters to have this happen to them and really is an honest example of letting your fans or at least those with the loudest voices dictate the direction of your story: it makes you look weak by having their sway impact the story more instead of what happens in the actual story. This however is a power actually within the narrative: not something that Kubo came up with just because this guy is popular. Since really he isn't as Mask De Masculine has only appeared a couple of times and really until now I doubt anyone would of minded if I just called this the "masked wrestling quincy" until now but this power actually elevates him not only as a threat, but actually an interesting outlook on entertainment in general... yes I'm seirous about that.
Now obviously this seems like just another wrestling comparison. I mean actual proffessional and even in some circles masked wrestling is all fake and is just done for the sake of entertainment. So in a lot of matches from what I heard plots and scenarios are not about building up the fighter in terms of their strength, but in terms of their personality and appearance and actually being able to play to the crowd. Because the more popular a wrestler is the more they will be allowed to win and actually come out on top even in matches when realistically they shouldn't be able to. I think from what I heard that's certainly the case with someone like John Cena and I'm sure he's far from the only one who is using their popularity as their greatest power. But it isn't just a wrestling thing as really all entertainment is like that: music, art, movies, and of course manga
. If no one watches it and connects with it, there's no point in how good or bad something is. Because if it isn't acknowledged and doesn't have a fan base it won't be allowed to do anything besides just an idea and that certainly isn't enough reason to make anything in our ecosystem. So you want to have not only what you do become popular but also to have that auidence, those people who truly connect with what you are writing and will support you no matter what the outcome. Because no matter how bad something may be to others ,if there is one group large and powerful enough to make their opinion heard, that thing won't die and will still continue on despite your best efforts to bury it. People may of hated Twilight but it certainly made it's impact on popular culture, and one that isn't going to just go away even if it's supposedly died down now since yeah things will still come of it in the future. Same for Bleach which even if sales are declining and the series was cancelled is still going strong enough to continue in the manga due to it's fans and the people who love it. And even if it is that one crazy who doesn't know any better, a "James" if you will, that still gives it power and the will to on. Because just like Mask de Mesculine the power of fans and of the community are things a series truly strives for. And yeah odd that a big idiot in a stupid luchador mask would best explimify that of this story but that's the case here.
So yeah for that twist and how it was actually build up I actually quite liked this chapter. Maybe in a weird way as much as One Piece
since even if it wasn't as epic or could lead to this big grand story is still amusing, interesting and most importantly actually makes you think once. About a writer who is turning a flaw of his writing as an actual thing into the story and the ways this can go do make me wonder which i will credit any series for doing so. So yeah quite good IMHO and hope for some more intentional or perphas even uninteintional commentary on this sort of thing in further installments of the fight against this Mask De Mesculine quincy.
... Does anyone think of this guy and now think of Lady Gaga's "Applause" because I certainly know I do.