Bleach – The Power of One
The overall feeling I have towards Yamamoto, and one that most long time fans seem to agree with, is that for the leader of a powerful military nation, he doesn’t do a whole lot. When the other Gotei 13 members are struggling with enemies he could defeat in his sleep, you start to wonder if maybe this old man should get out of his rocking chair for a second. I think I can see what Kubo was thinking, since a good leader should be able to share the responsibility with his subordinates and trust in their ability to work. The problem is that Yamamoto is frequently so inactive his leadership starts to resemble something out of Dilbert.
In the last chapter, we finally saw him come out to face The Overkill, but since that enemy was using Sasakibe’s stolen bankai, it was more about his feelings and less about his position. Not that I can blame him for charbroiling the bastard. It was in this chapter that he was able to focus that anger into something constructive and provide a massive morale boost to his forces. Hard to tell if he intended to do that, though, since it mainly consisted of him viciously storming off to take on the enemy leader. I’d at least like to think it was partially intentional, since he really didn’t NEED to be so showy about it unless he wanted everyone to know he was coming.
These precious few times we get to see Yamamoto in action help establish why everyone trusts him so much as their leader. Sure he’s ludicrously powerful, and his reiatsu is enough to reach every corner of the battlefield when he wants it to. That’s only what makes him a good fighter, though. What makes a great leader is the respect you receive from those under you, and the respect you give them back in return. And now we can finally see that from Yamamoto. No longer does he feel like the kind of person who would sacrifice his troops in a suicide attack against Aizen…*cough*
Now I do fully expect Yamamoto to eventually lose against Whats-His-Face so Ichigo can come in to save the day. I think that’s the safe bet right now. Still, his current time in the spotlight is much better than anything to come from him in the past, and I hope that nothing too big happens to mess with that.
Oh, and Kenpachi lost. I guess that was so expected, they didn’t even show it. Based on what I’ve read about this week’s Naruto, there are worse ways to present what we already know.