The "Thousand-Year Blood War" story arc, which has more stunning character murders and beatings than even My Hero Academia's heroes vs. villains war plot, continues to be the bloodiest, most vicious storyline of the Fall 2022 season. Even Captain-General Yamamoto may be too late to preserve the Soul Society now that the Wandenreich has almost completely destroyed it.
Previous episodes demonstrated the brutality of the Quincy warriors, who had bankai-stealing medallions and the element of surprise on their side. In Episode 6, Yamamoto makes a vain attempt to salvage the situation, only for the Quincy king Yhwach to pull off yet another nefarious ruse to keep the Wandenreich in control.
Why King Yhwach Used His Sternritter Double to Buy Time
Episode 6 focuses almost entirely on the rematch between King Yhwach of the fearsome Wandenreich and the fire-slinging Yamamoto. Centuries ago, Yamamoto defeated Yhwach and sent him running, and now, history seems poised to repeat itself. King Yhwach talks tough and uses powers like Sankt Zwinger to defend himself, but the debut of Yamamoto's bankai, Zanka no Tachi, changes all that. Yamamoto enjoys a clear advantage in this climactic battle of bosses, and he vows to end the war for real this time. His final attack nearly slashes Yhwach in half and defeats him, and an exhausted Yamamoto re-seals his bankai. That's when Yhwach openly apologizes to the thin air for his defeat, which shocks Yamamoto. Yhwach is the Quincy king -- there's no one he would apologize to. Then, too late, Yamamoto gets his answer.
The real King Yhwach appears behind Yamamoto and speaks to his injured body double. Yhwach is cautious and crafty despite his immense power, not being the type to risk his life in a fair fight. His move is borderline cheating considering the situation, but Yhwach clearly views honor as a weakness. He wants results at all costs, and as intended, Yamamoto has fallen for the trick. The fake Yhwach is actually Sternritter Y, Royd Loyd, the twin brother of Loyd Loyd, who died imitating Captain Kenpachi Zaraki in battle.
Yhwach praises and finishes off the dying Royd Loyd, then turns his attention to Yamamoto with the intent to kill. Yamamoto tries to re-activate his bankai, only for Yhwach to steal it with his medallion, sealing Yamamoto's doom in one move. Yamamoto doesn't even try to fight back -- on his honor, he knows that he's lost, and he graciously allows Yhwach to slice him in half with a spirit sword. It's a tragic end, and Yamamoto must have many regrets as he falls apart. This blow will surely demoralize the other Soul Reapers, who until now found Yamamoto's presence inspiring. With one dirty trick, Yhwach might finish off the Soul Society for real this time.
How Yhwach Gets Ready To Win At All Costs
It seems dishonorable and cheap for King Yhwach, of all people, to use a body double to tire out Yamamoto before finally arriving to finish the job. Most anime supervillains gladly fight the heroes head-on without any tricks, such as All For One directly fighting All Might one last time or Askeladd the Viking fighting honorably against foes like Thorfinn and Thors, at least to an extent. Yhwach fights dirtier than any of them, even when it comes to his age-old enemy Yamamoto, whom he probably respects and admires deep down. These two powerful bosses have a history together, but that's not what's most important to Yamamoto. This is a war for long-overdue revenge, and Yhwach won't jeopardize his chances with honor duels.
Yhwach, and by extension, all Wandenreich warriors, put results first and will seize any advantage to get what they want. Their tribe lost to the Soul Reapers before and faced the threat of genocide. In light of the Quincy empire's rage and the stakes of sheer survival, the Quincy will do anything and everything to win. The Wandenreich will get just one chance to get revenge and destroy the complacent Soul Reapers because if they hold back and lose in this arc, it's all over for them. That doesn't make the ruthless Quincy sympathetic, but it does explain why they use tricks like stealing bankai, using Arrancars as shock troops and most of all, employing body doubles as Yhwach did. At this rate, the war will be won very soon unless Ichigo Kurosaki can find a way to turn this all around.