As far as the Sternritter goes, PePe Waccabrada, The Sternritter “L” – “The Love,” is certainly one of the more intriguing ones, even though even his comrades despise him for being quite disgusting. PePe Waccabrada is a peculiar character in more ways than one, and while his story is as intriguing as anything else, this article will be dedicated to his basic power, The Love, which explains his Schrift. In this article, you will find out what it is and how it works.
PePe Waccabrada’s is the Sternritter “L”; his power is known as “The Love”. Love is a very interesting power, as it allows PePe to control his targets and make them do whatever he wants. To activate hit, he puts his hands in the shape of a heart and then fires a Reishi Heart at them (or a heart-shaped beam) – if the heart hits them, they become his. They will do anything he asks, even attack their own allies, and his power is so powerful that it can even override Giselle’s “The Zombie.” It won’t work on beings who do not know what love is.
The rest of this article will be focused on PePe Waccabrada, the Sternritter “L” – “The Love,” who had a relatively important role in the first and, especially, the second invasion of the Seireitei, having a major moment in the latter. This article will focus a bit on his story but more on his powers; the story will be told only when we need it to actually explain the powers we are talking about, focusing on his base ability, not his Vollständig. If you’re not fully up-to-date with Bleach, we must warn you that this article will be spoiler-heavy, so be careful how you approach it.
PePe’s power grants him control of his targets, as the love they have is directed at him
The most recent episode of Bleach concluded Giselle’s zombie attack, as the “Marching Out the ZOMBIES” mini-arc is over. In the second part of the episode, we finally see PePe Waccabrada in action, who was left as one of only a few Sternritter (excluding the Schutzstaffel, of course) whom we had not seen in action by that time (okay, we saw him briefly during the first invasion, but that wasn’t really anything significant).
As Byakuya easily defeats Candice, NaNaNa, and Robert Accutrone, Liltotto asks Meninas where PePe is, as his power could be useful in such a situation. Moments later, Shuhei Hisagi appears and suddenly attacks Byakuya, to which Byakuya asks him whether he is under the enemy’s control or if he is an illusion created by the enemy; at the same time, Liltotto says that PePe has finally arrived.
And he has. The chubby, levitating Sternritter finally appeared and explained to Byakuya that Hisagi loves him now and will do anything out of his love for him, thus introducing himself as the Sternritter “L” – “The Love.”
The Love is a very interesting power, and much cannot be denied. PePe can fire heart-shaped projectiles by holding his hands next to each other to form a heart. Anyone who is hit by this heart projectile falls in love with PePe and addresses him as Pepe-sama. As an effect, the affected person completely falls for PePe and does everything he asks without hesitation, even when he orders his comrades to attack, regardless of the target person’s rank or powers.
e can even manipulate Giselle’s zombies with his ability, which he said he had done several times in the past.
This is a power that is similar to Giselle’s, as we’ve said, but far less complex, as all that PePe needs to do is to hit his target with his projectile, whereas Giselle has to use her blood and, sometimes, even very large amounts of her blood to take control of her targets. For PePe, it is this: if he hits them, they’re his. And that is why he also has a beam that he can fire if his hear-shaped projectiles fail to hit the target.
The Love is based on the philosophy that where there is a battle, there must be love as well, and since most, if not all, beings possess a certain degree of love inside them, they can also be controlled. PePe uses that emotion inside them and redirects it at himself, which is why his power is so dangerous to others.
The first time we saw it in action was during the first invasion, when PePe took control over Jidanbo and then ordered him to crush the Shinigami Research and Development Institute, injuring most of Mayuri’s associates during the attack. Later, he used it on Shuhei Hisagi, Byakuya’s Zanpakuto, and even on Meninas McAllon.
The latter is especially interesting since Sternritter powers usually don’t work on other Sternritter or work in very special cases, i.e., they require a lot more effort (see our explanation of Giselle’s The Zombie to fully understand what we are talking about). But, in the case of The Love, it worked immediately, as PePe instantaneously gained control over Meninas and ordered her to attack Liltotto.
This is probably due to the fact that The Love targets a character’s basic emotion, i.e., if a character has love in them, they can be manipulated by PePe, regardless of their status; Meninas, to be frank, seemed to be like a character with a lot of emotion, so it doesn’t really surprise us that PePe took control of her with ease.
He can also take control over Giselle’s zombies, which he has done before, as we’ve said, as – and this is his own explanation – he can control absolutely anything that has a heart, and since Giselle’s zombies still have it, despite being zombies, he can control them, as there is some love in them, despite their status.
This is the basic explanation of PePe’s power, but there are also some special aspects and some weaknesses that we would like to tell you about, so we’ll use the upcoming sections to explain them.
Can PePe’s power work on Zanpakuto?
Interestingly enough, PePe’s The Love can also work on a Zanpakuto as well, which is why it is especially dangerous for a Shinigami. Namely, a Zanpakuto is basically a living soul, which means that it has a heart as well, and since it has a heart, albeit a symbolic one in this case, PePe can control it.
That is why, by his own admission, he did not steal Byakuya’s Bankai the first time around, as he could simply take control of it without stealing it, and we have already talked about the benefits of not having to steal a Bankai for the Sternritter. The Zanpakuto also becomes obedient and attacks the user, but it can also be used by anyone else under PePe’s control, which is not the case under normal circumstances.
Why did PePe’s power not work on Byakuya?
Finally, The Love, is not without its weaknesses. The important thing to note here is that The Love won’t work on beings that do not have any love in them. This is why, per Mayuri’s own admission, the power did not work on his zombies, even though Mayuri simply “usurped” Giselle’s zombies (i.e., Captains Otoribashi and Mugruma, as well as Lieutenant Matsumoto). They were Giselle’s zombies, but Mayuri made them his, and since his zombies are completely devoid of love, PePe’s power won’t actually work on them.
But, as we’ve seen, PePe also failed to take control over Byakuya, which is a very interesting moment, as it confused even PePe himself. At one point, PePe managed to hit Byakuya with his projectile, but it had absolutely no effect on him, which bewildered him.
PePe conjectured that Byakuya could be devoid of love, but we know that’s not true and even PePe doubted that himself, which is why he activated his Vollständig, Gudoero, claiming that no one will resist his love, but he never had the time to strike Byakuya again. So, how did Byakuya resist PePe’s power?
Kubo never really explained this properly, but there are two possible explanations. First of all, the theory that PePe’s power works unconditionally on anyone with a heart is simply false, and it could be that it, nevertheless, depends on the Spiritual Power of the target. With Byakuya being as powerful as he is, PePe’s attack simply had no effect because Byakuya was powerful enough to reject it. Byakuya was far stronger than anyone we’ve seen under PePe’s control, so this theory would make sense.
The second theory is that Byakuya simply learned to control his emotions after facing As Nodt and training with the Royal Guard. He is not devoid of love and has been seen on more than one occasion, but after Nodt had exploited his emotions with his “The Fear,” it is possible that Byakuya learned how to control them so well that no one could manipulate them again.
Both theories actually make sense based on what we’ve seen in the series, but they are simply theories, as Kubo has not provided us with a canon explanation as to why PePe did not influence Byakuya.