Bleach – 104
Hitsugaya and Matsumoto find the defeated Shinigami and realize that they’re after the Bount that Kira faced in the real world. It is when Renji also arrives on the scene that Hitsugaya gets acquainted with the modified soul – Claude – used to track the Bount. The captain borrows Claude so that he can search for Koga, and Matsumoto directs their troops using Hell Butterflies. For now, Koga lowers his spiritual power and goes into hiding in the sewers. His goal is to find Kariya, but he’s hindered by the fact that the Shinigami are searching everywhere for him. Upon learning that one of the Shinigami groups has suddenly encountered Daraku, Hitsugaya and Matsumoto go to help, but Koga soon disappears again. Claude helps them track Koga down and alert a group of Koga’s presence. Having noticed that there are Hell Butterflies being used for communication, Koga has Daraku destroy them all at once. He then goes out to attack one of the Shinigami groups.
Hitsugaya and Matsumoto eventually discover their fallen, but still alive men. The captain decides to go after Koga by himself and quickly finds the Bount. He first has to face Daraku, but she proves to be no match for him as he’s able to cut her apart and freeze her. By using his ice dragon, he’s able to free himself when she traps him inside her body. A concerned Koga tries to get his doll to stop, but she’s not about to give up. The captain manages to dodge one of her attacks, but then gets kicked in the gut by Koga himself. Hitsugaya responds by using his ice dragon to completely swallow Daraku and shatter her to pieces. What starts to confuse him is why Koga doesn’t die after Daraku is gone. At first, Koga doesn’t answer him and instead explains that his duty was to discipline and train the young Bount. But the answer to why he’s still around is because Daraku isn’t really dead. Koga is able to form her shattered body into a large battle axe, and he claims that she’s still alive inside the metal.
Because Koga is powering up with Daraku, Hitsugaya sees no choice but to initiate ban kai. He brings out his Dai Guren Hyourinmaru form and clashes with the charging Koga. The captain then takes to the sky and rains down icy pillars towards Koga, though the Bount is able to dodge them all. Koga cuts down one of the pillars and uses it to jump up towards Hitsugaya, but the end result of this attack has Koga going head to head with an ice dragon. A weakened Koga recovers by sucking up some soul particles and charges one last time. Hitsugaya simply slashes through Koga and shatters the Daraku axe. With Koga realizing that he lost, Hitsugaya questions what Koga was going to do by following Kariya. Koga answers that there was nothing he could do and that the problem was between him and Kariya. When Hitsugaya asks where he was trying to go, Koga simply responds that it towards a future without conflict. He then collapses and blocks of ice fall on his body.
I think this episode showed how I feel that all the Bount vs. Captain battles should turn out based on only power levels. In other words, the Captain (Hitsugaya in this case) was able to more or less control the battle the entire way through. That’s not how Soifon and Mayuri’s battles happened, though those were slightly more interesting because they showed more of a struggle. My point is that the Captains are supposed to be quite powerful, so none of the Bount except maybe Kariya should be a match for them. Or perhaps this is just me looking down on the Bount because they’re part of an anime-original arc.
Speaking of which, since Kariya is the only Bount left, there can’t be too many more Bount episodes left. I get the sinking feeling that we’re headed to a new round of anime-originals though, probably once the new season gets underway in January.