Bleach – 116
In order to give his report to Aizen, Ulquiorra crushes his left eye and lets the dust convey the information. When another Arrancar named Grimmjow heckles him for not killing Ichigo, Ulquiorra explains that their problem isn’t with the current Ichigo. Rather, Aizen is concerned with Ichigo’s growth rate: Ichigo has a considerable amount of dormant power, but it’s very unstable. With the possibility that Ichigo could either destroy himself if left alone or the possibility he could fall under their control, Ulquiorra didn’t kill him yet, but is ready to do so if Ichigo ends up fighting against them. These words and Aizen’s confidence in Ulquiorra shut up Grimmjow, but he’s still unhappy about it. Back in the real world, Ichigo is finding out that Renji and company aren’t planning on leaving until the end of the war with the Arrancar. Since Ichigo can’t give them a place to stay, Rangiku leaves for Inoue’s place, Ikkaku and Yumichika wander off, and Renji heads for Urahara’s shop. The only person left is Rukia, who intended on living with Ichigo all along, so she makes up a sob story for Ichigo’s father and sisters to convince them to let her stay. Meanwhile, Keigo and Mizuiro are walking through the streets when Keigo notices a large flying Hollow in the sly. What he doesn’t see is that Grimmjow soon arrives in this world.
At home, Inoue is telling a photo of her brother what happened with Ichigo, and she feels jealous that Rukia was able to get him back to normal. Rangiku arrives at her apartment a little later and quickly gets Inoue’s permission to stay. She really wants to take a bath, but she first tells Hitsugaya – who secretly followed her here and is sitting on the roof of the building – that he can come in if he’s got nowhere else to go. Once Rangiku gets into the tub and gets comfortable, she questions why Inoue’s so depressed today. Inoue eventually starts talking about how Rukia cheered Ichigo up and how she should be happy that Ichigo got better, but instead she’s jealous of Rukia. As she starts crying, Inoue admits that she doesn’t feel this way at school – it’s only when she’s alone at home. After hearing all this, Rangiku emerges nude from the bath and hugs Inoue. Rangiku then gets Inoue laughing through some tickling until she finally stops and says that Inoue and Rukia are fine the way they are. She thinks of Ichigo as a kid who can’t stand up on his own yet, so he still needs both of them. And since Inoue isn’t taking the easy way out by running away, Rangiku thinks highly of her. Elsewhere in the city, Grimmjow meets up with five other Arrancar who just arrived: D-Roy, Shawlong, Edorad, Ilfort, and Nakim . Together, they are able to detect many strong souls, including Ichigo and all of the Shinigami current in the real world. Grimmjow tells them that there’s no need to hold back or discriminate because they’re to massacre anyone that has any bit of spiritual pressure and let no one escape. Under those orders, the five Arrancar scatter towards their targets.
As much as I like Rukia as a character, I really favor Inoue more to be paired with Ichigo. It’s mainly because, as this episode shows, Inoue is portrayed as a complex character who has really deep feelings for Ichigo whereas Rukia appears to be more of a partner to him (in the non-romantic way). It’s not to say that Rukia doesn’t also like Ichigo, but, well, she’s not the one crying her heart out to Rangiku. Still, I highly doubt this is going to end up like any romance-comedy where the guy and girl end up happily ever after (especially since Ichigo currently has too many of his own problems to worry about), and I look forward to seeing how the romance (if any) develops in both the manga and anime. For now, I’m still looking forward to when chapter 237 gets animated.
Next week should be the start of some very exciting battles. The preview even hints that we’ll finally be able to see Rukia’s zanpaktou in its released form.