Bleach – 168
A new captain for the Third Division has been announced, but it’s not Kira. Instead, it’s a man named Amagai Shuusuke that no one knows anything about, and he arrives at the Third Division with another new member, Kibune Makoto. The old members of the Third Division have a hard time accepting this new guy, but Amagai understands how they feel and still vows to protect them as long as he’s their captain. Unsure of how to approach all this, Kira ends up holding a welcome party with all the members of the Third Division for the new captain. To Kira’s surprise, Amagai gets drunk and loses consciousness after only one drink. This doesn’t win him any respect from his new subordinates though, and Kira is feeling down that the party idea didn’t work out.
While this is going on, Soul Society is alerted to the presence of Menos in the dangai dimension, and the Third Division is sent to deal with it. Since Amagai is still sleeping, Kira leads the group into the dangai and personally slays several of the Menos, but during the battle, the Koutotsu appears and is headed right for the Third Division members. Kira orders a retreat, but the Koutotsu is moving so fast that the men aren’t going to make it in time. They are saved when Amagai suddenly shows up, pulls out one of his two weapons, and easily dispels the Koutotsu. After checking to see if everyone is okay, Amagai loses consciousness again, but he’s now gained everyone’s respect.
ED: 「オレンジ」 (Orange) by Lil’B
Watch the ED!: Mirror 1, Mirror 2
The OP is pretty good, but compared some of Bleach’s other opening songs, I’d say it’s only slightly above average. The animation that goes with the song starts off showing a lot of summer stuff and then transitions to what this anime original arc appears to be mostly about with the new girl and her two guards. The new ending song meanwhile didn’t really appeal to me, and like the other ED animations, it consists of mostly a montage of characters.
Well, this first episode of the new arc is all about the new captain Amagai Shuusuke and how he’s integrated into the third division with Kira. The only mention of the ongoing Hueco Mundo stuff is when the narrator talks briefly at the beginning, making it basically sound like this will be a standalone side story until they can pick things back up with the manga storyline again. All things considered, this wasn’t that exciting an episode, especially when you consider what we were seeing last week and the week before with the Grimmjow and Ichigo battle. The story is basically starting from scratch again, and there are hints that something is amiss again inside Soul Society (probably related to this old man from the OP), plus Amagai himself is still somewhat of a mystery.
Ichigo and the main story with the young girl appears to be starting next time, and I’m curious to see if this will be at least better than the Bount arc. There’s no new episode next week though – episode 169 airs May 7th, 2008.