Bleach – 171
On the way home from school one day, Ichigo shows Rurichiyo the wonders of a drink vending machine, and Rukia takes her to an arcade for some fun. In the process, Ichigo nearly lets it slip that he’s doing a favor for Kenryuu and Enryuu, but he corrects himself in time. Afterwards, the group arrives at Ichigo’s house, and Yuzu invites Rurichiyo inside for dinner. Rurichiyo enjoys the curry meal until she notices that there are carrots in it because she hates them. Ichigo insists that she eat them anyway since farmers did a lot to grow them, but Kenryuu opposes forcing her and wants Ichigo to stay out of it. This gets Ichigo pissed off because Kenryuu and Enryuu were the ones who had asked him to look after her in the first place. When Rurichiyo hears this, she thinks that her two guards are hiding something from her, and the fact that they never told her about the farmers who grew vegetables only reinforces that belief. She runs out of the house after saying that she hates them, and this depresses the pair greatly. They later find Rurichiyo back at her own house, but it’s actually only her gigai. Her soul had left the body and is currently wandering around by the river.
Rurichiyo trips at one point and right as she begins to cry, she’s found by Inoue. When she tells Inoue about what happened, Inoue sees it as Kenryuu and Enryuu treating her with the utmost importance. Rurichiyo, however, feels that she’s being treated like a child, so Inoue tries to make her understand that she’s taking people caring about her for granted and that she’d regret it if they weren’t there anymore. This succeeds in getting the young girl to see the error her ways, but before they can return home together, they’re attacked by another assassin. When Inoue protects Rurichiyo, the assassin brings out a special polearm that attaches to his arm and can create walls of stone in the path of wherever it shoots. The assassin is able to trap the two girls with these walls, and right as things look bad, Kenryuu and Enryuu save them. Rukia and Ichigo also arrive on the scene and engage the assassin in battle, but the assassin gets both of their weapons caught in his walls. That leaves Kenryuu no choice but to bring out his own zanpaktou, and Ichigo is shocked to see flowers suddenly sprout on it. Kenryuu explains that his zanpaktou emits pollen and allows him to make other people’s weapons useless by sprouting flowers on what the pollen hits.
Unfortunately, the wind from Ichigo and Rukia using powerful techniques to free their own swords blows all that pollen away, allowing the assassin to take Rurichiyo and company hostage. Kenryuu, though, has another trick up his sleeve: he uses his flowers to cover the assassin’s face, blinding him for long enough for him to escape with Rurichiyo. He and Enryuu thus leave the fighting to Ichigo and Rukia, and though the two are ultimately victorious, the assassin commits suicide. In the aftermath, Rurichiyo is angry that Kenryuu and Enryuu don’t want her to worry about who her assailant was, but after seeing all the scrapes and bruises that they have endured, she forgives them and decides to go back and eat her carrots. What no one realizes is that, after they leave, the leader of the assassins arrives and retrieves his fallen man’s weapon. The following day, Ichigo wakes up to a frantic Kenryuu and Enryuu at his window because Rurichiyo is missing again.
Sigh this is again why I hate bratty kid characters. Not only can they be horribly annoying, but it never really adds anything new to the story either. At least the fight this week was more interesting than last week’s, though I have to say that Kenryuu’s zanpaktou’s flower abilities are just plain stupid. It’s like they completely ran out of weapons ideas. Hopefully Enryuu’s will be better. I also noticed that Ichigo was willing to use ban kai against random Hollows, but not for two consecutive fights where Rurichiyo’s life has been at stake. You’d think that those two cases are at least of equal importance and urgency. Still, for all that I didn’t like about this week, I give the episode some credit for ending in a relatively interesting way with the head assassin guy retrieving that weapon (I wonder what the purpose of that is) and the cliffhanger. The animation quality’s been pretty good too. Next week appears to be about Soul Society though rather than continuing where the cliffhanger left off, and it’s not clear that the two are related in any way. I suspect that they’re going to run two concurrent plot lines (one with Ichigo and the other with Amagai) and then join them later on.