Bleach – 182
Ichigo, Rukia, and Shuu are currently hiding out in the sewers while planning their next move, and Ichigo suspects that Rurichiyo is somewhere on the Kasumiooji estate. As it turns out, back when Rurichiyo was coming to Soul Society by herself, Kumoi had gotten word of it and had used one of his men in disguise to take her place before she arrived. Everyone thought that the fake was the real Rurichiyo, and they had all gone with the fake, leaving no one to guard the gate when the real one finally came through. Kumoi had some of his other men capture the real Rurichiyo during this time, and she’s now locked in a cage at the top of a remote tower. The person in charge of keeping an eye on her is Kibune, and he plans to keeping her there until he has at least dealt with Ichigo. Kibune refuses to tell her what his goal is and gets angry when she suggests that he’s afraid of something. He’s still pissed off after leaving the tower, and when he happens to run into one of his drunken comrades, he decides to kill the man for seeing him there. The following day, Kira reports to Amagai that both Kibune and one of their men are missing, and Amagai decides to assign Kira to look for Kibune while he personally handles the Ichigo matter.
Meanwhile in the Sixth Division, Byakuya puts Renji completely in charge of their search efforts, and Renji realizes that this will allow him to do what he wants. Ichigo, Rukia, and Shuu are currently still hiding in the sewers, but they get flushed out into the open and come face to face with Amagai. After Amagai introduces himself, he and Ichigo start fighting. Amagai has a slight advantage, but since Ichigo is no slouch, the captain decides to release his zanpaktou. Doing so grants him a set of fire abilities and significantly more power, however he still can’t land a hit, and Ichigo responds with a Getsuga Tenshou. Amagai is able to reflect it away after a little effort, but before the fight can continue, Shuu steps in between them. He doesn’t want them fighting anymore and reveals that he’s been acting under his own volition all this time. Shuu goes on to explain that Ichigo and Rukia are Rurichiyo’s saviors and cites his own desire to help her. Seeing that Shuu is sincere and crying causes Amagai to lower his sword and listen to the rest of what Shuu has to say. Afterwards, Amagai concedes that the situation is problematic because Genryuusai doesn’t want them involved with the Kasumiooji family stuff. When Amagai wishes that they had some proof, Ichigo piques his interest by telling him about the illegal Bakkoutou weapons. For the time being though, Ichigo intends to continue searching for Rurichiyo, and Amagai pledges his help.
Minus the part where Shuu started crying – which I saw as a completely unnecessary attempt at making things more dramatic – this was actually a decent episode since we got to see some Amagai release his zanpaktou and do some fighting against Ichigo. It’s just a shame Ichigo didn’t really show off any of his true power – I’m always curious to see how he fares in his current most powerful form against the Captains since he’s demonstrated that he is now barely able to top some of the Espada. In any case, Amagai and Ichigo teamed up rather quickly, and the groundwork has pretty much been laid out for an Ichigo/Amagai/Kira vs. Kumoi/Kibune showdown, so I can’t help but think that there’s not too much left in this arc. The preview, however, seems to hint that there still might be some in-fighting between the Divisions first.