Bleach – 196
Realizing Zaraki’s power, Nnoitra tries to tell Tesla to run, but it’s too late: the 11th Division captain promptly slices the fracción in half. With one down, Zaraki turns to face Nnoitra, but he first kicks Ichigo out of the way and explains that Urahara helped him get here. Zaraki isn’t here alone though. Three other captains have now appeared in various parts of Las Noches: Kurotsuchi where Szayel is, Unohana where the Exequias are, and Byakuya where Zommari is. After introducing herself, Unohana tells the Exequias that she doesn’t intend to fight them because she’s there to heal injuries only. The Exequias leader decides to leave for the time being, and Unohana gets to healing Sado and Gantenbainne. Kurotsuchi meanwhile is delighted to be facing an Espada, and although Szayel questions who he is, Szayel ultimately decides that it’s pointless to ask for his new opponent’s name since he’s just going to erase him. The 12th Division captain, however, claims he’d be troubled if he didn’t hear Szayel’s name because he needs to label the bottle in which he’s going to put Szayel in. This amuses Szayel, so he wraps his wings around his opponent and makes a doll out of him, but Kurotsuchi remains unfazed by this.
Back where Ichigo is, Nnoitra starts fighting Zaraki, and Yachiru keeps Ichigo from interfering because she can see how excited Zaraki is. After Zaraki and Nnoitra introduce themselves to each other, they really get into their battle, and Zaraki soon becomes thrilled by the challenge. As for Byakuya, he declines to introduce himself to Zommari, but he does question if the seventh Espada is the one who fought Rukia. Although Zommari denies that he was, he admits that he was about to finish her off. The two start fighting after Byakuya attempts his favorite attack-from-behind move on Zommari, however Zommari counters by creating a copy of himself. The Espada explains that his sonido is the fastest out of any of the others, and he can use it to create pseudo-clones of himself. Byakuya has no problem handling two or even three of these pseudo-clones, but it turns out that Zommari can create up to five, and that briefly overwhelms the 6th Division captain. Before Zommari can attempt to finish Byakuya off though, Byakuya uses a shunpo move that Yoruichi taught him to get out of the jam. He feels that the reason Zommari is going to lose is not because of arrogance, but because of a simple difference in their power.
It’s definitely good to see Byakuya, Zaraki, and Kurotsuchi back in action again. I found it amusing that they each (at least the latter two anyway) face an enemy who’s in many ways similar to them. Kurotsuchi and Szayel’s perfect pairing was the one I was most excited about back when I was reading the manga since they’re both the mad scientist types, and it’s fun to root for a former bad guy – who’s arguably still got some pretty villain-y traits – against the new one. Zaraki and Byakuya were interesting to a lesser extent because it was harder for me to see either of them ultimately losing their respective battles, so it became more a question of how lopsidedly they’d win. Regardless, the anime did a fairly good adaptation from the manga material (about two chapters worth covered here), though it did jump around a bit too much between all the battles for my tastes. Hopefully they’ll focus down on one or two of the fights next week.