Bleach – 205
Since they decided to settle things with a kemari match, Rurichiyo and Kenryuu split Ichigo and his friends into two teams. Ichigo, Sado, Inoue, and Enryuu are on Rurichiyo’s side while Kon, Ishida, Rukia, and Yoruichi are on Kenryuu’s side. The objective is to not drop the ball while passing it around, and the referees and announcers are comprised of Urahara’s group. Everyone takes this game seriously and tries to interfere with the other team, and Yoruichi even transforms to her human form in order to help her side. Partway through the match, Ikkaku shows up and starts thinking that this is special training, so he proceeds to fight Ichigo. While that’s going on, Rurichiyo and Kenryuu continue to keep the ball airborne even as they argue about Rurichiyo’s proposed kemari event. Rurichiyo is soon in tears over how she wanted to be able to do something to make everyone smile, but all this is interrupted when a crab-like Hollow suddenly appears. It cause a huge wave of water to wash Rurichiyo away, so Kenryuu and Enryuu save her, but when Kenryuu urges her to escape, she refuses to leave him behind. This brings him and Rurichiyo closer together, and after Ichigo and the others defeat the Hollow, more good news comes in the form of Shuu. He comes bearing a mountain of letters from people who are interested in the kemari event, and this prompts Kenryuu to decide to let Rurichiyo go forward with it. With this settled, Rurichiyo and company return to Soul Society.
I came into this episode with the lowest of expectations, and for the first two-thirds of the episode I was pleasantly surprised by how this managed to be amusing because it was so over-the-top, particularly in regard to how Urahara, Yoruichi, and Ikkaku acted. But then Rurichiyo started crying, and things quickly went downhill from there. The random Hollow that appeared was such a blatant plot device to bring Rurichiyo and Kenryuu back together, and then as if that weren’t enough, Shuu suddenly shows up with those letters that resolve everything. Any good will I had towards this episode was gone by the end, and thinking about it now, I probably would have been better off just not watching either of these two Rurichiyo episodes. But that’s all over now, and I’m excited that next week is the long-awaited Turn Back the Pendulum arc.
On a different note, I’ve had Sky Chord in and out of my head recently, and the PV for it finally aired last week on Space Shower TV. I’ve been listening to the full version of the song a lot thanks to that video, and it’s been uploaded on YouTube.