Bleach – 207
Having become the captain of the 12th Division, Urahara introduces himself to his new unit, but his men are unsure of him, and Hiyori, the vice-captain, refuses to accept him. She uses physical violence against him whenever she gets pissed off at him, and when she finds him just sitting around outside with some of the other men, she challenges him to a fight. To everyone else watching, it looks like she successfully kicks Urahara in the face, but Hiyori herself sees Urahara move his head for a moment to show that he can dodge before moving it back into place so as not to embarrass her. That night, Shinji shows up chat with Urahara, and he reveals that Hiyori saw the previous captain Hikifune as a mother. Shinji’s advice is that although they in higher positions may sympathize with those below them, they shouldn’t always try to please them. He thinks that Urahara should just do as he wants, and if no one follows him, then it means that he didn’t have what it takes.
Afterward, as Shinji is leaving, he rips apart and reveals the illusion that Aizen created in order to spy on the conversation. When Aizen wonders when Shinji noticed, Shinji claims that he’s been able to ever since Aizen was in his mother’s womb. The next day, Hiyori find Urahara installing all sorts of research equipment inside his 12th Division room. She freaks out, and when he asks her to get to know him little by little, she punches him in the face. Urahara doesn’t mind though and instead asks Hiyori to accompany him to a place called the Maggot’s Nest.
Wow, they’re really trying to stretch this out as long as they can. Like last episode, this episode also covered exactly one chapter of the manga. But whereas I thought last week’s original material was pretty good, this week’s episode seemed to drag on a little during the middle parts. There are only so many ways Hiyori can show her dissatisfaction and resort to physical violence, and this episode covered them more than thoroughly enough. I did, however, like seeing how Urahara handled the fight with her, and the scene with Aizen was both cool and foreboding. The fact that Shinji was able to see through it so easily makes him seem a lot stronger at this point, but we all know how things turn out in the future, and what’s interesting are the details of how things got from here to Aizen being (seemingly) so much more powerful.
In any case, I’m now really beginning to wonder if they’re trying for one chapter per episode for a dozen or so total episodes in the past. Not that I’d mind if they did – even this Hiyori stuff was more interesting than the Rurichiyo and friends episode two weeks ago. Now that I think about it though, they’re probably going to have this arc go until the winter season ends, and they’ll start either with the next manga arc or something completely anime original in the spring season (April).