Bleach – 210
In the aftermath of Kensei and his men being attacked, an alarm goes off throughout Soul Society alerting all the captains of what’s going on and calling them to an emergency meeting. Urahara immediately realizes that Hiyori might be in danger, but she’s already gone. Yamamoto decides to send a force to take care of things, and Urahara wants to go, but Yamamoto refuses and selects Rose, Shinji, Love instead. He also wants to send both Tessai and Hachigen, the leaders of the Kidou Corps, but Kyouraku convinces him to just send Hachigen and Kyouraku’s own vice-captain Lisa. After the assignments are set, Kyouraku advises Urahara that believing and waiting are also part of a captain’s job. Meanwhile, Hiyori has her hands full with a dark figure attacking her, and she’s ultimately saved by Shinji. Their opponent is none other than Kensei, but he’s got a Hollow mask and armor now. Everyone is shocked and initially a bit reluctant to face him, however he attacks first and hits Love. Shinji knows that they have to stop Kensei, and Lisa and Rose feels that they can do so without killing him. However, they get attacked out of nowhere by Mashiro who also now has a Hollow mask. Hachigen manages to restrain her with a spell, and he tries to do the same with Kensei, but Kensei is able to use sheer brute power to break free. Back at the 12th Division, Urahara is sneaking off into the night but gets caught by Tessai. Tessai notices that Urahara is wearing a cloak that completely blocks off spiritual force, and he figures out that Urahara is going to help Hiyori. He refuses to let Urahara go alone but understands the situation and insists that they go together.
This was a pretty exciting episode, and as expected they expanded on some of the fighting between the Shinigami and Kensei and Mashiro. It’s hard for me to gauge how powerful everyone is since I don’t think there’s a really good frame of reference, but it suffices to say that the Shinigami captains are outclassed by Kensei in his Hollow form, and even Mashiro seems pretty powerful. That just makes me wonder how much more powerful they’ve gotten in the present since I assume they’re better able to control and harness their Hollow powers. In any case, this episode mostly followed the manga again, so I don’t have much more to say about it other than the fact that I was a bit miffed that they spoiled Aizen’s involvement in all this in the preview. Even though it’s not a huge surprise that he’d have his hands in all this, spoiling in previews is still one of my pet peeves. Oh well, there are only two more episodes to go in this arc, so I should probably just enjoy it while I can.