Bleach – 226
Almost everyone is surprised to see Yamamoto step in, but Allon responds by pounding on the hole in its chest. The monster then goes into a rage, heals itself, and powers up even more. It grows to an enormous size, but Yamamoto isn’t intimidated and easily slices it in half after it tries to attack him. When one of those halves then springs back up to life, he incinerates it. That leaves Harribel’s three fracción, and when they attack Yamamoto as well, he burns them too. In the aftermath, Harribel realizes what happened, and it leads to her deciding to use more force against Hitsugaya. To this end, she reveals that there is a three tattooed on her right breast, and Hitsugaya is forced to initiate bankai right before she strikes. Starrk also decides to get more serious, and he reveals to Kyouraku that he’s the Primera Espada, meaning that Barragon is number 2. All three of the Espada now power up even more.
Back in Las Noches, Renji and Sado continue to fight Hollows while Rukia finishes off the last of the Exequias. That leaves just their leader, but he’s not terribly concerned and releases his own power. Further inside, Ichigo and Ulquiorra’s fight starts to heat up, but Ulquiorra thinks that it’s pointless for Ichigo to continue. Ulquiorra is confident that the Shinigami won’t be able to stop Aizen’s plan, but Ichigo tells him not to underestimate his power. Ichigo feels that if the Gotei 13 aren’t able to stop Aizen, then he’ll go do it himself, and he’s determined to defeat Ulquiorra and leave with Inoue. Their two powers then clash in a great release of energy.
As the preview from last week’s episode suggested, this episode was animated quite nicely, and it made Yamamoto look especially good. I initially actually thought that it was a bit lacking in terms of fight choreography compared to the Shuuhei/Findor episode, but then I saw what they did with the final scene with Ulquiorra and Ichigo, and that quickly changed my mind. My main complaint then is once again the censoring with Harribel. Here’s some more comparison shots for those of you who haven’t read the manga. I’ve talked about this before, but it just seems so stupid for them to cover up the bottom half of her breasts when someone like Mila Rose has shown a ton of skin these past three episodes. Why did they decide to draw an arbitrary line at that and not at nipples like it’s commonly done? I can only imagine how much they’re going to add to her in the next stage of that fight.
Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing that next stage or the rest of the Ichigo vs. Ulquiorra fight for quite a while. As this week’s preview and after-episode segment indicated, we’re going back to anime original material, though I believe that next week’s episode is actually a side-story from much earlier in the manga. In any case, I suspect this will last at least one season, if not two or more so that the manga can make more progress. On the plus side, a new ED should be starting soon, and it’s been announced to be by Asai Kenichi.