Bleach – 262
On the hunt for some Toujuu, Haineko finds a male one in a field of flowers, but instead of killing him, she falls in love with him. Since he shows no hostility towards her, she ends up hiding the Toujuu, named Narunosuke, and doesn’t tell Rangiku about it. Haineko subsequently makes several visits to take care of Narunosuke, and she even inquires on his behalf about being accepted as a regular Zanpakutou. Still unaware of what’s going on, Rangiku thinks that the latter is impossible and warns Haineko that Toujuu can go berserk at any time. Haineko doesn’t pay this any heed at first and continues to take care of Narunosuke, but she becomes worried when he goes through spells of sudden mental anguish. Rangiku eventually becomes suspicious of Haineko and discovers Narunosuke after following her. Haineko tries to protect Narunosuke, but he loses control of himself and attacks both her and Rangiku. After Rangiku gets hurt protecting her, Haineko decides to use her own powers to kill Narunosuke, and before he disappears, he returns to normal long enough to thank her.
Well, on one hand, this was a lot better of an episode than last week, especially in terms of animation quality. Haineko was actually pretty cute, and I can somewhat appreciate the effort they made to tell this story. However, the Haineko falling-in-love-with-the-enemy angle was rather predictable because there was really only so much they could do with a plot like that in a one-shot episode like this. The final battle was so contrived that I couldn’t help but groan when she tried to protect Narunosuke by fighting Rangiku. At least the episode held my interest this time, and I guess the bittersweet ending wasn’t too bad. I’m not exactly looking forward to the rest of the one-shot episodes in this arc though, and next week appears to be about Senbonzakura and Zabimaru.