Bleach – 354
「一護vs銀城、ゲームの空間へ 」 (Ichigo vs Ginjou, geimu no kuukan e)
“Ichigo vs. Ginjou! To the Game’s Space”
Yukio traps Ichigo inside an alternate dimension using a handheld game console. When Tsukishima attacks Yukio, Ginjou and Chad hold him off as the game “save” completes. Yukio explains that he did not enough battery power to trap Tsukishima, and that they have been attracting too much attention. Tsukishima leaves after the Xcution’s demands, but Chad collapses shortly afterwards.
Ishida calls Inoue to the hospital where he’s staying, and asks her to heal his wounds immediately. He states that Ichigo has come into contact with the person who had attacked him, and Inoue surmises that it may be the same person who had attacked her. As she heads back, she bumps into Chad, who asks her to come help with Ichigo’s training.
Later at the Xcution’s alternate hideout, Chad wakes up. Ginjou wonders why Tsukishima didn’t keep fighting as he could have cut them down if he had continued. He then asks Yukio to create a training space for him and Ichigo to fight. Inside the game, Yukio gives them each 6 lives and they summon their fullbrings to begin the battle. As Chad and Inoue reach the hideout, Riruka meets them and confronts Inoue, who states resolutely that she will help Ichigo. Yukio sends her into the game world where she sees a heavily injured Ichigo who has lost almost all of his health points.
In the Urahara Shop, Isshin and Urahara discuss Ichigo’s future and an unknown project, asking Rukia to insert her reiatsu.
As usual, Ichigo and his friends are being exceedingly secretive to each other even as the situation quickly degenerates. I know they have their reasons, but it is still incredibly stupid and makes things a lot worse than they should be. Luckily for now, Tsukishima is still mostly screwing around, but there are small scenes hinting at his moves, to which Ichigo and Ginjou are still clueless about. They continue training — this time inside Yukio’s fullbring. Ichigo is unable to do anything against Ginjou as he is beaten within an inch of his life, literally, and Inoue is brought in as the “health potion” (keeping in line with the video game theme). Of course, this is still a pretty standard, formulaic fight, so you can expect Ichigo to get roughed up for a little longer before he gathers his willpower, powers up, and defeats his opponent.
Near the end of episode we get Urahara and Isshin doing some scheming of their own, involving Ichigo. Notably, Rukia is revealed early on as the third party, instead of manga timeline which kept her as the “mystery shinigami” until they actually meet up with Ichigo.
Note that there wasn’t anything special for Christmas or for the last episode of the year, but there will be a one-shot filler episode for New Years next time.