Bleach – 355
「死神参戦！瀞霊廷もお正月ＳＰ!」 (Shinigami sansen! Seireitei mo oshougatsu SP!)
“The Shinigami Enter Battle! Seireitei Also Has a New Year Special!”
Hisagi puts Kira in charge of hosting a Soul Society New Year’s event. Though he initially wants to decline, Hinamori convinces him to do it. He has the squads fly kites, but it quickly degenerates into a kite flying battle as the squads attempt to take out each other’s kites. Hinamori gets tangled in a kite and as Hitsugaya tries to save her, they both get swept away. When Kira tries to stop the battle on a glider he crashes into Yamamoto’s quarters.
Later, Rukia meets with Renji to talk about a dance she has to do. He takes her to the 11th and 10th squad barracks in attempt to train her but his efforts are fruitless. They accidentally trip and spill ink on the kimono designed for the dance, and Rukia demands Renji to leave. She dreams of Kaien who gives her advice, and when she wakes up, she finds that Byakuya has left her the kimono her sister had used for the Celebration Dance. Byakuya tells her to practice, and later she invites Renji to come see her performance.
ED: 「MASK」 by Aqua Timez
Watch the ED!: Streaming ▼
I realize this was last week’s episode, and perhaps I was putting it off as long as possible. This was supposed to be a late New Year’s special, but to be honest I probably would have preferred not watching it. It’s not horrendous and doesn’t have any major flaws — aside from the fact that it was just very boring overall. I think it would have been better as bonus chapter in the manga instead of making viewers sit through 20 minutes of two mini-stories, one involving a kite-flying event and the other about the dance Rukia had to perform. There were funny parts scattered here and there, but overall things just weren’t that interesting. Rukia and Renji have a little bit of airtime together as they get into an argument and subsequently make up, but the first skit was probably better if it was a 20 second omake tacked on at the end.
The main highlight for me was the new ending sequence which is among the best I’ve seen in Bleach. The scene in the end showing all of Ichigo’s friends texting him pictures of the rainbow was a really nice touch. It helps that Aqua Timez is one of my favorite J-rock bands too, and I’ve enjoyed all their songs featured in Bleach. My advice? Skip the episode, watch the ending.