Bleach – 361
「新たな姿！護廷十三隊、見参！」 (Arata na sugata! Gotei juusan tai, kenzan! )
“A New Appearance! Meet the Gotei 13!”
Ginjou stabs Ichigo, and Ishida recalls what happened the day he was attacked. Ginjou had ambushed him as he was chasing Tsukishima, and afterwards they discussed their plans. Tsukishima reveals that cutting a person a second time with his sword reverts them to normal. By inserting Tsukishima as an enemy into his past, Ginjou was able to get close to Ichigo. The other members of the Xcution discuss how their mission is almost complete. Ishida deduces some of the details of their plan, and Ginjou explains how they had played Ichigo from the very beginning.
Ginjou extracts Ichigo’s fullbring with his sword, and he collapses to the ground, crying out in despair. He screams at Ginjou to return his powers, but is suddenly stabbed in the chest by a glowing sword. He turns around and sees Isshin and Urahara, then slowly Rukia also materializes, holding the sword. In a sudden whirlwind, Ichigo transforms into a shinigami again. Rukia berates Ichigo for being a pussy, and they bicker for a bit. Ginjou states that it’s impossible for Rukia’s spiritual poweralone to restore Ichigo’s powers, but several of the captains and lieutenants arrive on the scene and reveal that they had all contributed their reiatsu. Ichigo then begins battling Ginjou again, blasting him with increasingly powerful attacks.
We’re finally reaching the climax of the arc, and even though recent developments have been poorly written, you would have to agree that it’s pretty cool seeing Ichigo getting his real powers back again. The crap talk coming from Tsukishima and Ginjou that made up the first half of this episode pretty much guaranteed that no one would feel sorry for them once they get their ass kicked. Admittedly, some of the build-up was a bit cheesy but that fight scene at the end was definitely epic, especially when Ichigo sliced Tsukishima’s mansion in half and blasted away all the clouds in the sky with one attack. The shinigami are back too, after a long absence (fillers don’t count), and judging from the manga, the upcoming fights should be at least somewhat interesting to watch. Of course, their entrance timing just had to be exactly when Ichigo was at his most critical moment, and really, no explanation is given as to why they had to wait until Ichigo had been completely crushed before acting, so I’m assuming it was just to maximize the dramatic effect. And yes, it was very dramatic indeed.
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