Renji’s Zabimaru wakes him from his rest and tells him that they’re ready to fight again, especially against Zangetsu. Renji says that Ichigo isn’t the enemy anymore, prompting Zabimaru to ask who is. On the bridge, Yoruichi has arrived to save Ichigo from Byakuya’s Senbonzakura. Byakuya immediately recognizes and identifies Shihouin Yoruichi as a famous ex-commander of Soul Society. Ichigo asks Yoruichi to move aside so that he can beat Byakuya, but Yoruichi immediatly stabs Ichigo in the gut with her hand, knocking him out with a tranquilizer. Byakuya closes in threateningly, so she performs several moves to evade him, but Byakuya manages to get a hit in anyway. It barely fazes her and she ends up on the rooftop, promising to make Ichigo stronger in three days. As she jumps away, Byakuya also leaves the bridge, saying that he has lost interest. Ukitake and his number three seats are left to clean up. After telling his subordinates to contact the fourth squad for medical help, Ukitake tells Hanatarou that he helped them because they tried to save a member of his squad. Meanwhile, Ishida and Inoue have donned Shinigami garb and are now masquerading as Shinigami to avoid being caught. Inoue is worried about Ichigo, and the two of them decide to keep moving. In the shadows, Captain Kurotsuchi Mayuri emerges from spying on them. Back at her hideout, Yoruichi keeps watch over a recovering Ichigo. When he wakes up, Ichigo immediately grabs Yoruichi and asks why she only brought him back, saying that his friends could be dead already. Yoruichi tells him that he can’t defeat Byakuya in his current state, but promises to make Ichigo strong enough in three days time so that he can go back and rescue everyone. She brings Ichigo to a training field below Soul Society and tells him that there are two levels of release for a zanpaktou: shi-kai and ban-kai. Every captain is able to do ban-kai with one exception, Zaraki Kenpachi, who relied on his own strength. However, learning ban-kai usually takes ten years, so Yoruichi has decided to take a riskier method so that she can teach it to Ichigo in three days.
They covered a bit more than I thought they would, going from chapter 118 to midway through chapter 120. The rest of the chapter (and the volume for the matter) covers the Ishida vs Capt. Kurotsuchi fight. This episode concluded the bridges scene, then started the Ishida/Inoue arc and the Ichigo training arc. But we really don’t go back to the Ichigo training stuff until the Ishida stuff is done.
I really enjoyed the Byakuya vs. Yoruichi fight (if you could call it a fight), probably because Yoruichi just kicks so much ass. And to think, just a few episodes ago, she was just the cat.
The Orihime and Ishida scenes were funny, with Inoue as her usual airheaded self. Unfortunately this is the most we’ll see of her for quite a while, though from the look of the preview, they might expand on her story/training a bit.
I had forgotten that Yoruichi introduced the idea of ban-kai so early, but it fits considering where we’re at in the story. She mentions Zaraki as the only captain to have never achieved ban-kai, which makes sense since a) he doesn’t know the name of his sword and b) he didn’t use it. I really can’t wait until we get to see Ichigo’s ban-kai, but that is soooo far off.
Next episode will cover to at least chapter 122, when Kurotsuchi pulls out his zanpaktou (which was shown in the preview). I rather liked the Ishida fight in the manga, so I have high hopes for the animated version.