Yoruichi starts Ichigo’s training by pulling out an artifact that can make the physical form of a zanpaktou appear. To achieve ban kai, Ichigo must get Zangetsu to submit to him. Ichigo stabs the figure and Zangetsu appears, as promised. His condition for surrender is that Ichigo must find the real Zangetsu (sword) in a sea of swords, and then defeat Zangetsu (person) with it. Their fight starts immediately, but Ichigo is unable to find the right sword in his first few tries. Meanwhile, at the fourth division, Iemura Yasochika (third seat) is writing in his diary about recent happenings. Also with the fourth division is Hanatarou, who has been returned by Captain Ukitake’s lieutenants. He is reprimanded by his Captain Unohana for aiding Ichigo. At the same time, Ichimaru frees Kira from prison, while Renji escapes from his cell on his own. At the eleventh division, Inoue has been brought in front of Zaraki after Aramaki, the 11th division guy who carried Inoue away, ran into Yachiru. Kenpachi decides to help Inoue so that he can get the chance to meet Ichigo again. In a cell at the fourth division, Ishida wakes up in bandages, and finds Ganjuu and Sado beside him. Sado informs them that they are probably being kept alive for interrogation about Aizen’s assassination. They decide that all they can do is heal up and wait for Ichigo. Back at the training grounds, Ichigo is faring poorly against Zangetsu. After failing with nearly twenty swords, Zangetsu tells Ichigo that each sword is a different aspect of his soul and that his objective is to find the one that represents his will to fight. And finally, we see Hinamori in her own cell; she puts away Aizen’s letter with a determined look in her eyes.
Another solid episode, though I admit I didn’t like this one as much as previous episodes. That being said, this was a relatively slow part in the manga too, as everyone is recovering from their own fights…except Ichigo, who just continues on like a machine…
We covered just two manga chapters this week: 127 and 128. As for changes: the various storylines were moved around quite a bit. This doesn’t matter so much as everything is occuring more or less concurrently. The Iemura Yasochika scene and the Kotesu Isane scene (with Hanatarou) are added, which I think adds a bit to the story. Along the same lines, Yachiru and Aramaki Makizou (11th division guy) got extra screentime showing when Yachiru found him carrying Inoue. In the end, nothing too major. They moved Hinamori to the end of the episode probably to show that she’ll become a major player again in a few episodes.
My favorite part of this episode is the scene where Ichimaru frees Kira. The darkness Kira was in contrasted to the light behind Ichimaru is very well done; something like this has much more effect animated than in manga form. The extra scenes with Yachiru were also very cute (as is everything with Yachiru).
Next week we’ll diverge from the main storyline a bit and cover volume 15’s “-17” special chapter. I’m disappointed that Bleach isn’t going to keep with the main storyline, but I rather like the special. It’s about several of our favorite vice captains and there should be a good deal of action.