Yumichika returns to where he left Zaraki fighting Tousen and Komamura, but sees only his captain there. It seems that after having felt the spirit energy that Yamamoto was putting off, Captain Komamura abandoned his fight. Yumichika himself is beaming after having won against Hisagi by draining out all of his spirit energy. Back at the Yamamoto vs. Ukitake and Kyouraku fight, the captain of the thirteenth division recounts how powerful the commander’s zanpaktou is. Having no choice, the two captains release their own zanpaktou, each creating a pair of swords. The three men clash into a huge explosion. Meanwhile, outside in Rukongai, Jidanbou has been healed and Shiba Kuukaku (Ganjuu’s sister) wants to take him back into Seireitei to find Yoruichi. Speaking of which, Yoruichi is currently locked in a fight with Soi Fong. It appears that the two have some history together, since Yoruichi was the previous leader of the covert operations. Soi Fong draws her sword, calling upon her men, but Yoruichi defeats all of them in a flash. The two then erupt in a series of punches and kicks, at the end of which it seems that Soi Fong has the upper hand. She gets behind Yoruichi and calls on her zanpaktou, Suzumebachi, which turns into a claw-like blade. Yoruichi succeeds in getting out of the way, but not before the blade cuts her. Soi Fong reminds Yoruichi of Suzumebachi’s special ability: it leaves a butterfly mark, and if she can hit that mark again, it means guaranteed death for the recipient. Yoruichi then tries to run away, but turns around and the two collide in a flurry of quick maneuvers once again. Soi Fong hits Yoruichi several more times, but can’t seem to get the same spot. So instead, Soi Fong decides to use another special technique, one that she claims she invented herself recently and doesn’t even have a name yet. Yoruichi counters by saying that it does have a name: Shunkou. She continues by explaining that it’s an attack that concentrates energy into the user’s arms and legs. Yoruichi then performs the technique to demonstrate and aims her arm at her opponent.
As expected, this episode covers three chapters (from 156 to 158) and adds on the Yoruichi scene that we skipped last week. We see that Yumichika and Zaraki’s fights are over, and the Ukitake+Kyouraku vs. Yamamoto fight is just beginning. It’s really a pity that we won’t get to see much of the actual battle in that latter fight (assuming they follow the manga). But in the meantime, we do get to see the Yoruichi and Soi Fong fight. Soi Fong is all about proving that she’s more powerful than Yoruichi is, which leads her to underestimate her opponent. Next episode will show why she’s so against her former superior. For now, it’s just cool to see all of the unarmed attacks the two can do, and the Shunkou technique that both attempt to use.
The animation and action are once again top notch. Some people may complain that they’re moving too quickly, but I think the pacing is fine. The only problem is that we’re quickly approaching the end of the Soul Society arc, and who knows what’s going to happen afterwards (ie. whether they continue following the manga or go to filler). As for next episode, we’ll get the Yoruichi and Soi Fong back-story that I mentioned before, plus the beginning of the Ichigo vs. Byakuya battle.
Closing Thought: Yoruichi looks pretty badass with her clothes getting a rather unique flair from the butterfly markings of the Houmonka.