Summary:
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.

19 Comments

  1. Looking good so far, but I, and most likely all of the Bleach-fandom too, am waiting for the Ichigo-Kuchiki -match-up. I watched the manga just a bit over this point, so I’m going to shut up now, before I ruin someones experience.

  2. this….wow ….was….wow….a….great ep…wow. this is a real CAT fight. (te he he) no pun intended, but i am eagerly awaiting them to do ch 162-163, looking at the pacing it may not be for another couple weeks, 2 weeks after the week after tomorrow =) (a little Southpark humor) but this Soul arc is top notch story quailty. Kubo tite is a very talented writer. =)

    Kuchiki--Byakuya
  3. Bleach will eventually go into those tons of filler eps since its going pretty fast, catching up to the manga. I’m gonna say, after Soul Society Arc is all done, filler eps might start since the new arc is just beginning.

    Zimmer
  4. Everyone talks about there being filler episodes because it’s catching up to the manga. I wonder if anyone has maybe considered that he has the entire story completed already and does not care if it passes the manga. Time will tell.

    Lankus
  5. Maybe he has the basic, overall storyline planned out, but I seriously doubt that he’s completed the manga. Kubo Tite has taken a break at least once before to catch up. I think that pretty much indicates that he’s drawing as he goes.

    Heck, I doubt that any mangaka finishes everything completely ahead of time, especially when it’s long as Bleach. I believe that the anime team will either go fillers (Naruto) or make up their own storyline (Kenshin). Given Bleach’s popularity, there’s no way they’ll just stop airing.

    Either way, I’m not looking forward to the end of this arc. Anyways just my speculation, feel free to correct me.

    Losttek
  6. I have to correct that assumption, as the Bleach manga is *STILL* on going now in Japan. I follow the raws every week and trust me, there’s a lot of chapters left to do for the current arc, unless Kubo goes quack and ends it suddenly. The latest chapter even revealed an essencial fact for Rukia :).

    I do *hope* that Bleach doesn’t descend to the filler hells that plague every shounen anime. If they do that, I *WILL* hate the animation crew for life and curse them ala Shiho. The rumours of a Bleach movie already makes me feel uneasy.

  7. Okay, if they keep this up, they will be done with the Soul Society Arc in episode 64/65. So…. they either have to use filler in order to give the mangaka some time (to get more chapters done) or they need to make a break (also to give the mangaka some time to develop the story further). I would prefer a break because that way they can’t ruin the characters (as they are doing in Naruto right now – 22 filler left).

    greetings. estella

    estella
  8. Yes! FInally..I was waiting for like..ever for this fight to be animated ^^ The fight between Yoruichi and Soi is one of my favorites..dunno why..it just is :p It looks like next week we will get their history. Though, I was slightly disapointed with this fight. I had hoped it would be more detailed, however I don’t hate how it came out either.

    Jen
  9. i’m *dying* to see the byakuya vs. ichigo fight. i’m also *dying* to see the following episodes after that…because i’ve read the manga and everything is getting more and more exciting starting from NOW. argh!!!! *claws own face to calm down*

    ileenka

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