The result of the explosion from last time is a large crater that has formed around where Soi Fong and Yoruichi are standing. Yoruichi tells Soi Fong that the technique is too dangerous, but Soi Fong tries to attack with it anyway. Yoruichi has no choice but to cancel out the attack in one quick move, causing Soi Fong to ask how Yoruichi can still be this powerful. Flashback to when Soi Fong first met Yoruichi and joined the Correction Corps. Yoruichi began to notice her little by little for her talents and the two became very close. But then Yoruichi disappeared without a word, and a betrayed Soi Fong has hated her ever since. Their present fight climaxes in a pillar of light where Yoruichi comes inches from hitting Soi Fong’s face. In tears, Soi Fong asks why Yoruichi didn’t take her when she left.
Elsewhere in the forest, Iba and Ikkaku are trading off fighting and drinking. Iba senses Ichigo fighting Captain Kuchiki, and notes how strong he is. Ichigo and Byakuya’s fight is actually well underway. Ichigo urges the captain to use ban kai and says that he’ll defeat it for Rukia’s sake. Byakuya instead uses Senbonzakura, but Ichigo is able to stop it easily with a new technique: Getsuga Tenshou (Zangetsu had taught Ichigo that knowing a name and not knowing the name of an attack makes a big difference). Ichigo calls for Byakuya’s ban kai once again.
This episode covers chapters 159 to mid-161, from the end of the Yoruichi vs. Soi Fong fight to the beginning of the Ichigo vs. Byakuya one. The latter battle is pretty much as it’s shown in the manga, but the former is a bit different. In the manga, Soi Fong really looks up to Yoruichi, and the two become really close comrades. In today’s episode, they seem to take that a step further with the scene in the woods where Yoruichi teaches Soi Fong how to swing a sword and then lays her head on Soi Fong’s lap. What was with that scene? I assume it was all to show how close the two were and what Soi Fong was trying to get stronger for (to protect Yoruichi), but heck, I was waiting for Soi Fong to confess to Yoruichi or something.
Shoujo-ai overtones aside, we’re almost to the point where Ichigo will get to show off his new moves. He’s already demonstrated the power of Getsu Gatenshou, which ripped through Byakuya’s Senbonzakura. All that’s left now is for Byakuya to ban kai, and then the real fun begins. I’m expecting big things from next episode and so I hope it has some really really good animation for that special scene that was in all color in the manga.