Short Summary:
Ichigo calls for Byakuya’s ban kai once again, and this time Byakuya complies. The petals rush forward to Ichigo, but he’s able to dodge it for long enough to direct another Getsu Gatenshou at the captain. Byakuya easily blocks it, and Ichigo looks as if he’s drowned in petals. After the dust clears, a bleeding Ichigo gets up and realizes that using only an initial release to try to win against ban kai is impossible. The sixth division captain hears Ichigo implying that he’s achieved ban kai, which Ichigo immediately confirms as true. As Ichigo powers up to his ban kai, Byakuya thinks about how hard it is to get to ban kai, and how impossible it should be for someone like Ichigo. After an explosion and a whirlwind, we finally get to see Ichigo’s ban kai form: Tensa Zangetsu. Dressed like Zangetsu’s human form, Ichigo now wields a thin, black sword. Byakuya continues to underestimate Ichigo, so Ichigo appears right in front of him, holding a sword to the captain’s neck. Meanwhile, Sado, Ishida, Inoue, and Ganjuu have gotten close enough so that they can see and feel the power of the fight. Elsewhere in Soul Society, Hitsugaya and Matsumoto, trying to get to the bottom of all this, have reached the Central 46 Chambers, only to be barred from entering. Also, Hinamori is now healed and on the move. Back at the main fight, Byakuya notices that Ichigo is fast, but still thinks that it can’t be ban kai, so he calls forth his petals to envelope Ichigo again. Ichigo dodges several times, and then appears right in front of Byakuya for a slash, but it’s blocked by more petals. Both of them notice that the petals are having trouble keeping up, so Byakuya increases their speed and Ichigo increases his. However, Ichigo is unable to dodge one of the waves, so instead he cuts down all of the petals and moves to Byakuya’s backside in a flash. The captain turns around in time to miss being hit in the back, and catches Ichigo’s blade in his hand. By this point, Byakuya has realized that Ichigo’s ban kai takes its power and compacts it so that Ichigo can move and attack quickly.

This episode has a lot of extra bridging-the-gap material that wasn’t in the manga. We only cover two and a half chapters, from mid-161 to the end of 163 because they threw in some humorous moments with Sado, Ishida, Inoue, and Ganjuu and showed what HItsugaya, Matsumoto, and Hinamori are up to. I can appreciate most of the new scenes, especially the Hitsugaya and Matsumoto ones because they show that something else is going on beyond the battles. However, they also used several flashbacks of Hinamori and later Ichigo (during his powerup scene) that just seem like wasted time.
Of course all of those are minor complaints because, in this episode, Ichigo finally uses his ban kai. Showing how powerful he’s become and how badass he looks, Ichigo more or less defeats Byakuya’s Senbonzakura. Byakuya doesn’t really help his own cause, constantly underestimating Ichigo until the end of the episode when he realizes what Ichigo’s ban kai does. But the fight’s far from over, and there’s plenty of surprises left in store for us.

27 Comments

  1. I actually like the pacing done in the anime, the switch to Hitsugaya arriving at the center seemed to abrupt in the manga almost like a jumping to an entirely different story. I’m sure there were hints dropped in the manga here and there, but they are far from memorable and don’t add to the whole “we have a conspiracy” going on that the anime is delivering…

    Blade
  2. Wow, the pace is now insane! it’s almost 5-7 chapters from manga per episode of the anime! …it would be a shame to have fillers in 20 more or less episodes when the series is currently at it’s peak.

    Note that Pierrot studios does the anime for both Naruto and Bleach…nd look how Naruto is doing with the fillers.

    Enter4None
  3. man i cant wait to download this episode OMG it looks so good from the screen caps too. By the way even though studio pierrot does naruto and bleach, the filler are bassed on the director, and bleach director should have enough sense of bleach to know what we expect in a filler.

    Fury
  4. by the way hinamori and hitsugaya appearing in the episode means taht bleach will indeed continue with the “TWIST” that we manga readers are all expecting as well has the advancement of the series

    Fury
  5. Ichigo’s bankai makes him look like a Swordmaster from FE, which is outright kickass, god I’d love to see a swordmaster like that in FE, Ichigo wins points from awsomeness this episode, you can just tell that Byakuya is so screwed.

    Anza
  6. The long anticipated Ichigo vs Byakya battle! This episode is incredibly awesome, the fiercest and coolest action fight I’ve ever seen in Bleach, definitely looking forward to the upcoming ep.

    shojo
  7. Thanks for the summary. I’m glad the animators are taking their sweet time building up to the climax of the story, so that *spoilerspoiler* will be that much more impressive and powerful. Besides, these are the episodes we’ll be watching when Bleach is mired in mediocre filler eps, so it’s good that they’re not just barrelling through. I do agree that the constant flashbacks can get a little tedious; I /like/ the fact that Bleach has a cast about forty strong, and I don’t need my hand held to keep track of who’s been up to what.

    MRain65
  8. Anyone else hear about the new Bleach OVA series after the soul-society arc?

    yeah, it’s filler, but from what I’ve heard, it’s gonna be good.

    HINT: It involves a lot of your fave Shinigami characters from soul-society, and they go on this adventure or something. Damn, i wish i still had a link or something.

    RionZ
  9. Very good episode….though i am still waiting to hear the story about the outfit he was wearing earlier that seem to have given him that incredible power……god knows why he took it off…..all of this could have been over ages ago..:-)….is Byakya the most powerful of them all…cause if Ichi beats him here…well……….i guess time will tell how it all unfolds….can’t wait till next episode…gonna stop watching as soon as i get them…..anticipation killing me…wait until i have like 4 episodes..:-P

    Kurik
  10. No byakya is not the most powerfull there are former captin Yoruichi, captin Ukitake, captin Kyouraku, commander Yamamoto, former captin Urahara. maybe Zaraki Kenpachi. but there are quite a few people stronger (hint* more strong guys are around just wait *hint)

  11. The outfit Ichigo was wearing that he took off was essentially a flight suit (I think Yoruicihi mentioned this in episode 56/57), and didn’t confer any power it just helped him reach Rukia faster. I’m a newbie to Bleach but I gotta say I’m loving it so far.:)

    And not sure if anyone else noticed, but if you look closely at the hilt guard of Ichigo’s soul slayer you’ll notice a loose Swastika design. And before anybody goes all “OMG Nazi Anti-semitism11!!1” , read below, which has been copied from Wikipedia:

    The swastika used in Buddhist art and scripture is known in Japanese as a manji, and represents Dharma, universal harmony, and the balance of opposites. When facing left, it is the omote (front) manji, representing love and mercy. Facing right, it represents strength and intelligence, and is called the ura (rear) manji. Balanced manji are often found at the beginning and end of Buddhist scriptures (outside India).

    I may be going a bit overboard, but when you think about it, when Ichigo points his soul slayer at an enemy, the side facing him, defines aspects of his personality (love and mercy) but the side towards his opponent acts like a warning, (strength and intelligence). ……maybe not intelligence (though Ichigo does get good grades)

    I thought that was pretty cool, anyone else think I’m on to something or am I just crazy?

    rufus2k2
  12. “How stupid am i thinking i could defeat a bankai in shikai, in order to win i must release MY BANKAI,

    aaaaaaaaaahhhhhh,

    BANKAI!!

    Tensa Zangetsu”

    and that is ichigo’s bankai, his bankai’s clothing includes a black kimoto a black sword with chains (Resembling “chians of heaven”, or that ichigo’s bankai is not fully complete)

    Kurisaka Ichigo

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