As Inoue is healing Rangiku somewhere in the Bount Cave, the group hears sounds of the battle around them. Sado is first to notice that someone is approaching them. Back in the main room, Kariya is explaining to Ichigo how the Bount came about. A long time ago, Soul Society had performed a particular experiment. It’s not certain what they were doing it for, but Kariya does know that they were experimenting on humans. Something went wrong and a large explosion occurred. That led to some of the souls being mutated, and so people with different abilities appeared all around the world – the Bount. But because the Bount were different, they were abused by everyone else. Soul Society offered a kind hand, but it was all part of their strategy. They were trying to erase the Bount from history. That’s why the Bount now wish for Soul Society’s annihilation. With his explanation over, Kariya throws Ichigo over to where Zangetsu is lying. Ichigo doesn’t understand the thing between the Bount and Soul Society, but he does know that the Bount are taking human lives. He powers up and fires a Getsuga Tenshou, but Kariya easily deflects it with his hand. Kariya then starts beating Ichigo all over the place.
After getting pounded, Ichigo remembers all his friends and gets back up. He slowly stumbles towards Zangetsu, but Kariya gets there first and picks it up. Ichigo surprises Kariya by calling for Zangetsu to appear and then stabbing himself with the sword. He sees the man form of Zangetsu in the sideways world. Zangetsu asks him what he fights for and for whose sake does he want power. Ichigo remembers how he became a Shinigami to protect those important to him and asks Zangetsu to lend him his strength. Back in the real world, Zangetsu suddenly changes hands and goes back to Ichigo. He then initiates ban kai and emerges in his more powerful form. The battle resumes and this time Ichigo and Kariya seem more evenly matched. However, the two soon get interrupted by a blast that comes between them. It was courtesy of Ishida, who has arrived with the rest of the group. Ishida says that he can’t forever be the only burden. With his new accessory, Ishida powers up another bolt and aims it at Kariya. However, Kariya isn’t concerned and has Ichinose finish the preparations. After Koga opens the gate, Ishida surprises his allies by firing his arrow at it. With the gate now glowing blue, Kariya is happy that Ishida’s powers were helpful.
Ishida knows that he opened the door to Soul Society and that this was the reason Kariya and the other Bount were originally after him. He explains that the Bount can open a space to a different dimension by obtaining a high density spirit. But in order to go to Soul Society, the Bount need to change their bodies to spirit particles. They don’t have that ability, but the Quincy are able to manipulate spirit particles inside their own body. So, the conversion is possible with a Quincy arrow as the medium. And that’s exactly what Ishida did when he fired on the gate, which will now allow the Bount to make the conversion. Kariya had faith that Ishida would definitely come because Soul Society is also the enemy of the Quincy. He offers his hand to Ishida, suggesting that they walk together. However, Ishida claims to be letting them go to Soul Society just so to bring everything to a conclusion – revenge for Yoshino. He promises to defeat Kariya, but for now the Bount all disappear off to Soul Society through the gate. Kariya’s final words tell Ishida and Ichigo that he’ll be waiting for them on the other side.
With the Bount gone, Yoruichi and Hisagi appear. In an effort to explain himself, Ishida recalls how he tested out his new powers in front of Nemu and realized that it wasn’t enough to defeat Kariya. Nemu had agreed, but had also asked him what would happen if he was in Soul Society where everything is made of spirit particles. That’s the reason Ishida wants to go to Soul Society to fight Kariya. However, Yoruichi says that not only will the Shinigami and the Quincys’ powers go up in Soul Society, but the Bounts’ will too. With spirit particles all around them, the Bount can absorb as much as they want. Yoruichi also gets Ishida to reveal that by forcing his powers to come out with the accessory, the quality of his powers won’t be stable. But Ishida doesn’t care because he needed strength. When Yoruichi says that this all could lead to the collapse of the world, Ichigo smacks Ishida on the head. Ichigo is ready to go to Soul Society and is joined by Renji, Kira, and Yumichika. They can use the gate the Bount left behind, so Rangiku calls up her captain first to get permission. She gets it and so everyone prepares to go to Soul Society. Meanwhile, Kariya and the other Bount have already arrived, ready to start their revenge.
Hrm, that wasn’t quite the action episode I was hoping for. Way too much dialogue and not enough stuff actually happening. Ichigo was again disappointing until he went ban kai, but even then he really didn’t get to fight for that long. And a lot of this episode was pretty cheesy, including how Ichigo re-attained ban kai and how everyone conveniently gathers at the end with that version of Number One playing in the background (that remains the cheeeeeese song for me). Oh well, at least the animation quality was pretty good.
I was quite confused at first at why Ishida was helping the Bount, and that really didn’t become clear until the end when Nemu made Ishida realize that he might have a chance if he fought Kariya in Soul Society. All of it makes me think that this is part of some insidious plot hatched by Mayuri. Though I guess technically Mayuri is supposed to be a good guy now. I just hope that whatever final fight Ishida gets into doesn’t just turn into a repeat of episode 44.
I’m starting to wonder which of our favorite captains will face up against which Bount. I’d bet on something between Ichinose and Zaraki. I’m hoping for Byakuya, Kyouraku, and Ukitake too. We’ll see what happens in the coming episodes.
Special pic was of Ichimaru this week.