Having met up in the forest, Byakuya and Kariya prepare to fight each other. Byakuya starts off with his specialty Senka technique (getting behind the enemy for a quick attack), but Kariya is able to move out of the way. Kariya then takes his turn by attacking Byakuya with a vortex of wind followed by a punch from above. Byakuya is able to dodge the attacks, and the two really start fighting with bright beams of light forming from the energy where the two clash. Kariya recognizes that Byakuya is the most famous person in the current 13 divisions, so defeating him would spread unrest through Seireitei. Eventually, Byakuya uses his Senbonzakura attack, and it succeeds in completely surrounding Kariya’s body. However, Kariya dissipates the ball of petals around him and comes out unharmed. Kariya responds by calling upon his wind powers to surround Byakuya with mini-twisters. Byakuya breaks free with a demon art and then uses another spell to attack Kariya. The two sides start trading swings again, but neither hits the other. When they end up charging each other, Kariya’s hand draws blood from Byakuya’s neck and Byakuya’s blade draws blood from Kariya’s neck. The fight gets bloodier as they now start to land hits on each other, and it gets to the point where they are using their attacks at point blank range. Ichigo finally arrives to see a twister of pink petals, and he decides to interrupt it with his Getsuga Tenshou technique.
Nearby in the forest, Ganjuu, Inoue, and Sado learn about Kariya’s plan to turn Soul Society upside down and gather people. After hearing where Kariya is staying, Ganjuu decides that he has no choice but to go ask someone named Bull for some help. Meanwhile, Koga and Ichinose have gathered a decent number of people to fight against Seireitei. The men are doubtful of the Bount plan, and so Koga has to convince them to join the Bount cause. When asked to show how serious he is, Koga instructs Ichinose to cut his arm. Koga then demonstrates his ability to absorb spirit particles and heal his own arm. Seeing that the Bount are invincible, the men rally behind Koga. Back in the forest, Ichigo joins the fight against Kariya, despite the fact that Byakuya is ready to consider Ichigo an enemy too if he gets involved. Kariya uses a free moment to suck up some spirit particles and heal up all the wounds that Byakuya inflicted. Ichigo initiates ban kai and goes after Kariya with amazing speed, though not enough to land a clean hit on Kariya. Watching as their fight unfolds, Byakuya also decides to use his ban kai. Both Ichigo and Kariya are able to avoid being hurt by it, though it’s clear that this fight now involves three people.
Keigo and Mizuiro are the special pic today.
Well this episode was decently interesting. Fight episodes tend to be more exciting than ones where everyone stands around and talks, and it was certainly cool to see Byakuya go up against Kariya. That being said, I thought the animation quality could have been better.
Given how the fight was going and given that Kariya could regenerate his wounds, I think that if Ichigo hadn’t interfered, Kariya probably would have won against Byakuya. Which isn’t to say that Byakuya is weak – just that they made Kariya really strong so that these fights would at least be interesting (since this is a super shounen style series and all). And even now with Ichigo and Byakuya going up against Kariya, it doesn’t look like either side is going to get a decisive victory anytime soon. In other words, I doubt this arc will end in time for fall season.
Speaking of which, Bleach will be off on September 26th. When it returns the week after that, it will be airing in its new timeslot on Wednesdays at 7:26PM Japan Standard Time. That day (October 4th) should also be the premiere of OP5 and ED9.