In an effort to prevent Rangiku and Renji from returning to Seireitei, Ichinose uses his zanpaktou to envelope them in a bright light. When Captain Hitsugaya tries to attack what he thinks is Ichinose, he finds himself fighting Renji. Ichinose explains that his zanpaktou can manipulate light, and Ichigo’s group is unable to sense him inside this space. Sado is about to be hit from behind, but another sword comes out of nowhere and saves him. That sword belongs to Zaraki, and his huge spiritual power dispels the light space that Ichinose created. Zaraki says that if Ichinose wants to stop the others, he won’t get in the way. However, if Ichinose remains where they are, Zaraki will fight him. Faced with the decision, Ichinose chooses to fight the 11th Division Captain. Since Yachiru asks them to leave the fight to just Ichinose and Zaraki, Ichigo and the rest of the group head back to Seireitei.
Ichinose starts the battle, but all of his initial attacks get blocked, so he uses an ability to disappear and manages to cut the captain’s clothing a few times. When Zaraki counters, Ichinose surrounds him with light and directs numerous black bolts at him. Zaraki, however, is completely unaffected. Bringing out more of his power, Ichinose charges Zaraki head on, and is able to slice the captain’s shoulder. Ichinose proceeds to question why Zaraki fights, and Zaraki’s answer is that it amuses him. When the captain suddenly realizes that he’s surrounded by light particles, those particles grow and surround him in light. The light expands so fast that Yachiru has to run away to avoid being engulfed. Ichinose explains that the light will shrink until it destroys him, and he believes that Zaraki is dead from this ability, though Yachiru disagrees. Inside the light, Zaraki realizes that he doesn’t have enough spiritual power, so he briefly removes his eye-patch. The resulting power cracks the light, setting him free. By the time Ichinose realizes what’s happening, Zaraki’s zanpaktou is in right up to his face.
The captain derides Ichinose’s ability that supposed gets rid of shadows through light because he believes that where there is light, there is invariably shadow. Ichinose goes into a rage because Zaraki doesn’t have the justice that Ichinose’s old captain did, but Zaraki doesn’t care and delivers a slash across his opponent’s chest. As Ichinose is kneeling down from the hit, Zaraki points out that Ichinose’s stated goals of justice are someone else’s, and fighting Zaraki instead of going after Ichigo and the others shows Ichinose’s own willpower. Thus, the power he obtained was for killing Zaraki and came from a grudge. Realizing that Zaraki is right, Ichinose decides to use all of his strength and prays for Kariya’s forgiveness. The two men let loose their spiritual power and charge each other, but Zaraki is stronger and breaks through Ichinose’s sword. As he falls, Ichinose calls out to his dead former captain. With the battle over, captain and vice-captain return to Seireitei.
ED9: 「Baby It’s You」 by JUNE
Watch the ED9! Mirror 1 Mirror 2 (22.7MB, XviD)
I LOVE YUI’s new song, and I think it’s much better than her ED5, Life (which is a good song in it’s own right). The production team also did a great job with the new opening animation. It would appear that the special pictures are gone, but instead we get shots of Aizen and what appears to be Ichimaru hugging Rangiku. There was also the sequence of Ichigo fighting his hollow form that reminded me of the manga chapter 220 “King & His Horse.”
Bleach is back in its new timeslot! Actually, I wish that Bleach had stayed on Tuesdays, but that’s a different story.
This episode focused on Ichinose vs. Zaraki Kenpachi, and it looks to have put an end to Ichinose, at least for now. Characters in Bleach have a tendency to come back from life-threatening injuries, so I won’t believe Ichinose is dead until I see a dead body. Ichinose had a good fight, but it was clear from the beginning that Zaraki controlled the fight. There really wasn’t any doubt in my mind that the captain would win, though at least it wasn’t a total blowout since Zaraki did have to briefly remove his eye-patch. On a side note, I really wish Yachiru would get some more screen time because I’d love to see what she’s capable of.
Although I still don’t expect this arc to end soon, I do have a brighter outlook for Bleach with this new OP and since I’ve seen future episode titles. We’re going to have a lot more of the captains involved, which is what I’ve been wanting since the Bount came to Soul Society. Soi Fong and Mayuri in particular are named in the titles for episodes 100 and 101, respectively, so that’s something to look forward to.