Kariya’s underlings force open the North and West gates into Seireitei by using the giant wooden machines that they had built. They are immediately confronted by a small Shinigami force, but Kariya strides to the front of the pack and blows them all away with his wind power. However, he also turns his powers against his own non-Bount allies and disposes of them because he doesn’t need them as pawns to open the gate anymore. Ichigo and company arrive on the scene soon after and find Jidanbou lying on the ground. Kariya notices them and destroys the wooden machine that’s keeping the gate propped up, closing the gate again. He wants Yoshi and Mabashi to create a distraction while Sawatari and Koga to go after captains. As for Kariya himself, he’s got something he needs to get from the Bureau of Technological Development to allow them to destroy Seireitei.
Outside the gate, Inoue heals Jidanbou until he’s able to get up again. The giant helps Ichigo out by lifting up the gate with brute force, allowing everyone through. Inoue, however, decides not to go with them and instead stays outside to heal Jidanbou. After the group separates to find the Bount, Rangiku and Hitsugaya are visited by a Hell Butterfly calling for a captain’s meeting. Soifon also gets this message and sends her troops out to search while she’s away. Those men come across Mabashi, who summons and multiplies his doll, beats the men up, and runs away as part of his strategy. In the captains’ meeting, Mayuri accuses Hitsugaya of not doing his job and letting the intruders through. Hitsugaya takes responsibility, but Kyouraku is a lot more forgiving than Mayuri is. The eighth division captain even turns the tables on Mayuri by raising the subject of the Quincy item that let the Bount come here in the first place. In any case, Yamamoto wants them to go out and exterminate the Bount. Each division is going to operate independently and Hitsugaya is now dismissed as the commander of this operation.
Ririn, Claude, and Nova meanwhile are sensing the Bount’s spiritual power going on and off around Seireitei, giving them a hard time tracking the enemy down. When another Shinigami force comes across Mabashi, he uses his doll Rizu to stab and defeat all of them. The battle lasts only a few seconds before it’s over and Mabashi gets to move on to the next group of Shinigami. At the second division, Soifon decides to regroup her troops and gets reports from all of them. After giving out new orders, she starts to walk away, but suddenly gets hit by a dart. The others troops quickly restrain the culprit, who is someone who had fought Mabashi earlier and had gotten taken over by Rizu. However, the damage has been done, and now Soifon has been weakened by whatever was in the dart.
Well this was pretty much a set-up episode for the Soifon vs. Mabashi fight next week. As expected, Kariya was just using the Kusajishi thugs as tools to get through the gate. What’s most interesting is that he is now going after something in Mayuri’s Bureau of Technological Development that will allow him to destroy Soul Society instantly. I don’t think that means that Mayuri will be getting the chance to fight Kariya though. Given that he’s trailing Sawatari, Mayuri will instead probably face off against that old Bount, and someone else will have to take care of the Bount leader.
They appear to have weakened Soifon a bit with what happened at the end of this episode, perhaps to bring down her power level to allow her to have a fairly even fight with Mabashi. This episode itself wasn’t that interesting, but I am very curious to see Soifon in action again next week. Yoruichi is around somewhere, so maybe she’ll come to help too…