When Ichigo returns home from school, he’s greeted with an elbow in the face by his incredibly energetic father. Ichigo, however, acts distant and shuts himself in his room. Seeing him back, Kon starts asking about if Ichigo noticed anything different about Isshin, but Ririn stops him and reminds him that Urahara had warned them it’d be useless to reveal to others about what happened on that night. The two of them then see how unresponsive Ichigo is and asks him about it, but Ichigo claims it’s nothing. Tired of seeing Ichigo like this, Kon decides to go out for a walk and drag Ririn out with him. With them gone gone, Ichigo thinks to himself that he can hear it. He knows that he had at one point driven off his Hollow side, and the mask that had kept coming back up until then suddenly disappeared. But from that point on, he kept hearing the inner Hollow calling out to him. It is at this moment that Ichigo starts hearing his inner Hollow talking to him, telling him that it’s getting closer and closer and will swallow him up. As Ichigo is trying to figure out what to do, he hears his sister Karin knocking on his door. She wants him to tell her what’s bothering him, and when he tries to brush off her concern, she reveals that she knows he’s a Shinigami because she saw him a long time ago.
Around this time, the 12th Division in Soul Society detects the arrival of two complete Arrancar into the human world. Having been alerted to the Arrancar by the sudden increase in spiritual pressure, Ichigo apologizes to Karin and leaves in his Shinigami form. He heads for the forest where the two Arrancar, Ulquiorra and Yammy, have made a crater with their entrance. When humans – who cannot see the Arrancar – approach the area, Yammy uses a technique to suck up all their souls. Inoue and Sado see what’s going on from a distance and rush towards the site, passing by the bodies of humans who have already died. Sado tells Inoue that if there were any survivors, she should take them and retreat. Ulquiorra informs his partner that they’re here for just one human, and he should be easy to find because there are only three people in this world with a spiritual pressure high enough to fight. Surprisingly though, they spot a human girl – Tatsuki – who survived Yammy’s soul-sucking technique. Yammy is a bit impressed, but Ulquiorra calls her trash, so Yammy pulls his leg back to kill her with a kick. What saves Tatsuki from death is the arrival of Sado to block Yammy’s leg. Inoue is also here, and Sado asks her to take Tatsuki and run away. Ulquiorra considers Sado trash too, so Yammy makes mincemeat of Sado’s arm with one swipe.
Seeing Sado’s lifeless body, Inoue decides to stays by his side and realizes that he knew how strong their opponents were – that’s why he wanted to fight alone. Ulquiorra labels her trash too, so Yammy prepares to squish her with his finger, but Inoue shields herself with her powers. She also starts repairing Sado, and Ulquiorra recognizes her technique not as restoration, but as something more akin to temporal or spatial regression. Inoue is thinking to herself that she has to hold out until Ichigo arrives, but she starts to question why she’s relying on him because she doesn’t want to burden him any more. She wants to send these people away without relying on Ichigo to give him at least a little peace of mind, so she sends Tsubaki to attack Yammy. The Arrancar, however, crushes her fairy and reaches to smash her after Ulquiorra says that he can kill her. Yammy’s hand is stopped only by the zanpaktou of the one person Inoue didn’t want to rely on: Ichigo.
For all the stuff that we’ve been through with the Bount arc, the production team working on Bleach sure knows how to impress when the time comes. Actually, that might still be the pent-up desire to see this arc animated talking. Regardless, I was very excited to see the arrival of Ulquiorra and Yammy. I though the black and white when Sado was getting smacked was a nice touch, as was having Ichigo’s Hollow side actually do the talking when Ichigo is alone in his room (since in the manga Ichigo is just thinking that entire part to himself). And yes, they did add in Ririn, but that didn’t really change anything that happened in that scene aside from Kon getting a bit beat up.
This episode also highlights three of the things I want to see developed more in the manga and the anime: Karin knowing about Ichigo being a Shinigami, Tatsuki being able to see Shinigami and Arrancar, and Inoue’s feelings towards Ichigo. Without spoiling it, there’s one chapter in particular relating to one of those that I’m really looking forward to seeing. Of course, the one thing they are developing very heavily is Ichigo and his Hollow side, and we’ll definitely be seeing more of that. As for next week, Ichigo going to initiate ban kai and start fighting Yammy, but as the preview shows, he gets beat around pretty badly.