Having arrived just in time to keep Yammy from smashing Inoue, Ichigo apologizes for being late. He tells Inoue not to say sorry for feeling that she’s not strong enough, and he wastes no time in initiating ban kai. Inoue can feel the weight of the strong spiritual pressure, but she notices that it’s a little different than when she felt it in Soul Society during Ichigo’s fight with Byakuya. Seeing the orange hair and the black ban kai, Ulquiorra identifies Ichigo as the one they’re after, so Yammy tries to punch him. Ichigo, however, stops Yammy’s fist and slices off his right arm in retaliation for what the Arrancar did to Sado. As he watches Yammy get beat up, Ulquiorra thinks to himself that Ichigo is strong, but this level of power isn’t a threat to Aizen. Yammy eventually has had enough when he reaches to pull out his zanpaktou, surprising Ichigo because he didn’t realize who he was fighting. It quickly dawns on Ichigo that Yammy might be the same as Hirako or even himself, and it’s at this moment that Ichigo’s Hollow side starts emerging in his mind. While he tries to fight his Hollow side back, Ichigo leaves himself open to Yammy’s physical attacks, causing Inoue to come running out of concern. Yammy backhands her before continuing dishing out his punishment onto Ichigo. Around this time, Ulquiorra begins to notice that there are huge fluctuations now in Ichigo’s spiritual pressure, and the highest point surpasses even his own power.
When Yammy tries to deliver a crushing blow onto Ichigo’s battered body, his fist is stopped by a familiar red shield. Ichigo’s saviors turn out to be none other than Urahara and Yoruichi, and the latter immediately shows her superior power by throwing Yammy into the ground. Although an infuriated Yammy gets back up, Yoruichi proceeds to knock him back down by delivering blow after blow with her legs to his head. She reaches Inoue and is about to administer some medicine when Yammy roars back to life, opens his mouth, and fires a Cero blast. It creates a huge cone of destruction that easily covered Yoruichi and Inoue, but it seems that the two were unharmed thanks to a little help by Urahara. The former 12th Division captain explains that he used a similar attack to nullify the blast and then demonstrates his ability by firing an energy blast with his zanpaktou Benihime. Yammy seems finished until Ulquiorra steps in and swats away the attack. Ulquiorra also hits Yammy right in the gut and explains that Yammy is no match for Yoruichi and Urahara, both of whom he recognized. He then opens the dimensional fabric of the world so that they can retreat, but he thinks that he could still do well against his two opponents because they would have to protect the two pieces of trash – Ichigo and Inoue – while fighting him. As he’s disappearing, Ulquiorra reveals that he’s going to report to Aizen that the fake Shinigami isn’t worth killing – he’s just trash.
In the aftermath of the battle, Yoruichi returns to Urahara’s shop and starts eating bowl after bowl of food. Once she finally finishes, she admits to Urahara that it was a mistake for her not to use her shunkou technique – in other words, the Arrancar were a lot tougher than she and Urahara had anticipated. Ichigo meanwhile has gone home and is lying on bed still thinking about how he could get swallowed up by his Hollow side. Both Inoue and Ichigo show up in bandages to school the next day, and although Ichigo has something to say to her, he never goes through with saying it. Instead, he remembers how she had blamed herself for getting injured and told him that her wounds didn’t hurt. That’s why she didn’t want him to apologize to her while looking at her in that way. Ichigo is pissed off at himself because everyone got hurt or was almost killed as a result of him being weak, and he doesn’t know what he can do aside from apologize. It is while these feelings are hanging over him that a special group of people arrive at school. This group of five attracts much attention to themselves even though they’re trying to fit in with their school uniforms. These people are of course Renji, Ikkaku, Yumichika, Rangiku, and even Captain Hitsugaya. It seems that the higher-ups of Soul Society wanted to prepare for a battle with the Arrancar by sending them to this world to join up with Ichigo and company. Having never heard the term before, Ichigo doesn’t know what an Arrancar is, and this causes Renji to wonder if Ichigo didn’t even know what he was fighting. To clarify even further, a familiar female voice adds that the Arrancar are the ones who beat up Ichigo a few days ago. Appearing in the window is a person Ichigo hasn’t seen for a while: Rukia.
Yoruichi looked really badass with the battle sequence she got against Yammy, but I was left a little disheartened by the almost-minute-straight of watching her eat afterwards. It felt to me like they were just killing time. That part aside though, this was another fantastic episode of Bleach, one that I enjoyed watching every minute of except for maybe the aforementioned eating part. The animation was once again superb, particularly when Yoruichi beats up Yammy, but I do find it interesting that they showed Yammy’s arm getting cut off, yet they reduced the amount of blood on everyone’s faces. Still, even Kon’s scene looked pretty well animated to me.
In any case, the addition of some of the more popular characters of Soul Society along with Rukia makes things even more exciting. I wish we could see more Yoruichi/Urahara action scenes, but for now I’m eagerly anticipating the next big battle.
Let the focus on Rangiku’s breasts continue…