Since the Arrancar are confused as to what the Limit Release is, Hitsugaya, Renji, and Matsumoto explain that captains and vice-captains have seals on their bodies to restrict their spiritual pressures so that they minimize impact on souls in this world. Their power is thus normally reduced by 80%, meaning that they are now 5 times stronger without the limit. Faced with the massive power boost, Shawlong tries to get the others to retreat, but it’s too late and each of the Arrancar meets their end. Despite the victory though, Hitsugaya is gravely wounded and Renji is exhausted. Renji thinks to himself that he was lucky his opponent was caught off guard because of how strong the Arrancar was. In particular, he thinks this bodes poorly for Ichigo. While Matsumoto gets Inoue’s help to heal her captain, across town, Keigo brings Ikkaku and Yumichika back home to his sister. To Keigo’s surprise, his sister takes a liking to Ikkaku and lets them stay.
Meanwhile, Ichigo is already in his ban kai form, but he’s barely able to do anything to Grimmjow. Using only his fists, Grimmjow is able to beat Ichigo to a pulp and is quite disappointed with Ichigo’s ban kai. Ichigo responds by using the black version of his Getsuga Tenshou attack, and this actually causes a little damage to Grimmjow, but nothing significant. Frustrated, Ichigo knows that the black version of the attack is his Hollow side’s, and using it allows that side to come out faster. He estimates that he can probably use it two or three more times without completely losing control. Unbeknownst to Ichigo, Tatsuki is actually watching his fight from around the street corner. In addition, a certain someone is also arriving in this world via a dimensional rift from Hueco Mundo.
Grimmjow has become quite excited by the prospect of an actual fight. However, as he starts to draw his zanpaktou, Tousen suddenly appears behind him and stops him. Tousen isn’t happy at all with how Grimmjow attacked this world on his own accord with five other Arrancar, all of whom are dead now. He says that Grimmjow completely disobeyed his orders and claims that Aizen is furious. With Tousen around, Grimmjow has no choice but to return to Hueco Mundo where his punishment is waiting. Ichigo can’t believe that the Arrancar is just leaving and tries to get him back so that they can finish this. Grimmjow responds by saying that Ichigo is the one who’s getting his life spared. He can tell that Ichigo’s black Getsuga Tenshou damages Ichigo too and that Ichigo can only use it a few times. But he also feels that even if Ichigo could do it an infinite number of times, he still wouldn’t be able to defeat Grimmjow’s released form.
Grimmjow then tells Ichigo his full name and predicts that the next time Ichigo hears that name will be when he dies. After Grimmjow disappears, Renji arrives on the scene and grimly declares that they’ve won since the Arrancar have gone back to Hueco Mundo. Ichigo, however, feels that he had lost, especially since he couldn’t protect anyone. Both of them head to Rukia’s side where Inoue is healing the wounded girl. Inoue notices the look on Ichigo’s face as he stares at Rukia and sighs quietly to herself. Around the same time, Ururu is also getting healed at Urahara’s shop. Back in Hueco Mundo, a smiling Aizen welcomes Grimmjow home.
ED: 「爪先」 (Tsumasaki) by オレスカバンド (Oreskaband)
Watch the ED!: Mirror 1, Mirror 2
I really like both the opening and ending songs, but it’s the opening animation sequence that has me most excited. I like how it started out with Kon singing in sync with vocalist Futoshi of Aqua Timez. The OP is very Inoue-centric and hints at all the stuff we’ll be seeing in the arcs to come to the point where I guess you could say that it’s too spoilerish.
Well that was a lot of fun to watch. They really extended the part where Grimmjow beats up on Ichigo, making Ichigo seem very much like a punching bag. And yet, despite that fight lasting longer than I thought it would, they still managed to get through three and a half chapters worth of manga material. This was an action episode though, so it’s understandable, but I still worry about what happens if or when they catch up to the manga.
Tousen’s appearance in this episode has me wondering about power levels again. How much stronger is Tousen now if he can order Grimmjow around? I guess what I’m getting at is that I wonder if he’s stronger than Zaraki now. I’d love to see them in a rematch of their Soul Society battle (then again, as I’ve said in the past, I’d love to see more of Zaraki in general).
Anyway, new Bleach OPs and EDs always manage to get me excited about this show all over again. And the preview for next week shows lots of juicy bits, including more of Tousen, and Ichigo going up against Shinji.