Ichigo is still in training with Hiyori, but up to now he’s only increased the amount of time he can keep on the mask by half a second. At home, because Yuzu is almost in tears over how Ichigo hasn’t come home, Isshin suggests that it’s just Ichigo rebelling from his surroundings. Isshin recalls a similar experience in his own adolescence and feels that Ichigo is currently out somewhere satisfying his heart’s desires. Karin is also confident that Ichigo is fine, so Yuzu calms down. Hitsugaya, Rangiku, Ikkaku, and Yumichika are meanwhile at the park discussing how they have to get stronger for the upcoming battle when Rangiku realizes that it’s time for her to go shopping. She ends up trying on and buying lots of outfits, and then checks out an accessories store after the clothing store. There, she finds a necklace with a flute-type object attached to it, but when she blows on it, she starts to hear another sound – one that reverberates through the city. Her cell phone informs her of a Hollow in town, and since she’s closest to it out of all the Shinigami, she decides to go investigate.
The sound eventually stops when Rangiku arrives at the park, but the ground suddenly starts exploding in front of her. A boy gets tossed from the smoke, and Rangiku quickly realizes that he’s a soul. This boy seems to be fighting a large Hollow, so Rangiku attacks it to protect him. It manages to catch her zanpaktou swing in its mouth, and it is at this point that Rangiku realizes that she’s actually fighting something similar to an Arrancar except that its spiritual pressure is murky. The Arrancar doesn’t seem to care about her as much as it wants the boy, so Rangiku decides to take the boy to safety. Fortunately, Ikkaku then arrives and quickly destroys the enemy. Yumichika and Hitsugaya also show up because of how the Hollow’s spiritual pressure pattern had suddenly changed. They figure out that Rangiku was fighting an incomplete Arrancar – but still an Arrancar – and Hitsugaya thinks that Aizen must have intentionally sent it. As for the boy, he manages to piss off each of the Shinigami by addressing them as old or bald (in Ikkaku’s case), and he refuses to go to Soul Society because he claims to still have things to do.
Hitsugaya manages to ask the boy about hearing the sound and if the Arrancar said anything to him, but since they think that the boy can’t tell them anything and just happened to be in the right place, Hitsugaya decides to send the boy off to Soul Society. The boy still refuses to go, so Rangiku suggests that he might be confused about what happened earlier and allows him to stay with them for the night. However, in the middle of the night, the boy sneaks out with Matsumoto’s zanpaktou. He doesn’t get very far before he’s caught by her again, and she gets back what is hers. When she questions why he took it, he tells her that it has nothing to do with them, so she makes him realize that it does have to do with them and gets him to apologize. However, the boy still doesn’t saying anything when she asks him about his name, family, or why he was at that place. He finally admits that he’s looking for someone and that his name is Toyokawa Shouta, but right after he says this, the sound starts up again. Across the city, the Arrancar is back, and Rangiku can sense his spiritual pressure.
Well, as expected, this was an anime original episode centered around Rangiku. I guess this was okay as far as these type episodes go, but I just skipped right through that part with Rangiku trying on clothes because it was clearly put in as fanservice and to kill some time. I’m not a big fan of bratty kids either, but it seems that we’re stuck with him for a while longer. Unfortunately, based on the future episode titles, it looks like this mini-arc will last until at least episode 131, which is a lot longer than I had thought. I’m hoping it doesn’t last anywhere near as long as the Bount stuff did, but at least they’re using Arrancar and not just making up a new race of bad guys. I don’t have high hopes for it, but we’ll see how this turns out.
As a side note, is this really such a bad punishment?