Because she’s so concerned about her brother, Karin one day accidentally kicks her soccer ball too hard and causes it to fall towards the nearby road. Luckily, a stranger – Hitsugaya – stops it before it enters the intersection and returns it to her. However, he then disappears. Karin is on her way to practice soccer with her friends, but when she gets there, she finds that the junior high school students are unwilling to give up the field. She ends up arguing with the older kids through the afternoon until one of them finally suggests that they settle it with a soccer match the following Saturday. Her friends don’t think that they can win and suggest getting Ichigo to help, but she tells them that he’s on a trip. On the way home, they run into Hitsugaya again, and, after trying to get to know him, Karin asks him to help them with the game. When Hitsugaya starts to walk off, Karin kicks her ball at him, and he surprises them by returning it via a bicycle kick. The kids gather around him in amazement, but Hitsugaya soon gets a cell phone notification of a Hollow, and he notices that Karin seems to sense something too. Since he’s the closest one, he runs off to fight it.
Karin goes searching for Hitsugaya again the next day and finds him in the same spot again. In an attempt to talk with him, she asks why he comes here, so Hitsugaya explains that this spot is the best place to view the sky – it brings back memories of the time he spent with Hinamori in his childhood. Hitsugaya then gets another cell phone notification of a Hollow and when he attempts to rush off again, Karin stops him because she senses something bad again. Fortunately, one of the other Shinigami soon defeats the Hollow, making it unnecessary for him to go. Karin then tries to get him to come practice with her friends, but Hitsugaya doesn’t give her a straight answer. He does end up coming to watch Karin and her friends practice, but he leaves when Matsumoto shows up and starts teasing him about having an interest in Karin. Hitsugaya doesn’t show up when the day of the match arrives, leaving Karin and her friends to play the junior high school kids by themselves. To make matters worse, in the opening play, one of the older kids injures Karin’s leg and rendering her ineffective, further crippling the team. The junior high team quickly goes up four goals to Karin’s team’s none, but then Hitsugaya finally shows up.
With Hitsugaya’s skills, the team is quickly able to even the score, and he even lets Karin kick the goal that wins it. Afterwards, he wants to talk with her about something, but he never gets around to it because a Hollow suddenly appears. Karin is surprised that Hitsugaya can see the Hollow, but she’s also unwilling to run away because of her friends there who are now unconscious. When she kicks a soccer ball at its face, the Hollow responds by trying to smash her with its fist. Acting quickly, Hitsugaya brings out his Shinigami form and saves her. He proceeds to use his ice powers to defeat the monster and manages to slice it in half before it can use its cero blast. Once the battle is over, Karin asks him if he knows where Ichigo is since she just saw that Hitsugaya is a Shinigami too. He’s shocked to find out that she’s Ichigo’s little sister, but he admits to not knowing of Ichigo’s whereabouts. Still, he does say that Ichigo is becoming stronger, just like she is, and he tells her not to worry. Karin then gets to meet Matsumoto, and she’s impressed that Hitsugaya has a vice-captain even though he’s a grade-schooler. This of course gets him really mad because, despite how he looks, he’s not actually in elementary school.
ED: 「橙」 (Daidai) by チャットモンチー (Chatmonchy)
Watch the ED!: Mirror 1, Mirror 2
This is another interesting ED not because the song is particularly good (it’s okay, but nothing special) but because of the continued focus on Inoue, including the spoilerish beginning of it. Heck, the title Daidai even means bitter orange, which seems like a reference to her and Ichigo’s hair colors.
I actually didn’t dislike this episode as much as I thought it would (and no, Don Kanonji didn’t show up). I wouldn’t call it a great episode, but it managed to stay entertaining enough with the soccer theme combined with how Karin is searching for Ichigo. Maybe it’s because it’s been a while since we’ve had a Karin-centric episode – she’s been in some of the recent episodes, but I think the last episode she played a big part was probably back in episode 50. The other part of the reason might be because she knows Ichigo is a Shinigami, so there’s potential for something to happen with her in the story (much like Tatsuki). It’s yet to be seen in the manga if anything will happen in that regard, and hopefully the writers here haven’t dug themselves into a hole by revealing who Hitsugaya and Matsumoto are to her.
Unfortunately, the anime originals don’t appear to be over yet, as next week seems to be about Ikkaku, and future episode titles show that the weeks after that will be about Yumichika, and then about Kon and Rangiku.