Emerging from a dark cloud with his mask on, Ichigo claims that he doesn’t have time to explain and immediately attacks Grimmjow with a point-blank range Getsuga Tenshou. Across town, Hitsugaya isn’t able to do any damage to Yammy without activating his ban kai, and Yumichika’s faring poorly against Luppi. Ikkaku doesn’t help his friend because he isn’t interested in fighting two against one, though this gives Luppi an idea. He asks Yammy to give him Hitsugaya and then proposes that he fight all four Shinigami at once in his released form. Remembering what Shawlong could do in his released form Hitsugaya activates his ban kai and charges Luppi, but he doesn’t make it in time to stop him. Before the dust can clear from Luppi’s release, a tentacle strikes out at him, though Hitsugaya is able to block it with his ice wings. As it turns out, Luppi’s released form gives him eight tentacles, and he proceeds to attack Hitsugaya with all of them at once, causing the captain to crash into the ground. Meanwhile, Rukia has arrived in the real world and finds Renji getting a massage from the three mod-souls, so Renji explains how he exhausted his spiritual pressure in training and how Urahara went out instead of him or Sado.
Back above the city, Grimmjow is badly wounded from Ichigo’s attack and realizes that this isn’t a Shinigami’s strength. He demands to know what Ichigo did in this past month, but Ichigo reiterates that he doesn’t have time to explain and sandwiches Grimmjow between two Getsuga Tenshou attacks. As Grimmjow falls towards the ground, he manages to fire off a Cero blast that forces Ichigo to stop and defend himself. Grimmjow then flies back up and clashes swords with Ichigo several times before Ichigo regains his advantage and gets ready to make a swing that will end this. Unfortunately for him, his mask breaks right at that moment, and Grimmjow quickly uses the opportunity to retaliate. By now, Luppi is fighting Rangiku, Ikkaku, and Yumichika all at once and manages to grab all three with his tentacles. Admiring Rangiku’s body in particular, he sprouts some spikes on another of his tentacles and offers to fill her with holes. Before he can do so though, Urahara shows up and cuts off those two tentacles. However, shortly after Urahara introduces himself, Wonderweiss Margera attacks him, and Urahara has to defend himself.
In Soul Society, Inoue is allowed passage through the dangai to the real world and is given two Shinigami as escorts. As they’re running through though, a rift in the dimensional fabric opens up and Ulquiorra appears. Recognizing him from the previous battle, Inoue tries to stop him from hurting her escorts, but he ignores her and blows away half of one Shinigami. Before that Shinigami can die, Inoue uses her power to start healing him and tells the other guy to run away. That escort doesn’t get a chance to do so because Ulquiorra blows a huge chunk out of him too, forcing Inoue to expand her healing to cover both men. Admiring Inoue’s power, Ulquiorra tells her to come with him and instructs her to reply with a yes. If she says anything other than that, he threatens to kill not her, but her friends who are currently struggling in their battles in the real world. He then reveals that Aizen wants her power and that he’s been sent to bring her back unharmed, so he’s ordering her to come with him.
I swear, a good fourth of this episode was spent on recap, including the entire first five minutes. Admittedly, this is preferable to more anime-original episodes or even full recap episodes, but they could have also just extended one of the battles a bit more, as long as it wasn’t Ichigo’s fight with Grimmjow since that’s technically time-limited. Aside from that though, they stayed fairly faithful to the manga, and I actually enjoyed Ulquiorra’s speech towards the end a lot more watching it than reading it. That part felt like it had a lot more oomph and effect when voiced and with music accompaniment.
Action-wise, the part that was most exciting for me though was seeing Urahara go up against Wonderweiss Margera. Urahara’s not someone who has gotten involved in many battles, and his opponent seems to be the kind of character who’s a child on the outside and a monster (in terms of power) on the inside. There should be a bit more of that fight next episode which will probably get as far as wrapping up this battle. There was no preview for next week’s episode though since they aired a commercial for the upcoming movie instead.