Having managed to avoid Wonderweiss Margera’s attack, Urahara wonders what technique it was, and he gets his answer when Yammy hits him with the same attack. Yammy then gleefully reveals that this Bala attack is not as strong as a Cero, but it’s 20 times faster. He proceeds to fire shot after shot of it at Urahara, and even Luppi thinks that Urahara can’t live through it. Luppi then turns back to his own fight, and he gets pissed off when Rangiku calls him extremely chatty and says that that’s the kind of man she hates. Before Luppi can do anything though, he discovers that all of his tentacles have been suddenly encased in ice. This is the doing of Hitsugaya who has recovered from the earlier attack and now critiques Luppi for not following through. Since Luppi is so surprised to see him still alive, Hitsugaya explains that his Hyourinmaru is the strongest of all the ice types and that it can be revived no matter how many times it gets broken as long as there is water. If Luppi’s weapons are his eight arms, then Hitsugaya’s weapon is all the water in the atmosphere, and he uses it all to surround the Espada in a prison of ice.
Yammy meanwhile also gets a surprise when Urahara appears behind him and mocks his fear of Aizen getting angry. After having seen the Bala attack a ton of times now, Urahara feels that he won’t be hit by it anymore and strikes back at Yammy. The reason he had managed to survive the earlier attacks is because he had swapped himself out with his new portable gigai. Furious that he’s being belittled, Yammy tries to use the Bala attack again, but Urahara easily cancels it out because he’s figured out how it works. Elsewhere in the city, Ichigo is getting beat up by Grimmjow as he attempts to re-summon his mask. Grimmjow uses the opportunity to pin down Ichigo’s arms by spearing them with his sword, and he then charges up a Cero blast at point-blank range, but he doesn’t get to fire it because Rukia arrives to freeze his arm and body. With Grimmjow immobilized, Rukia attempts to pull out the sword from Ichigo’s arms, though unfortunately for her, Grimmjow breaks free and grabs her head. He attempts to finish her with a direct Cero blast to her head, and this time it’s Shinji who shows up to save her. Shinji claims to hate to get involved in Shinigami battles, but he feels it can’t be helped in this instance.
Despite Shinji not wanting to tell Grimmjow who he is, Grimmjow still attacks him. This leads to Shinji putting on his Hollow mask, and the battle quickly shifts in his favor, culminating in Shinji firing a large Cero blast. Grimmjow survives it only by firing his own Cero before Shinji’s hits him, and he responds by trying to release his true form, but he gets stopped by Ulquiorra who announces that their mission has been accomplished. All of the Arrancar then get surrounded by the Negación light, and it breaks the ice prison that Luppi was in. Before they disappear, both Yammy and Luppi vow to get back at their respective opponents the next time they meet. Ulquiorra meanwhile notices that there are traces of spiritual force that point to a new power from Ichigo, but he questions the extent of the power and feels that this is the end – the sun has already set in their hands. At that moment, Inoue is still in the dangai dimension trying to heal her two fallen escorts.
Shinji technically had a cool entrance (especially if you weren’t expecting it), but I ended up laughing at that scene because of the upbeat music they chose for it. It took away a lot of the seriousness in that scene, though I guess it does fit in with Shinji’s attitude. Other than that though, this was a good action episode with several better-animated-than-normal fight scenes; better by Bleach anime standards anyway.
I hadn’t noticed it before, but Hitsugaya appears to have lost the need for those countdown petals that used to be attached to his ban kai. I assume this means that in the past month or so, his training has allowed him to use it for an unlimited amount of time, as long as there’s water in the atmosphere. Maybe they’ll explain that later on. In any case, Ulquiorra has coerced Inoue into a deal now, and it appears from future episode titles that we’re moving forward with the manga arc for now. We should know in a few more weeks (once the rest of October’s episode titles are revealed) if we’ll be going back to anime originals or if they’re going to make the leap into the next manga arc.