Having returned to her apartment, Inoue is writing out some housekeeping instructions for Rangiku and Hitsugaya. On her wrist is a bracelet from Ulquiorra that makes it so that only Arrancar can recognize her existence while also allowing her to pass through any substance. In addition, Ulquiorra had given her 12 hours to say goodbye to only one person, and that person isn’t allowed to realize the truth. Around this time, over at Urahara’s underground training area, Ikkaku and Yumichika are making a lot of noise while getting bandaged up for their wounds while Hitsugaya watches over them. Noticing that Urahara has been deep in thought ever since the Arrancar left, Hitsugaya considers how lucky they were to get out with only this much damage against all those Espada. He knows that the Arrancar preparations are already complete, so they have to hurry with their own preparations. Unfortunately though, they’re having trouble contacting Soul Society.
Inoue meanwhile is walking through the streets when she accidentally bumps into someone, but that person is unable to see her. She then notices that she has no reflection in a store window and that she is able to pass her hand right through it. Still thinking about who she’s going to say goodbye to, Inoue heads to school and stares at Ichigo’s desk. When she hears some students coming, she hides in the front of the room, but accidentally knocks over Ichigo’s chair in the process. The two students turn out to be Mizuiro and Keigo, and seeing the knocked over chair causes them to start talking about how Inoue, Sado, and Rukia have all been absent. When Keigo thinks that he and Mizuiro been left out of something, Mizuiro suggests that they’re probably not the only ones and cites Tatsuki too. This causes Inoue to start thinking about her memories with Tatsuki, and she sees Tatsuki walking with the karate club a short while later. Tatsuki senses something when a soccer ball gets kicked towards Inoue and passes through her head, but Tatsuki gets called away by her club before either she or Inoue can act.
Later that night, Rukia is having trouble contacting Inoue who she still thinks is in Soul Society. Rukia is currently in Ichigo’s room watching over him as he rests after Hachigen had used a spatial regression technique to repair him. Since she’s been kept in the dark, Rukia is left wondering who the Vizards are, what power Ichigo is trying to obtain, and why the Arrancar suddenly stopped fighting and left. She’s thinking about going to Inoue’s apartment when she hears Yuzu and Karin outside the room, and she finds that the two have brought dinner. After eating, Rukia washes her plate and has a brief chat with Ichigo’s father who thinks that Ichigo got beat up by students from another school. She then leaves for Inoue’s apartment, but unbeknownst to her, Inoue arrives at Ichigo’s house soon after. Using her bracelet power to pass through his window, Inoue enters Ichigo’s room and tells the still-sleeping him that she’s come to say goodbye even though there are a lot of other people she wants to say goodbye to too.
Noticing Ichigo’s sisters sleeping on the floor beside his bed with the dirty dishes beside them, Inoue guesses that they wanted to eat with him in his room after he had been gone for so long, and this makes her realize that this is the first time she’s come to his room by herself. With Ichigo’s smell all around her, Inoue bends down and tries to kiss him, but she stops just short and starts crying instead because she can’t do it. Taking a step back, Inoue admits that she had a lot of things she wanted to do, including becoming a teacher, becoming an astronaut, running her own cake shop, going to the doughnut shop to order everything, and going to the ice cream shop to order everything. She thinks of how nice it would be to live her life five times over so that she could be born in five different places, eat five different things, and have five different jobs. For all five times though, she feels that she would fall in love with the same person. Inoue then thanks Ichigo and bids him farewell. Back in her own room, on the notebook she had been writing in earlier, Inoue had signed off with the words “good bye. halcyon days.”
They stretched one chapter into an entire episode, but it was animated much better than usual, and the last scene was everything I expected it to be. I’ve said before that I’ve been waiting for them to get to this point, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. One of the reasons I like this part of the story so much is that it solidifies the romance element that’s been relatively absent from this series. That’s not to say that I want Bleach to become relationship drama heavy or anything, but the story gets a bit stale if it’s all fighting all the time, so I welcome stuff like this.
The main thing I still don’t understand though, is why Ulquiorra even gave her twelve hours to say goodbye to someone. He doesn’t seem like the kind of person who’d have any sort of sympathy for her, and the only logical reason I can think of is that he knew she’d go see Ichigo and that he could predict what Ichigo would do when he found out. Or maybe Kubo Tite just needed a way for Inoue to say a memorable goodbye to Ichigo. Anyway, the next two episodes look like they’re going to be continuing the manga story (for now), though the anime will be taking a break on Oct. 10th before coming back for episode 144 on Oct. 17th.