After Sado defeats Demoura with his El Directo attack, a heavily injured Iceringer curses the humans, but Ishida makes it clear that he’s a Quincy. In fact, he’s kept Iceringer alive because he wants him to tell Aizen that they should fear a Quincy, not a Shinigami. Unfortunately, all this fighting appears to be causing this room to collapse, though Iceringer reveals that it’s actually collapsing because he and Demoura – the guards – were defeated. He tells them that there is no end to the battle and that there will be no victory for them, and as the chunks of the ceiling crush his body, Iceringer explains that they follow Aizen because there is nothing that he fears. Having barely managed to escape via the stairwell before the underground structure completely caved in, Ichigo and company find themselves in a desolate desert landscape. In the distance, however, is a gigantic structure that resembles a palace, and the three conclude that Inoue has to be in there somewhere, so they start heading towards it. After a long period of running however, Sado senses something and stops. A sandstorm of sorts suddenly starts, and the three get blown up into a twister, but Ishida saves them by creating a spirit barrier around them. Unfortunately, the barrier starts cracking, so Sado punches it, and the force of that ejects them from the twister.
The three’s presences have meanwhile been detected by the ten Espada who have gathered for a meeting, and Aizen soon joins them. After serving tea, Aizen presents a hologram of the three intruders and introduces them. He forbids his Espada from underestimating these three, and his talking about how these guys entered Soul Society leads to the Espada figuring out that they’re here to save Inoue. Grimmjow doesn’t want to stick around talking any longer and gets up to go kill the enemy, and although Aizen is pleased that Grimmjow would act on his behalf, he’s not done talking yet and uses his spiritual pressure to get Grimmjow to submit. Aizen then tells the other Espada that there’s no reason to make a fuss about this, so he wants them to return to their areas and wait for the enemy. He finishes by urging them not to be afraid because as long as they stay with him, there are no enemies who can stand against them. Back outside, Ichigo and the others stop for a breather because it doesn’t seem like they’re getting any closer to the palace. Ichigo suggests that it could be a mirage, and although Ishida shoots that idea down, Ichigo doesn’t care to know the explanation behind it.
Ichigo then notices a small lizard-like hollow running around, and this piques his curiosity into what that kind of Hollow eats around here. Ishida explains that Hueco Mundo has a high concentration of spirit particles in the atmosphere, so a small Hollow can be nourished just by breathing. The reason he knows about all this is because the Quincy fight by making use of the spirit particles around them, and he points out that the Arrancar will benefit from this atmosphere too. When Ishida starts going into length about how they’re not only the Arrancar’s enemies but also their food, Ichigo tunes him out and gets ready to start running again. Before he can get very far though, Ichigo senses something coming, and a giant worm-like creature suddenly emerges from the sand behind them. Along with two others Hollows, it appears to be chasing what Ichigo thinks is a human child, so Ichigo goes to save her.
As feared, the animation quality wasn’t so great for the first half of this episode, but it got a lot better by the second half. The one thing I think is worth pointing out even though it’s not something that takes away from the episode is the slight change they made to Halibel’s uniform. Those of you who read the manga might know that the top part of her uniform only covers the top half of her breasts, but in the anime, the top covers all of it. It was this way in every scene, so I assume this was intentional and not just an animation mistake.
Aside from that, the episode gives a little introduction to the rest of the Espada cast, and I’m glad to hear that Aaroniero has two very different voices. Nnoitra also ended up being just like I had imagined him to be. Nel didn’t really have any lines this time, but she should next week. Those of you who happen to be watching Myself; Yourself and don’t like Aoi’s voice might want to take note that Kaneda Tomoko will be voicing Nel too. Next week will probably also set us up for this upcoming anime original arc involving Rukia.