As he runs through the hallways of Las Noches, Renji can sense Rukia’s spiritual power, but he isn’t able to figure out what’s going on. Rukia is, at this moment, in a lot of trouble because she’s rolling on the ground while Kaien is trying to stab her. She manages to get back up to counterattack, but Kaien avoids all of her techniques. He reminds Rukia that he knows all of her abilities since he helped her develop them, however Rukia continues telling herself that this person isn’t Kaien. She then senses the spiritual power of both Ishida and Sado, so Kaien tells her about how her friends are fighting the Privaron Espada. Kaien thinks that her friends will die soon and she can’t do anything about it, but Rukia doesn’t give up and continues to attack. Feeling that Rukia is at the limits of her powers, Kaien decides to release his zanpaktou into its trident form. The long weapon gives him an advantage of range, and his technique involves twirling the weapon. Rukia recognizes this, and though her mind knows that this man isn’t Kaien, everything else keeps telling her that it is truly him. She ends up feeling that she has to believe in the Kaien in her memories who taught her to fight and who gave her a place to belong.
Kaien surprises Rukia by disarming her with his trident, but Rukia strikes back with a demon arts spell. Kaien is able to dodge it, however in doing so, he lets the blast blow a hole in the wall of the room, allowing sunlight to stream in. Seeing Kaien quickly move out of the way, Rukia remembers what he said earlier about disliking sunlight, so she decides to use another spell to restrain him while she prepares two more – one to hold him in place and the second to blow a bigger hole in the wall behind him. Unable to escape the sunlight, Kaien’s face melts off to reveal Aaroniero Arruruerie’s true form consisting of two small heads in a liquid container. Referring to himself in the plural, Aaroniero seems to know all about the demon arts spells Rukia just used, though he admits to not having memories of her being able to use them. What’s most important to Rukia is that she now knows for sure that Aaroniero isn’t Kaien, so she feels that she can kill him without mercy now. Telling Rukia not to underestimate him, Aaroniero returns to the shadow and demonstrates that he can still use his power where there’s no sunlight by changing back into Kaien. However, Aaroniero rejects Rukia’s belief that his power is to transform.
The truth is that Aaroniero is the only Espada who is a Gillian even though Gillians normally don’t have the power to enter the ranks of the Espada. The reason for this is because he’s the only Arrancar who can infinitely evolve, an ability was originally the spirit fusing one belonging to the Metastacia that fought the real Kaien. Aaroniero had simply ate the Metastacia’s spirit, and he now takes the glove off his left hand to reveal an appendage with a mouth at the end. His ability is called Glotonería, which allows him to eat dead Hollows and take on their abilities and spiritual force, and from eating Metastacia, he got Kaien’s body, abilities, and memories. Aaroniero then releases Glotonería, and the lower half of his body bloats up to a huge blob with multiple tentacles and multiple mouths.
ED: 「感謝。」 (Kansha.) by RSP
Watch the ED!: Mirror 1, Mirror 2
Well the new ED is really catchy. I haven’t heard RSP before, but this was pretty good. I also can’t help but notice how much Inoue stands out in the next to last shot of the ED, with Ichigo in the final shot. It makes me think of IchigoXInoue all over again.
The thing that’s always bothered me about Aaroniero and Kaien is that it doesn’t address anything about a Kaien/Ichigo connection. Early on in the story, they make several references to how Ichigo and Kaien are very similar, and I always thought that if Kaien come back, it’d be connected to Ichigo in some way. That angle wasn’t really developed any further though, and with this Aaroniero part of the story, the Kaien subplot seems to be finally put to rest.
Anyway, aside from that, I had no complaints about the episode. The animation quality was once again pretty good – it’s part of the reason this shot was so creepy. At this rate, I’m getting used to Bleach looking good, and the next quality drop is going to be a bit of a disappointment. This episode covered slightly less than two chapters worth, though they had to skip around a bit to take out Renji’s next battle, and they added stuff about Ishida and Sado still fighting the Privaron Espada. The fight with Cirucci appears to be what next episode is about too, and the spoilers for the episode titles for the rest of January reveal that we’ll continue with the Privaron battles, so I don’t know when they’re coming back to finish the Rukia and Aaroniero stuff.