Working together, Renji informs Ishida that he can keep Szayel busy for at most 20 seconds, and Ishida decides that this is enough. Renji’s subsequent attack involves grabbing Szayel and wrapping Zabimaru around both of them so that Szayel cannot escape a demon arts spell from point blank range. This succeeds in burning Szayel, but more importantly, it puts him right at the center of Ishida’s trap. Ishida then places down a fifth and final Seele Schneider, completing the star pattern that Szayel is in the middle of. Szayel thinks that all of Ishida’s weapons’ spirit forces should have been sealed off, and though this is true, Ishida can still use his silver tubes. A small drop of the spiritual power from one of these ignites the ground around Szayel, enveloping him in a pillar of energy. Ishida explains afterwards that this attack technique is called the Sprenger, and it relies both on how the Seele Schneider pommels accumulate spirit particles and on how a drop of concentrated power from the silver tubes ignites everything.
Unfortunately, this attack failed to finish Szayel off. Burned but still alive, Szayel grabs one of his Fraccións, turns it into a ball of energy, and eats it. Doing this heals his body, and once he’s completely okay again, Szayel explains that his special Fraccións can be consumed like a regenerative medicine. However, he decides not to retaliate right away because he needs a change of clothes, and he promises to think of the most grotesque way to kill Renji and Ishida. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Las Noches, Nel is crying over the fallen Ichigo when Grimmjow suddenly arrives and shuts her up. Walking up to Ichigo, Grimmjow flips his opponent’s body over and sees the chest wound that Ulquiorra inflicted. He then brings Inoue out and orders her to heal Ichigo. As she begins to do so, Inoue wonders who would have done this, so Grimmjow explains that it was Ulquiorra. He knows this because he recognizes that the circular wound on Ichigo’s chest is the same type that Ulquiorra commonly inflicts on enemies that he’s interested in – the wound is in the same spot as Ulquiorra’s own Hollow hole. Grimmjow, however, also does not take kindly to the fact that Ulquiorra went after what Grimmjow considers his own prey.
After Ichigo wakes up partway through the healing process, Grimmjow urges Inoue to hurry up because he wants to defeat Ichigo when Ichigo is unhurt. Grimmjow is in a rush because he knows that Ulquiorra will eventually figure out what’s going on and return back here. No sooner do those words come out of his mouth than Ulquiorra suddenly appears, having already found out what Grimmjow did from Loly and Menoly.
Following the edits they made last week, this week they took out most of the goriness from the scene where Szayel ate his Fracción Lumina. In the manga, Szayel takes bites directly out of Lumina and eventually spits out a half-eaten arm, but in the anime here, he changed Lumina into a ball of energy and ate that instead. I can’t fault them too much because cannibalism (kind of) seems like it’d be a big no-no for broadcast television aimed at a relatively young crowd, but removing that took out a little of the repulsiveness that comes with Szayel’s character.
Other than that though, they’re still following the manga pretty closely (three more chapters covered this week). I still have no idea how they’re going to transition into the upcoming new arc, but like I noted last week, Ichigo and Grimmjow’s fight is going to stretch to at least the beginning of April, so it seems unlikely to be a gradual thing. Speaking of which, it was announced last week that the new Bleach OP starting next month will be performed by KELUN. It takes over on the April 23rd episode, so that might be when the new arc starts too.