Summary:

Inside of the mirrored world that Ichigo is stuck in, he comes face to face with his younger self. It causes him to remember all the time he spent with is mother when he was young and how depressed he had been when she had been killed. What’s different this time however is that she reappears one afternoon when he’s by the riverbank, acting as if nothing had ever happened. She offers her hand to take him home, but when he takes it, she squeezes his hand so tightly that it hurt. Ichigo had gotten free from her, and after remembering that his mother is dead, Ichigo concludes that this person can’t be real. This is further supported by the fact that she starts choking him, yet as Nukui points out, Ichigo can’t hurt his mother back. What Ichigo does instead is to power up, and that causes the entire mirror world to start to crack. It also causes his mother to stop choking him, and Ichigo subsequently hugs her and fills her in on how everyone in their family is doing. Ichigo then apologizes for not being able to protect her and thanks her for protecting him, and as his mother disappears, she smiles.

Having now broken out of the mirror world, Ichigo is furious at what Nukui did, but Nukui only cares about defeating Ichigo and powers up further with his bakkoutou. After they fight some more, Nukui is forced to shed his armor because the parasitic part of the bakkoutou has grown so big that it now covers his entire upper body. Ichigo quickly realizes that Nukui is being eaten by his sword, and when Nukui refuses to put a stop to it, Ichigo questions why he’s willing to go so far. In response, Nukui explains that it’s for both himself and the Kasumiooji family. He’s been part of a group that protects the family from the shadows, and when Ichigo questions why he attacked Rurichiyo, Nukui reveals that he thinks she’s too powerless to be qualified to be the next head of the family. This pisses Ichigo off because he knows that Rurichiyo personally only wants to be free, and it’s not up to Nukui to decide her fate for her. Ichigo then brings out his Hollow mask, and though he doesn’t finish Nukui off immediately with a Getsuga Tenshou attack, doing so forces Nukui to power up even more. That’s enough for Nukui’s bakkoutou to completely consume him, thus ending the fight.

Sometime later in Soul Society, Kira sees Kibune heading into the Kasumiooji estate. At the same time, Kumoi meets with Kuzuryuu – the only survivor of the previous battle. When Kumoi says that he has no longer has any use for a small fry, Kuzuryuu gets angry and tries to attack Kumoi, but Kuzuryuu quickly gets slain by a new arrival: Kibune.

Preview

I think this may be the best Bleach episode that we’ve had in a while. That’s not to say that this was exceptional, but I rather liked all the parts with Ichigo’s mother (despite it feeling a little corny at times), and it was overall much better than some of the other recent episodes. On the topic of Ichigo’s mother, it felt like Nukui actually did Ichigo a favor by letting him see her again – even if she was an illusion – and letting him get some more closure by saying the things he’s always wanted to say to her. It was a pretty touching moment for a series that’s so heavy action most of the time.

As for the cliffhanger at the end here, it looks like the writers are building on what happened in episode 172 and continuing to make Kibune a bad guy. That got me thinking – having him as a villain means that he likely won’t survive past the anime original arc. The only other newly introduced protagonist that leaves is Amagai, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Amagai eventually sacrifices himself for a good cause or turns out to be evil as well. Then again, there’s always the chance that if he is a good guy, then he could become a permanent character, like a certain trio that’s still around. The person’s death who did surprise me a little this week was Nukui. That’s mainly because the OP animation sequence still features him, and the OP usually only changes every two seasons, so either he’s not really dead, or the OP is going to continue showing him even though he’s dead (which would feel awkward), or the OP is going to change next week. In short, I’m going to be paying attention to the OP as well as the new ED next week.

22 Comments

  1. Why does Ichigo have to use his Vizard Mask to fight that little shit? Does that imply that pinky hair guy, whatever his name is, is as powerful as Grimmjow? Hell, even more powerful since he almost matched ichigo. You see, these are the things that ruins the fillers for me. For some reasons, for some very weird reasons animators decide to shit all over the main character and show him weak. I can live with fillers having stupid story, bad animation and ugly characters but this power down (or ridiculous enemy power up) is something I do not and cannot understand. Ichigo is waaaay above anybody in this pathetic excuse for fillers without him even using his Bankai.

    Patapon
  2. For a filler it was very exciting episode.

    The first half of the episode with Ichigo’s mother was amasing 🙂 And I didn’t expect to see Ichigo using his mask so soon in the original arc… Anywayz it was cool!

  3. @Patapon
    He most likely used his hollow mask to try and scare him out of fighting, and he never was on par with ichigo as he never even landed a good hit on him once he used his bankai.
    Otherwise it could have just been a fan service type thing since people hadn’t seen it in a while and wanted to.

    Stei
  4. I honestly don’t understand people who claim that it’s wrong for “filler bad guys” to be as strong as “canon bad guys”. I understand it would be a problem if Hanza turned out to be stronger than Ulquiorra, for example, but I don’t get what’s the problem with him being as strong as Grimmjow (which is not the case, btw, because Ichigo had a lot more troubles defeating Grimmjow). It’s the same case with Kariya being as strong as Byakuya; it’s necessary for the “filler bad guy” to be at least as strong (or just a little below) the previous “canon bad guy”. It was Byakuya in Kariya’s case, and it’s Grimmjow in Hanza’s case.
    “Filler” doesn’t mean that the evil guys should be weak… “Filler” just means that the original story shouldn’t mess up the canon story, that’s all… As long as we don’t get things like Hanza defeating Ulquiorra, I don’t see the problem…

    Izuru
  5. Super Special Awesome Plot Twist, oh come on are they just trying to get back there king times with the plot twist of Aizen being a baddy. The person from the same squad being a baddy, what is wrong with that squad does it have some sort of sign saying “Doable Crossers go here” or something.

    Sylar
  6. Ichigo seeing his mother although it’s just an illusion is corny. After that illusion they showed the flashback of Nukui. Do we really need flashbacks for every character! I’m sick of flashbacks! Kibune being in league with Kumoi is very predictable. What is happening to Bleach? There are too much fights and no character and story development anymore. I like fights but if it’s not going to be an exceptional fight why bother? If each fight was just done well I wouldn’t complain. I remember past episodes of Bleach and they are greater still because of better choreographed fights and better stories. I miss the “slice of life” approach of the past episodes, this is what has been missing in Bleach.

    panaghoy88
  7. @ panaghoy88
    You are sort of contradicting yourself there. This episode was easily the best of this filler arc so far.
    It had character development for Ichigo using the scenes with his mother and getting to say the things he never got the chance to say to her. That somewhat brought some closure in that sense.
    You then had character development for Nukui by showing he has risked his life countless times to serve that noble family, going above and beyond the law to do so if needs be and he was willing to risk his life to gain the power to defeat Ichigo, who was an obstacle in his way.
    You have the twist that Kibune is linked with this whole scheme, which sort of ties how we are actually going to get the 13 protection squads involved in this plot.

    Finally, this is a shonen show. In Bleach’s case it’s heavily based on the fighting. This isn’t a slice of life show and if those episodes do make there way in, they can be seen as the ‘filler’ of the ‘fillers’ to just boost the episode count somewhat.

    blinx01
  8. Clearly this show is meant for a younger audience, unfortunately, every time i decide to watch these fillers my IQ drops significantly.

    Both Bleach and Naruto were good when they started but after about 80 episodes, and still going… yeah horrible now.

    I find the manga more enjoyable than this. Anyways that’s my opinion.

    Affliction2341245
  9. It might just be me, but I think the fillers are intentionally repetetive in regards to recent events, the reason being to keep what happened before the fillers began fresh in the anime-watchers’ minds, especially if they don’t read the manga. Therefore, you get similar villain deaths and expendable new characters that either die, get tucked away into somewhere so remote they might as well be dead (the last Bounto guy), or are preserved so as to themselves preserve time on the show when they don’t want to go through too many chapters (i.e., mini-filler scenes within an otherwise manga-faithful episode). Long story short, the fillers, taken on a whole, aren’t random–they serve a purpose greater than to fill time. Certainly, some are random–the cake-baking one comes to mind–but the similarities between the Hueco Mundo arc and here, and between the Soul Society arc and in the death of the Bountos, are too great to pass by.

    Gaia
  10. Tch, I think it’s safe to say that Kifune is as good as “screwed” after this filler arc is done. I don’t hate Amagai but he’s still not the character Ichimaru was/is. I mean I’d feel some compassion if he died but, I’d still be content.

    They’re already screwing with canon material too much just by introducing those two characters and they need to clean-up this mess.

    How many episodes is this going to be again??

    If anyone has any idea.

    Disillusion
  11. @Patapon
    Nah, they’re not implying that Hanza is as strong as Grimmjow. If you paid attention, you’d noticed that Hanza was having a tough time with Ichigo, he couldn’t even land a hit. He was breathing heavily while Ichigo was normal. Ichigo even blocked Hanza’s attack with this hand once, so that shows the difference in power between them.

    Yeah, Ichigo didn’t need to use his mask, but I personally like it when he does, it makes the fights more enjoyable to watch cause the mask looks so badass.

    T12AN

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