Now that Amagai has joined Ichigo, word quickly spreads among the Shinigami ranks, and Genryuusai decides that the new captain might have violated the law. During the subsequent meeting of the captains, Ukitake suggests that they need to investigate the Kasumiooji family as well, but Genryuusai forbids it. Because of Genryuusai’s orders, Iba and his men are now searching for Amagai, and when they run into Renji, Iba makes it clear that this is not the area Renji was assigned. Renji feels that he knows Ichigo and Rukia the best and wants to be allowed to continue on, but Iba doesn’t want to disobey orders and makes a stand. This leaves Renji no choice but to use force, and Iba responds accordingly. As those two start fighting, elsewhere in Soul Society, Ikkaku and Hisagi are facing off for similar reasons. Both Renji and Ikkaku want to get to the bottom of this by finding Ichigo, and Iba eventually decides to let Renji go because he sees how much Renji trusts Ichigo and recognizes how much chaos all this has caused.
Unlike everyone else, Kira is out searching for Kibune and remembers the arena they had used for training. When he investigates that place, he finds Rurichiyo trying to escape from her cage and being recaptured. Shortly after Kira sends out a Hell Butterfly to alert Amagai, he gets attacked by Kumoi’s men. Although relatively weak individually, these men hold the advantage in numbers and are all wielding bakkoutou, and so they manage to keep Kira occupied long enough for Rurichiyo to be taken to another location. Kira tries to give chase after he finally defeats them all, however he is then attacked by Kibune and gets to face off against the person he had suspected was behind this all along.
While I understand that there’s a need to keep things interesting and varied, I think that trying to add conflict via Shinigami infighting is probably not the way to go in an anime original arc. Unlike fights against new enemies where they can at least show off new bad-guy skills, the writers are limited in what they can and cannot show for vice-captain vs. vice-captain battles because those characters’ abilities (for the most part) cannot be redefined. So we end up getting a lot of sword clashing and nothing very compelling to watch. Of course, it also doesn’t help that all the Shinigami infighting due to Ichigo’s actions and Genryuusai’s inflexibility seems like just a redux of what already happened way back in the original Soul Society arc.
Hopefully the Kibune vs. Kira battle will be more interesting than what happened this episode. I suspect that Kibune has to have at least one more trick up his sleeve, and I’m sure they’ll work in the doubling-weight effect of Wabisuke as well before this is all over.