With Ishida and Renji’s group back where they started, Szayel first goes over the battle thus far before explaining that he rearranged the corridors so that the group returned here. He then releases his zanpaktou by swallowing it, and the ensuing transformation gives him a pair of wings. In this state, Szayel shoots a blast of a dark liquid out of his back, and a doppelganger is created every time someone touches the liquid. Ishida, Renji, Pesche, and Dondochakka all come in contact with it, so all four get doppelgangers who possess all their abilities. The only bright side to this is that Szayel reveals that he’s canceled the mechanism of the room that was sealing their abilities. Despite this, the four still don’t have an edge over their opponents, and it gets worse when Szayel lets out more liquid that in turn creates more doppelgangers.
Ichigo meanwhile has his hands full going up against Nnoitra, and Nnoitra has the added advantage of knowing the scope of Ichigo’s abilities after he watched the fight against Grimmjow. Inoue wants to help, but Tesla warns against that and claims that he could easily destroy her fragile power. However, he’s under orders from Aizen not to do so unless attacked. Inoue then remembers Nel, but Nel has disappeared out of sight, and when Tesla realizes what Inoue is thinking about, he finds Nel and destroys the rubble she was hiding behind. After knocking Ichigo away, Nnoitra approaches Nel and recognizes her. From the look on Ichigo’s face, Nnoitra realizes that Ichigo brought Nel along without knowing who she is, so he reveals that Nel’s full name is Neliel Tu Oderschvank, and she’s a former Espada.
Well, I was initially disappointed that – like last week – half this episode was recap. However, then I thought about it and decided that I’d probably rather have half recap/half manga story than all anime original story. These recaps are probably just an easy way to kill time so that the production team can stretch out the manga story longer, and I suspect that future episodes will probably have some anime original aspects for that same purpose. I’m okay with this since they’re doing a pretty good job of how they’re adapting the rest of the story. On the other hand, I do think they neutered the scene where Szayel shoves his sword down his throat by making everything all sparkly purple with no blood visible. It was still kind of disturbing, but it probably would have been more so without that purple glow.
The big surprise this week (assuming you haven’t read the manga) is that Nel used to be an Espada. This would have segued nicely into the battle and surprise next week, but I think the preview revealed a bit too much. Then again, this was technically already spoiled in the new OP animation, so I guess it’s not a big deal anymore. What I’m most curious about now is how Kaneda Tomoko will sound in a more mature Nel role since she usually voices young girl characters. It looks like we’ll find out next week.