Despite having failed to stab Nnoitra through the head, Zaraki is happy to know that Nnoitra is killable. He has the upper hand when the two go at it again, and he manages to cut Nnoitra’s arm, face, and weapon. Zaraki claims to have finally gotten used to the hardness of Nnoitra’s skin, and he’s even able to block Nnoitra’s Cero with his bare hand. Nnoitra makes it worse by attacking and knocking off Zaraki’s eye patch, unleashing the power that Zaraki keeps sealed away. Injured but refusing to die, Nnoitra responds by transforming into his released state. This grants him two extra arms and a scythe-like blade for each arm, but instead of being concerned like Ichigo is, Zaraki is again happy. In the subsequent clash though, Nnoitra is able to get a hit in on Zaraki that appears to knock the captain out. Zaraki then heads towards Yachiru, but she points behind him where Zaraki has gotten back up. Zaraki uses the element of surprise to lop off one of Nnoitra’s arms, and his new plan is to cut off Nnoitra’s arms one by one. Nnoitra, however, grows that arm back immediately, and his next attack ends in Zaraki being thrown into the side of a building. Zaraki tries to counter and seems to get the upper hand again, but Nnoitra drives an arm into Zaraki’s gut while they’re up close. It turns out that Nnoitra can actually have six arms in his released form.
Well this was a pretty good episode with a lot of fighting. I don’t have much to say about the battle itself, but I do want to note that Zaraki’s smile is contagious – I started smiling every time he did. What I like about this fight and Zaraki’s attitude is that he doesn’t react like everyone else does (in that gasp-and-wide-eyed-shocked-look manner) whenever their opponent powers up or gets an advantage. He just smiles because he’s having fun and loves a challenge, and you don’t really get the sense that he’s losing control over the battle.
On a slightly different note, next week should start the new ED which was revealed a while back to be Sky chord by Tsuji Shion. Looking further ahead though, I worry that the grand battle that’s going to happen soon will get put off because we’re again getting too close to where the manga currently is, and the conclusion to the Nnoitra stuff or the end of the Turn Back the Pendulum arc are the most logical places to stop for some more anime originals. I’m hoping for the latter.