Summary:

Rukia returns to Soul Society concerned about Byakuya, but he’s still missing according to Renji. While wandering around thinking about him, Rukia happens to come across Sode no Shirayuki terrorizing some Shinigami, so she steps in to stop her. Sode no Shirayuki makes it a point to say that she’s now free and can do what she wants, and in the ensuing battle, she shows that Rukia has a hard time fighting without her Zanpakutou techniques. Rukia tries to counter with a kidou spell, but Sode no Shirayuki has no problem protecting herself with a barrier of ice. As she dodges the counterattack, Rukia wonders why Sode no Shirayuki seems to hate her, and she remembers her joy practicing her techniques in front of Kaien many years ago. Just when it looks like Sode no Shirayuki is about to finish her off though, Ichigo steps in and saves her. Rukia doesn’t think that Ichigo should be here when they don’t know what’s behind the Zanpakutou uprising, but Ichigo feels that it’s fine and that they just have to find out what that reason is.

Ichigo then engages Sode no Shirayuki in battle, but she soon notices that he’s hesitating to attack her. She has no such reservations towards him though and uses the full extent of her ice powers. Rukia tries to take advantage of this by attempting a sneak attack, but Sode no Shirayuki senses it coming and easily blocks it. Not giving up, Rukia has Ichigo back down since this is her fight, and Sode no Shirayuki admits that she hates her and that her goal is to deprive Rukia of everything important to her. Rukia responds by acknowledging that her Zanpakutou is free now, and she asks her to calm her hatred. Sode no Shirayuki is surprised to hear this, and she’s even more surprised to see Rukia use another kidou spell to bind them together. Rukia is ready to relinquish everything and uses a final kidou spell whose explosion envelopes both of them. Her farewell causes Sode no Shirayuki to want to reach out to her again, but she’s stopped by Muramasa. His appearance also stops Ichigo dead in his tracks and distracts him from checking up on the now unconscious Rukia. When Ichigo questions who he is, Muramasa reveals that he’s a Zanpakutou.

Preview

There’s something to be said for this new anime original arc; it’s pretty damn good. The entire time when Rukia was talking to Sode no Shirayuki inside that swirling ball, I kept thinking that this was powerful stuff they usually reserved for late in an arc. And yet here we are only three episodes into it, and we’re already seeing such a high profile battle that carries with it so much character development. For a series like Bleach whose anime originals haven’t been great and whose main story often tends to drag on, this is a refreshing and exciting change of pace. The animation quality has stayed above average as well, so that’s another bonus.

I think my main complaint about this episode is how they lowered Ichigo’s level a bit to make Sode no Shirayuki seem more powerful. Basically, I don’t understand why Ichigo was caught off-guard by her techniques. After all this time, surely he should know them by now, and even if he didn’t, he should be more than powerful and agile enough to avoid everything she can throw at him. Oh well, that didn’t take away too much from what was otherwise an enjoyable episode.

Muramasa confirming that he’s a Zanpakutou was interesting as well (though not really surprising given the origins of his name), and I wonder who he originally belonged to. It’s probably another anime original character, but it could also be any number of captain or vice-captain class Shinigami whose Zanpakutou names haven’t been revealed yet. In any case, next week looks to be the showdown between Ichigo and Zangetsu, and it should be another interesting episode since it appears to have Ichigo being forced to bring out his Hollow side.

66 Comments

  1. OHHH MY GOD!!! i just realized something about this NEW ZANPAKUTOU/CHARACTER arc.
    i mean, IMAGINE!! imagine the doujins that can be made!!! the combination’s ARE LIMITLESS!!!!!!!!!

    BROOKLYN otaku
  2. At the preview, Ichigo would hesitate to fight Zangetsu, but the way he was relentlessly trying to hit him, more looks like Ichigo’s hollow side has taken over. If that’s the case, I can’t wait to see that!

    Karis
  3. I don’t think they should have made Ichigo seem weaker than he normally is. When I was watching this, I was thinking, “Damnnn… He got pretty weak.” Other than that, I enjoyed this episode. This arc’s definitely better than the Bount and the bratty kid.

    Lauren
  4. So Muramusa is a Zanpaktou Spirit as well? Than where is his original owner? How did he separate from his Shinigami partner? And Zangetsu will be shown fighting Ichigo after all? This getting more confusing with every episode? When they get back to the original story?

    Matt Gross
  5. Well, I could definitely see him being Kenpachi’s zanpakutou. Think about it, Muramasa is starting a rebellion because he’s tired of shinigami ruling over them, and Kenpachi’s always treated his zanpakutou as inferior.

    ZeroBreaker
  6. Without question, Murasama HAS to be the Zanpaktou for Yoruichi. He has a slight feminine/cat vibe to him (the long fingernails, ne?), and he is acting in definace to the set regulations of the Shinigami world (sound familiar?). Also, notice how in the real world is very eager to be the one who goes back to the spirit world, when she usually likes working from the shadows. Why else except to get her Zanpaktou to quit this nonsense. This is too easy…

    Murrman84
  7. @ Lauren I think he was getting weeker because Zangetsu was starting to seperate from him
    and I doubt they would use kenpachi’s zanpaktou this way, murasama is defnatly anime original. But wait until riujin jaka shows up that will be awesome

    Peter
  8. So, look look like I was right about last week. Sns would beat Ichigo do to some kind of move – in this case it may be Zangetsu who will turn on Ichigo.
    what suprised me the most that this episode they made Rukia seem stronger than how she would normally be.

    Oh and as for animations for future episode. It look like Youko-san will be in charge of episode 236. And previously was the animator who did 219.

    Deathdakid
  9. Itll b interesting to see kenpachi’s zanpakuto, cuz if u remember when he fought ichigo they said that his zanpakuto was screaming cuz he was under so much pain, i want to see yoruichi’s zanpakuto cuz they havent mentioned it at all, and as for the next ep i didnt expect zangatsu and ichigo to fight each other bcuz they have a strong bond… But i do think its cool they get to battle

    Dabaldeagle
  10. it will be awesome if the Muramasa were ichigo’s father zanpaktou and had some reason to seek vengeance with soul society and ichigo’s father, and maybe that’s why ichigo’s father been banned too…
    😛

    will
  11. Aren’t the creators going too far? I don’t see the shinigami trusting their zanpakutous after this. Unless this arc will be treated unlike the other fillers a.k.a. it will be forgotten.

    dio
  12. This episode had so many annoying things in it that by half way through I was ready to gouge my eyeballs out and stuff them down my throat while sticking nine inch nails in my ears. The next time I hear someone say “watakshi” or how ever it’s spelled I might go on a murderous rampage.

    Luckily it got a tad better towards the end. Still though, Ichigo has GOT to be the most annoying “bad-ass” main character ever in the history if story telling.

    SP
  13. Will I was thinking the exact same thing. At some point they have to tell Ichigo’s fathers story and it would make perfect sense to have this guy be his fathers sword and he was abandoned when Ichigo’s dad went and disappeared from SS.

    Splash
  14. wud this be the first time we gonna see ichigo in shikai and hollow @@?!

    after reading the origin of Muramasa,the line “was a most skillful smith but a violent and ill-balanced mind verging on madness” confirmed my suspicion of it belong to zaraki

    brianleung8912
  15. I think that it’s sliiightly less that they depowered Ichigo and slightly more, as Shirayuki herself said, that he’s hesitating because he knows she’s Kuchiki Rukia’s zanpakuto. You have to then take that hesitation as sufficient for the bruising he got (like his arm being frozen), but eh. It’s likely he could have defeated her, Ichigo being Ichigo, but it wasn’t his fight anyway.

    Kylara
  16. I am SO please with this arc. Rukia fans will be happy. I also want to remember how they go about discovering their zanpaktous, because didn’t they originate from them? How would they regain their own awareness?

    I detect some Les Yay between Rukia and her powers. 😛

    starss
  17. I really REALLY doubt that the Muramasa is Zaraki’s or Yourichi’s spirit. The anime team has yet to really mess with anything that isn’t completely canon yet. Yea they have taken some liberties here and there, but it hasn’t been anything major like giving a shinigami who’s zanpakuto hasn’t been revealed yet.

  18. I may be remembering it wrong but, I think, it was mentioned this is going to be supervised and parts of it were written by Kubo (just like he did with the Menos Forest). Cause if it is, then no wonder it’s better than Bounto arc. Heck, I may even say it’s close to Aizen level of greatness ^^;

    StiFF
  19. It’s called filler jobbing (as if Bleach doesn’t have enough excuses for jobbing); basically Ichigo’s weakened in fillers, such as in the Bount arc, I was watching it as I though “Why doesn’t Ichigo go Bankai already?”

    Duran
  20. This arc is very very cool so far. Rukia and Shirayuki near the end was gold.

    SPOILER

    @ Dio. If this episode was any indication then why wouldn’t the Shinigami trust their Zanpako again? Shirayuki had changed her mind at the end and wanted to save Rukia because they are one. Rukia letting her sword go was the trigger for Shirayuki to realise that she didn’t want to be free of her master/partner (which ever one you prefer).

    END OF SPOILER

    I don’t think Muramasa is the Zanpakto of anyone we know. (especially not Kenpachi or Ichi’s dad, thats too important to the main story i think).
    If anything he’s probably an ancient sword. Maybe the first Zanpakto that existed? (hence the power over the others @HollowZangetsu)

    Don’t forget the name ‘MURAMASA’. He was a swordsmith. Mabye a sword was crafted which contained the creators spirit (the Zanpakto). Somewhere down the line the two (or at least the spirit) fell out and hated towards Shinigami had been the outcome.

    Kazeshini
  21. @StiFF. Kubo was involved but only in a limited way. He gave general character designs for the spirits and maybe some episdoe ideas. But in terms of down to the single line and episode planning, that’s left to the anime team.

  22. Btw, a tip for everyone:

    After finishing the 78th episode of Gintama I can safely conclude (and recommend) that Gintama is, in fact, superior to Bleach in every possible way. MUCH funnier, the action is WAY better and hell, even the OST kicks Bleach’s ass. And a LOT less talking and hesitating. I highly recommend that if you haven’t already done so, check Gintama out. And don’t quit after the first five episodes or so (which is what I almost did).

    No hate on Bleach, but seriously talking it’s shit compared to Gintama.

    SP
  23. dude i tried Gintama…i really did. gave it a full 20somthing episodes ,even skipped deep into it to see if thing got hot or changed up or something. but no. BORING, or should i say i think its an acquired taste, like lucky star. the whole “we have a problem and solved it in an episode or two” thing is tiresome. “yeah i know there’s an underlying story,but meh”.
    BETTER ACTION!!?? really?? please direct me to these better action episodes you speak of, give me the exact numbers# cuz watching it your lucky if homeboy even pulls out his blade to scratch his butt. just my opinion but gintama is a satire show. it’s good at that.some NICE characters though

    BROOKLYN otaku
  24. I have a question.

    How does one watch this episode and draw to the conclusion that “they” made Ichigo weaker in full release mode compared to the comic or canon based episodes?

    ….Did I watch the same episode? Was this episode 232?
    Do some of you need mama and papa to come and explain why the sun rises or how to tie your shoes for you ?

    If, the answer was yes, then please disregard my astonishment.

    If the world still exist in the morning when I wake up, I’m taking a day off OMFG.

    Charlie
  25. I’m equally not surprised that Muramasa is a zanpakuto. But “no” I hope to God that it’s not supposed to be Kenpachi’s. My only complaint about this arc is that they’re taking it upon themselves to design the zapakuto materialized forms themselves.

    Well, I doubt Tite Kubo will take any time away just to show how every character’s zapakuto looks but…

    …the last thing we need is something as non-canonical as them making up Kenpachi’s zapakuto themselves.

    I mean we waited HOW LONG FOR HISAGI’S SHIKAI?!

    It was worth the wait, IMO. Tite Kubo came up with it himself and I’d rather see him do the same thing with Zaraki rather than a filler do it now and it possibly contradicts/conflicts with what may be revealed later in the manga.

    This isn’t Marvel/DC Comics where you retcon is a common place problem solver…<_<

    Disillusion
  26. @Charlie

    Here’s something to think about. We also don’t know how this filler fits
    into the chronology of the Bleach Universe.

    I mean heck, the last filler arc was written off as an in-story manga that the characters
    were reading themselves, I believe.

    But we should have our answer if/when Chad and Uryu get in on this action.

    Disillusion
  27. i think this is the best among previous filler arcs though it might still be early to conclude this being only the 3rd episode aired so far.

    i don’t think ichigo was weakened in order to make sode no shirayuki powerful. i guess the reason why he got his ass beat was because of his restraint and her use of her skills differently. she can use tsukishiro over medium ranges compared to how rukia uses it within a limited short range and she can even freeze the enemy’s weapon by just having their swords clash a technique that wasn’t shown in previous episodes (i think)

    though i wonder why she really hated rukia to the point of depriving her of everything. was it because rukia relied too much on her or was it because rukia used her to show off to kaien during her earlier years? anyways, i hope those internal issues gets resolved even if mentioned as i have not felt the real end of rukia vs sode no shirayuki

    baka~
  28. Muramasa could easily be a fake name that he gave himself, just like how Kenpachi gave himself a name. It kind of makes sense if muramasa was treated so badly he couldn’t even know his own name.

    I can’t imagine if the anime team decided to do something whack and like make Koga(the last surviving bount) appear (albeit just to get killed) or something.

    Klinsen
  29. For Velius and Stiff:

    Kubo is really involve in all the filler (Bount arc, Amagai, menos forest, zanpakuto rebellion, game and the movies)

    He not only work on the chara design, but create the main story of each arc. I have read this in an interview

    kraken
  30. The new captain story was announced as break from the main story. So in my opinion, I assume, most fans who follow the comic and anime or both respectively would at best treat them as a side story/ originals. What else can you call them?

    (alternative universe/time line; whatever floats ones boat) I think its better if you not really factor them in with the whole canon chronology issue and treat them as specials.

    As for the previous anime original act you mentioned, I’m not really following where you are going with that. Including what Chad and Uryu’s possible appearance having to do with anything in the current one…

    About Kenpachi, I think in the new story, he “went somewhere” hence him not being shown and then the issue of his Soul Slayer being unaccounted for during the upheaval won’t affect the story. Also I belive Kubo is affiliated with the creation of the Zanpaktou’s forms.

    Anyway, cheers mates.

    Charlie
  31. Also, I predict that what Rukia did this episode will cause Sode no Shirayuki, and maybe some other zanpakutou, to side with the shinigami again. I’m looking at Tobiume and Houzukimaru.

    Torint
  32. What could be Muramasa’s reason for causing all the Zanpaktou to separate from their partners and fight against them? If he is a Zanpaktou, how did he separate from his partner and where is his partner now? I always thought that Ichigo and Hitsugaya had a strong bond with their own Zanpaktou.

    Matt Gross
  33. Murrman84: “This is too easy…”

    Yoruichi? Wtf that is the most random theory ever. I promise you Muramasa is not from Kenpachi or any other canon character. This is an anime only storyline (non in the manga) so they are not going to reveal important information about the characters. Kenpachi would power up a lot if he knew his sword’s name and the anime original scenes can’t change the universe. If you’ve read the manga then you know 100 episodes from now Kenpachi still does not know his sword’s name. I’m disappointed this is an anime original arc because it’s pretty sweet and would be a cool way to introduce kenpachi’s zanpaktou (like everyone wants)

    Exodus
  34. yay bleach finally goes to its interesting days..I stopped watching the anime and reading the manga when the beginning of the long tiring battle has started.. but this arc is extremely so interesting.. the original author of this story deserves hundreds praises.. I’m going to watch this arc to the end.. it feels so bleach now ^__^ *it’s so good to be a rukia’s fan XD*

    hananon
  35. Well,if you think about it,the only shinigami(former at that) that’s missin’ a sword is Yoruichi.Probably she lost contact with it and it started a rebellion as soon as it found how to get to soul society.Hm,but also the reply about Muramasa being Kanpachi’s is a good deduction aswell.

    Lillian

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