Ichigo finally releases his hollow mask and is immediately able to push back Ulquiorra. However the latter quickly flies up above the dome of Las Noches where he then releases his resurreccion. Ichigo barely survives the attack, and loses part of his mask. On the floor below, Ishida is fighting Yammy. Though his Quincy arrows don’t seem to have enough power to injure Yammy significantly, Ishida combines several of his tactics and successfully sends him plummeting to the ground. Outside the tower, Chad and Renji arrive to help Rukia against Rudobon; they fend off his underlings while Rukia attacks the spawn.
It’s exciting to see Ichigo and Ulquiorra finally releasing their powers. Ichigo’s hollow mask clearly provided a large boost of power — he almost broke Ulquiorra’s sword and blocked a cero easily. Ulquiorra however, is clearly on a different level than the other enemies Ichigo has fought so far. Even though I’ve read the manga already, I was still quite stunned when he almost decapitated Ichigo in one swift strike. His nihilistic personality is a refreshing change from the other arrogant antagonists and his resurreccion certainly increases the “emo” look. On a side note, I do agree with Ulquiorra’s question on why Ichigo didn’t release his mask right away. It’s possible he didn’t want Inoue to get hurt, which is perhaps why he used his mask once Ishida was available to protect her. Orihime’s abilities have huge potential, so it’s a shame she always ends up needing to be saved.
As for Ishida’s fight, I found it fairly interesting as well. It’s nice to see someone using their brain for once, though with his low power level, I suppose he has to. His attacks couldn’t damage Yammy significantly, but the planning beforehand certainly paid off in the end (although not enough to defeat him). It was unnecessary for him to explain his strategy to Yammy in detail, but he had no time to respond anyways, so I suppose there was no harm done. To solve Rukia’s problem, I wonder if she could have used a wide area attack (maybe kido or one of her zanpakuto abilities) to take out the small fry, then immediately followed up with an attack on Rudobon before he can spawn more. Of course, teamwork is a good strategy too; with the arrival of Chad and Renji, that shouldn’t be a problem.