After Ulquiorra blasted a hole through Ichigo’s chest, apparently killing him, Inoue rushes to Ichigo and attempts to use her powers to heal him. Ishida attacks Ulquiorra in an attempt to buy time for Inoue, but his attacks are ineffective and he is quickly defeated. Ichigo, after Inoue cries out for him, suddenly revives and transforms into a new hollow form. This form is able to easily beat back Ulquiorra using various hollow powers. Though Ulquiorra is able to stay in the fight due to his regenerative powers, he still is unable to land a hit with his Lanza del Relámpago, and Ichigo fires a cero at point blank range.
I thought this was one of the most exciting episodes of Bleach in a while. While Inoue got on my nerves with her repeated crying for Ichigo, this was perhaps the natural response given the situation. I felt rather sorry for Ishida, who clearly tried his best. If only other characters would fight with their brains in addition to brawn, many Bleach fights might have ended differently. He can fire a impressive barrage of arrows and move at a decent speed; it’s unfortunate his arrows don’t have enough power and his deadlier attacks take too long to set up.
For a moment, I wondered what it would be like if Ichigo actually died, but it seems this series doesn’t deviate too far from shounen clichés. However, seeing Ichigo’s new hollow form was very cool indeed and I wonder if this was in any way related to Inoue’s powers. While her powers purportedly can turn back time, it is not clear whether it can reverse even death (since there was no noticeable healing with Soten Kisshun). Regardless, with this new form Ichigo pretty much completely turned the battle around 180 degrees, reversing the power difference (though I noticed Ulquiorra wasn’t crushed as badly as Ichigo had been previously). With a attack stronger than Ulquiorra’s best cero and coupled with incredible speed, I’m curious how well he (it?) would do against Aizen. The hollow form is clearly not just a berserker attacking blindly, instead using various tactics to complement its power.
I was disappointed that Ulquiorra didn’t manage to land a hit in with Lanza del Relámpago; I was wondering how much damage it could do Ichigo if it hadn’t missed (it looks as powerful as a nuke). This point might be null though, seeing as how he pretty much grabbed the lance and crushed it with his bare hands. And now with this battle coming to an end, we’ll be seeing more of Rukia, Chad, and Renji next week.