Renji, Chad and Rukia are still struggling against Rudobon and his endless army of underlings. Their combined attack fails to hit him, but Rukia finally manages to freeze his branches while he is talking. Yammy then suddenly shows up, smashing the frozen Rudobon. Back on the roof of Las Noches, Hollow Ichigo’s cero destroys most of Ulquiorra’s body. When he tries to deal the final blow, Ishida tries to stop him; however, Ichigo throws his sword through Ishida’s abdomen, apparently single-mindedly focused on protecting Inoue. During this time, Ulquiorra partially regenerates, and cuts off one of Ichigo’s horns, causing his hollow form to disintegrate. Back to normal, Ichigo asks him to cut off his arm and leg so they can finish the fight fairly, but because Ulquiorra’s organs are unable to regenerate, he starts to fade away. Ichigo refuses to finish him off and Ulquiorra again wonders about what the human “heart” is. He reaches out to Inoue, but before she can touch his hand, he turns to dust and is blown away by the wind.
Well, it looks like even Ichigo’s overpowered hollow form has an Achilles’ heel. Ulquiorra seems to know this was his weak spot, since he hit there instead of at the neck (or maybe he was just lucky). Either way, I give props to Ulquiorra for still being able to use Sonido and land a hit in after taking a super cero to the face. I still think he’s stronger than his rank indicates, but unfortunately now he’s dead. Oh well, at least he died standing. It’s a real shame he’s gone, since he was a very interesting character. I’m not ruling out the possibility of a miraculous return though =). As for Ichigo, his no-bullshit, single-goal mode was quite refreshing. As some people pointed out last week, his skin did indeed turn pure white, which reverted back after his hollow form crumbled. On a side note, this also brings up the question of why his hollow hole was filled (high speed regeneration as Ulquiorra pointed out), but his horn couldn’t be repaired. If the regeneration powers were part of his super hollow abilities (and I assume they were), why couldn’t his horns be repaired? I suppose it’s possible his hollow form used the last of its power to heal him, before disappearing.
All in all, the final scene was about as emotional as Bleach can get (though admittedly a bit cheesy). I don’t really think Ichigo should have asked Ulquiorra to cut off his arm and leg (all’s fair in war, even if war itself is not imo), it’s understandable he would want to prove that it wasn’t his consciousness in the hollow, since it was this same form which threw a sword into his friend’s stomach. And as for Inoue, she finally breaks down and wonders why she is so useless even after training hard. Although I have mentioned I found Inoue rather annoying, I felt sympathetic towards her here, since I can imagine how much it sucks to be the dead weight among your friends even after trying your best. And finally, Ulquiorra’s monologue on the heart brings up the fact that even we don’t really understand what the human “heart” or “soul” is (e.g. goodness or emotions).
Inside Las Noches, Rukia finally lands a hit in on Rudobon finally overcoming the 3 vs infinity disadvantage (though technically it’s 3 vs 1). Unfortunately they get their kill promptly stolen by Yammy. Bad luck for them; it won’t be an easy job fighting him.