Summary:
Starrk is stabbed through the chest by Shunsui, who attacks from the shadows with Kageoni. Shunsui reveals that his zanpakuto makes “child’s games real” and uses it’s various abilities to gain an upper hand against Starrk. He destroys Lilynette, who was in the form of Starrk’s wolves. Starrk is able to hold his own for a while, but Shunsui uses Irooni to attack Starrk’s hollow hole and cuts him down. Love and Rose speak with Shunsui, who states he will sacrifice his code of honor for a victory. In flashbacks, it is revealed that Starrk was always alone, since his presence alone caused other hollows to lose their souls. He splits his soul into two, and travels with Lilynette until they meet and ally with Aizen. Back in present time, Aizen goes to Hallibel who is still fighting Lisa, Hiyori and Toshiro, and cuts her down, saying she is not strong enough.

 

Preview

Impressions:
This episode’s fight was definitely the best I’ve seen in a while. It’s always enjoyable to see two very strong characters fighting each other, and this was no exception. Starrk and Shunsui kept the action fast-paced and I loved how former refused to reveal much about his powers. Dual swords with both of them helped make the fight exciting and Shunsui’s large bag of tricks ensured that there was no lapse and that they stayed on their toes all the time. His shikai abilities are definitely one of the most unique with several games involving colors, altitude and shadows. However, I felt that there was really no need for him to explain the rules to Starrk; surprise is one large advantage he shouldn’t have hinted at so quickly- Starrk is clearly a very perceptive character. Shunsui is still much stronger than he looks though, and he manages to destroy the wolves. From the manga, I do not recall that Lilynette died along with the wolves (thought she died when Starrk did), but the anime clearly shows that she was gone when the wolves died. I also do not understand why the wolves just vanished, since Starrk was able to produce dozens of them easily and they regenerated after being destroyed; perhaps it is possible that they do drain the soul with use and so cannot be used indefinitely. Regardless, with all the flashbacks it was obvious he was going to die, which is a real shame for his character.

After Starrk’s death, Aizen finally decides to move, immediately cutting down Hallibel. Lisa, Hiyori and Toshiro were finally working together and still couldn’t do squat to her, and Aizen just defeats her in one slash. Considering Hallibel clearly saw the attack coming and Aizen wasn’t using any powers, it shouldn’t have ended that quickly. Aizen’s power is just ridiculous; I don’t know why he’s even bothering with a bunch of useless minions when he could have singlehandedly achieved all his goals by himself. Even if he’s lazy and just likes to kill time, in the end the arrancar didn’t achieve that much and it’s hard to imagine him not knowing what was going to happen. Still, this episode moved quickly with the last two arrancar down which is an improvement; I still have various complaints, the ones mentioned above, and the better-but-still-crappy animation (this eye-twitching scene was particularly bad), but I’ve stopped expecting too much from Bleach.

36 Comments

  1. It’s a shame. Starrk was the most “human” of the Espada by far; if Ichigo had fought him instead of Shunsui, I’m sure he’d have survived. It makes no sense that an irredeemable psycho like Grimmjow gets to live, but a decent character like Starrk dies to a captain’s shikai.

    It’s such a shame that Bleach has sunken so low, both the anime and the manga. I don’t know why Kubo refuses to listen to feedback, but I hope he understands that he’s about the only person who still enjoys this series.

    caramel_cod
    1. I’m not sure if Kubo gets any feedback from fans in Japan but most of my friends who followed manga and/or anime Bleach on a weekly basis have partially or completely dropped the series. It’s a shame but then, Shounen wise, I personally will continue with Nurariyon and Naruto. At the very least, they’re something I look forward to.
      There’s so much you can ask from a fan and some of us here have read/watched Bleach since the very beginning. After awhile, even my eagerness on seeing the old man fight against Aizen being animated doesn’t even interest me anymore.
      I guess Kubo is going to be stopped only if the TV and/or SJ’s management tell him to wake the fk up.

      Shinjiro
    2. To make it worse, if Grimmjow does survive he’ll probably end up one of the nakama. The same guy who let his fraccion loose on Karakura to devour the town will be a good guy.

      Grant
  2. I will admit that this was probably my favorite episode out of this entire arc. In some of the earlier ones it would have just been one shining example among many, but here the quality of the rest of the arc simply makes it the best.

    On Halibel’s death, please note that this is the second fight between female Shinigami and Arrancar that was abruptly cut short by a [s]pointless overpowered character[/s] powerful male leader. We don’t see female characters fight male characters often, and it’s even rarer to see them win. One thing that appears to be an improvement over the manga is that the next episode will apparently have some flashbacks for Halibel, something that I’m fairly sure she didn’t get in the manga.

    Lastly, yes Aizen really makes no sense. Considering his powers there really isn’t any point to any of this. It’s refreshing for a character with illusion powers to actually be powerful (instead of getting killed in less than three episodes like most series do) but you kinda wish that he would actually use his powers.

    My best explanation for this is that Kubo didn’t want to extend the series for so long (compare how fast the pacing was up until somewhere in Hueco Mundo arc to how fast it’s been since that started) and he was urged to do so for monetary reasons. Then for some reason (possibly he is indeed affected by feedback) they decided to speed it up. Maybe they handled the speed increase poorly, but at least it has been moving since then (except for Ichigo’s Room of Space and Time training).

    Grant
    1. I can see the monetary part being the reason why it’s been stretched for months. Problem for Kubo remains with the fanbase he had made go through some amazingly tedious and overstretched BS.
      I do agree that the speed up process was done wrong and was lackluster. I do understand it’s a shounen series but look on how well Naruto’story is turning out to be compared to Blitch. Of course, it could simply be because I was a fan and this series was something I used to be looking up to every week until “recently”.
      The last time I’ve really been excited from this series was back when Kuchiki and pals showed up in HM and maybe a bit with Ulquiorra and Ichigo’s final fight.

      Shinjiro
    2. SEXIST manga, is SEXIST!! hahahahaha!! you could argue the same thing with One Piece, now that J. bonny is captured it’s a VIRTUAL PIRATE SAUSAGE FEST!….want the opposite??? read Witch Hunter..its a OVER-POWERED FISH-TACO FRENZY!!!

      BROOKLYN otaku
  3. Damn. Stark is my favorite character in the WHOLE SHOW too.

    I kinda hope that some of these Espada could be still alive.

    Just loving Stark’s play on loneliness and his power.

    Also, I don’t understand why Stark’s reiatsu doesn’t have the pressure of someone like Kenpachi or Aizen when Stark’s power is so great that it can kill mountains of Hollows without him lifting a finger… that was just strange to me.

    Shippoyasha
  4. YES FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!! i swear i read this chapter AGES AGO “great timing Kubo…NOT!!” and this was so REFRESHING because maybe it was the scantilation or maybe i was just stoned, BUT for the life of me i couldn’t understand kyorakus powers… SO THAT WASN’T HIS BANKAI? right? cuz i didn’t hear him say it.
    concerning takgeoni, is it like a WARP and he automatically come at you from above??? no warp like movements were shown..the dude was just there.. the shadow one i guess is the easiest to understand, the color one is odd in the varying strengths per color….
    MAN WTF COULD THIS DUDES BANKAI BE?!?!?!?!?!
    on another note, i love how lilette died!!!! NO slow-mo scene, NO last battle cry, NO NOTHING just POOF! hahahahahahaha!!! it was so surreal that I’ll bet HALF the viewers didn’t even realize she got murked out.

    BROOKLYN otaku
  5. this episode almost made me feel Stark was the good guy and Shunsui was the the bad guy and it also showed how lame all the bad guys go down with just a slash and the good guys take in just about any kind of injury and still don’t die…

    gawrshness
  6. i am sorry guys,
    i guess i am not as smart as i though
    but could someone please explain how Shunsui powers work.
    the Shadow-stabing is easy to comprehend
    but Takgeoni ” the person who is on higher ground wins “…. uh!?? what?
    wins the battle? cos that didn’t happen!
    even when stark attacked him from above, he just blocked him and countered with kageoni ( the shadow trick) ?? someone explain plz
    even the way lilette died was confusing. why did the wolf die suddenly,when they had been hit by love and rose several times only to regenerate ? explain plz

    goukison
    1. It’s not known since he never actually managed to hit someone with that attack. Probably the higher he attacks from, the more damage the attack deals. It’s not known. Maybe later. We haven’t seen Soifon’s technique in work either, right up until the Karakura war.

      The important point is that all his attacks bypass defense and deal armor-ignoring damage. That means the damage he deals is not reduced by the powerlevel of his opponent. It deals damage according to how well you play by the game rules. Period. Ie.: He could backstab Aizten’s N+1th divine manifestation too with the shadow game, would he step on his own shadow. No difference.

      That’s why it’s regarded as the most stupidly broken shikai after Kyouka Suigetsu.
      It bypasses poqervelels. Everyone is equal in front of the game.
      That’s why he could kill Starrk with it.(Nobody could manage to even cut Starrk before that)

  7. if there was a good chance to kill off one of good guys it would have been this battle. If Starrk would have killed Shunsui in his own game i would fall in love with bleach again…but no kubo just had to make the good guys immortal and killed off the coolest espada. *sigh*-_-

    iroha360
  8. The stupid weakness that all standard shounen protagonists suffer from… is the stupid need to explain their skills and give themselves a disadvantage… unless their skill is so simple that explaining it would just be buying time to recover because the opponent has pretty much figured it out by the point. At least Gin explained his bankai in a way that actually tricked his opponent into thinking it was something else. As for Soifon… if people didnt know that being stabbed twice would kill them no matter what, then her job would be over 9000 times easier.

    Suppa Tenko
    1. It’s a standalone filler episode. The spoiler guy from Pierrot posted the summary of it 2 months ago. I will take place in the dessert and they will be looking for a treasure (lamp?), and will have something to do with the new Movie (probably the opening animation will be changed, as usual). It’s just a standalone omake ep that’ll adapt one of the manga color spreads.

      You don’t have to worry about an Arc yet.

  9. I do think the fight with Starrk and Shunsui was pretty tight. Though Love’s a bit of a pussy to complain about Shunsui butting in when he and Rose were getting their asses handed to them.

    Bryon

    Bryon
  10. Remember when bleach showed blood…
    Remember when bleach showed fluid animations…
    Remember when ever some of the bount arc was fun could of the fights it set up…

    Can someone explain to me why the animators have a budget of $1 for each episode… If they had an actual budget these fights could be make to look epic, ugg.

    derp...
    1. indeed!! when it started Bleach used to feel and look so great..then suddenly things went whoooooosh down the drain!It almost feels like the first 30 or episodes were written by someone else.

      YAGthis
    2. Guess they realized (or were told) a broader audience was watching this (and lots of younger kids ~maybe~)? All in all, graphics/animation is really one thing to add to the drain but the most important thing is the strrrrrrrrrrrrrrrretch of the storyline gone into “DBZ” mode.

      Shinjiro

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