Summary:
After Aizen cuts down Gin, Gin flashes back to his past and he wonders about his feelings for Matsumoto. He had become and shinigami in an attempt to change things so that Matsumoto wouldn’t cry, and in the end regrets his failure. Nearby, Matsumoto wakes up and rushes to his side and begins to cry. Aizen also reveals that he knew about the Hougyoku long before Urahara, and that he took the souls of hundreds of shinigami and Rukongai residents for the Hougyoku. He also gave his own soul to the Hougyoku, and thanks Gin for allowing him to transcend both shinigami and hollow. Aizen’s new form overcomes Ichigo’s friends, and they collapse. When he is about to kill Matsumoto however, Ichigo arrives, carrying Isshin on his back. He senses that his sisters are fine, and tells his friends to stay where they are. Tatsuki realizes that she can sense no spiritual power at all from Ichigo, as does Aizen, who tells Ichigo he has failed to evolve. Gin however notices the power in his eyes and can die in peace now that he is here.

Ichigo tells Aizen that they should fight elsewhere, and when Aizen balks he forcibly takes him outside town. Aizen is shocked and guesses that Ichigo sacrificed all his reaitsu for physical strength. As they fight, Ichigo is able to block his attacks and even manages to catch Aizen’s blade with his hands. Aizen then attacks with high level kido, but again Ichigo breaks it with just his hands. He then slashes Aizen across the chest.

 

Preview

Impressions:
I think the anime adaption of this part actually gave explanations not in the manga, which was nice since it clarified some questions. Even without the additional information though, it was definitely nice to see everything animated, and the battles are even more awesome than I remembered from the manga.

Most of my impressions remain the same: Ichigo is looking very badass, and it’s great to see since I love cool and collected heroes. It was even better seeing Aizen blabbing arrogantly, talking like he knows exactly what is going on, and Ichigo remains unruffled and simply doesn’t respond. Aizen makes wrong claims one after the other, including thinking that his own power increased so that he could destroy the landscape with every swing. Ichigo humiliates him several times as well, from smashing his face for several miles and into the ground, to turning the tables from their first battle back in the Soul Society arc: this time Ichigo is the one to stop Aizen’s blade with his bare hands. Gotta love seeing his face turn from smug into traumatized.

As for Matsumoto, it’s unfortunate that neither Unohana or Inoue seems to be around to perform some miracle healings for Gin as all the other good guys seem to get (Gin was only slashed and had his arm ripped off, as opposed to getting sliced in half), but at least he gets to die knowing he wasn’t useless. Gin seems to understand the situation more than Aizen does, knowing the Ichigo now has the will and power to match Aizen’s power. However while their high power and completely over-the-top battle was exciting to see, the Hougyoku will just continue to heal all of Aizen’s injuries and so there is no way Ichigo will be able to end the battle “in just an instant”.

72 Comments

      1. erm no its not. already confirmed by directors. its not ending.

        MOst likely another filler arc for a year and then a sequel anime titled “Bleach ”

        ALa how Pierrot did with naruto anime.

        UnknownVoice
      2. Actually, there was an episode a while back where after the primary episode two of the Arrancar were dropped into Hell and they came across some guy whom said that he was the king of hell or something. They laughed and then were quickly dispatched. I believe that this was some kind of indication of a continuation of the story after Aizen.

        0Matrix
  1. THE BEST BLEACH episode ever, just seeing Aizen being over powered by Ichigo is good enough to redeem the show form its crappy fillers. And By the way am i the only one who thinks Show Spoiler ▼

    rasone0104
      1. I fyou think Aizen has been the final villain or have that impression then you have not been paying attention.

        And seriously, there’s millions of plotpoints left a this point of story (mayuri’s findings in hm , his connection to urahara, what aizen did to inoue, the meaning behind the shinigami badges, ichigo’s family meaning and reason behind – getsu swords, isshin backstory, ryuuken’s plans and his connection to isshin, zeroth squad purpose and reveal, royal guards, soul king and his nature”

        UnknownVoice
  2. What I hate is how poor writing in animes can make people be stupid. Ichigo is 10 feet away from the kids he has known his whole life and his hair is a little longer and his friends are like “Is that Ichigo”?

    Karmafan
    1. Haven’t seen the episode itself, but in the manga it was more of a disbelieving ‘Is that Ichigo?’ Like you’ll go ‘Is that you?’ or ‘What the hell have you done?’ when your girlfriend suddenly cuts her hair completely off. That wouldn’t make you stupid either.

      On the other hand, your statement is true for a LOT of other situations.

      SpacyRicochet
  3. Wow, that’s extraordinarily fast Prooof:) you just couldn’t wait to share your thoughts on this ‘pure awesomeness’ episode, couldn’t you?:P

    Anyway, it’s funny how Aizen tries to make all these lame excuses and pretend that he knows what’s going on when he actually does not know shit, but he still makes up some stupid ‘scientific’ assumptions about his advantage over Ichigo, completely from the top of his head, acting all high and mighty the whole time. His expression when Kurosaki proves him wrong is just priceless:D anyway, i thought Aizen was overpowered, but what they did to Ichigo is just flat out insane. Of course, i’m not complaining, he’s one badass mofo now and i’ve been loving every second of the episode. I really had enough of his pussy whining so i’m glad he’s back. so, just a few words for Aizen…Know your place biiitch:D

    prejsu
      1. shame that people only associate it with the nazis. Swastika (it’s the proper name from sanskrit, germans did not come up with it) dates back to ancient india and basically served as a lucky charm…

        prejsu
  4. If YOUR best friend just appeared wearing all black, with a guy on his shoulder, a sword in his arm, facing an evil God… would YOU go and say “Wow, long time no see”, or would you shit your pants going “Holy shit, is that really George?!”

    DmonHiro
  5. Best episode of Bleach in a long long long long time, if not the best ever. The combination of drama with Gin’s death and his past with Matsumoto along with the new emo Ichigo, this episode going to take some beating (although next week may just do that).

    The main thing that irks me is that Aizen is meant to be the embodiment of fear and evil and yet he has a mullet and butterfly wings – akin to rockstars (glam rock) from the 70’s or something.

    Still, it’s amazing how one good episode wipes away the countless filler ones that came before it.

    duh
  6. “Gin was only slashed and had his arm ripped off”
    No, Gin was also stabbed in the heart if I recall. That’s pretty much an instant death, regardless of your species :/

    I_am_the_Zodiac_Cow
      1. Erm no.

        For all intents and purposes aizen did die, just like ichigo did after getting stabbed by ulqi.

        Its just that for hybrids, that being close-to-death fear is a catalyst for evolution, which comes with regen.

        Ichigo got stabbed in the heart, faced certain death and turned into ichigonator.
        Aizen got stabbed in the heart, faced certain death and turned into a seraphim/angel-like creature.

        NOw after that, if the hybrid has no instant-regeneration power, stab in heart is still death.

        Databook stated that Shinigami can survive ANY injury, EXCEPT for getting stabbed in the heart or getting beheaded. Any other injury can be survived as long as Shinigami has enough reiatsu to survive it.

        UnknownVoice
      2. gin should have died instantly
        starrk also got stabbed through the chest but he kept fighting like nothing happened
        we don’t know if either of them were stabbed through the heart and regardless, Gin stayed alive for quite a while given his injuries

        Prooof
  7. That was the ultimate faceplant when we saw it in the manga. The anime was just as epic. We need a screenshot of Ichigo pushing his hand into Aizen’s face and pushing for a few hundred yards (if not miles).

    Karmafan
  8. wow, now this is the reason i love bleach so much; we have an awesome bunch of plot development, and then all of a sudden, ichigo comes into the picture, and has reached his most awesome upgrade yet. i didn’t think he could get any cooler after turning into that monster bull-looking hollow, but turns out i was WAY wrong. ichigo all bad-ass, chill, byakuya-like is definitely cooler. haha i cant wait for next week.
    btw, aizen looks like a pussy with those butterfly wings.

    Rachael
    1. Thats not (entirely) butterfly wings.

      While they are mostly shown in certain positions to parallel black death butterflies, Aizen does not have butterfly imagery.

      Its seraphim wings.

      Seraphim is the closest angel class to the god itself (according to lore they are the only ones allowed to be near god’s throne, screaming in fire his name).

      LEts see:

      Seraphims usually have 6 wings, are tall, have long black hair, incinerate everything that comes close to their true form and overall are the closest thing to the god after actual god. One of the most notorious seraphim was Lucifer and aizen is the symbolic lucifer to this story’s Soul King “god”.

      Heck, even the circled-cross form the hogyoku took is symbolic, as it (just like swastika, the symbol of ichigo) represents the Sun and the Divinity.

      Aizen’s symbol is combination of hogyoku represented as Circled Dot(symbolizing sun, god and the closest thing in the universe to that what is god, representing chaos, light and divinity) joined with Circled Cross(representing sun and closest understanding human can get about god, without actually becoming god).

      In a sense this is a clash of two “suns”, two “gods” (Swastika and circled cross/Sun Cross), two ultimate beings in a sense. But both of them ultimately represent the same thing.

      UnknownVoice
      1. Check your references, Lucifer is never referred to as a Seraph in any theological texts. If anyone marks him as a Seraph its for two reasons, its much more interesting for Lucifer to be such a powerful creature literary fiction or because he is usually called the greatest amongst the angels, so people regard him as such and associate him erroneously with the highest order of angel. Moat texts will refer to the Satanic version of Lucifer as an Archangel. As for what the original fallen angel Lucifer before marked as the devil by the pagan hating Catholics, there is no known rank to speak of.

        As for the design of Ichigo’s sword, that is a whole other matter, all I can say is that an artist creates something without thinking about anything and then gets in trouble later on. I remember a case of a building in the US that was actually a massive swastika and was modified to change it, and that the architects weren’t even thinking about what it looked when they built it.

        zeroherrera
  9. I’m AMAZED that people are only just noticing Ichigo’s sword hilt. The anime has been going for what? 6 years? 80% of which Ichigo has spent in his Bankai. I remember reading ‘swastika’ comments back in the SS arc. I can’t see how anyone has only *just* noticed unless you only started watching/reading a few weeks ago.

    Science
  10. Anyone noticing a formula to these episodes ending to make a cliffhanger?

    Guy A: HA! I’m totally stronger than you or just mortally injured you! Nothing can stop me now! AHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    Guy B: Actually, I’m stronger. You suck. *overpowers and slashes Guy A across the front, blood spurts everywhere, no matter how unrealistic*

    Rinse and repeat.

    Also, the pacing of these chapters to episodes is shit. They didn’t even set up Ichigo coming back in the preview and suddenley he’s back and takes up the rest of the episode. I’m starting to wonder if they’re gonna have the chapter 423 (the last chap of this arc) lead right into 424 (the first of the current arc) without any filler…

    Fuckin Bleach man.

    Da5id
      1. “However while their high power and completely over-the-top battle was exciting to see, no doubt the Hougyoku will continue to heal all of Aizen’s injuries and so there is no way Ichigo will be able to end the battle ‘in just an instant’.”

        Da5id
  11. Hey guys, I just thought I’d share the little news I read:

    Apparently Bleach will officially end after this arc. ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D, a band that often played themes for Bleach, announced in their blog they were recording a particular song for Bleach’s final season (this one?).

    This blog entry was later deleted, though the piece of information can still be found via Google.

    However, recording director assistant Yosuke Morita confirms that the anime is not ending anytime soon…Believe what you may; but I actually want the series to end here 🙂 This last episode was much better than its manga scenes in my opinion, and I hope it keeps up like this till the end.

    Reading the lastest manga chapter, I quite like the idea of it being the start of a second part for when Bleach anime starts again (maybe in a good years from now), the whole (spoilers) giving Ichigo his powers back (/spoilers) would be a very good note to start the second show…

    Anyway, those are my thoughts…Let’s hope next week’s episode will be a good one!

    Justin
  12. wow, seems like the anime is going to rest for a while after this arc. XDD it’s funny how the manga covered a lot whilst having the anime take a no. of chapters in just a few episodes. XD

    keiOnDaisuki
  13. It’s funny how my ex talked about Gin being a good dude almost two years ago. I never believed him. Until I read that in manga T_T

    I like Gin as a character a lot. I sicnerely hope they won’t kill him off and he’ll appear again. Trying not to be biased, but he’s one of the better characters in Bleach. At least he’s the only character so far I never got tired of.

    Aizen was tiring back in manga, and in anime it’s the same. And lol lol “Imoyama-san” xDD

    Btw, the “you” Gin talked about, was it himself? The “you” that turned into a snake. I didn’t quite get who he was referring to. Loved those words though.

    Thebest episode, the best part of Bleach so far.

    Lee
    1. i’ve always thought gin to not be a complete villain. i’ve always had that feeling there were good reasons as to why he betrayed SS for aizen. and at the back of my mind, i knew it was all for matsumoto. T_T it’s just sad to know that he’s really a good man after all only to see him get killed in the end.(i do hope he isn’t really dead) just poor rangiku. DX

      keiOnDaisuki
  14. all I have to say is wow… this was the ichigo everyone has been waiting for since bleach episode 1. he was cool, calm collected. he totally owned aizen from the moment he arrived. he didn’t transform into a beast with abilities and powers he didn’t own or know how to utilize fully. it was just freaking awesome to see him like that. it’s almost too good.. and as we know, every good thing must end.

    animeE
  15. wow!
    have u guys noticed that it’s nicer when these animes focus on their MAIN CHARACTER’s developement?
    it’s too bad that bleach and Naruto have spent most of the last 2 years away from their main charcters!

    i rememeber the good old days when NARUTO was about Naruto becoming Hokage and Bleach was about Ichigo saving Rukia period!
    the wars between shinigami & espadas or the ninja world vs akatsuki are nice & all, but dont spend to much time on them plz!!
    and here is an example of why:
    the only 2 things that the espadas did was forcing ichigo’s second transformation and subduing captain yamamoto’s zankpatu. besides that you can literaly skip the entire espada saga except for the ulqi vs ichi’s fight and it would not affect the main story in anyways.
    2 years of just random pointless fight!

    btw: naruto is making the same mistake as we speak!

    Great episode,

    goukison
  16. I’ll also add that the whole thing with Gin and Matsumoto seemed stupid to me. Even when reading the manga, I was like huh? With Tousen, things were different. There was already a good enough back story that his redemption made sense. Gin…. he should his motivations should have been something else.Just a waste IMO

    animeE
    1. very good point dude

      what hole did this Matsumo Gin story come from?

      i loved Gin’s misterious and Non-chalant personality, but all the sudden he’s all about Matsumoto?

      and didn’t she have a bond with hitsugaya?
      whore!!!!!

      goukison
    1. Wait…so your logic is they may be related because they have the same hair color?

      Then I suppose Rukia and Ulquiorra and Nnoitora are related too. And Barragan and Yamamoto are related to, seeing as they’re both old!

      Da5id

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