「瀞霊廷に異変？！護廷十三隊侵軍篇！」 (Seireitei ni Ihen?! Gotei Juusan-tai Shingun-hen!)
“Unusual Incident in Seireitei?! Gotei 13 Invading Army Arc!”
After the battle over Karakura Town, things are peaceful in Soul Society, and Hitsugaya discusses some cleaning duties with Ukitake and Kyoraku. In the real world, Matsumoto and Ise finish cleaning up and enter the Senkaimon, but they encounter something strange. Back in Soul Society, Hitsugaya and Ukitake reports them missing, but are unable to confirm that they had gone through the Precipice World. However, the two suddenly arrive, acting as if nothing was wrong. The captains realize that there is a time discrepancy and a problem in the Precipice World, causing a gap in time between the real world and Soul Society. Mayuri Kurotsuchi and other captains investigate and Kenpachi is assigned to security. They enter the Precipice World, but communications are suddenly lost. Byakuya, Hitsugaya and Renji return to Soul Society, bringing an object of importance to Yamamoto. Elsewhere, Inaba begins his plans, as Kira and Ise stand by.
In Karakura, Ichigo and Rukia return home from school and they switch to their shinigami when they receive a hollow notification. Kon feels a strange presence and goes to investigate and finds a naked girl lying unconscious. Rukia determines that she had fell out of a Senkaimon, and they receive an order to go to Soul Society. Urahara cautions them against it, saying something may be wrong, but they insist on going. In the Precipice World, Rukia realizes there is no trace of spiritual pressure which is odd since Aizen destroyed the Cleaner. However, the Cleaner suddenly appears and Ichigo loses his substitute shinigami badge. He releases bankai and uses to speed to get them to safety, but he collapses afterwards and is arrested by Hitsugaya and several other shinigami.
Getting new openings and endings is usually refreshing, and these were no exception. They seem to be exclusive for the filler arc, and if the scenes shown are spoilers, then I think we may be in for some pretty good action. There are a lot of fast paced fights showing the shinigami fighting each other, and some interesting moments as well. The song by ViViD didn’t really catch my attention but it fits fine and is exciting enough. The ending features a somewhat quieter song, and seems to be Ishida-focused. This could hint that he will be showing up more in this arc, but then again the last ending featured Rukia and it didn’t really mean anything to the actual content.
I honestly wasn’t expecting to say this, but this looks promising. The setup of Soul Society entering into some crisis was actually interesting, and is of decent quality as well. It does seem like a good premise for a Bleach movie, and hopefully the filler arc doesn’t mess it up. I even found certain parts funny, such as seeing Kon the machoist, and also the interactions with the naked girl who’s looking to be the focus of the arc.
Technically the events here happen after the war against Aizen, with references to the battle, and Matsumoto still sad over Gin’s death. I guess they are delaying Ichigo’s loss of powers for now; as the characters explain it, Ichigo is able to retain his powers because Rukia’s presence has allowed him to conserve his spiritual energy. Not exactly canon, but not a direct contradiction either.
It would be nice if the writers didn’t hint that much at what is going to happen, as it’s pretty obvious 12th squad’s Inaba is up to no good, doing some time warp shenanigans. What was surprising was seeing Kira and Nanao with him, and Ichigo getting arrested by the Gotei 13 again. The opening sequence does support the hint that Soul Society is going to go through some infighting, and with Kurotsuchi and Kenpachi missing as well, I’m actually looking forward to seeing what happens.