「護れ一護！望実の決意」 (Mamore Ichigo! Nozomi no ketsui)
“Protect Ichigo! Nozomi’s Determination”
Ichigo goes to look for Nozomi, and Chad and Inoue go to investigate what happened to Rukia, Matsumoto, and Nemu. They find their bodies, but the reigai Renji intercepts them and attacks Sado while Inoue goes to heal the others. He releases his bankai, but the real Renji shows up as well. Working together, they are able to kill the imposter
Kon takes Nozomi to the mountain, but she still refuses to answer any questions, though she finally says that there is an unknown Senkaimon in the area. They find a shrine and she opens up the gate, which she explains is a naturally occurring Senkaimon. Kon asks her not to leave, but she states that it must be done to stop Inaba. The reigai show up and capture her before she can leave. Luckily, Ichigo comes in time and fights all of them at once, but his reiatsu runs low. He defeats all of them using Getsuga Tenshou, then convinces Nozomi to stay.
In Soul Society, the fake Ukitake and Kyouraku go to meet Yamamoto, but he senses their killing intention and draws his sword. Elsewhere, Unohana and Isane investigate the Precipice World records and suspect that they were altered. Unohana had gone to Daireisho Archive, and found that Kageroza Inaba had been heavily involved in research of the Precipice World, along with other abnormalities in the records. Inaba then reveals himself, and Unohana deduces that he had found methods to transcend space and time.
I didn’t think Rukia, Matsumoto, and Nemu would just float to the shore and line up nicely after getting so badly defeated, so I suspected a trap. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case since all the reigai were off looking for Nozomi. However that side of the problem has largely been solved as most of the reigai lieutenants were defeated. I didn’t really expect one Getsuga Tenshou to be enough enough to take out six lieutenant level opponents, especially with Ichigo’s weak state. However it goes in line with the supposed ultimate attack status of the bankai (with the exception of Renji’s), and also the fact that Ichigo is simply far stronger than the lieutenants. Nevertheless, that fight felt rather anti-climatic. The drama was kind of cheesy too, with the usual themes of protecting friends and protecting the weak, and Nozomi finally accepts it too after many weeks of trying to solve the problem on her own. Honestly, she’s probably one of the quietest characters in Bleach.
There are still a couple of the other captains to deal with, but Unohana will probably not fight to avoid messing the canon. The Captain-Commander won’t have that problem though, and his battle should be quite exciting. Yamamato’s experience and sheer attack power really make him an incredibly strong fighter, but it’s too bad he’s not that cunning and is generally useless in dealing with complex plots and conspiracies. Along with his fight with fake Ukitake and Kyouraku, it looks like the long anticipated Zaraki vs. Zaraki is coming up too, so hopefully there will be some good action soon.