「信ずるものの為に！白哉vs日番谷！」 (Shinzuru mono no tame ni! Byakuya vs Hitsugaya!)
“For the Sake of the Believers! Byakuya vs. Hitsugaya!”
The reigai Unohana and Isane show up, and the two Unohanas battle it out with kido for a while before the real one slips away. Elsewhere, the fake Kyouraku and Ukitake continue to struggle against Yamamoto. They state that they follow what they believe, but refuse to reveal what that is just yet. Yamamoto sees that they were fighting for a draw since they knew they couldn’t win. The reigai Unohana finally arrives and heals them both, and they continue fighting.
Byakuya runs into the reigai Hitsugaya and they fight. Hitsugaya says that he follows Inaba because there is something he must protect, something that the real one also wants. Byakuya draws his bankai but all the resulting powdered ice allow Hitsugaya to trap him. He manages to use Senbonzakura in time and break the prison and defeat the reigai.
In Karakura Town, Urahara reveals he’s monitoring the situation in Soul Society. Ichigo asks him to send him to Soul Society as well, but Kon and the others tells him to stay. After Nozomi helps him restore some of his reiatsu however, Ichigo insists on going, letting the others protect her.
「ふたりの雛森、日番谷の覚悟」 (Futari no Hinamori, Hitsugaya no kakugo)
“The Two Hinamoris, Hitsugaya’s Resolution”
Kenpachi and Yachiru run into the fake Soifon and members of the fourth squad as well, but he easily dispatches the low level assassins. Soifon attacks him, and Komamura interferes telling Kenpachi that he’ll handle the fight.
After Byakuya defeats the reigai Hitsugaya, he runs into his fake and is forced to fight again. The revitalized reigai Kyouraku and Ukitake also continue to battle Yamamoto, but he retains the upper hand.
Elsewhere, Hitsugaya sees reigai Hinamori who attacks him. She exploits past events and catches him off guard and unable to counter attack. Another fake Hinamori shows up as well and they severely injure him, saying that they did not do it out of choice. Before they can kill him though, Yoruichi comes and finishes off both of them.
Back in the real world, Ishida questions Kon as he tries to figure out what Kageroza wants with Nozomi but is unable to figure out anything. Inaba sees Ichigo passing through the Precipice World and intercepts him just as he exits, telling him that he will erase his existence. He sends him back the Precipice World and his reiatsu completely disappears.
With so many things happening at once, the action is pretty much nonstop. Last time I said Unohana wasn’t likely to fight, but it looks like we do get a short battle between the two Unohanas at least, though featuring very high level kido instead of zanpakutou. Most of the other captains are in engaged in combat too, and they seem to keep running into battle after battle, RPG-style. Yamamoto’s fight is especially interesting and I’m seriously getting Star Wars vibes with the whole master vs student showdown (complete with lots of fire). Most of the other battles are also fairly exciting, though there’s nothing that really breaks the norm. The fights are fast paced and fairly evenly matched for the most part (exception Zaraki vs 4th squad), but the plot in general is just uninspired. I can’t really bring myself to care about the reigai’s motives, code of honors, wills, etc. , perhaps because everything is going to be close to completely inconsequential. There’s no real mystery in how the rest of arc will play out, so for me the only thing that this arc has going for itself is the fights.