「朽木家の誇り！白哉VS白哉！」 (Kuchiki ka no hokori! Byakuya VS Byakuya!)
“Pride of the Kuchiki Family! Byakuya vs. Byakuya!”
Kageroza says he is unable to create a Reigai out of Ichigo, and “erases” him after he arrives in Soul Society. Urahara deduces that he may have been swallowed by the Cleaner, causing Nozomi to become depressed. The others tell her that Ichigo will be fine and to trust in the captains.
Byakuya continues to fight his clone, and they both release Senbonzakura. Because of his wounds though, Byakuya begins to weaken, and finally both of them release their bankai at the same time. Komamura battles the fake Soifon, who uses uses multiple clones and shunko in conjunction with Nigeki Kessatsu in an attempt to kill him in two hits. He struggles against the power of shunko as well, and eventually they both collapse. Komamura finally manages to summon his bankai, as does Soifon, resulting in a massive explosion that knocks both of them out. Yamamoto also continues to fight the reigai Kyouraku and Ukitake, who are still unable to overpower him. Because the reigai Unohana also continues to heal them, they gradually wear down Yamamoto. However, he then uses Ennetsu Jigoku to trap them in a wall of fire.
This episode mostly just continued with the battles from last time, with bankai being thrown around in almost every one of them. If Yamamoto, Kyouraku, or Ukitake’s bankai had been shown in the manga, then theirs would have shown up here as well. Of course all the ultimate attacks make the fights more intense and exciting, but it’s really an artificial high, and the thinly threaded plot only serves as an excuse to showcase powers of the characters. But intense it really is, and Yamamoto’s fight is especially high-powered even with just shikai. I’ve always enjoyed watching the old master character archetype, and their sheer amounts of strength and experience are very satisfying. Komamura on the other hand just feels like a noob who just punches as hard as he can and hopes it works. He follows the fatal villain flaw of explaining his strategy to his opponents as well which is just unintelligent. I can’t help but feel that Soifon won that battle, and she fell only because of collateral damage from her own explosion.
Plot-wise nothing much progressed, but it looks like there will be an epic final battle next time involving most of the surviving characters. The fates of each character are all fairly predictable though, and the only thing interesting really will be how exactly the fights go down.