「望実を消す!? 元柳斎の決断！」 (Nozomi o kesu!? Genryuusai no ketsudan)
“Destroy Nozomi?! Genryuusai’s Decision”
Yamamoto arrives and defeats Byakuya, then claims that he doesn’t care for Nozomi since she’s just a Mod Soul. Ichigo and the others protest, but Yamamoto says they will discuss it later, as the reigai Kyouraku and Ukitake arrive. Yamamoto releases his shikai and tells the others to stay back, but Ichigo and Nozomi both attack. The reigai Unohana suddenly shows up and uses a variety of kidou spells on him.
Kyouraku uses Katenkyokutsu’s assortment of powers against Nozomi, who struggles to land a hit. Ukitake fights Ichigo, who is running low on spiritual pressure. He uses his bankai, but Ukitake deflects the attack. Yamamoto easily breaks the seal, engulfing the area in fire, and the real Unohana arrives on the scene as well. Rukia surmises that he may be intending to get rid of Nozomi because she is a Mod Soul, but Nozomi states that she will live.
Kagezora finally shows up and tells the reigai to stand down, and he himself faces off against Yamamoto, Nozomi acts as a decoy, using Yamamoto’s reiatsu to attack Kageroza. Yamamoto and Ichigo then blast him, but Kageroza successfully withstands them by copying Nozomi’s power and absorbing both attacks. He fires them back at Yamamoto, but Nozomi steps in and attempts to take on the attack.
「失われる霊圧！ 一護、魂の死闘！ 」 (Ushinawareru reiatsu! Ichigo, tamashii no shitou! )
“The Depleting Reiatsu! Ichigo, Death Struggle of the Soul”
Nozomi attempts to absorb Kageroza’s attack, but the amount of energy is too great and her zanpakutou begins to crack. Kageroza implores her to get out of the way, and Yamamoto counter-attacks just as her sword breaks. He collapses afterwards and the other shinigami are left to face off against Kageroza. He claims to understand Nozomi better than anyone else and says that they were born from the Reishi of a single shinigami. That was why she initially resisted becoming attached to Ichigo and his friends, as she knew she would become part of Kageroza once reunited.
Ichigo, Renji, Rukia, and Kon all attack Kageroza, but are easily knocked out. Nozomi refuses to go with Kageroza, and Kon tries to hold him off to allow her to escape. She distracts him with an attack, grabs Kon and runs. Yamamoto attacks Kageroza from the ground, but he flees to chase after Nozomi. She becomes exhausted from running, and tells Kon to go so that he can live. When he refuses, she binds him then leaves. Kageroza catches up to her, but he realizes his zanpakutou is gone. Ichigo musters his strength and uses one last Getsuga Tenshou against him. However, Kageroza reveals that he had duplicated himself, then slashes Ichigo and knocks out Nozomi. Kon comes running, still bound to a rock, but is too late to do anything.
These two episodes actually weren’t too bad; the drama is there, the fights are intense, the plot is heating up, and overall quality is decent. There are some cheesy scenes and cliched ideals, but I guess that’s just part of the genre. A lot about Nozomi is revealed, and both she and Kon get a good amount of development. She participates in most of the battles as well and uses her power as much as possible, which is understandable given how overpowered it is. It backfires when Kageorza uses her ability for himself, but it’s still hard to believe that he’s strong enough to absorb both Ryuujin Jakka and Getsuga Tenshou. Nozomi’s power finally reaches its limit when she attempts to absorb the rebound attack, and she ends up almost powerless again.
The fact that she and Kageroza are of one entity was definitely surprising, and I didn’t expect an explanation for Nozomi’s initial coldness towards the protagonists. I was thinking more along the lines of a father-daughter relationship between Kageroza and Nozomi. Kageroza’s maniac laughter was just utterly annoying though, and it seems like the writers are trying too hard to cut him as the villain. Ichigo and Kon are understandably very pissed off at his attitude, and no one’s going to feel bad for him once he goes down.
As for the other shinigami, Yamamoto is back and kicking, and his shikai is always cool to see. Kageroza is a brave one facing off against the Head Captain, and Yamamoto doesn’t even look fazed in the face of Kageroza’s best attack. He probably could have dealt with him without much of a hitch, but regardless, he gets taken out soon enough, and I feel as if he keeps getting defeated just for the convenience of the plot. By the 2nd episode though, things were going downhill for all the characters, and almost all the shinigami and reigai are down. Kageroza himself isn’t getting the best of it as he gets distracted while stomping on Kon, gets fried by Yamamoto, falls down a hill, then loses his sword. Luckily for him his “insurance” pays off and he finally succeeds into capturing Nozomi.
Since Ichigo is dead out of reiatsu and the other shinigami are out of commission as well, it’ll probably be hard for them to pull together a rescue mission. I was thinking that it was time for Urahara’s team to get involved, but the omake showed how all their plans were unfortunately ruined by collateral damage. Honestly if the the shinigami just stepped out of the way, I think Urahara could take care of everything easily.