「絶体絶命！？記憶を挟まれた白哉 」 (Zettai zetsumei!? Kioku o hasamareta Byakuya )
“Desperate Struggle!? Byakuya’s Troubled Memories”
Everything I liked about the last episode was ruined here as the usual cliched Bleach returns again. Nonsense superpowers, pointless standoffs, awkward flashbacks and dragged out dialogue abound. The main feature of the episode is Tsukishima and Byakuya’s fight, and I don’t have a problem with the battle itself as it actually looked pretty good. Tsukishima reveals that he can also insert himself into the pasts inanimate objects in the environment, and he even manages to cut Byakuya’s Senbonzakura. This gives him intimate knowledge of every aspect of Byakuya’s zanpakutou, allowing him to surprise Byakuya and slash him (which gives him even more knowledge about Byakuya’s abilities). I can suspend my disbelief for that, but the nagging question remains: why didn’t Byakuya’s memories change? Tsukishima clearly stated “it’s over” once he cut Byakuya, yet all that changed was that Tsukishima himself gained a huge amount of experience from fighting Byakuya in the past. From his confusion and the questions he asked, Byakuya clearly did not suddenly recall their past training together as Ichigo’s friends did, unless he is deliberately hiding it. I can certainly think of potential explanations for this, yet none are given.
On the other hand, Tsukishima does give an overly verbose explanation about Senbonzakura’s safe zone. He obviously suffers from a severe case Prideful Villain Syndrom which forces him to tell his opponent exactly what he’s doing and how he did it. I can’t help but wonder if there’s a better way to reveal this stuff without having the two of them stop in the middle of a fight and discuss everything in detail. Even Byakuya is more talkative than normal, but eventually Tsukishima’s arrogance is his downfall as he gets a fistful of petals blasted through his chest. That manages to end the fight instantly and was probably also the best part of their battle.
Rukia and Riruka’s fight also ends here, though it is markedly more lighthearted, filled with all sorts of cute stuffed animals. I actually enjoyed the humor (e.g. Rukia blowing herself up) and quirky interactions, but that ends when Riruka goes off on a long philosophical speech about survival of the fittest. She rants about her past, which (to no surprise) was a messed up childhood thanks to her special abilities. She, and the other fullbringers followed Ginjou because of his promises of power and a chance to destroy everyone. It’s a pretty warped excuse to be honest, and really isn’t much more than a thirst for power. Ginjou seems to have another layer of motives, though as expected it doesn’t amount to much more than a desire for revenge. Luckily Xcution are all dropping like flies; only Ginjou himself is left and I can’t imagine him lasting too long either.