Score: A

Ichigo has finally made it to the fight in his season! They have been keeping him out of it for as long as possible. Not that I think they made the wrong choice. Letting other characters shine while Ichigo wasn’t around was a good choice. We wouldn’t have gotten such epic fights like with Renji, Rukia, and Kenpachi otherwise. Now we’ll see how things are going to play out from here. We only got a taste for how strong Ichigo has gotten, but he’s clearly capable. No sign of his Bankai yet. I can’t imagine that will remain the same as it used to be. This episode was mostly about letting the main character shine and setting up the conflicts to come. It also set up a few mysteries that will need to be explored when time allows.

Even here…he just looks annoyed!

Easily lost in all this was the Kenpachi and Yachiru situation early on. Of course, she’d be a top priority for him. Even more so with her just going missing like that. There are theories and conclusions that can be drawn from all that. But I’d rather not accidentally stumble on the right answer until the show wants to answer it. Regardless, Yachiru has been with him for all that time. Honestly that’s the one time he was probably glad to have the Captain position. He could get people on the search for her as quickly as possible.

Sadly, there wasn’t time for it and his squad got slaughtered. Honestly, I don’t know if Soul Society will have even 100 Soul Reapers left by the time this show is over! They did set up effectively that Kenpachi wasn’t in great shape. You could honestly say Gremmy lost to Kenpachi’s charisma. Because if he kept fighting normally, he might have won. All the explosions, space, meteors, etc. really wore down Kenpachi. I won’t say those girls were lucky since they clearly chose their moment. But if Kenpachi was even in a slightly better state then he would have been impossible to handle. A sneak attack in a weakened state was enough to whittle him down though.

This group seems stable

I’m sure both Ichigo and Kenpachi were honest in never expecting that sort of situation to happen. And it’s a nice thing. Kenpachi has done quite a bit for Ichigo throughout the show, and this was one time Ichigo could return the favour. Be a huge loss if Kenpachi died here and I’m sure he’ll be of help after he gets a chance to be patched up a little. Be nice if he can gain some clarity on Yachiru’s situation along the way too.

Nothing to be taken away from the power of the quartet that hammered away at Kenpachi after he beat Gremmy. They aren’t just mooks that were following around Bambietta and were powerful in their own rights. Of course, that does raise the question of where Bambietta is…We got a good idea of Giselle’s power and…that’s not promising for the explosion girl. Presumably she was “healed” via that girl(?)’s blood. But if so, she’d have been reduced to a zombie slave. That she didn’t pop up could mean anything, but since those girls are still alive, we might get answers to that eventually.

Ichigo preparing some major disrespect!

Is about time to credit Ichigo’s arrival! The man did race down there as fast as he possibly could. And thanks to that he was able to save Kenpachi and draw all the attackers to him. That might have saved some lives as well. Naturally the only way for Ichigo to arrive was to a remix of “Number One!” Nothing else would have been acceptable. And even if he crashed during his landing, he was basically overwhelming the enemy quartet from that point onward. The only reason that fight lasted as long as it did was Ichigo being disinterested in cutting up female opponents. It wasn’t like he was spamming Getsugas or even considering using his Bankai. They honestly did as much damage to each other as he did to them with his throws, elbows, and punches.

I do appreciate that Ichigo does have some more techniques ready to go. It makes sense as well with Zangetsu being two blades for that to happen. The shorter blade letting him release a very simple and controlled Getsugatensho. That was enough to cancel out what was intended to be a serious attack against him. And then when he busted out his Getsuga Jujisho he was left warning his opponent to back off. Even if Candice was able to be patched up…that move still took an arm! Presuming she reacted to his warning then it probably would have taken much more than that!

Ichigo can only do so much

It is nice that the show isn’t treating Ichigo as a God. He can absolutely handle those four Stern Ritter by himself. But if several more were all fighting him seriously then he couldn’t simply bail and race after Yhwach. It makes sense that turning his back like that would result in taking some hits even if he could handle most of them if he was focusing exclusively on them. Nice save by Renji honestly. Renji has just gotten so much more respect in this arc than he has previously. And it was a satisfying stance watching some of the remaining Soul Reapers clearing a path for him. Those are powerful opponents, but Byakuya and company probably can hold them off or a while. Maybe they won’t have to considering how things worked out though.

Welcome back Inoue!

Honestly, it was a bit of a downer in terms of Ichigo crossing paths with Ishida. I get that this is just the first clash and is setting things up for later. But it was basically a few shocked words from Ichigo and then a few shots fired by Ishida. If Ishida is still on their side he’s really selling this betrayal hard. But it’s hard to doubt him that much since we just don’t know what he’s thinking. It makes more sense for him to be playing for betrayal against Yhwach than being loyal since nothing Yhwach has done really fits Ishida’s mindset. He may not like Soul Reapers, but there’s only one that he hates. And he didn’t even take advantage of this situation to go pick a fight with Mayuri. He was certainly convincing, but he didn’t really do much damage to Ichigo.

Now part of that was thanks to Chad and Inoue being allowed to return to the show at long last XD. Goodness it has been a while. I can’t really tell if their training resulted in any particular changes. They have nice enough outfits (looking good Orihime), but they seemed pretty normal all things considered. Good timing for them though since it’s just not a good sense of betrayal unless the whole friend group is going “WTF Ishida!?” at him. Lot of questions here, but sadly none will be answered right away. Especially with next week being a recap episode. But I do hope this season’s finale will pay off that Ichigo vs Ishida fight the OP has been setting up.

The powered-up group (and others) are looking good

I have to ask…what the Zero Squad is thinking!? Honestly the only thing they accomplished with how they handled Ichigo was to save Zaraki (nice move) and open the door to their own home base! Who was the person that said their job was to protect the Soul King? They just opened their front door and said “come on in!” Aizen may have been quiet in that brief moment we saw him, but be must be losing his mind right now! All the time and effort he put in and Yhwach just gets a casual invitation!? I mean sure they didn’t outright tell him to come on in and make himself comfortable, but the question is definitely up there.

And it is incredibly suspicious. They powered up Ichigo, Renji, Rukia, and probably Byakuya. So it doesn’t seem like they should be considered enemies. But then why do something so stupid? They didn’t seem to care that much about the Soul Society so long as the Soul King was safe. I’m not completely sure if they sent Rukia and Renji down the same way as Ichigo. Their outfits might imply they did. But if they sent them down with the Tenchuren then they should have sent Ichigo down the same way instead of being stingy. Are these guys just eager for a fight? Or are they seeking to betray the Soul King? What’s going on here?

What the heck Ishida!

This was a pretty fun return for Ichigo. Obviously, he didn’t get to outright defeat anyone unlike the big fights for Renji or Rukia. But he wasn’t trying to either. He managed to score his main objective in saving Kenpachi and honestly after that he was trying to focus on Yhwach. It seems likely that Ichigo will at least get his fight against Ishida even if he might not get a rematch against Yhwach before this second part is over. We are less than halfway through this arc after all! There’s still over 20 more episodes of this ride left! And you know with the last week having a double episode…that they have huge plans and probably a cliffhanger waiting for us. I can’t wait to see what happens!

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An older member at 25, yet a new addition to Anime Evo. Recently graduating University and in the difficult point between school and a true career. Anime being a salvation and blogging a good way to put all those hours of writing essays to some use. Enjoys talking about series, yet not taking on so many that the quality dips. A Canadian who enjoys his anime and hearing what others think about the series he enjoys watching.

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