With Ichigo dropping into the real world, it's time for some potentially kick ass action.
What They Say
Ichigo has returned to the World of the Living to battle Aizen. After an unsuccessful first attack, Ichigo Hollowfies to deliver his Getsugatensho against Aizen, but that too proves ineffective. Witnessing the immense power Aizen holds, Ichigo begins to lose his will to fight, when the Thirteen Court Guard Squads stand up to support him.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Bleach is a series that can tease you in a cruel fashion to be sure, setting you up for something and then whisking it away before you realize it. The sudden appearance of Ichigo in the fight involving Aizen certainly is one such moment where you wonder where it'll go. There is some hope though after going through a couple of episodes involving Tosen and Komamura going at it with a fair bit of history coming out. That fight had some moments that were good, but it also introduced Tosen in a form that really felt creepy at first but then became increasingly comical the more you looked at it. Shifting the focus back to Aizen, as he deals with his battle, only to have Ichigo fall in from the sky really makes you hope that we'll get something significant here.
A battle between these two is one of very different people, at least at this initial stage of it. Aizen is the cool customer who is calm and collected, seeing what the attacks will be like and preparing for them. Ichigo's arrival from behind is certainly smart fighting when you want to eliminate an enemy, but Aizen's not the type to leave such a blind spot undefended. Ichigo's nature in the fight is that of the more brash and energetic type we've known from almost the start, throwing himself into things with a frenzied style and full of energy. With the way Aizen is, Ichigo going into a Hollowfication mode so early on is no surprise, though that he can't keep it up easily while fighting Aizen is no surprise either because of the power levels involved.
What also isn't a surprise is that the bulk of this episode is all about the talk. Aizen and Ichigo do square off a bit, but it comes back to the same point that Ichigo has no hate in him and that keeps him back some. Aizen's the type to provoke people and does his magic on Ichigo, but he's got such a support system with him in the other Soul Society people that they're intent on protecting him and taking the battle directly to Aizen as they have their own issues with him as well. It may be all about the talk, but it has a certain level of epic building nature to it as Ichigo watches the Visoreds and the Captain's of the Soul Society working together, taking the battle to Aizen, and going all out against him. One on one, but still. There's been some build up to this and we're moving closer into the real thing at this point.
Bleach has always been a show that starts to deliver and then pulls back some. It's a combination of stretching things out a bit and giving everything a chance to build up so it has that epic feeling. Depending on your point of view, it can lean heavily in one direction and that can skew things, making an episode like this nothing more than a really big tease. A good tease, as it does give us some of the fighting and hints at a larger issue at hand for Ichigo, but a tease nonetheless. It's definitely welcome to see so many of the characters come together at this point and long standing issues with Aizen being a key part of it and they certainly give you enough to look forward to with the next episode, but the payoff may still be some time yet to come which can make it all the more frustrating.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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