Monday, May 21, 2007

Bleach 125

So, last we left Ichigo, Reverse Ichigo had just stabbed him a little bit. I’m really not too worried, since people get stabbed every other episode on this show and nothing bad ever happens to them, but I suppose I’ll play along just this once and pretend that I’m dreadfully worried.

Ichigo, the stabbed one, zones out into another vision, and immediately Zaraki Kenpachi attacks him. I have to admit that Zaraki is one of my favorite characters, what with the unmitigated love for battle. The problem is that Ichigo already defeated him a while back, and that without having a bankai. This naturally means that Zaraki can’t take on any of the new powerful arrancar because he’s just too weak, which pretty much guarantees that he will gain a bankai later in the show, and that’s going to be pretty freakin’ sweet. I can imagine it now: he’ll try fighting the arrancar but get well trounced, and the arrancar will laugh at him or turn its back and say something like, “We know you don’t have a bankai. Just die now, okay?” And then Zaraki will say, “Ha!” and then kill him with his amazing new bankai.

Anyway, the illusory Zaraki attacks Ichigo, and Ichigo jumps away. Ichigo yells that they’ve finished their fight, and Zaraki replies that the fight continues for as long as you live. Ichigo then counters that they have no reason to fight, but Zaraki, in true Lincoln-Douglas debate style, ripostes that they don’t need a reason to fight. I can live with that, but Zaraki isn’t done yet: one who desires power (like Ichigo) desires fights! Ichigo will only gain the power he needs in the hot crucible of battle. Now the Japanese symbol (kanji? someone?) for “battle” flashes across the screen and Ichigo thinks back to past battle. I feel something dramatic coming on.

Ichigo’s vision ends and he returns to battle with Richigo. He takes the sword poking out of his stomach and poses a bit and taiko drum music starts playing. He glowers at Richigo and flies straight at him. Seems that he’s accepted his destiny, which is to fight, and fight, and then fight some more.

We cut to the real world, where the Vizard have been busy distracting Ichigo’s body. By now it’s fully transformed into a very powerful and impressive Hollow, complete with mask and Ichigo’s sword. Hollow Ichigo starts to fire a cero, and Love, the Vizard fighting him, begins to put on his own mask to counter it. That’s when Hollow Ichigo pauses, and his skin starts to crack open, complete with spurting red blood. Hiyori has Love pulled out of the little protective square where they’ve been fighting Hollow Ichigo. We return to Ichigo’s inner world. He’s stabbed Richigo, who starts dissolving away into the air. Richigo admits defeat but leaves behind a vague threat, which is basically all he has left at this point, but somehow, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of him!

We go back to the real world. The Hollow skin falls off of Ichigo and all that’s left is his new, nifty mask, complete with Hollow™ powers. Everyone smiles a lot.

Change of scene. Inoue Orihime is walking down the street moping about Ichigo. She can still sense his reiatsu, but knows to leave well enough alone. She suddenly realizes how pathetic she’s being and tries to think happy thoughts, but fails miserably at that, too. Before Orihime can commit suicide her neighbor accosts her and demands to know what’s up with her new roommates.

Orihime runs up to her room to find that Captain Hitsugaya and Matsumoto have installed a big widescreen TV. I’d be pleased, and not just because Matsumoto was living with me, but Orihime flips out. That’s when the TV thing turns on to show the Captain-Commander of the Thirteen Protection Squads, and we enter Exposition Mode, and we finally find out the evil Aizen’s True Goal.

It turns out that Soul Society, like any decent and just society, has a King. He’s a mere figurehead, he leaves the rest of Soul Society to run itself, and he lives in his own separate dimension and everything seems to run pretty well. The only way to reach the King’s dimension is by using the King’s Key, and before he left Aizen was busy researching how to make such a key. This process involves the sacrifice of one hundred thousand souls, and in this case those souls will come from Karakura Town, where Ichigo and Orihime live! Gasp!

Now I had to stop to wonder: how did the Soul Society people make their first key? Did they sacrifice an earlier bunch of people? Maybe not, but they do seem like the kind of society that justifies means with ends and all that. In any case, they can’t let Aizen make his own King’s Key, because then he could presumably kill the King, which I further presume would be catastrophic.

Orihime starts blubbering something about not letting all this happen, and the Captain-Commander assures that it won’t, because the Thirteen Protection Squads are hard core and dedicated. Matsumoto looks over her shoulder at Orihime and smirks. I think it’s supposed to be reassuring, but I’m not unconvinced that she’s hoping that Orihime will be the first to die horribly. The Captain-Commander sends Orihime off to tell Ichigo everything. Matsumoto jiggles off as well, and Captain Hitsugaya is left alone with the Captain Commander. The old guy steps aside and reveals Hinamori Momo, Toshiro’s best buddy and Aizen’s former lieutenant, who he stabbed, because he’s evil.

We leave their dramatic conversation until the next episode, for we suddenly cut to Yasutora Sado fighting Renji’s bankai. They’re training, naturally, and we cut to Ishida dodging his father’s arrows. They’re training too. Orihime is the only one not training, but she’s running desperately down an alley to find Ichigo.

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